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. 

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 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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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. Omemee once had a population of 650 residents, and every kind of business one would expect from a prairie town of its size — a hotel, restaurant, grain elevators, opera house, even a newspaper — but today it has almost entirely vanished from the landscape, so we’re especially grateful for Cathy’s submission. It’s a chance to travel back…

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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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