The Last Days of Brantford ?>

The Last Days of Brantford

We first became aware of Brantford some years ago when our friend Mark Johnson sent photos of Brantford in winter. In the summer of 2013, we visited Brantford for ourselves and found a very quiet, near-ghost town with an impressive but crumbling public school, among other things. ┬áThese photos were taken in 2015 after we found ourselves looking for something to photograph when another location we had planned to visit didn’t work out. As we drove into Brantford this time,…

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Solitude in Brinsmade, North Dakota ?>

Solitude in Brinsmade, North Dakota

Brinsmade, North Dakota was platted on October 7th, 1889 as the Northern Pacific Railway expanded progessively west, carrying settlers and their families to their eventual homes on the plains. It officially became a city in 1904. According to the 2010 Census, Brinsmade is now home to 35 residents in 13 households. Brinsmade’s most prominent features today are the abandoned grain elevators. Brinsmade is the central locale in Richard K. Hofstrand’s book, “With Affection, Marten,” a fictionalized account of his ancestor…

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The Ruins of Munster Country School ?>

The Ruins of Munster Country School

This is the second time we’ve visited the Munster country school, in Eddy County, a short drive northwest of New Rockford. We originally set out to photograph this place in October of 2012 under the assumption it was still intact, but 2012 was one of the driest summers on record, and when we arrived, we found the school had recently burned. Almost three years later, we happened to be driving by after another potential site didn’t pan out. We weren’t…

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The Flooding of Grahams Island ?>

The Flooding of Grahams Island

Captain Duncan Graham was a Scotsman who came to North Dakota after getting started as a fur trader for Hudson’s Bay Company. Graham believed there was profit to be made in the trading business, and he founded a trading post on the island that now bears his name. Though the date is in dispute, Graham is believed to have inhabited the island around 1810 to 1817; far earlier than the flood of homesteaders to come six decades later. Grahams Island…

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History Appreciation in Pembina ?>

History Appreciation in Pembina

In Pembina, North Dakota, there are a couple of historic and significant places I particularly wanted to photograph — primarily, this beautiful Icelandic and Ukrainian Orthodox church. This church was the Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Church from 1885 to 1937, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. John from 1937 to 1987. This church is featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains, available now. This church is now cared for by the Fort Pembina Historical Society. The slab from…

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Remembering Black Sunday ?>

Remembering Black Sunday

April 14th, 2015 is the eightieth anniversary of Black Sunday, arguably the worst day of the Dust Bowl era. Dust storms that had plagued North America for a decade reached a terrible crescendo on that day, with dust clouds taller than the tallest buildings enveloping and blanketing Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and many other places. PBS’ American Experience describes the experience of one family who was caught traveling on that day as a Black Blizzard approached: Ed and Ada Phillips of…

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An Early Spring ?>

An Early Spring

It is looking like an early spring this year, and you need no more evidence than these photos, taken on March 15th, 2015, in south central North Dakota. March 15th is the earliest in the season Terry and I have ever gone out on an official shoot. ┬áPreviously, the third week of April was the soonest we had ventured out. This spring weather reminds me of the warm winter followed by the drought and heat of 2011. Let’s hope that’s…

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Abandoned Lumberyard in Lake Williams, North Dakota ?>

Abandoned Lumberyard in Lake Williams, North Dakota

Lake Williams, North Dakota is a small town, an unincorporated community, in Kidder County, about 30 miles southwest of Carrington. Lake Williams had a population of over 80 residents in 1930, but the town shrank slowly over several decades and the post office closed in 1971. We visited Lake Williams primarily to photograph this old store/lumberyard. Lake Williams is something of a hot spot for anglers, and there’s a water access ramp down the road from the elevator. It was…

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