Forgotten Farmstead

Forgotten Farmstead

This forgotten farmstead is nestled in the hills of the Sheyenne River Valley along the Scenic Byway, south of Valley City, near Kathryn.  If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely take the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful drive. This abandoned home was fenced and quite distant from the road, with no obvious vehicular access, so this shot from a distance was the best we could get. Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden is a small town in Cavalier County, home to the Cavalier County Museum at Dresden, about six miles northwest of Langdon.  The museum is housed in the former Holy Trinity Church, an incredible field-stone structure erected in 1936. Dresden is home to numerous historic structures in varying states of restoration, including the Dyer School which was moved to the site from Milton, the former Langdon Jail, and more.  The crew at the Cavalier County Historical Society is doing quite…

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Standing Rock Hill Historic Site

Standing Rock Hill Historic Site

This is the Standing Rock Hill Historic Site, south of Kathryn and west of Enderlin, just up the hill from Little Yellowstone Park, right off Highway 46.  It is also just a short drive from Jensen Cabin at Wadeson Park.  Standing Rock Hill Historic Site consists of four Native American burial mounds, the largest of which is marked with the small standing rock shown below. There is a fairly serious grade up a minimally maintained road to get to the parking lot…

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Jensen Cabin at Wadeson Park

Jensen Cabin at Wadeson Park

This cabin was built in 1878 by Norwegian immigrant Carl Bjerke Jensen, made from hand-hewn oak.  The cabin and the land were donated to the State Historical Society by the Wadeson family in 1957.  This cabin was in pretty bad shape until it was restored in 1981. I stumbled upon this place while taking a drive near Kathryn. This is the Wadeson Park Spillway, right across the road from the Jensen Cabin. Photos by Troy Larson, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Dakota Thunder and Frontier Village

Dakota Thunder and Frontier Village

Frontier Village is a tourist attraction just off Interstate 94 in Jamestown and includes a number of attractions including the “World’s Largest Buffalo” (a concrete bison statue named Dakota Thunder,) Frontier Village (a re-creation of a pioneer town featuring actual historic buildings which have been moved to the site from all over the state,) and the National Buffalo Museum. The photo doesn’t quite do justice to the scale of Dakota Thunder… a tall person can stand beneath the two front legs…

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Knox, ND

Knox, ND

Knox is a rarity as near-ghost towns go — it is located right off a major highway — US 2, between Rugby and Devils Lake.  According to the 2010 census, Knox is home to 25 residents, has 13 occupied households and 13 vacant households.  Knox was founded in 1883 and reportedly had a peak population of 330 in 1910. We drove into Knox and realized there are a lot of impressive vacant structures, not the least of which is the…

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Baker, ND

Baker, ND

Baker is an unincorporated community in Benson County.  We drove through on the way to Knox and got quite a kick out of the signs at the edge of town. Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Isabel, ND

Isabel, ND

Isabel, North Dakota was an unincorporated community in the north central part of the state, about 50 minutes southeast of Rugby. We were on our way to Baker when we came upon the sign marking the former site of Isabel Country School. We did not realize we were on the site of a ghost town until we began to research the location after we had returned home. The monument to the school and the abandoned farmstead shown here are all…

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Pingree, ND

Pingree, ND

Pingree is a small town in Stutsman County, northwest of Jamestown.  According to the 2010 Census, Pingree is home to 60 residents.  Pingree was founded in 1881 and reached a peak population of 268 residents in 1920. We didn’t have plans to visit Pingree, but we saw a few photo opportunities from the highway and decided to stop.  On the day we visited, several local residents were busy towing cars from the townsite.  There is a sizable auto repair/salvage operation…

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An Empty Home in Buttzville

An Empty Home in Buttzville

Buttzville’s townsite appears to be inhabited by one, perhaps two families now, with this notable empty house on the edge of town, and at least one additional (more modern) abandoned home as well.  It wasn’t clear to me whether I could photograph that one without trespassing, so I focused on this home and the farm just to the west. This house was photographed some years ago by our friend, musician Stephen Berg.  You can see his photos here. From the…

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A Quick Stop in Stirum

A Quick Stop in Stirum

Stirum was a spur of the moment stop while I was out taking a new car on its first roadtrip.  This area of Sargent County was hit pretty hard with some of the extremely wet weather we experienced in the years around 2010 and 2011, and it shows in Stirum.  There was a lot of apparent ‘cleanup’ going on the day I arrived, so I didn’t photograph much. We’ll quite likely go back again some time in the future. Just guessing, I would…

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Abandoned Buttzville Farm

Abandoned Buttzville Farm

Buttzville is in Ransom County, just northeast of Lisbon. These photos were taken on the abandoned farm just west of Buttzville. This farm is just across the water from Buttzville. Rain showers had just moved out. Not quite sure what this ruin was… a barn? Spring buds just on. Penny for your memories. Whomever lived on this farm had a tremendous view. Photos by Troy Larson, Copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC.

The Last Resident of Heaton

The Last Resident of Heaton

North Dakota has dozens of small towns approaching ghost town status. As the population declines, they tend to go through a transition period during which the population fluctuates. Aging residents pass away and young people go off to college. It’s not uncommon for a town to be abandoned, only to be re-inhabited for a time–drawing in those who are attracted to the solitude and the dirt cheap cost of living. Heaton is one of those towns. We had the pleasure…

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Arena in 1992

Arena in 1992

Arena was only the second true ghost town we ever visited, back in 2004.  At that time, the school had already been torn down and we were never able to locate some large photos of it, until now. Thanks to these photos contributed by Dale Fisher, we can now see Arena as it looked in 1992.  There are a few interesting comparisons to be made with our photos from 2004: In the photo above, we can see a small home which…

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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. …

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Bartlett… Almost Gone

Bartlett… Almost Gone

Bartlett is about twenty miles east of Devils Lake and is about as close as you can get to ghost town without actually being totally abandoned… there is perhaps one occupied property, and we saw the remains of several crumbling homes.  The former town site is quickly getting overrun by nature — the roads are shaded even on a bright day like this one. As we drove into town, untrimmed branches reached into the road to greet us, nearly touching…

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Passing Through Fordville

Passing Through Fordville

Fordville just happened to be on our route as we explored a few towns in Walsh and Ramsey counties.  It is not a ghost town or a near-ghost town… more like Pleasantville.  According to the 2000 Census, Fordville had 266 residents, shrinking to 212 in 2010. The most prominent landmark was the Ford Theater, a beautiful brick building that’s been carefully tended, but in need of help with the roof. The owner kindly posted a flyer which reads as follows: FORD…

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Mondry Elevator in Ardoch

Mondry Elevator in Ardoch

We stopped in Ardoch primarily to photograph the elevator which Terry had been wanting to shoot for some time.  We drove into town past the city hall and a little yapper dog promptly ran right in front of Terry’s car and stopped.  He just stood there staring at us.  So Terry started to back up, and a second dog joined the first in circling around his car.  We were kinda stuck, not able to go forward or backward very quickly…

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Jailbreak in Conway

Jailbreak in Conway

Conway is a near-ghost town in Walsh County, southwest of Grafton.  Conway’s peak population was reported in the 1900 census as 216.  Today the population is 23. On September 7th, 1897, the New York Times published the following story: KILLED TRYING TO ESCAPE Tramps Imprisoned in Conway Set Fire to Jail Fargo, ND. Sept 6th — The city marshal and a posse, after a hard fight, captured three tramps who had robbed several stores at Conway, a small town in western…

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Stardust 17 Drive-In

Stardust 17 Drive-In

In the course of his travels, Terry stumbled upon the Stardust 17 Drive-In on the west side of Grafton.  The Stardust held 300 cars and hosted movie showings for decades. According to one online account, the Stardust 17’s screen blew down in a windstorm in October of 1991.  There were some initial discussions about getting the drive-in going again, but cost put the brakes on a recovery.  When we visited in 2011, the theater had been idle for years. We found the…

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Nekoma Safeguard Complex

Nekoma Safeguard Complex

The Nekoma Safeguard Complex is a unique place in the history of the US military’s anti-ballistic missile effort.  A portion of the Wikipedia entry for this place: The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard complex in Nekoma, North Dakota, with the separate long-range detection radar located further north near the town of Cavalier, North Dakota, was the only operational anti-ballistic missile system ever deployed by the United States. It defended Minuteman ICBM missile silos near the Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. It…

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Nekoma, ND

Nekoma, ND

Nekoma’s population was 50 in the 2010 Census, slightly more populous than most of the towns we photograph.  At the same time, there were a few cool abandoned structures and/or throwback reminders to simpler days… like the little orange gas pumps.  Since we were in the area to photograph the Safeguard Missile Complex, we decided to take a few shots in Nekoma.  It’s a fun town to photograph. A nice small town post office still operates in Nekoma. Excuse some…

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Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Thank you to R. David Adams for submitting these photos of the Fairview Lift Bridge and the accompanying Cartwright Tunnel, between Cartwright, North Dakota and Fairview, Montana.  This bridge is frequently confused with the Snowden Bridge, a few miles away in Montana, partly due to a similar history (each bridge has only been raised once) and construction. However, this bridge is distinct from the Snowden bridge when the Cartwright tunnel is taken into account.  To our knowledge, the tunnel is…

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Erie, ND

Erie, ND

Erie is a small near-ghost town in Cass County, about 45 minutes northwest of Fargo.  We visited Erie during a trip to nearby Brewer Lake, also known as Erie Dam State Recreation area due to the small earthen dam which created Brewer Lake.  It’s a very nice, out-of-the-way campground that gets little traffic if you’re looking for a nice little spot to relax. This is the now-vacant Erie State Bank building. This is the earthen dam at Brewer Lake, about…

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Aylmer, ND

Aylmer, ND

Sara Schindler of Harvey contributed these photos of Aylmer with the following comments: Aylmer sits about 40 miles south/southwest of Rugby ND (or just northeast of Anamoose ND) along the Burlington Northern Railroad.  It is currently home to two residents.  Aside from the residence, there sits a former general store (the larger building), a garage or storage shed, an abandoned home, and another building that was possibly some kind of blacksmith or other repair shop (there are also a few…

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Eastedge: Six Years Later

Eastedge: Six Years Later

On our way home from the south-central part of North Dakota, we stopped in Eastedge for a visit — six years to the month after our first trip there. As we mentioned after our first visit, Eastedge has a somewhat haunting history, and the weather was appropriately murky. Is it just a coincidence that when we returned, the weather was again spooky? Eastedge was almost gone when we visited in 2005, and it’s one step closer today. The white house…

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Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia is a small town in Logan county, about 80 miles southeast of Bismarck.  We had not intended to stop in Fredonia, but we saw a few buildings we wanted to photograph, so we made a quick stop. Occasionally, residents (or former-residents) of some of the towns featured on this site to take offense when we post photos of and/or talk about their town. We have encountered several visitors who are clearly offended that we have chosen to feature Fredonia on…

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Hensel, North Dakota: A Town with Two Names

Hensel, North Dakota: A Town with Two Names

We made a quick stop in Hensel during our visit to Pembina County in 2006.  Due to time constraints we were unable to explore Hensel as thoroughly as we would have liked, but we did capture these photos. Hensel is located in Pembina County, about eight miles southwest of Cavalier.  As of 2010, Hensel had a population of 45. We were unable to find a reference to Hensel in the 2010 North Dakota Census, and we assumed it had been…

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Balfour in Winter

Balfour in Winter

Ria Cabral sent a few winter shots of Balfour. See more of her work at http://riacabralphotography.blogspot.com. To see photos from our trip to Balfour, click here. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Stady in 1915

Stady in 1915

Steve Ray contributed the following postcard of Stady. Steve writes: It was mailed in June 1915 from Clara Leraas, who lived with her family a couple miles east of Stady, to her mother-in-law, Martha Leraas of Barrett, MN. To see our main Stady Gallery with photos contributed my Mariah Masilko, click here. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC