• 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 […]

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Alkabo, ND

Divide County Inhabited as of 5/10 Alkabo is undoubtedly the most remote town we have ever visited. Roughly six miles from Montana and eight miles from Canada, it is the most northwestern settlement in North Dakota. We drove north from Grenora to get to Alkabo. This stretch of road is minimally maintained gravel and traffic […]

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Berwick, ND

McHenry County Inhabited as of 5/10 Berwick is a near-ghost town in McHenry county near Towner, very much off the beaten path. During our visit to Berwick we talked to several people, including one gentleman who was using his weekend to fix up a local home with an affordable remedy we’ve been seeing a lot […]

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Appam, ND

Williams County Inhabited as of 5/10 Appam, North Dakota is in the extreme northwestern part of the state, just off Highway 50.  Appam was an unincorporated town and there is little census data available.  Although little remains of the original town, the handful of current residents have posted a sign in front of each vacant […]

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, ND

Burke County Inhabited as of 5/10 Northgate is a fascinating near-ghost town right on the Canadian border, northwest of Minot. It was originally founded one mile to the north, but moved one mile south to it’s present site. While the original townsite retained the name North Gate (with a space) this town was renamed North […]

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Bergen, ND

McHenry County Inhabited as of 5/10 Bergen is a near-ghost town in McHenry county, just off Highway 52. Bergen is near Balfour and several other towns we’ve photographed. US Census Data for Bergen Total Population by Place 1960 – 52 1970 – 24 1980 – 24 2000 – 11 2010 – 7 CLICK IMAGES TO […]

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Gassman Coulee Trestle

Ward County Our May 2010 trip took us through Minot, so we stopped to take some photos of this — the Gassman Coulee Trestle in Trestle Valley, just outside of town. The bridge is 1792 feet long and 117 feet tall at its highest point, second only in scope to the Highline Trestle in Valley […]

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Lostwood, ND

Mountrail County Inhabited as of 5/10 Only two structures remain of what was once Lostwood, ND — a well-kept church and a boarded up school. Although nobody lives in Lostwood, we are listing it as inhabited since there is a farm directly adjacent to the town site. There are population figures for Lostwood township in […]

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Kief, ND

McHenry County Inhabited as of 5/10 Kief is a near-ghost town in McHenry county, and is home to the first Russian Baptist Church ever established in the United States. Although only listed as having a population of 12 in the 2000 census, the amount of activity we saw on our visit to Kief seemed to […]

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Bantry, ND

McHenry County Inhabited as of 5/10 Bantry is a small near-ghost town in McHenry county, about 15 miles northwest of Towner. It is very picturesque and harbors numerous vacant structures. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, Bantry peaked at a population of 315 in 1920. US Census Data for Bantry Total […]

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Falsen School

McHenry County Falsen School in Verendrye, North Dakota is all that is left of the town that once stood here. Just a lonely, crumbling facade of the school remains. It is on clearly posted private land. The town that was once Verendrye is named for Pierre La Verendrye, a French Canadian fur trapper, trader and […]