• bismarck-1883-2

    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. […]

  • balfour-feature

    Back to Balfour

    We visited Balfour in November of 2014, nine years after our first visit, to get some photos of all the things we missed the first time. We actually tried to revisit Balfour in 2012, but a road construction crew had traffic at a complete stop on Highway 52, complicating our travel schedule, and we decided […]

  • josephine-feature

    Two Minutes Until Winter

    It was November 7th, 2014 and it was two minutes until winter in Josephine, North Dakota when we briefly braved forty mile per hour winds to get the photos you see here. I consulted Douglas Wick’s North Dakota Place Names book, which says Josephine, North Dakota was founded in 1901 on the site of an […]

  • Merricourt, North Dakota

    Passing Through Merricourt

    Merricourt is a very remote town in Dickey County with less than a handful of residents — just one family remains in this near-ghost town. We didn’t intend to visit Merricourt when we went on an adventure in October of 2014, but some last minute route changes took us right through town, so we stopped […]

  • guelph1

    Message from Above in Guelph

    Guelph, North Dakota is in Dickey County, not far from Ellendale. In 1930, the census said Guelph had 158 residents and that’s as many as ever called Guelph home. The old Guelph public school is now an antique and vintage-type business. Terry was photographing this school when he noticed a message from above. This church […]

  • Cogswell, North Dakota

    Three Cogswell Churches

    We stopped in Cogswell specifically to photograph the beautiful United Methodist Church, and to see if a church shown on our postcard from 1918 was still standing. In the process, we ran across another boarded-up church we didn’t know was there. Cogswell is in Sargent County, about 60 miles west of Wahpeton. According to the […]

  • Deisem, North Dakota

    Return to Deisem

    When we planned our trip in early October of 2014, we realized we would be in the area of Deisem and made plans for a return visit. Deisem’s former church, the lone remaining structure, was in such terrible shape last time we were there, we didn’t know whether it would even be standing when we […]

  • Thelen, North Dakota

    Thelen in Repose

    Thelen is a true ghost town in Golden Valley County, about eight miles south of Beach. We previously posted a gallery of Thelen photos sent in by Dave Thorson, but this was our first time visiting in person. We discovered some of the things Dave photographed are now gone, leaving this complex of buildings near […]

  • Ringsaker Lutheran Church

    Ringsaker Lutheran Church and School

    Someone suggested this place to us last fall, we waited all winter to visit, and it was worth the wait.  Ringsaker Lutheran Church and School are about seven and half miles north of Cooperstown, and they’re rich in history dating back to what is claimed to be the first Christian religious service in Griggs County, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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, contributing to the Black Blizzards of the Dust Bowl era. The skies from Texas to the Canadian plains were sometimes so dark, cities […]

  • Leroy, North Dakota

    St. Joseph’s Catholic Church from 1895

    Terry ducked out of holiday festivities long enough to photograph this place — St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Leroy, North Dakota. Leroy is in Pembina County, about ten miles northwest of Cavalier. Terry was told they stopped holding regular services here about a decade ago. A small community center and auditorium. This area is absolutely […]

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wolf-family

The Wolf Family Murders

One of the worst crimes in state history occurred April 22, 1920 on a farm just north of Turtle Lake. For historical context, automobiles were still a rarity in rural North Dakota at the time, prohibition had just gone into effect, and a national system of roads was yet to emerge. Neighbors knew each other. […]

Tappen Visitations

The Tappen Visitations

In the summer of 2006, the tiny town of Tappen, North Dakota briefly became the center of the UFO community when the Briese family experienced some unexplained events. In April of that year, 16 year-old Evan Briese reported a triangle-shaped UFO on the family farm.  According to a story published in the Fargo Forum on […]

Ghosts of North Dakota

Goodbye Old Friend

In October of 2013, we were on a trip to Steele County and Terry was messing around, taking photos in the sideview mirror to pass the time.  To get a clearer photo, he rolled the window down and snapped this: The blue circle on the left is Terry’s favorite polarizing filter for the wide-angle lens […]

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Return to Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke, North Dakota is in Steele County and it is a true ghost town with no population.  Sherbrooke was the first totally abandoned town we ever visited back in 2003, at a time when we didn’t even have proper cameras — we just videotaped a walkthrough and then took screen capture photos.  A decade later, […]

Blabon, North Dakota

Blabon: Ten Years Later

In October of 2003, we visited Blabon, North Dakota, a tiny near-ghost town in Steele County with a handful of residents, and it was the first stop on what would become a ten-year exploration of North Dakota’s ghost towns and abandoned places.  Today, we returned to Blabon after ten years to snap some photos and […]

leith-feature

Standing Up to Hate in Leith

By now you’ve likely heard about the avowed White Supremacist who moved to the near-ghost town of Leith, North Dakota. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, here’s the abbreviated version — a white supremacist named Craig Cobb buys up lots in Leith, North Dakota for a pittance and invites other white supremacists to join him […]

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota is in Pembina County and is home to the Pembina County Fair.  It still has a substantial population and is in no danger of becoming a ghost town any time soon — according to the 2010 Census, there are 61 residents.  But there are some cool abandoned structures to photograph, most notably, […]

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station is an abandoned radar base outside Finley, North Dakota.  Closed in 1979, the site now functions as a landfill.  Similar to the Minot and Fortuna Air Force Stations, Finley AFS was a ground control intercept facility tasked with detecting and dispatching intercept aircraft in the event unidentified aircraft threatened to penetrate […]

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The North Dakota Badlands cover the southwestern third of the state and are part of a larger range of badlands which stretch south to White Butte and into South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.  These photos were taken in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, near Medora, North Dakota. There is a certain romance […]

Medora, North Dakota

Medora, North Dakota

Medora, North Dakota is the leading tourist attraction in the state, so perhaps it’s apropos the population is only 112.  This is the biggest, most diverse little town you’ll ever visit — the hotel rooms outnumber the bedrooms in this town, and the streets are chock full — complete with antique and gift shops, saloons, […]