• Thelen, North Dakota

    Abandoned: Thelen, North Dakota

    Thelen, North Dakota, sometimes spelled Thelan, is a blip on the historical record of our state. It was established in 1916 and had a post office for just a year, from 1920 to 1921, with Troy E. Beach as the postmaster. Thelen’s peak population of 20 dropped to 4 by the 1930s. North Dakota Place […]

  • 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 […]

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 […]

Bentley, North Dakota

More Bentley

These photos have been in our archive since we visited Hettinger County in 2007 and we are posting them here for the first time.  The church shown below has since partially collapsed. Bentley was founded by Arthur A. Bentley who, after moving from Eden Valley, Minnesota, started a photography business in Fargo in the 1890s. […]

Silva, North Dakota

More from Silva, ND

These photos of Silva, in Pierce County west of Devils Lake, were taken in April of 2006. In 2014, a site visitor reported the population of Silva had sunk to 3 residents. These photos are extras which have been in our archive and are being posted here for the first time.  You can see our […]

Fillmore

Fillmore’s Lost Legacy

A half dozen structures or more have been lost to fires of suspicious origin in Fillmore in recent years, a story which we addressed here.  As a result, we went back into our photo archive and chose to add to the site these photos, which we’ve never before posted. Most of what you see here […]

Hotel Johnson

Manfred’s Hotel Johnson, Then and Now

We revisited Manfred last summer for the first time in six years and found some things had changed for the better.  Look at the Hotel Johnson in 2006 compared to how it looks now… the residents of Manfred have made amazing progress on the old hotel. Copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Get Your Book

Ghosts of North Dakota: The Book

nome-then-and-now

Nome School: Then and Now

Nome School in Barnes County — 1919 and 2005. Check out the rest of our Nome, North Dakota material here. Animation by Troy Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Farmers State Bank

Vintage Nome Postcards

We found a couple of vintage Nome postcards at an antique store not too long ago, including a postcard of the now-abandoned Nome School in Barnes County which we snapped on a whim while passing through Nome in 2005. We had to make some guesses on this card due to the handwriting — This postcard […]

San Haven Postcard 1940

San Haven Postcard 1940

I found this postcard in a box at an antique store.  It’s a postcard of San Haven Sanatorium in 1940.  I was impressed that this postcard shows an overview of the grounds including the beautiful gardens and water feature which are now completely dry and overgrown. This postcard was sent by someone named Olga, who must […]

Balfour Public School Postcard

Balfour Public School

This is the former Balfour Public School.  It was built sometime between 1899 and 1910.  Other than that, we know very little about this school, or what happened to it.  If you know more about this school, we would invite you to click on the photo below and add your comments on the ensuing page. […]