The End of the Calvin Masonic Lodge

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 lodge when it was still standing. While the rest of the lodge had collapsed, the piano would not yield. The ruins of this lodge stood…

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Northern Pacific High Line Bridge #64

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 daily. There are sources with varying lengths and heights for this bridge, depending on where the measurements are taken from.  We’re using the plaque on…

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Whitman, North Dakota: Population 2

Whitman, North Dakota: Population 2

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 was reported as two. Judging by the lack of activity we saw the day we visited, that seemed accurate, and it put Whitman in a…

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School’s Out in 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. This old schoolhouse was converted to a garage at some point in the past, but it still looks good. Kempton was founded in 1884 and opened a Post Office three years later, but the population never rose…

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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 63 residents as of the 2010 Census. The intersection of Main Street and N Railroad Ave has been relocated to this former pump island.  …

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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 like this, when the wind blows and the trees rustle, you can hear them… echoes of voices from the past. They’re the ghosts of North…

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Ringsaker Lutheran and Romness Bridge

Ringsaker Lutheran and Romness Bridge

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, in 1879 or 1880. Ringsaker Lutheran Church in Romness Township. The site of this church and school reminded us of Sims, North Dakota — it’s…

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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 Trestle in Minot. Railroad bridges played such a crucial role in the settlement of our state that we’ve chosen to occasionally feature some of them…

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Shepard View, 1905

Shepard View, 1905

As we drove north along County Road 19 about four miles south of Cooperstown, I was blabbing on about something when Terry suddenly pointed. “What’s that?” We had just passed the junction of 19 and 22, and atop a small hill on the east side of the road, a large brick structure was barely visible through the trees.  I pulled the car into the driveway, and we found ourselves thirty feet from the highway but almost completely shielded from view…

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Abandoned Barnes County School

Abandoned Barnes County School

This abandoned school was not a planned stop, but we happened to drive right by it and decided we should stop to shoot it. This abandoned country school is in northern Barnes County, about five miles southwest of Sibley, North Dakota. If anyone knows the official name of this school, please leave a comment below. Update: a visitor has identified this school as Weiland’s St. Mary’s School Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

A Stop on the Milwaukee Road

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 Media LLC

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 a picture from a family album of my great-great grandmother with downtown Buford in the background, circa 1910 when she lived in nearby Hardscrabble Township….

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The Last of 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 rural post offices where no development occurred, and another site visitor told us that nothing remained of DeSart, so we didn’t give it much more…

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Abandoned: 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 Names by Douglas Wick says August Brockmeyer ran the blacksmith shop in Thelen for years. Dave Thorson sent in these photos of the remains of…

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The First Tornado Ever Photographed in North Dakota

The First Tornado Ever Photographed in North Dakota

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 on a North Dakota town.  If you look closely, you can see some people standing around, watching, proving that even in the 1800s, people were…

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The 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 would light their streetlamps in the daytime. Crops had already failed due to the drought, causing families to relocate, businesses to close up, and populations…

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Dust Bowl Grassy Butte

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. The population was in the hundreds then, and knowing that, you now understand the choice that many eventually made.  They left. Communities like this were…

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Maltese Cross Cabin: Theodore Roosevelt’s Mobile Home

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 nice page on the cabin here. Above, the Maltese Cross Cabin at Chimney Butte, circa 1904, photo by Jospeh Kitchin. The cabin originally had a…

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Dust Bowl 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 cities, too. The photos below are just a small sampling of Mr. Lee’s work.  He left a vast collection of photos of American culture in…

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Building a Nuclear Defense in Nekoma

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 an unknown government photographer. The silver culvert center-right in the photo above is the escape tunnel, which was later buried. A beautiful shot, very reminiscent…

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The Ruins of 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 the ruins of Lincoln Valley, North Dakota, population zero.

Sherbrooke Cemetery

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. The Oxton family name was common in this cemetery. This cemetery was established in 1899 by Sherbrooke Methodist Church which has long since vanished from the town site. The Hildebrandt family. Look at those birth dates. These are some of the oldest headstones we’ve seen for such a nice, easily-accessible cemetery. Many times…

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Still More 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 rest of our Ambrose galleries here. The former hospital in Ambrose was vacant and slowly being overtaken by trees when we took these photos in…

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More 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 Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Church and Sunflowers in 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 these days to avoid that problem).  These photos are a perfect example. Terry shot these in 2006 but they got lost in the shuffle and…

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More Venturia, North Dakota

More Venturia, North Dakota

We captured these photos of Venturia, North Dakota in May of 2011.  According to Don, the town’s barkeep at the Duck Inn, Venturia has 21 residents. These are some additional shots that didn’t make it into the main Venturia gallery. Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

More 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 looks like any other small town. Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Walsh County Dereliction

Walsh County Dereliction

Every so often we discover some photos in an old folder and we can’t pinpoint exactly where we snapped them. It’s usually a quick roadside stop where one of us shot some photos while the other grabbed sodas out of the cooler — three minutes and we’re gone. This was likely one of those stops. Somewhere in Walsh County between Grafton and Conway, we stopped and shot this old building — a country school or township hall perhaps. It caught…

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Silent Film Offers View of Hazen, 1916

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.”

Letters to Lostwood

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 office in Lostwood.  Can anyone help me with dates or any info on the Post Office.  These pictures came from my grandfather’s photo album. I…

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