• 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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Appam, North Dakota

Oil Boom Reviving Tiny Prairie Towns

The AP did a story in April about the oil boom and Ghosts of North Dakota supplied one of the photos of Appam, North Dakota. Watch the video from the AP’s Martha Irvine.

Calvin, North Dakota

The End of the Calvin Masonic Lodge

We visited this Masonic lodge, AF & AM Corinthian Lodge, Number 78, in 2006 in Calvin, North Dakota, and got photos with no idea that it would soon be gone.  Mariah Masilko took these photos in 2012. Sometime between our visit in 2006, and Mariah’s shots in 2012, the upper floor had collapsed. See this […]

High Line Bridge

Northern Pacific High Line Bridge #64

High Line Bridge in Valley City is the longest railroad bridge in the state and like the Gassman-Coulee Trestle in Minot and the Sheyenne River Bridge near Karnak, we chose to photograph it and feature it here due to the railroads’ pivotal role in settling North Dakota. All three of these bridges are still used […]

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota is in Nelson County, about thirty minutes east of Devils Lake. We had Whitman on our list when we visited neighboring Bartlett in 2011, but we had to cut it from our list that day due to time constraints. Whitman got some national press for their centennial celebration in 2012. The population […]

Niagara, North Dakota

Niagara, North Dakota

Niagara, North Dakota is just off US Highway 2, not quite forty miles west of Grand Forks. It was founded in 1882 by settlers from Niagara County, New York. According to the 2010 Census, Niagara has 53 residents. Niagara has a nice historical complex in their town square. Just as we pulled into town, the […]

Kempton, North Dakota

School’s Out in Kempton, North Dakota

We were on a trip to explore some spots in east central North Dakota when we ran across Kempton. It was a place we had taken note of previously, with the intention of visiting some day, and here we were, just passing through. Kempton was founded in 1884 and opened a Post Office three years […]

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City was on our list of places to visit when we stopped in nearby Mose and Juanita in 2004, but we headed off in pursuit of other attractions and didn’t make it to Grace City until May of 2014. Grace City is in Foster County, about twenty minutes northeast of Carrington, and it had […]

Abandoned Karnak Farm

Abandoned Karnak Farm

We spotted this farm on the way to Sheyenne River Bridge and made a point to circle back when we were done there.  This farm is very austere and quiet, and largely un-vandalized, too.  It is at coordinates 47.269772,-98.038936, just east of the near-ghost town of Karnak, North Dakota. Sometimes, when you’re in a place […]

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, […]

Sheyenne River Bridge

Sheyenne River Bridge

This is the Sheyenne River Bridge, a railroad trestle at the north end of Lake Ashtabula, in the marshy transition between the lake and the Sheyenne River.  Built in 1912, it is 2,736 feet long, making it a little shorter than High Line Bridge in Valley City and a little longer than the Gassman Coulee […]