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Ghost Town Charbonneau, North Dakota

Ghost Town Charbonneau, North Dakota

Charbonneau, North Dakota is in a very sparsely populated area of western North Dakota, in McKenzie County, about fifteen minutes west of Watford City. As far back as 1960, Charbonneau had already been de-listed from the Census, but according to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, Charbonneau was founded in 1913 and a peak population of 125 was reported in 1920. Charbonneau’s name was derived from nearby Charbonneau Creek, which was in turn named for the interpreter on the Lewis & Clark expedition, Toussaint Charbonneau.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Postcards from the Edge of North Dakota

Postcards from the Edge of North Dakota

This is a simple truth. There is no greater pleasure per penny than searching through a box of old postcards in an antique store. A little hard on the lower back if you’re wearing the wrong pair of shoes, but pleasurable none-the-less. Here are a few old postcards featuring scenes from Marmarth.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Year of the above photo is unknown but I’m guessing early 1930s. Look closely — on the left, behind the grassy median, several black sedans are parked. And on the right, a horse waits for it’s rider to return. This photo postcard provides some insight into the original location of the depot, and the 1st National Bank/Barber Auditorium building we photographed on our first trip to Marmarth is visible on the left.

Marmarth, North Dakota

A great slice of life from old Marmarth. Everybody’s dressed to the nines, the fountain is going, and there are trains in the background.  The effort that went into this photo!

Marmarth, North Dakota

Above: Marmarth High School. It no longer stands.

See Also: Marmarth, North Dakota

Original content copyright © Sonic Tremor Media 2017

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Ruso: Smallest Incorporated Town in North Dakota

Ruso: Smallest Incorporated Town in North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota is in McLean County and had a reported population of 4 in the 2010 Census. A claim from an unknown source that we’ve seen around the web says Ruso is the smallest incorporated town in North Dakota. Several unincorporated towns are even smaller, like Hanks (pop. 1), and Merricourt, and ghost towns with zero residents.

Ruso, North Dakota
Ruso, North Dakota. Image/Google Earth

Kelsey Rusch visited Ruso in 2010 and contributed these photos with the following comments:

Right off highway 41, south of Velva, you will find Ruso. Though it has ten or so abandoned buildings, there appear to be three residences as well, making it inhabited, but probably for not too much longer.

It is located just south east of the borders of McLean, Ward, and McHenry counties in a very beautiful yet desolate part of the state.

According to the North Dakota Place Names book, “The post office was established on December 1, 1906 with Edwin J Burgess as pm. The village incorporated in 1909 and by 1910 reported a population of 141, with a doctor, newpaper, and many other luxuries often missing in new townsites.” The Place Names book (first published 1988), claims the zip code was 58778 and was still open at the time. However, a sign outside what I assume was the post office suggests that it closed in 1981.

Ruso, North Dakota

As far as the name “Ruso,” the Place Names book says the name either is a Russian word meaning “south of us,” or, as others say, it was coined from the words SOuth RUssia, which was the homeland of many of the area settlers.

Ruso, North Dakota

The town is in a very peaceful location. The sole road passes one residence right next to the highway before leading to several abandoned ones. The post office, now a home, sits in the middle of town, next to a collapsed building and across from an empty and overgrown field. From what I can gather a section of the field used to be a baseball diamond. If only the kids who used to play there saw it today.

Further down the road sits what was once a pretty nice sized school but now is used as a residence. Around the corner and down the road sits what was once a beautiful church. Two outhouses sit to the east of the church, and to the west a flax field is planted almost all the way up to the doors of the church, which faces west. The grounds surrounding the church, unfortunately, are a mess. There is a junked bus sitting outside, as well as two or three junked pickups. Numerous other things are scattered around and it is obvious the few remaining residents do not take care of the church any more.

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

There were a few other abandoned buildings hidden in the trees surrounding the city but they were either posted or too overgrown to get to. If anyone has any other information about Ruso, especially about history or as to why there is a large bus that says “Huntley Project Red Devils” parked outside of the church, I’d definitely love to hear more about this place. It was very calm and serene and is in a beautiful location in the state.

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Photos by Kelsey Rusch, original content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
The Magic City, Fall 1940

The Magic City, Fall 1940

For those of us who are history buffs, the 1930s and 40s are a golden age of documentary photography. Government photographers from the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information traveled the country, photographing American cities big and small. They left behind a photographic treasure trove of places that no longer exist. It was photos like those, largely the work of Arthur Rothstein, that allowed us to do our book on North Dakota’s largest city, Fargo Moorhead Lost and Found, and another of those government photographers, John Vachon, captured these photos of Minot in October of 1940.

I find these photos interesting for the look back at the WWII era, in a season when the air had gone brisk and the leaves had presumably turned brilliant shades of yellow and red, about to become a carpet for residents of the Magic City.

Minot, Fall, 1940

Cars and trucks were everywhere in 1940, but these old horsedrawn wagons were still used to shuttle around cans of milk. This shipment was just waiting at the depot to head off to its next destination.

Minot, Fall, 1940

Unidentified football players on what appears to be Main Street, walking north. I could be wrong but their helmets appear to be plastic, which would have been a new development at the time. Riddell introduced plastic helmets in 1939, and the old leather helmets disappeared from use by the 1950s. Update: site visitor Brad says the player on the right, #44, is his dad Archie Peterson (see comments below).

Minot, Fall, 1940

The former Great Northern Hotel wasn’t exactly a swanky joint in 1940. I am not sure the location of this place, but it doesn’t look like the kind of place that would still be standing in a town the size of Minot.

Minot, Fall, 1940

Minot, Fall, 1940

This photo was simply labeled, “Chimneysweeper. Minot, ND.”

Minot, Fall, 1940

Upon closer inspection, chimney sweep looks like a dangeorous job. Standing on that wood ladder 3 1/2 stories above the ground doesn’t seem like a place I would be eager to be.

Minot, Fall, 1940

I zoomed in on this section of the photo because I was interested in the signs. Partially obscured by the column on the left is the word “Rooms,” indicating this was a rooming house, and the building in the background has an automotive use with the words “Body Dept.” painted on the white facade. It wasn’t until I saw the address “304” on the column at left that I realized I knew this place.

It is the former home of Martin Jacobson at 304 S. Main Street. In 1945, just five years after these photos were taken, it would be purchased by a funeral director transplant from the Twin Cities, Ben (B.J.) Thomas, and it became the Thomas Family Funeral Home.

I remember this place from my childhood in Minot, primarily as the place next door to the old Empire Theater. If you came out of a Saturday matinee and sat down on the grass to wait for your mom and dad to pick you up, someone would come out and ask you to get off the grass. Us darn kids.

Minot, Fall, 1940

In the image above, you can see the home changed substantially over the years in its life as a funeral home. The cupola and flagpole on the northwest side are gone. A room which once occupied the space between the columns is also gone, and several windows have been closed off, including the third story window over the front entrance. Image/Google Earth

Minot, Fall, 1940

This photo was labeled “Lutheran Church. Minot, ND.” I was unfamiliar with which church this is, so please leave a comment if you know.

Minot, Fall, 1940

Church was the social media of the day, and this photo is a good example. Everybody in their Sunday best, catching up with people they hadn’t seen all week.

Minot, Fall, 1940

See also: Minot Central High School

Photos by John Vachon, original content © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
An Abandoned Port of Entry in Northgate, North Dakota

An Abandoned Port of Entry in Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate is a fascinating near-ghost town right on the Canadian border, about 70 miles northwest of Minot. It was originally founded one mile to the north, but moved one mile south to its present site. While the original town site retained the name North Gate (with a space) this town was renamed North Gate South, and then re-dubbed Northgate (without the space) when the post office was established in 1914.

Northgate, North Dakota

Above: The former Northgate Port of Entry building. The road to the east of Northgate is the highway which formerly functioned as the port of entry, but it is now closed and well-posted by US Customs and Immigration. The new border crossing is about a half mile west.

Not wanting to attract the attention of US Customs and Immigration by driving toward the border on a farm road, we took a long walk down the road to get pictures of the former Port of Entry building. We got within twenty feet of the Canadian border.

Northgate, North Dakota

As mentioned by a site visitor in the comments section below, the building in the background of the photo above is the former Canadian Port of Entry building, on the Canadian side of the international border. The road to the right of the building shown above was gated when the former border crossing was closed.

We visited another former border crossing in Noyes, Minnesota.

Northgate, North Dakota

Update: we’ve been told this building has now been demolished. The old Port of Entry is now gone.

Northgate, North Dakota

This is the view from inside the Port of Entry building.  The town outside is the original North Gate.

Northgate, North Dakota

The town in the background of the above photo is North Gate, on the site of the original town platted in 1910.  It is now in Canada.  It’s unclear how may people live there. We did not see any activity. We’ve been told the Canadian government was planning to demolish what’s left of North Gate, if they haven’t already.

Northgate, North Dakota

To get quite specific, in the photo above, the asphalt road in the foreground is US territory.   The grassy ditch just beyond the road (where the railroad crossbuck is planted, just on the other side of a barely visible barb-wire fence) is the US-Canadian border.  The dirt road and homes at the rear are in Canada.

Northgate, North Dakota

A couple years later, we visited another impressive abandoned border crossing in Noyes, Minnesota.

Northgate, North Dakota

Terry ventured onto the road to take this photo, but we escaped without any customs and immigration entanglements.

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

These elevators are along the now closed highway which originally crossed the border.

Northgate, North Dakota

There were a lot of places built in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century that were affected by changing policies at the international border. One of them, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Caribou, Minnesota, was featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Northgate, North Dakota

We met a not-so-tactful Northgate resident who first asked if we were lost, and then informed us they didn’t like strangers poking around in their town. All in all, an eventful visit.

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
13 People and 3 Churches in Kief, North Dakota

13 People and 3 Churches in Kief, North Dakota

Kief is a near-ghost town in McHenry county, and is home to the first Russian Baptist Church ever established in the United States. Although only listed as having a population of 13 in the 2010 census, the amount of activity we saw on our visit to Kief seemed to suggest a larger population, perhaps twenty?  Kief has a bar which was open for business on the day we visited. Update: we’ve been told the bar has since closed.

Kief, North Dakota

Kief has a total of three churches still standing, but only one appeared to be still in use.

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

US Census Data for Kief
Total Population by Place

1960 – 97
1970 – 46
1980 – 36
2000 – 12
2010 – 13

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Many of the abandoned homes in Kief were in quite good condition, and Minot, the closest sizable city, is only forty-five minutes down the road. We thought Kief would be the perfect place to buy a hobby home for a reasonable price.

Kief, North Dakota

From the era when a guy came out to your car and pumped your gas, washed the windows, and checked the oil.  Let’s bring that back, can we?

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief is also home to one of North Dakota’s longest running cold cases.  Donna Jean Michalenko disappeared from Kief on November 2nd, 1968. Michalenko disappeared after a night of drinking with a male companion, who claimed he dropped her off at her ex-husband’s house. She was never seen again.

The investigation into Michaelenko’s disappearance was hampered by the fact that she wasn’t reported missing for six weeks after she disappeared.  If you have information regarding the disappearance of Donna, please call the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office (the county where Donna lived) at 701-537-5633 or the McLean County Sheriff’s office (where she allegedly disappeared) at 701-462-8103.

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief First Baptist Church’s claim to fame.

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Kief, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Vintage Views of Devils Lake

Vintage Views of Devils Lake

We’ve been collecting postcards and vintage photos for years with the intention of doing a book one day. Today, I discovered a couple postcards depicting vintage views of Devils Lake, and thought we should share these on the site.  The quality of the first postcard was so good, we were able to zoom and bring out some interesting details.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

This street scene depicts Fourth Street in Devils Lake, circa 1937.  There was no postmark on the card, but I was able to date the photo based on the movie listed on the theater marquee.  “Captains Courageous,” a movie based on the Rudyard Kipling novel, starring Freddie Bartholomew and Spencer Tracy, was released in 1937.  The movie would be remade in 1977, and again in 1996.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

The opposite side of the street is home to a Red Owl grocery store and Montgomery Wards.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

Look at the beautiful art deco marquee on the Hollywood Theater.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

In addition to the Fourth Street scene, I found this vintage postcard showing the State Deaf School in Devils Lake. Year of this view is unknown, but construction of this building began in 1892.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

Original content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
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.  These 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.

Brantford, North Dakota

As we drove into Brantford this time, we were surprised to see one of the classrooms had collapsed sometime between 2013 and 2015 after the exterior wall crumbled. It was a tangible reminder that exploring abandoned places is dangerous.

Brantford, North Dakota

I bet this was loud when it came down.

Brantford, North Dakota

Last time, we explored the inside of the school a little, but this time, we decided to take a closer look before we entered. After a brief walk around the school, it seemed clear to us that it is no longer safe to explore. The exterior walls are bowing on all sides and it is only a matter of time before the whole thing comes down. We would not recommend anyone explore the interior of this school anymore.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Goodbye, Brantford Public School.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Sometime in the two years since we last visited, there was a grassfire in Brantford. One of the houses which stood in 2013 was reduced to burned ruins, and the large red barn we photographed last time was missing too. Several other structures came within a few feet of burning.

Brantford, North Dakota

A visitor to our Facebook page said Brantford is now a true ghost town with no remaining residents. There is a house in Brantford (not pictured) that appears to have been the last one that was occupied, with a satellite dish on the roof, but it no longer seems to be lived in. There are, however, families living in the area who still consider themselves Brantford residents. The Ludwig family lives not even a mile down the road.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
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. 

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
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.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

To see the collection of school photos, see the main Hamberg photo gallery from 2008.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

This old bus next to the school sure would have been a nice fix-up project.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

We have a special weakness for old Post Offices like this one in Hamberg. They’re steeped in history and frequently have so much character.

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Hamberg, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

 

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
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 sent some taken in the 60s, and we photographed the facade of the Falsen school in 2010.

Verendrye, North Dakota

Verendrye, North Dakota

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Verendrye, North Dakota

Photos contributed by Steve Lee
Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Return to Sherbrooke

Return to Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke, North Dakota is in Steele County and it is a true ghost town with no population.  Sherbrooke was the first totally abandoned town we ever visited back in 2003, at a time when we didn’t even have proper cameras — we just videotaped a walkthrough and then took screen capture photos.  A decade later, nature has continued unwaveringly to reclaim this place.

When we moved south of the main road through Sherbrooke, we realized we had not paid close enough attention to the ruins there when we visited a decade ago.  A large building once stood there, and today the field stone foundation remains with some intriguing artifacts within.  We’ll detail that in the captions below.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

This old Studebaker with suicide doors sits in a field.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

This is the former home of Arlene Carpenter and it was the last occupied home in Sherbrooke until it was abandoned sometime in the 1980s — EDIT: perhaps into the nineties (see comments below).

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

The front porch has collapsed.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Inside the garage

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

If you’ve looked at many of the galleries on this site, you know we occasionally give reminders on the real danger of walking around in abandoned townsites, and this is a prime example. This well is deep, and full of water — and it’s about a thirty foot drop before you hit the water. If you fell in this headfirst, you would drown before anybody could get you out.  Someone thoughtfully threw an old gate over the opening.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Someone broke a car window a long time ago.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke was once the county seat of Steele County before having it snatched away by business people who saw fit to move the seat somewhere more significant — Sherbrooke had neither a railroad or a navigable river.  Sherbrooke’s residents fought it all the way to the North Dakota Supreme Court, but eventually lost, and the county seat was moved to Finley (also home to an abandoned Air Force Station). However, the ruins of this building on the south side of the road seem to be something of some importance, a building representative of a place that was once an important seat of government in the 1880s and 90s.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

At first we wondered whether this may have been a courthouse.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

It appears it was field stone on the bottom with brick on top.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

This one charred timber told us a fire was responsible for the demise of this place.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Terry reminded me of the story of the Sherbrooke House Hotel which once stood in Sherbrooke, a place where President McKinley stayed in 1896 during a trip to visit North Dakota.  So when Terry spotted the bed frames shown above in the ruins of this building, we couldn’t help but wonder if this was the ruins of the Sherbrooke House Hotel.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

As we were walking around in these ruins, whoa, another open hole in the ground.  It looked like a sewer main that once served whatever structure was here.  One more hazard that could catch you off guard and cause you to break an ankle or tweak a knee.  If you choose this as a hobby, please be careful.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

This pink home is the only other structure still standing in Sherbooke, and it might be the most completely overrun home of any we’ve seen. Trees and weeds and vines have completely covered and infiltrated this place.  We had to do some pretty extensive ducking of dense brush to get close enough for photos.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Exploring this lot in Sherbrooke is a little like a nightmare where you’re in a forest and the branches continually reach out for you, tugging at your clothes, threatening to sweep you away in an instant. The silence and remote location juxtaposed with images like the playhouse above with decorative curtains hanging in the window combine to create an eerie feeling in Sherbrooke.  Terry and I both felt it.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

The floor inside the pink house is barely distinguishable from the ground outside.

Sherbrooke, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Exploring Brantford, North Dakota

Exploring Brantford, North Dakota

We’ve known about Brantford, North Dakota — in Eddy County — for some time.  Mark Johnson contributed some winter photos a few years back, and we posted some postcards as well, but this was the first time we got a chance to actually visit.

Brantford, North Dakota

We saw only one home which appeared to be inhabited (it had a satellite dish on the roof), but we didn’t see a single person the whole time we were there.  There were half a dozen abandoned homes, multiple foundations from buildings that no longer exist, the former Brantford Public School, and a church which was moved to a farm and then abandoned.

Brantford, North Dakota

The view out the froont door from Brantford Public School

The view out the front door from Brantford Public School. Hundreds of little feet once strolled that sidewalk, but now it’s barely holding back the prairie; grass and weeds are poking through every crack.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Right inside the front door of Brantford Public School,

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

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Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

A former pump house

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

This was once somebody’s driveway.

Brantford, North Dakota

There were thousands of bees buzzing around these hives, but they didn’t bother us at all.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

We waded through chest-high grass in places to get to the beautiful church at the back of this farmstead.

Brantford, North Dakota

This church appears to have been moved to this farmstead, for what purpose, we don’t know. The entire place is now vacant with only the bee colony on site.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Located in Stutsman County just a few minutes west of Jamestown, Eldridge is a very small community of perhaps a dozen residents. Eldridge began as Burton in 1879 but was renamed in honor of a local Bonanza farmer a year later. At one time, Eldridge was home to nearly 100 residents.

Eldridge, ND

We originally became aware of Eldridge in June of 2010 when Dustin Person sent us a photo of the school.

Rat and I arrived at 7 am on a foggy, misty Saturday morning in 2013 and got our feet soaking wet within the first five minutes of exploring the school. Even at that early hour, we saw several vehicles pass during our visit.

Eldridge, ND

Someone has taken pains to secure the school at some time in the past, but vandals have done their will to the the boarded up entrances. We were quite surprised to discover the original wood-frame Eldridge School still resides in the trees behind the large brick school. It appears to have been turned into a garage at some point in the past.

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

An old workhorse rests, retired in the schoolyard.

Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

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Eldridge, ND

Eldridge, ND

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Derelict Firehouse in Berlin, North Dakota

Derelict Firehouse in Berlin, North Dakota

Berlin, North Dakota is a small town in Lamoure County in southeastern North Dakota. Although many of the structures which once existed in Berlin are now gone (the school for one), there are some impressive structures still standing. Sabrina Hornung contributed a few photos of Berlin in 2011. In the summer of 2012 we were able to get to Berlin and capture these photos for ourselves.

Berlin, North Dakota

This old fire station is in quite good condition. Hopefully someone has plans to maintain and/or restore this because the old fire stations are rapidly disappearing from North Dakota’s dwindling small towns.

Berlin Legion Post 206

This is the former bar and service station.

US Census Data for Berlin
Total Population by Place

1910 – 137
1920 – 130
1930 – 135
1940 – 132
1950 – 124
1960 – 78
1970 – 76
1980 – 57
1990 – 32
2000 – 35
2010 – 34

The ceiling and the floor of Pete’s Ponderosa — both caved in.

The former blacksmith shop.

berlin3

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Berlin, North Dakota

An old horse-drawn firewagon

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy opened its doors on this site north of Harvey in 1904 and was in operation until the end of the 1976 school year.  It was a Seventh Day Adventist secondary school.  The new location known as Dakota Adventist Academy opened in 1977 near Bismarck.

 

Sheyenne River Academy

The present owner of the property is using the grounds and the buildings for horses and other livestock.  We knocked on a few doors at a nearby home in an attempt to get permission to go inside, but we were not able to find anyone around.  So we snapped a few quick photos and left, hoping to return some time in the future when we can get permission.

There are four buildings in the academy facility, but you can barely see it from the road. The main gate is fenced and no longer used.

Sheyenne River Academy

Someone has knocked out a window just to the left of the entrance to make it possible to park a vehicle inside the building.

Sheyenne River Academy

Do you have our hardcover photo book, Churches of the High Plains?

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy has a Facebook page here, and you can read more about the history of the academy here.

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Note the dirt ramp on the front steps.

Sheyenne River Academy

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Manfred: Six Years Later

Manfred: Six Years Later

Manfred is a near-ghost town just off Highway 52 between Minot and Jamestown.  We visited Manfred previously in 2006, and decided to stop again for an overdue visit on our way to north central North Dakota.

Manfred is home to about five residents these days, and several of them are doing a fantastic job at buying up properties and securing/restoring them.  The Johnson Hotel was on the brink when we visited in 2006, but has since been repainted.  In addition, there was an old school in Manfred which we chose not to photograph last time because it looked as though someone had been living in it.  It is now undergoing a thorough cleaning, and the residents of Manfred have plans to restore the portico over the front stairs when they can raise the funds to do so.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Abandoned Buttzville Farm

Abandoned Buttzville Farm

Buttzville is in Ransom County, just northeast of Lisbon. These photos were taken on the abandoned farm just west of Buttzville.

This farm is just across the water from Buttzville.

Rain showers had just moved out.

Not quite sure what this ruin was… a barn?

Spring buds just on.

Penny for your memories.

Whomever lived on this farm had a tremendous view.

Photos by Troy Larson, Copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC.

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Bartlett… Almost Gone

Bartlett… Almost Gone

Bartlett is about twenty miles east of Devils Lake and is about as close as you can get to ghost town without actually being totally abandoned… there is perhaps one occupied property, and we saw the remains of several crumbling homes.  The former town site is quickly getting overrun by nature — the roads are shaded even on a bright day like this one. As we drove into town, untrimmed branches reached into the road to greet us, nearly touching the sides of the car.

Bartlett, North Dakota

The Andreas Historical Atlas of Dakota (pre-statehood), published in 1884, describes Bartlett like this:

This place, located near the east line of the county, on Section 25, Town 153, Range 61 was commenced in the fall of 1882, upon the completion of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway to that point, and for a number of months had a wonderful growth and business, the population, at its maximum, reaching 1,000. there were 250 buildings in the place, and the people had high hopes that its boom would be a permanent one. But the laying out of Lakota, in Nelson County, four miles east of Bartlett, and the establishment of the county seat at the new town, resulted in the removal of the bulk of its business to Lakota and the city of Devils Lake. One hotel building was taken down and removed to West End, in Benson County, where it was metamorphosed into a number of cottages. There remains at Bartlett two hotels, several stores, and altogether some twenty five or thirty buildings.

Bartlett, North Dakota

A population of over one thousand in 1884 had become just 120 residents by 1910.

US Census Data for Bartlett
Total Population by Place

1910 – 120
1920 – 98
1930 – 67
1940 – 78
1950 – 51
1960 – 39
1970 – 19
1980 – Delisted

Bartlett, North Dakota

The railroad tracks just outside of Bartlett were the site of a terrible railroad accident in April, 1907.  The Great Northern Oriental Limited derailed just after 1am, rolled down an embankment, and caught fire when a gas tank exploded, an explosion so loud it was heard in Lakota, four miles away. Three died, including mail clerk Harry Jones who was killed instantly when the car he was riding in was telescoped by another, and an unknown Greek laborer who burned to death, trapped in the wreckage.

There were reports that the tracks had been tampered-with, a suspicion perhaps bolstered by a derailment that had happened less than a year prior, on the same stretch of track, just 100 yards away.

Bartlett, North Dakota

When you’re the only resident left in town, there’s nobody around to object when you rename N. 24th Street to Bartlett Rd. with a paint brush.

Bartlett, North Dakota

This part of the state in the Ramsey/Nelson/Grand Forks County area has a couple cool little places to visit, like Whitman, Mapes, and Niagara.

Bartlett, North Dakota

Bartlett, North Dakota

Bartlett, North Dakota

Bartlett, North Dakota
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
The Ghosts of Berwick Lane

The Ghosts of Berwick Lane

Berwick is a near-ghost town in McHenry County, about 7 1/2 miles east of Towner, or 11 miles west of Rugby, and very much off the beaten path.

Berwick, North Dakota

At one time, this was the main street in Berwick, North Dakota. A brick, single-story building wears a sign that reads “Holmes’ Bar,” and it stands one lot over from an abandoned building with peeling siding, the two conjoined by a weathered picket fence. People once came and went every day, but today, they are empty places, and farm trucks pass without stopping. They’re just the ghosts of Berwick Lane.

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick is near a historic site–St. Anselm’s Cemetery, Wrought-Iron Cross Site–which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.  We weren’t aware of it when we visited Berwick in 2010, but you can bet we’ll get some photos next time we’re in the area.

Berwick, North Dakota

The brick chimney on this tiny prairie home has collapsed, and the bricks lie scattered about the roof.

Berwick, North Dakota

US Census Data for Berwick
Total Population by Place

1960 – 56
1970 – 33
1980 – 22
2000 – Does Not Appear

Berwick, North Dakota

During our visit to Berwick we talked to several people, including one gentleman who was using his weekend to fix up a local home with an affordable remedy we’ve been seeing a lot of lately — galvanized steel roofing.  He told us he’s trying to fix up as many as he can, and we were glad to hear it.

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

What was this place? A community center? Perhaps someone can comment below.

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

According to one online account from 2003, this former Lutheran Church in Berwick was purchased by a Rugby resident for $600. It is featured in our book Churches of the High Plains.

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

This foundation is reportedly the former site of the railroad depot in Berwick (see comments.) The building was moved to Towner where it became an antique shop.

Berwick, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
More of Temple, ND

More of Temple, ND

These photos of Temple were contributed by Nichole Simpson. In Nichole’s photos of the school below, it appears the owner is preparing to move it. Not long after, the school was relocated and repurposed as an addition to a home. Contributor Mark Johnson also sent in a Temple gallery you can see here.

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Photos by Nichole Simpson. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Hannah, ND

Hannah, ND

Cavalier County
Inhabited as of 8-06

Hannah, ND is a Canadian border town in Cavalier County, directly north of Devils Lake. Hannah’s reported peak population was 262 in 1930.

US Census Data for Hannah
Total Population by Place

1960 – 253
1970 – 145
1980 – 90
2000 – 20
2010 — 15

Pictured below is the site of the former Hannah High School, now just a sign and an empty flag pole. The playground still remains, but the school itself is gone.

Hannah was originally two settlements a couple of miles apart, founded separately as “Hanna” and “Hannah”. The two eventually combined at the railroad line and adopted the name of “Hannah” in honor of early resident (and Father-in-law to the postmaster) Frank Hannah. Hannah’s most prominent former residents woud be Russel Reid, one-time head of the North Dakota Historical Society, and Ethel Catherwood, who eventually adopted Canada as her home and won a Gold Medal for them in the 1928 Olympics.

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Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Fillmore, ND

Fillmore, ND

Benson County
Abandoned as of 4/06

Fillmore, ND is in Benson County, about 20 miles SE of Rugby, the geographical center of North America. Fillmore reportedly had 150 citizens in 1920, but that declined to 74 by 1960 and today Fillmore is home to only two part-time residents.  When we arrived, we were surprised to find Fillmore was one fo the best North Dakota ghost towns we’d run across so far.

There is a defined Main Street in town with vacant buildings staring each other down from opposite sides of the street. There are many vacant homes too, not to mention two vacant churches.

The townsite pictured here is actually the second townsite to bear the name Fillmore. The original townsite several miles southeast is now wiped from the prairie.

Like most ghost towns in North Dakota, Fillmore was another casualty of the decline of the train and the rise of the automobile.

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Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota

Fillmore, North Dakota

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

See also: Fillmore’s Lost Legacy
See also: Return to Fillmore

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Temple, ND

Temple, ND

Temple was founded along the Great Northern Railroad line. The post office was moved here from Haarstad in 1908. The significance of the town name is unknown.

Temple’s peak population was about 90 people in 1920, but it had dwindled to 25 in 1960. It is presently uninhabited. Like many of the ghost towns in North Dakota, Temple saw a steady decline beginning around the depression and continuing until its Post Office closed in 1965. The harsh winters and and the here-and-gone fortunes of the railroad were just too difficult for many settlers.

In the years since these photos were taken by long time contributor Mark Johnson, the school has been moved from the townsite and repurposed as an addition to a home, and the site itself has occasionally been home to oil workers in RVs and Campers.

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota

Photos by Mark Johnson. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Arena, ND

Arena, ND

Arena was founded with a rural post office January 23rd, 1906. It is said to have had a peak population of 150 around 1920, but had withered to 35 residents by 1930. It is now abandoned.

arena-schoolThe photo shown left is the former Arena School, photo contributed by Stephen Berg. As of our visit in 2004, the school was gone. This was the only photo we’d been able to locate of the school for quite some time, but in summer of 2011, Dale Fisher contributed a few shots of Arena in 1992.

Although there aren’t any residents in the immediate vicinity of the town, there is a yellow house on the townsite which had blankets hanging in the windows, suggesting someone used it for something relatively recently.

Marlon Leno commented at the bottom of our Arena in 1992 entry, and filled-in quite a few of the details.  Marlon said his grandparents lived in the yellow house as late as 1981, and that his cousin, George Pehl, demolished the school when it became a hazard.  Mr. Leno also informed us of the name of the church — St. Johns Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod.

The road leading south out of Arena is a short, scenic drive, bordered tightly on both shoulders by a couple of small lakes.

 

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.