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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These photos of Temple were contributed by Nichole Simpson. In Nichole’s photos of the school below, it appears the owner is preparing to move it. Not long after, the school was relocated and repurposed as an addition to a home. Contributor Mark Johnson also sent in a Temple gallery you can see here.
Photos by Nichole Simpson. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
Temple was founded along the Great Northern Railroad line. The post office was moved here from Haarstad in 1908. The significance of the town name is unknown.
Temple’s peak population was about 90 people in 1920, but it had dwindled to 25 in 1960. It is presently uninhabited. Like many of the ghost towns in North Dakota, Temple saw a steady decline beginning around the depression and continuing until its Post Office closed in 1965. The harsh winters and and the here-and-gone fortunes of the railroad were just too difficult for many settlers.
In the years since these photos were taken by long time contributor Mark Johnson, the school has been moved from the townsite and repurposed as an addition to a home, and the site itself has occasionally been home to oil workers in RVs and Campers.
Photos by Mark Johnson. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC