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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…

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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. 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…

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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. Kelsey Rusch visited Ruso in 2010 and contributed these photos with the following comments: Right off highway 41, south of Velva, you…

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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…

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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. Above: The former Northgate Port of Entry building. The road to…

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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 has a…

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

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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. As we drove into Brantford this time,…

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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.  Troy LarsonTroy Larson is…

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

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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…

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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. 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…

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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. Troy LarsonTroy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and…

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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.   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…

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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,…

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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 LarsonTroy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer…

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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…

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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. 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…

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You’re Never Going to Temple, North Dakota

You’re Never Going to Temple, North Dakota

Temple, North Dakota is the kind of place you drive by on a hot summer afternoon or an overcast morning. The kind of place you pass through on your way to a place called Ray from a place known as Tioga. Temple, however, has a destiny now-defined by those prepositions “by” and “through.” You drive by, you pass through, but you’re never going to Temple, North Dakota, because the town as we knew it is a ghost town. Troy LarsonTroy Larson…

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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…

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Fillmore, ND

Fillmore, ND

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…

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Ghost Town Temple, North Dakota

Ghost Town Temple, North Dakota

Temple was founded in Williams County 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…

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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. The 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,…

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