The Flooding of Grahams Island

The Flooding of Grahams Island

Captain Duncan Graham was a Scotsman who came to North Dakota after getting started as a fur trader for Hudson’s Bay Company. Graham believed there was profit to be made in the trading business, and he founded a trading post on the island that now bears his name. Though the date is in dispute, Graham is believed to have inhabited the island around 1810 to 1817; far earlier than the flood of homesteaders to come six decades later. Grahams Island…

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History Appreciation in Pembina

History Appreciation in Pembina

In Pembina, North Dakota, there are a couple of historic and significant places I particularly wanted to photograph — primarily, this beautiful Icelandic and Ukrainian Orthodox church. This church was the Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Church from 1885 to 1937, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. John from 1937 to 1987. This church is featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains, available now. This church is now cared for by the Fort Pembina Historical Society. The slab from…

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Remembering Black Sunday

Remembering Black Sunday

April 14th, 2015 is the eightieth anniversary of Black Sunday, arguably the worst day of the Dust Bowl era. Dust storms that had plagued North America for a decade reached a terrible crescendo on that day, with dust clouds taller than the tallest buildings enveloping and blanketing Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and many other places. PBS’ American Experience describes the experience of one family who was caught traveling on that day as a Black Blizzard approached: Ed and Ada Phillips of…

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An Early Spring

An Early Spring

It is looking like an early spring this year, and you need no more evidence than these photos, taken on March 15th, 2015, in south central North Dakota. March 15th is the earliest in the season Terry and I have ever gone out on an official shoot. ┬áPreviously, the third week of April was the soonest we had ventured out. This spring weather reminds me of the warm winter followed by the drought and heat of 2011. Let’s hope that’s…

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Abandoned Lumberyard in Lake Williams, North Dakota

Abandoned Lumberyard in Lake Williams, North Dakota

Lake Williams, North Dakota is a small town, an unincorporated community, in Kidder County, about 30 miles southwest of Carrington. Lake Williams had a population of over 80 residents in 1930, but the town shrank slowly over several decades and the post office closed in 1971. We visited Lake Williams primarily to photograph this old store/lumberyard. Lake Williams is something of a hot spot for anglers, and there’s a water access ramp down the road from the elevator. It was…

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Spring in Jud, North Dakota

Spring in Jud, North Dakota

This is Jud, North Dakota, in Lamoure County, about 14 miles northwest of Edgeley. Jud is far from a ghost town — there were 72 residents according to the 2010 census, but we found out about Jud after someone suggested there was a school that might be a good photo opportunity, and upon further investigation, we were very excited to find this church on the edge of town. Doug Wick’s “North Dakota Place Names” says Jud was first named Fox,…

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Free Shipping on Orders $99 or More

Free Shipping on Orders $99 or More

Ghosts of North Dakota now offers free standard shipping on orders of $99 or more from our online store — hardcover coffee table books, retro tin signs, premium coffee, gift sets, postcards and more! (Priority and international shipping not included. Merchandise total must be $99 or more, not including tax.) Visit the Ghosts of North Dakota Store

Vintage View of Bismarck, Dakota Territory, 1883

Vintage View of Bismarck, Dakota Territory, 1883

In 1883, Bismarck had only been “Bismarck” for ten years, having existed first as a tiny frontier settlement called Missouri Crossing, then as Edwinton, until 1873. Bismarck assumed an important place in the history of the American west when it supplanted Yankton as the capital of Dakota Territory in 1883. Settlers were soon streaming in. Here’s a vintage view of Bismarck circa 1883 in the form of a lithograph from the JJ Stoner Company of Madison, Wisconsin. The size of…

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