More Abandoned Hamberg

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 school sure would have been a nice fix-up project. We have a special weakness for old Post Offices like this one in Hamberg. They’re steeped…

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Watch Verendrye Age Forty Years

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 Lee homesteaded in the area. Today, Steve sent us another photo with the following note: I just noticed, on Google Earth, that this structure is…

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Flooding in Verendrye

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 Lee homesteaded in the area. These photos make an interesting compliment to our other Verendrye photos.  These photos were taken in the 40’s, Kathy Haynes…

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Understanding the Rise of Devils Lake

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 the lake. Now, if you have a free hour, please enjoy Prairie Public Television’s Mother Nature in Charge: Devils Lake The Dilemma. It’s a very…

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Inside San Haven Sanatorium, part two

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 unless we told the nurses where we were going so I did not associate with too many more of the residents. We knew there were…

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Inside San Haven Sanatorium

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 case, we received an email from a former ten-year-old patient at San Haven Sanatorium and we’re reminded that sometimes it’s a change in our culture…

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The Rise of Devils Lake

The Rise of Devils Lake

There is a concentration of vanishing places in the lands surrounding Devils Lake — places like Hamar, Grand Harbor, and the remains of a ski jump.  In the last few decades, Devils Lake has risen steadily and has driven even more people from their homes and farms, and inundated numerous roads and highways. We’ve visited the topic of Devils Lake’s rising waters on several occasions, and we used Google Earth to create an animation that shows the expanding shoreline of the lake….

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Omemee and the Batie Family

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 below. The A. R Batie Residence was purchased by Adam R. Batie when he married Miss Jessie M Paff, June 27, 1907. A.R. Batie Residence Adam Batie was ‘Head Clerk’ & a Partner at the First National Bank of Omemee. Miss Paff was teacher at the Omemee School. Their home & lot backed up…

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When Omemee Was a Town

When Omemee Was a Town

We first learned about Omemee, North Dakota, a ghost town in Bottineau County, through contributors Mark Johnson and Tom Tolman, who contributed photos of Omemee as it looked around the turn of the millennium.  Those images were all we had ever seen of Omemee until quite recently.  Despite all the time we spend rummaging around at estate sales and antique stores in our free time,  postcards and photos of Omemee just didn’t seem to pop up very often. So, Tim…

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More Lunds Valley

More Lunds Valley

Our Lunds Valley archive is spilling over with stuff we’ve never posted before.  These shots were captured in May of 2010 in Lunds Valley, Mountrail County, about 60 miles northwest of Minot. This grain elevator in Lunds Valley is so photogenic, we featured it on the dustjacket of our first book. There are several burned out structures in Lunds Valley. That’s the remains of the school off in the distance in the photo above. The school was destroyed in a…

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More North American Bison

More North American Bison

We visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park in August of 2013 and photographed much of the scenery and the North American Bison that roam the park. This is just an additional batch of photos that we didn’t include in the original post. These photos were taken in the south unit, near Medora, North Dakota. At the time of our visit, it was $10/vehicle to get into the park, and it occurred to us that you won’t find a better value for…

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Verendrye in Black & White

Verendrye in Black & White

We’ve long hoped to run across some photos of the town that was once Verendrye, North Dakota. We drove by the crumbling facade of the school a few years ago and snapped a photo, but we hadn’t yet seen any photos of Verendrye when it still looked like a town.  So, we were thrilled when we got an email from Kathy Haynes with some photos and a drawing attached.  She was very informative, and her comments and captions are shown…

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Beauty in the Ruins of Sanger

Beauty in the Ruins of Sanger

These photos are a collection of some previously unpublished things and artsy stuff from our 2004 visit to Sanger.  Beauty in the ruins. Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

More Views of Lefor

More Views of Lefor

These are a few more photos from our archive on Lefor, North Dakota, a place we visited in 2007. Lefor is still home to a small population, and the main landmark is the very impressive St. Elizabeth Catholic Church shown below.  Lefor is also the home of one of the best known cook books in North Dakota.  See our main Lefor gallery here. We took a look inside this vault and saw someone had been storing stuff inside, so we…

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Two Views of Blabon, 97 Years Apart

Two Views of Blabon, 97 Years Apart

These two dramatically different views of Blabon, North Dakota vividly depict how quickly things changed for some small North Dakota railroad communities in the twentieth century. The postcard above was sent to Olaf Andersen in Detroit on October 4th, 1916 with a message written in a foreign language. The photo by C.A. Sund reveals an entire townscape which has virtually vanished from the prairie with the exception of the two homes on the left. In 2013, the two homes above…

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Minot Central High School

Minot Central High School

The space where Minot High School’s Central Campus now stands has a long history as home to several impressive schools, one of which also happens to be my alma mater.  In 1893, a far-too-small schoolhouse was replaced with the building below – Central School, sometimes referred to as “Central Graded School” with the “d”. By 1905, enrollment had outgrown Central School so the Central High School was built in a bookend position on the same city block.  In the hand-colored…

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Fargo’s Front Street, 1909

Fargo’s Front Street, 1909

If you’re fascinated by history, you know postcards are really a simple pleasure. You can tease so many stories out of a few fine details when you look close. This intersection in Fargo is significant in the history of our state as the place where Fargo literally rose from the ground after the NP Avenue Railroad Bridge was completed in 1872, less than a mile to the east.  It was the first railroad bridge across the Red River at a…

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Christmas in Sanish

Christmas in Sanish

These photos of Christmas in Sanish, North Dakota come from Staci Roe, who came upon them in a hospital rummage sale and saved them from the trash. They are from the estate of Marvin L Knapp and the photographer is unknown.  Photos of the construction of the footings for Four Bears Bridge were in the same collection. These photos were taken almost seven decades ago

Building Four Bears Bridge

Building Four Bears Bridge

Mighty rivers require mighty bridges and several impressive examples have spanned the North Dakota stretch of the Missouri River.  The river valley near the former town of Sanish has been home to several.  First, the Verendrye Bridge, a steel truss bridge completed in 1927, crossed the Missouri at Sanish.  In 1934, the first bridge to be known as Four Bears Bridge was built downstream near the town of Elbowoods.  They served North Dakota dependably through the thirties and forties. 

Lost Beneath the Lake: Sanish, North Dakota

Lost Beneath the Lake: Sanish, North Dakota

Old Sanish, North Dakota came to an end in 1953, when the river valley it occupied for over half a century became the bottom of North Dakota’s newest reservoir, Lake Sakakawea. Sanish’s residents left for higher ground, as did the residents of other low-lying towns like Van Hook and Elbowoods.

Fortuna Air Force Station: 1977

Fortuna Air Force Station: 1977

Steve Sampson is a former airman once stationed at the Fortuna Air Force Station, and he took the photos you see here.  He posted a comment regarding one of the photos elsewhere on the site, and it’s such a great story, we wanted to highlight it here. We contacted Steve to get permission to post these photos, and of his time at Fortuna, he said: I was a rotating shift worker back then, so the time went pretty fast, because everything…

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Crossing Caledonia Bridge

Crossing Caledonia Bridge

We first visited the Caledonia Bridge in 2006 and found it closed to all but foot traffic. We think it’s the second oldest still-standing bridge in North Dakota, having been built in 1895, and second only to the Viking Bridge near Portland. The Viking Bridge was built in 1885 and was restored in 2006, and we definitely think Caledonia Bridge should be high on the list for a restoration in the near-future. It was added to the National Register of…

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Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Sometimes we photograph a place and find out years later that it’s gone, sometimes the place is gone by the time we get there.  But the one constant is that the list of places is growing all the time. Here’s another list of ten more significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time. When you’re done with this one, check out 10 Lost North Dakota Places, and 8 More Lost North Dakota Places. 1. Heaton’s Main Street Heaton…

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Ten Lost North Dakota Places

Ten Lost North Dakota Places

It’s always a thrill to see enthusiastic residents get involved in saving historically and culturally significant places in their communities, but in North Dakota’s vanishing small towns, the losses frequently outnumber the wins by a significant margin. It’s something we’ve seen time and again in over ten years of photographing North Dakota.

The Wolf Family Murders

The Wolf Family Murders

One of the worst crimes in state history occurred April 22, 1920 on a farm just north of Turtle Lake. For historical context, automobiles were still a rarity in rural North Dakota at the time, prohibition had just gone into effect, and a national system of roads was yet to emerge. Neighbors knew each other. It was a gray, overcast day and light rain had been falling. Local resident John Kraft noticed the neighbors, the Jacob Wolf family, had left…

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The Tappen Visitations

The Tappen Visitations

In the summer of 2006, the tiny town of Tappen, North Dakota briefly became the center of the UFO community when the Briese family experienced some unexplained events. In April of that year, 16 year-old Evan Briese reported a triangle-shaped UFO on the family farm.  According to a story published in the Fargo Forum on Oct. 27, 2006 [reporter Dave Olson], Evan and his dog Buster were tending to the cows during calving season when they saw an intermittent glow.  Upon…

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Return to Sherbrooke

Return to Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke, North Dakota is in Steele County and it is a true ghost town with no population.  Sherbrooke was the first totally abandoned town we ever visited back in 2003, at a time when we didn’t even have proper cameras — we just videotaped a walkthrough and then took screen capture photos.  A decade later, nature has continued unwaveringly to reclaim this place. When we moved south of the main road through Sherbrooke, we realized we had not paid close…

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Blabon: Ten Years Later

Blabon: Ten Years Later

In October of 2003, we visited Blabon, North Dakota, a tiny near-ghost town in Steele County with a handful of residents, and it was the first stop on what would become a ten-year exploration of North Dakota’s ghost towns and abandoned places.  In 2013, we returned to Blabon after ten years to snap some photos and reflect on one of the stories sent to us by a very early fan of our website. Where there was once a small town…

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Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota is in Pembina County and is home to the Pembina County Fair.  It still has a substantial population and is in no danger of becoming a ghost town any time soon — according to the 2010 Census, there are 61 residents.  But there are some cool abandoned structures to photograph, most notably, the Hamilton Baptist Church. We visited Hamilton on a day when the skies were filled with haze which diffused the otherwise bright summer sun and…

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Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station

Finley Air Force Station is an abandoned radar base outside Finley, North Dakota.  Closed in 1979, the site now functions as a landfill.  Similar to the Minot and Fortuna Air Force Stations, Finley AFS was a ground control intercept facility tasked with detecting and dispatching intercept aircraft in the event unidentified aircraft threatened to penetrate American air space. Just like what we’ve seen in other abandoned military bases in the state, the salvage rights to the base were sold, and…

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