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Category: Special Features

Maltese Cross Cabin: Theodore Roosevelt’s Mobile Home

Maltese Cross Cabin: Theodore Roosevelt’s Mobile Home

On Theodore Roosevelt’s first trip to North Dakota in 1883, before he made Elkhorn Ranch his home, he stayed in a modest frontier cabin about seven miles south of Medora at Chimney Butte.  It was still the Dakota Territory then and the future President was bolstering his rawhide credentials.  The National Park Service has a nice page on the cabin here.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Dust Bowl North Dakota

Dust Bowl North Dakota

Russell Lee was a trained chemical engineer who passed on a career in the field in favor of art. He is best known for the incredible number of photographs he took during the Dust Bowl for the Farm Security Administration.  Mr. Lee spent a good portion of 1937 in North Dakota photographing families, farms and cities, too.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Silent Film Offers View of Hazen, 1916

Silent Film Offers View of Hazen, 1916

We don’t know much about this video, but it is a fascinating look at Hazen, North Dakota in 1916. It’s a silent film circa 1916 called “The Land of Corn and Alfalfa.”

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Understanding the Rise of Devils Lake

Understanding the Rise of Devils Lake

The rise of Devils Lake has been a strong contributing factor to the abandonment happening in towns like Church’s Ferry and Minnewaukan, but also on hundreds of individual farms and properties all around the lake. We’ve shown you some views of the inundation in the past, including the Harmon home and a satellite view of the lake.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Inside San Haven Sanatorium, part two

Inside San Haven Sanatorium, part two

In part one, Mary, a former patient at San Haven Sanatorium, detailed her arrival at San Haven and the circumstances that led to her spending five months in the facility in 1963. Eventually this ten-year-old from Carrington settled into her time at this massive hospital and learned how to keep herself safe.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Inside San Haven Sanatorium

Inside San Haven Sanatorium

This website is a constant reminder of how things change over time, those reminders frequently coming in the form of a photograph that shows a crumbling structure, a little less stout than when we last photographed it. Sometimes though, the reminders come in the form of a story, an email from a visitor.  In this case, we received an email from a former ten-year-old patient at San Haven Sanatorium and we’re reminded that sometimes it’s a change in our culture which leads to abandonment.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

The Rise of Devils Lake

The Rise of Devils Lake

There is a concentration of vanishing places in the lands surrounding Devils Lake — places like Hamar, Grand Harbor, and the remains of a ski jump.  In the last few decades, Devils Lake has risen steadily and has driven even more people from their homes and farms, and inundated numerous roads and highways.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

More North American Bison

More North American Bison

We visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park in August of 2013 and photographed much of the scenery and the North American Bison that roam the park. This is just an additional batch of photos that we didn’t include in the original post.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Minot Central High School

Minot Central High School

The space where Minot High School’s Central Campus now stands has a long history as home to several impressive schools, one of which also happens to be my alma mater.  In 1893, a far-too-small schoolhouse was replaced with the building below – Central School, sometimes referred to as “Central Graded School” with the “d”.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Building Four Bears Bridge

Building Four Bears Bridge

Mighty rivers require mighty bridges and several impressive examples have spanned the North Dakota stretch of the Missouri River.  The river valley near the former town of Sanish has been home to several.  First, the Verendrye Bridge, a steel truss bridge completed in 1927, crossed the Missouri at Sanish.  In 1934, the first bridge to be known as Four Bears Bridge was built downstream near the town of Elbowoods.  They served North Dakota dependably through the thirties and forties. 

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Sometimes we photograph a place and find out years later that it’s gone, sometimes the place is gone by the time we get there.  But the one constant is that the list of places is growing all the time.

Here’s another list of ten more significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time. When you’re done with this one, check out 10 Lost North Dakota Places, and 8 More Lost North Dakota Places.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Ten Lost North Dakota Places

Ten Lost North Dakota Places

It’s always a thrill to see enthusiastic residents get involved in saving historically and culturally significant places in their communities, but in North Dakota’s vanishing small towns, the losses frequently outnumber the wins by a significant margin. It’s something we’ve seen time and again in over ten years of photographing North Dakota.

What follows is our personal list, by no means exhaustive, of ten significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

The Wolf Family Murders

The Wolf Family Murders

One of the worst crimes in state history occurred April 22, 1920 on a farm just north of Turtle Lake.

It was a gray, overcast day and light rain had been falling. Local resident John Kraft noticed the neighbors, the Jacob Wolf family, had left their laundry on the clothesline overnight and their horses untended. He went to investigate and stumbled into what might be the most horrific crime scene in North Dakota history.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

The Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The North Dakota Badlands cover the southwestern third of the state and are part of a larger range of badlands which stretch south to White Butte and into South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.  These photos were taken in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, near Medora, North Dakota.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Badlands Part One: Painted Canyon

Badlands Part One: Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon Visitor Center is right off the north side of Interstate 94, a few miles east of Medora.  If you’re entering the Badlands from the east, this is your first chance to get a look at them from a scenic overlook, and it is amazing.

A more extensive gallery of the badlands as you see them from inside Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora is here.  Further south is White Butte, the highest point in North Dakota, where hints of a similar landscape crop up in the middle of green farmland.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Driving Through a Herd of North American Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Driving Through a Herd of North American Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

On our recent visit to North Dakota’s southwest corner, we spent some time in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, and we were reminded of the magic of the Badlands.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

The Great Fargo Fire of 1893

The Great Fargo Fire of 1893

June 7th, 1893 was a typical Wednesday in Fargo, sunny but windy.  Fargo’s six thousand residents were going about their lives, carrying out their business from mostly wooden storefronts and traveling from place to place in horse drawn carriages and wagons.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

Devils Lake Rises

Devils Lake Rises

Most North Dakotans know what has been going on in Devils Lake over the last few decades.  A steady rise of water levels on the lake has inundated towns like Church’s Ferry and Minnewaukan, plus numerous farms, homes, and businesses.  Without a natural outlet, the lake has continued to rise and has been the subject of contentious political battles.  One of Terry’s best photos features a home which was overtaken by the ever-expanding shoreline of Devils Lake.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

The First Day of Fall

The First Day of Fall

The first day of fall in North Dakota. The calendar says it happens at the same time every year, but the truth is much different. In North Dakota, by the time fall officially arrives, the leaves have already been falling for weeks, accumulating into entrancing swirls of yellow and red. The air gets brisk and has a refreshing smell.  And the change in temperature signals a new season about to begin. Homeowners decorate their property in the colors of the season. Pumpkins appear on doorsteps. Halloween will soon be upon us. Unfortunately, like fall, winter will probably be upon us prematurely. The first snow will likely be on the ground before the calendar announces winter’s official arrival.  But for now, it’s autumn.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

A Fever for Drive-In Theaters

A Fever for Drive-In Theaters

After we posted our photos of Stardust 17 Drive-In in Grafton, it became pretty clear that you were bitten by the Drive-In bug, because we got lots of comments, questions, and emails about Drive-In Theaters.

As we mentioned in that post, there are no remaining operating drive-in theaters in the state of North Dakota — the last was Lake Park Drive-In in Williston, which closed in 2012.

Here is a larger list which includes open drive-in theaters within reasonable driving distance of North Dakota.  I’ve included official websites where possible.  Many of these facilities have seldom updated websites, so please call or email ahead before you drive too far. If you have updated information to add to this page, please post a comment.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy

A Robbery in Merricourt

A Robbery in Merricourt

merricourt-11-1Host/Author/Producer Keith Norman was kind enough to share a story about a Merricourt robbery, from his book – ‘Great Stories of the Great Plains, Vol. 1

Self Defense on the Back Roads

Roy Michaelson listed his occupation as a professional Boxer from Minneapolis Minnesota. His record in sanctioned bouts was 1 win, 1 loss, and 1 draw. In all likelihood he fought in many unsanctioned fights across the Midwest in his brief stint in the ring.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy