• 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 […]

  • Antelope Country School

    Antelope Country School

    This is Antelope Country School, in Stark County, about twenty-five minutes east of Dickinson. This school is right off Interstate 94, and we stopped to shoot it when we realized it was on the way to our next destination, Neuberg Congregational Church. When we visit schoolhouses like this, we frequently reflect on the winters our […]

  • 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, […]

  • Highland Township School

    Highland Township Country School

    We just happened across this old country school in Highland Township, Hettinger County. It’s just west of the Neuberg Congregational Church, about thirty miles southeast of Dickinson. It’s not scientific, but we’ve found the general rule is: the more remote the place, the less vandalism we see. Terry and I both thought this school had […]

  • Bluegrass, ND

    Ghost Town: Bluegrass, North Dakota

    This is Bluegrass, North Dakota, a true ghost town, population zero, in Morton County, about thirty-five miles northwest of Mandan. Bluegrass is a former rural community that had a population of 20 in the 1920 Census, a relatively small peak population, but not surprising considering the railroad never came to Bluegrass. In his book North […]

  • 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. […]

  • Judson, North Dakota

    Judson, North Dakota

    This is Judson, North Dakota, a small town in Morton County, southwest of Mandan. I discovered this church one day while I was messing around with Google Street View, so we made plans to stop for a visit. Judson was the first stop on a trip in which we had planned to go all the […]

  • Elbowoods Memorial Congregational Church

    Elbowoods Memorial Congregational Church

    Officially, this church is now known as Susan Webb Hall Memorial Congregational Church. It once served Elbowoods, North Dakota, a town now-submerged under Lake Sakakawea, as part of the Fort Berthold Indian Mission which dates back to the 1870s. The church was organized in 1899 and this building built in 1926.  It was relocated in […]

  • Neuberg Church

    Neuberg Congregational Church

    This is Neuberg Congregational Church, in Hettinger County, rural Mott.  The church, which is quite remote, nearly 25 miles from the nearest town, was built in 1925 and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. We visited Neuberg Congregational Church in July of 2014.  The sky was thick with haze […]

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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 […]

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 […]

Sanish, North Dakota, 1926

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.  Buildings were demolished and the […]

Sims, ND

THE BOOK: Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 2

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 2 is nearly identical in construction to the first book — 88 pages with a hardcover and beautiful dustjacket.  In Volume 2, we’ve chosen to emphasize the photos, and we’ve included places like Manfred, Barton, Bantry, Brantford, Roseville, Raleigh, Bentley, Freda and many more, frequently in full-page photos.  Ghosts of […]

Fortuna AFS

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 […]

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Do You Have Photos of These Places?

Since 2003, our stated objective has been to document North Dakota’s vanishing small places before they’re gone.  In the years since, we’ve also tried to pay attention to places that were lost long ago, places where there’s nothing left to photograph, through postcards and vintage photos. Now, we could use your help to shine a […]

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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 […]

Straubville, North Dakota

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 (the original is here) of ten more significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately […]

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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. What follows is […]

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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. […]