• 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, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Raleigh, North Dakota

    Raleigh, North Dakota

    Raleigh is a secluded little town in Grant County, just a short drive southwest of Mandan. The population is nine, and there are exactly two businesses in operation. The grain elevator does a brisk business, and the local tavern is called The Dogtooth — named after the hills which cut a ragged swath through the […]

Haymarsh, North Dakota

Haymarsh, North Dakota

Haymarsh is a rural community near Glen Ullin, North Dakota, about 50 miles west of Mandan.  It was originally founded in 1890.  The community, a cluster of three or four homes and nearby farmsteads, surrounds St. Clement Catholic Church and the former school of the same name. During our visit to Haymarsh, just as we […]

North American Bison

North American Bison of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

During their historic journey to the Pacific, Lewis and Clark reported enormous herds of North American Bison in the midwest, so large that they “darkened the whole plains.”  Wagon trains sometimes waited days for passage through herds numbering in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.  But by the early 1900′s the bison were reaching […]

Sims, North Dakota

Sims, North Dakota

Sims, North Dakota is a ghost town in Morton County, about 35 miles west of Mandan, just a few miles south of Interstate 94 — a place so hauntingly beautiful, we chose the photo above for the dustjacket cover of our second book.  Sims is a place people have been telling us to visit for […]

North American Bison

Driving Through a Herd of North American Bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

On our recent visit to North Dakota’s southwest corner, we spent some time in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, and we were reminded of the magic of the Badlands. For anyone who lives in eastern North Dakota in the flat lands which were once the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz, it’s easy to forget […]

Hartland, North Dakota

Hartland, ND

Hartland is a tiny rural settlement in Ward County, about 25 miles northwest of Minot.  Unfortunately, much of what remains of Hartland is now fenced and posted “no trespassing,” so we were unable to get closer to the two abandoned homes shown here.  We saw one inhabited home on the site of Hartland. The nearby […]

Coulee, North Dakota

Coulee, ND

Coulee is a tiny unincorporated town in the far northeast corner of Mountrail county, about 40 miles northwest of Minot.  Our Savior’s Scandinavian Lutheran Church, a few miles west of Coulee, is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find out about it until after our visit.  We’ll get it next time. […]

Fortuna Air Force Station

Exploring Fortuna Air Force Station

This is just a bit of our exploration and shoot at the abandoned Fortuna Air Force Station which is scheduled for demolition in late-summer/fall of 2013.  According to the caretaker, after asbestos remediation, all the structures above ground will be demolished and scrapped, with the exception of the concrete radar tower which will be left […]

Bethel Luthern Church, Rural Wildrose

Bethel Lutheran Church, Rural Wildrose

On fourth of July weekend, 2013, we found ourselves ahead of schedule on our two day photo shoot.  In the town of Fortuna, we found the church we wanted to photograph had oil workers camping out on the property and big trucks parked in front of it.  We moved on to another location which also […]

Fortuna Air Force Station

Fortuna Air Force Station: Part II

This is our second gallery for the abandoned Fortuna Air Force Station.  It was scheduled for demolition in late-summer/fall of 2013 but still stands as of spring 2014.  Click here to start at part one. Terry ventured into the bowels of a structure at the top of the hill and came across this vivid reminder […]

Fortuna Air Force Station

Fortuna Air Force Station: Part I

Fortuna Air Force Station is an abandoned Air Force radar station located in Divide County, about 6 1/2 miles from Canada and 8 miles from Montana.  Like the Minot Air Force Station, Fortuna AFS was a GCI (Ground Control Intercept) base designed to detect unidentified aircraft and coordinate interception.  Originally opened in 1952, it served its […]