• Watrous, North Dakota

    A Stop on the Milwaukee Road

    Nate Reynolds posted these photos to our Facebook page with the comments: Watrous, between Bentley and Mott, this is all that’s left. Watrous was a stop along the Milwaukee Road railroad line about 75 miles southwest of Bismarck, and had a population of 15 in 1920. Photos by Nate Reynolds Original content copyright Sonic Tremor […]

  • Buford, North Dakota

    Buford, North Dakota

    Kyle Stubbs sent in the following photos and comments on Buford, North Dakota. Thought I’d pass along for Ghosts of North Dakota a few photos I took in May of 2011 of what remains of Buford, North Dakota, on the western edge of the state in Williams County. Also included is what I believe is […]

  • DeSart, North Dakota

    The Last of DeSart, North Dakota

    In 2004, a visitor to our website suggested a list of places we should investigate in the southwest corner of the state, a list I recall mostly from memory — DeSart, Pierce, Shollsmade, Hume, Ranger, Mound, Bessie. Back then, we had very little luck finding much on many of these places. Most of them were […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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. […]

Dakota Territory

Silent Film Offers View of Hazen, 1916

We don’t know much about this video, but it is a fascinating look at Hazen, North Dakota in 1916. It’s a silent film circa 1916 called “The Land of Corn and Alfalfa.”

Lostwood Post Office and Steele Store

Letters to Lostwood

We visited Lostwood, North Dakota in 2010 and found, in addition to a few farms in the neighborhood, only a well-cared for church and a boarded up school as the only real remains of Lostwood. However, Tim Steele recently sent us some photos with the following comments: I have two photos of the Steele Store and Post […]

Hamberg, North Dakota

More Abandoned Hamberg

Hamberg lost their school to a grassfire on April Fool’s Day, 2012.  In its absence, we took a new look at our archive of photos from 2008 and found these previously unseen things.  Enjoy. To see the collection of school photos, see the main Hamberg photo gallery from 2008. This old bus next to the […]

Verendrye, North Dakota

Watch Verendrye Age Forty Years

Yesterday, Steve Lee sent us some photos of flooding in Verendrye, North Dakota. They were taken by his father during the Mouse (Souris) River floods “sometime in the mid to late forties.” My father, Howard Lee, took these photos.  He grew up on his grandfather’s (Herbrand Lee) farm, 2 or 3 miles northeast of Verendrye. Herbrand […]

Verendrye, North Dakota

Flooding in Verendrye

Steven Lee sent in these photos of Verendrye, North Dakota with the following comments: My father, Howard Lee, took these photos. They were taken during the flooding of the Mouse River sometime in the mid to late forties. He grew up on his grandfather’s (Herbrand Lee) farm, 2 or 3 miles northeast of Verendrye. Herbrand […]

Devils Lake, North Dakota

Understanding the Rise of Devils Lake

The rise of Devils Lake has been a strong contributing factor to the abandonment happening in towns like Church’s Ferry and Minnewaukan, but also on hundreds of individual farms and properties all around the lake. We’ve shown you some views of the inundation in the past, including the Harmon home and a satellite view of […]

San Haven, North Dakota

Inside San Haven Sanatorium, part two

In part one, Mary, a former patient at San Haven Sanatorium, detailed her arrival at San Haven and the circumstances that led to her spending five months in the facility in 1963. Eventually this ten-year-old from Carrington settled into her time at this massive hospital and learned how to keep herself safe. We never wandered the halls […]

San Haven

Inside San Haven Sanatorium

This website is a constant reminder of how things change over time, those reminders frequently coming in the form of a photograph that shows a crumbling structure, a little less stout than when we last photographed it. Sometimes though, the reminders come in the form of a story, an email from a visitor.  In this […]

Devils Lake, North Dakota

The Rise of Devils Lake

Devils Lake is summertime fun land to tens of thousands of visitors every summer, but just before the turn of the century, it was also a prominent geographic obstacle to railroad lines in east-central North Dakota, which resulted in a concentration of now vanishing places in the lands surrounding the lake — places like Hamar, […]

Omemee, North Dakota

Omemee and the Batie Family

These photos were sent in by Cathy Zabel, a collection of things on Omemee, North Dakota, a true ghost town in Bottineau county.  Cathy’s comments are included in italics below. The A. R Batie Residence was purchased by Adam R. Batie when he married Miss Jessie M Paff, June 27, 1907. Adam Batie was ‘Head Clerk’ […]