• Hesper, North Dakota

    True Ghost Towns: Population Zero

    Defining what exactly constitutes a “ghost town” can sometimes be tricky.  In our ten years of exploring North Dakota’s abandoned places, we’ve often encountered former towns where the town site itself is empty, but there’s a farm about half a mile down the road.  Sometimes a former town like Sims, North Dakota has an active […]

  • North Dakota Cyclone, 1895

    North Dakota Cyclone, 1895

    I ran across this photo while I was perusing the photos at the Library of Congress and I was totally blown away.  Clinton Johnson took this photo, captioned “North Dakota Cyclone,” in an unknown North Dakota town in 1895, just six years after North Dakota statehood.  It appears to depict a menacing tornado bearing down […]

  • Grasshopper Plague

    The Grasshopper Plague

    The 1930s could be described as a perfect storm of hardship in America. The Great Depression devastated the national economy and job market and a persistent drought compounded matters in the Midwest and contributed to the Black Blizzards of the Dust Bowl era. The skies from Texas to the Canadian plains were sometimes so dark, […]

  • Grassy Butte, North Dakota

    Dust Bowl Grassy Butte

    Grassy Butte, North Dakota is a very remote Badlands settlement in McKenzie County near the Montana border, an unincorporated community with a population in the dozens. In the 1930s, Grassy Butte was one of a multitude of places where the locals who’d arrived in search of the American dream faced sad realities and hard choices. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Russell Lee, Highway Number 2, 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 […]

  • Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

    The Ruins of Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

    Lincoln Valley, North Dakota is in its last days.  The structures that remain standing are largely in tenuous shape, might stand another few decades at best, and they’re far outnumbered by places long gone.  Browsing through our Lincoln Valley archive, we realized we had a lot of photos we’d never posted before, particularly photos of […]

  • Sherbrooke, North Dakota

    Sherbrooke Cemetery

    We shot these photos of Sherbrooke Cemetery during a visit to the nearby ghost town and namesake, Sherbrooke, North Dakota, in Steele County in October of 2013. This cemetery was established in 1899 by Sherbrooke Methodist Church which has long since vanished from the town site. The Oxton family name was common in this cemetery. […]

  • Corinth, North Dakota

    More Corinth, North Dakota

    We visited Corinth in May of 2010 and we were thrilled at the photo opportunities. Corinth is in Williams County, about thirty minutes northeast of Williston. A follower on Facebook reports the 2014 population of Corinth is 4 residents.  Please enjoy these previously unpublished shots. Inside the doorway of the school. From a distance, Corinth […]

  • Raleigh, North Dakota

    Raleigh, North Dakota

    Raleigh is a secluded little town in Grant County, just a short drive southwest of Mandan. The population is nine, and there are exactly two businesses in operation. The grain elevator does a brisk business, and the local tavern is called The Dogtooth — named after the hills which cut a ragged swath through the […]

Arena, ND

Arena: Nine Years Later

We first visited Arena in May of 2004.  Nine years later, we returned to this rolling spot on the prairie in Burleigh County and found things much the same, if somewhat weathered. St. John’s Lutheran church still stands, though the white paint has weathered considerably over the last nine years.  The cinderblock foundation on the […]

Clear Lake School

Clear Lake School

This is one of two schools in Clear Lake Township which we’ve seen referenced as simply “Clear Lake School.”  This one sits near the junction of 26th Avenue SE and County Road 36, about two miles east of Tuttle in Kidder County.  The other is several miles east.  If you know the official name of […]

Weiser School

Weiser Township School

This one-room township school is located about fifteen miles north of Interstate 94 in a very sparsely populated part of Kidder County, surrounded by farm fields for miles in every direction. We visited on Memorial Weekend of 2013, and in the coat room, we discovered a log book. The first entry on the log book […]

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Located in Stutsman County just a few minutes west of Jamestown, Eldridge is a very small community of perhaps a dozen residents. Eldridge began as Burton in 1879 but was renamed in honor of a local Bonanza farmer a year later. At one time, Eldridge was home to nearly 100 residents. We originally became aware […]

Clear Lake School

Clear Lake School II

This is one of two rural schools we photographed in Clear Lake Township, and we’ve seen it referenced simply as Clear Lake School.  Kathy Wilner emailed us to say she’s been documenting one-room schools for the North Dakota Historical Society and had the following comments: It was [originally] located on the south side of a […]

Roseville, ND

Roseville, ND

Roseville, North Dakota is a former Great Northern Railroad station at the intersection of County Roads 11 and 16 in Traill county, about ten minutes southwest of Mayville. Roseville was never much more than a loose collection of farmsteads surrounding a grain elevator. Today, the tracks have been pulled up and the grain elevator is […]

Ft Abercrombie

Fort Abercrombie

The original Fort Abercrombie was constructed in 1858.  It was the first military settlement in North Dakota.  The fort was besieged by the Sioux for more than six weeks in 1862, an event that came to be known as the Dakota War of 1862.  Four soldiers were killed and two wounded. Two reconstructed blockhouses and […]

White Butte

White Butte

White Butte is the highest point in the state of North Dakota at 3,506 feet above sea level. The peak is on private land and is not staffed. Of the 50 state highpoints, only seven are on private land – North Dakota, Nebraska, Maryland, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana and Illinois. There is no development of any kind at […]

olga-feature

Olga, ND

This is Olga, North Dakota, a near-ghost town in northern North Dakota — the oldest settlement in Cavalier County having been established in 1882 as St. Pierre.  Olga once had nearly 100 residents but underwent a slow decline over several decades.  Today, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church is the most impressive local landmark. […]

Flora, North Dakota

Flora, ND

Flora, North Dakota is in Benson County, about 40 miles southwest of Devils Lake. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, it’s an unincorporated community which had only 8 residents as of 1982. Former resident Kevin K. tells us there are now three remaining residents. Flora had a Post Office for 70 […]