• 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Freda, North Dakota

    Abandoned: Freda, North Dakota

    Freda, North Dakota is a true ghost town in Grant County about 35 miles southwest of Bismarck.  Freda started out as a Milwaukee Railroad town, and once had a population  of 50 plus its own bank. Today it is totally abandoned with the remains of its depot crumbling in the elements. There is one other […]

  • Bismarck Fire 1898

    The Great Bismarck Fire of 1898

    Like Fargo in 1893 and Chicago in 1871, Bismarck fell victim to a massive wind-whipped fire on August 8th, 1898. Tomorrow is the 116th anniversary of the fire that changed our capital city. As was the case with so many pioneer-era cities around the nation, Bismarck in 1898 was a city constructed largely of wood. […]

  • Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

    Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

    We were on our way home from an adventure shooting abandoned places in the Bakken oil patch when we drove right past this place. Like usual, Terry spotted the place first and through the trees we saw three or four buildings, yellow prairie flowers, and a red roof, just off the highway. We made a […]

Lefor, ND

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 […]

Blabon, North Dakota

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 […]

Central School, Minot

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 […]

Front Street Fargo, 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 […]

sanish-christmas-feature

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 […]

plaque

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 […]