• 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 […]

  • Cartwright Tunnel, North Dakota

    Cartwright Tunnel and Fairview Lift Bridge

    This is a small sampling of photos from our visit to Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel in July of 2014. If you’re interested in the history of this lift bridge, which was only raised once, you can check out our previous gallery featuring photos and captions from our friend R. David Adams, or you […]

  • Trotters, North Dakota

    In the Grasslands: Trotters, ND

    You’ll find Trotters nearly thirty miles north of Beach, North Dakota in Golden Valley County, just outside the official boundary of the Little Missouri National Grasslands — a boundary visible only on maps. On the ground it’s clear, this part of the prairie is nearly pristine. Trees are nearly as scarce as people, and prairie […]

  • Sentinel Butte, ND

    Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

    We set out from Fargo to photograph some abandoned places shortly after six in the morning on this day, so it was early afternoon by the time we found ourselves all the way out in Sentinel Butte. We were getting hungry and we decided to shoot a few quick things before heading back to Beach, […]

  • Wabek, North Dakota

    Wabek, North Dakota

    This is Wabek, North Dakota, in Mountrail County, about 35 miles southwest of Minot. Wabek was founded in 1914 and actually had a Post Office for almost fifty years, from 1917 to 1966. According to North Dakota Place Names by Doug Wick, Wabek even had a radio station once, broadcasting with the call letters WABK. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Freda, North Dakota

    Abandoned: Freda, North Dakota

    Freda, North Dakota is a true ghost town in Grant County about 35 miles southwest of Bismarck.  Freda started out as a Milwaukee Railroad town, and once had a population  of 50 plus its own bank. Today it is totally abandoned with the remains of its depot crumbling in the elements. There is one other […]

  • Bismarck Fire 1898

    The Great Bismarck Fire of 1898

    Like Fargo in 1893 and Chicago in 1871, Bismarck fell victim to a massive wind-whipped fire on August 8th, 1898. Tomorrow is the 116th anniversary of the fire that changed our capital city. As was the case with so many pioneer-era cities around the nation, Bismarck in 1898 was a city constructed largely of wood. […]

  • Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

    Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

    We were on our way home from an adventure shooting abandoned places in the Bakken oil patch when we drove right past this place. Like usual, Terry spotted the place first and through the trees we saw three or four buildings, yellow prairie flowers, and a red roof, just off the highway. We made a […]

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 […]

Nekoma Safeguard Complex

Building a Nuclear Defense in Nekoma

Long before the Star Wars Missile Defense Shield was a thing, the US Government deployed a nuclear anti-ballistic missile system in Nekoma, North Dakota. It was the only operational facility of its kind. You can read more about it in our previous post, here. These photos are from spring and summer of 1971, taken by […]

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 […]

Wilcox Farm Elevator

October in Cass County

It’s always a pleasant surprise to run across places just standing alongside the road. This place is just west of Ayr, North Dakota, in Cass County and we believe it’s the Wilcox farm. We would love if someone could enlighten us on the history of this structure — it looks like an elevator, although somewhat […]

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. […]

Ambrose, North Dakota

Still More Ambrose, North Dakota

The photos on this page are another collection of the photos we took when we visited Ambrose, North Dakota in the summer of 2010. Ambrose, in Divide County, is a town of 26 according to the 2010 Census, and we intend revisit again sometime soon. There is a lot to photograph in Ambrose. See the […]

Nekoma, North Dakota

More Nekoma, North Dakota

We got these photos of Nekoma, a town of about fifty in Cavalier County, in August of 2011. We stopped in to get photos of the nearby Stanley Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, and shot a bunch of stuff in town as well. These are some photos from our archive, never before posted. Enjoy. Nekoma Coliseum See […]

Concrete, North Dakota

Church and Sunflowers in Concrete, North Dakota

Sometimes when we’re out on the road, we’ll run across a place and snap a few photos with the intention of getting the photos posted on the site, but then real life intervenes and by the time we get around to posting the photos, we’ve lost track of where we took them (we use GPS […]