Browsed by
Tag: church

The Majestic and Abandoned North Grand Church

The Majestic and Abandoned North Grand Church

The majestic and abandoned North Grand Church is in Adams County, ten miles southwest of Hettinger and just a mile north of the South Dakota border. It served this barely-populated part of the county for sixty years, from 1909 to 1969.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

I would describe this church as brick, although I’m not sure that’s the correct term. The blocks are larger than your typical brick and they have a textured surface that makes them particularly beautiful. If someone has some clarification on the construction of this church, please leave a comment below.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

We found getting to this church somewhat challenging. The nearest paved highway is five miles to the west, and even the dirt roads leading to this beautiful place are very lightly traveled. In places, it was just two wheel tracks with prairie grass growing up in the middle, but it was worth the trip. When we arrived, we shut off the car and got out, greeted with our favorite reward — the sound and smell of the prairie. Crickets chirped and the prairie grass swished in the light breeze. No traffic noise, no people, and our cellphones didn’t ring. Perfection.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

A visitor to our Facebook page reports this church was once part of a Lutheran Parish that included the Wolf Butte, Bucyrus, and Richland churches.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Lutheran Church is surrounded on all sides by crop land with barely a tree in site.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

The inside of the North Grand Lutheran Church is in better condition than some of the churches we’ve visited, like St. John’s in Arena, but not by much. There aren’t many years left in this place without human intervention, and the remote location makes that unlikely.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

Judging by the small number of graves, the cemetery has apparently been very lightly used. We saw mostly old stones from the WWII-era, but one was from as recently as 2006. Holden, Jeffers, and Hanson were some of the names we noticed.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

If you enjoy country churches, both active and abandoned, please consider ordering a copy of our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains, to help us offset our considerable web hosting and bandwidth costs.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

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

Join 4,987 other subscribers


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

Tonset Lutheran: The Church on the Hill

Tonset Lutheran: The Church on the Hill

We got these photos of Tonset Lutheran Church, near Lignite, from Dave Ramsey, who says:

Found this church near Lignite, ND. Open the door and walk on in. Sign a guest register and look around. The place was dusty and covered with dead flies. Other than that it looked you could hold a service there tomorrow. The cemetery was just as cool. So much history.

Tonset Lutheran Church

The bell tower was struck by lightning in 2002 and it took a heroic effort on the part of local residents, and the Tonset Lutheran Church Historical Society, to rebuild the steeple.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Regular services ended in 1968.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church is named for Tynset, Norway.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

If you enjoy prairie churches, please consider our book, Churches of the High Plains, out now.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Photos by Dave Ramsey. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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

Second Chances in Oberon

Second Chances in Oberon

Oberon, North Dakota is in Benson County, about ten miles southwest of Fort Totten. Two places we had been to previously, Josephine and Flora, North Dakota, are a short drive west.

Oberon, North Dakota

We happened to drive through Oberon when we were on our way to Minot in 2014 and we were surprised to see there were some good photo opportunities that we hadn’t known about. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time that day. So, our visit in the spring of 2015 was a second chance.

Oberon, North Dakota

In the 2010 Census, Oberon’s population was listed as 105; a pretty populated place compared to many of the small towns featured on this site. There was a photogenic combination of vacant places and creative reuse going on in Oberon, however, and we wanted to share a few places.

The Community Center on the corner of A Street and Main Avenue had neatly maintained grounds. Maybe it was a bank at one time? Perhaps someone can comment.

Oberon, North Dakota

Oberon, North Dakota

This town was first known as Antelope; a moniker authors Vernell and Louise Johnson say came from the settlement’s location at “the northwest end of the famous Antelope Valley, where antelope were plentiful.” The town was renamed Barker when the post office was established in 1885, but in 1886 Postmaster Vernon Matthews changed the name to Oberon, a reference to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and the town was platted.

Oberon, North Dakota

Oberon, North DakotaThe Oberon School looked like it was still a fully-active, functional school, and we had no reason to photograph it, really, other than the fact that it’s a big, beautiful brick building, and that temptation is hard to resist.

Oberon, North Dakota

If the alternative is letting an old church wither in the elements until it caves in, we’re thrilled to see beautiful old sanctuaries like the one in Oberon get some creative reuse. We saw another church in 2014 in Wabek, North Dakota that someone had turned into a home, and someone appeared to be moving into an old Post Office in Sentinel Butte. It’s so cool to see old places, steeped in history and heritage, getting second chances.

Oberon, North Dakota

Do you have our hardcover, Ghosts of North Dakota coffee table books? Order them in our store.

Oberon, North Dakota

Another place we couldn’t resist shooting. Calvary Lutheran Church.

Oberon, North Dakota

Services are Sunday at 9:30.

Oberon, 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.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church is in Eddy County, about seven and a half miles southwest of Sheyenne, North Dakota. Two other places we’ve photographed — Bremen and Hamberg — are just a short drive away.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

An obituary for Astrid Nelson Salmonson published in the Fargo Forum in 2002 reveals interesting details about Mrs. Salmonson’s young life in Grandfield Township, and the history of this beautifully constructed church.

She was born on the prairie, February 7th, 1909. Her father, Anders Gustav Nilson, had helped build this church, and she was baptized and confirmed, in the Swedish language, in this building. Astrid agreed to marry Vernon Salmonson in 1935, and their wedding ceremony was the first held in this church.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

This church is part of the Sheyenne Lutheran Parish which includes about a half-dozen other congregations in the area. Sheyenne Lutheran Church celebrated a centennial in 2007, and the article from the Benson County News sheds a little light on this church’s history.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

This church was so beautiful, we plan to feature it in a future book. Check out our Ghosts of North Dakota hardcover coffee table books.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

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

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

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.

Pembina, North Dakota

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.

Pembina, North Dakota

Pembina, North Dakota

This church is now cared for by the Fort Pembina Historical Society.

Pembina, North Dakota

Pembina, North Dakota

The slab from a former structure next to the church. I don’t know what it was.

Pembina, North Dakota

Tours of the church can be arranged by calling 701-825-6840

Pembina, North Dakota

Pembina has another distinction. It’s hard to imagine looking at the crumbling road shown here, but this was once part of what was to be the most impressive highway in the Western Hemisphere. At the dawn of the automobile, The Meridian International Highway (in most, but not all places, one-and-the-same with Old US 81) was proposed as a north/south migration route stretching from Winnipeg to Mexico City. Later, the proposal was expanded and referred to as the Pan American Highway with plans to extend the road all the way to Buenos Aires in the south, and to the Alaska Highway in the north.

In North Dakota, the Meridian Highway lies mostly parallel to Interstate 29. Old US Highway 81 south of town, and most other sections of the road, have been repaved several times, but this section of road north of Pembina is as close as you can get to seeing the original Meridian Highway.

Pembina, North Dakota

I drove down this road in my car, heading north on the old Meridian Highway. I reached the end of the road, where it meets the US/Canadian border and got out to take a few photos. The Canadian Port of Entry was a stone’s throw away, and the border was marked by the typical pillars and an old, deteriorating cable fence.

Pembina, North Dakota

I finished taking my photos and began to drive back down the road to Pembina when I noticed a black pickup approaching. The moment I passed it, it turned around and I thought, “Uh oh.” Moments later a white pickup from US Customs and Border Patrol showed up and wanted to know what I had been doing. I gave the gentleman a quick recap on the Meridian Highway, and he turned out to be a very nice gentleman. He said they saw me walking around near the border, so they came to see what I was doing. He also said if I had been driving an old farm pickup, they probably wouldn’t have been suspicious.

No border infiltration here. Just history appreciation.

Pembina, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media



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

Spring in Jud, North Dakota

Spring in Jud, North Dakota

This is Jud, North Dakota, in Lamoure County, about 14 miles northwest of Edgeley.

Jud, North Dakota

Jud is far from a ghost town — there were 72 residents according to the 2010 census, but we found out about Jud after someone suggested there was a school that might be a good photo opportunity, and upon further investigation, we were very excited to find this church on the edge of town.

Jud, North Dakota

Doug Wick’s “North Dakota Place Names” says Jud was first named Fox, then Gunthorpe before the name was changed to Jud in 1906 to honor Judson Lamoure, the politician who also lent his name to the county.

Jud, North Dakota

This is St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Jud, North Dakota

Jud, North Dakota

Jud, North Dakota

This church was featured in our book, “Churches of the High Plains,” and prints of this church are available in our Etsy store.

Jud, North Dakota

Jud, North Dakota

Jud, North Dakota

Service Dogs of America has a facility right behind this school.

Jud, North Dakota

Geese migrating north over the former Public School.

Jud, North Dakota

Jud, North Dakota

This museum is open by appointment only.

Jud, North Dakota

Jud, North Dakota

The last gas price on this pump was over $2/gallon. Maybe it hasn’t been out of service for as long as it looks.

Jud, North Dakota

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

Join 4,987 other subscribers

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

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church from 1895

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church from 1895

Terry has family in northeast North Dakota and managed to duck out of holiday festivities long enough to photograph this place in 2014 — St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Leroy, North Dakota.

Leroy, North Dakota

Leroy is in Pembina County, about ten miles northwest of Cavalier.

Leroy, North Dakota

Terry was told they stopped holding regular services here about a decade ago.

Leroy, North Dakota

This church is featured in our fourth hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains.

Leroy, North Dakota

Leroy, North Dakota

A small community center and auditorium.

Leroy, North Dakota

This area is absolutely steeped in history, stretching back to a pre-homestead, trader and trapper time in our history, when settlement of what would become North Dakota by European settlers was very sparse.

Leroy, North Dakota

UPDATE: Although the sign makes it look like the church is for sale, according to a comment below, the church is not actually for sale. See the comment below from Gaye Carpenter.

Leroy, North Dakota

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2014 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,987 other subscribers

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

Forgotten Minot Church

Forgotten Minot Church

This vacant church stood at the corner of Broadway and 4th Ave NW in Minot, at the bottom of North Broadway, right across the street from Sammy’s Pizza.  It was locked-up and posted, so we weren’t able to go inside, but by all outward appearances, this place was largely forgotten.

Abandoned Minot Church

We photographed this place on the spur of the moment on a Saturday morning, and I found myself wondering and thinking about it for the rest of the day. In a town the size of Minot, at a high traffic intersection like this, with a shortage of space due to the oil boom, I couldn’t imagine how someone hadn’t purchased this property for immediate redevelopment as some kind of renaissance landmark.

Abandoned Minot Church

Normally, when we go on a shoot, we post some shots from the road, and before we even get home, people have filled in all the details of the places we’ve photographed. But not with this place. Out of nearly a hundred comments, nobody knew the name of this church.

Abandoned Minot Church

This church is featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Abandoned Minot Church

Charissa Arneson posted a photo of the church, taken from the Broadway bridge during the disastrous flood of 2011. You can see the top of a huge earthen dike in the foreground, the church’s ultimate saving grace.

If you know the name or any of the details behind this church, please leave a comment below.

Update: This church was founded in 1906 as First Evangelical Swedish Lutheran Church, later to become Augustana Lutheran Church.

Update 2: A visitor to our Facebook page says this property was listed for sale at $575,000.

Update 3: This church was demolished in the summer of 2015.

Original 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.

Back to Balfour

Back to Balfour

We visited Balfour in November of 2014, nine years after our first visit, to get some photos of all the things we missed the first time. We actually tried to revisit Balfour in 2012, but a road construction crew had traffic at a complete stop on Highway 52, complicating our travel schedule, and we decided to wait until another time, so it was nice to finally get back there.

Balfour, North Dakota

Most notably, Balfour has this abandoned church standing right along Highway 52. If you drive the stretch between Minot and Harvey, you’ll see it.

Balfour, North Dakota

We’re told this church was originally in Verendrye, North Dakota, a near ghost-town where only a farm and the facade of the old school remain standing.

Balfour, North Dakota

On this particular weekend, winter was about two minutes away, and the skies had been flat, gray, overcast the whole time. Balfour was our last stop before heading for home.

balfour14

balfour5

This church, several derelict homes, along with several inhabited ones, stand on the south side of Highway 52.

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

On the north side of the highway, some familiar sights… like the former Post Office and Community Hall, covered in gorgeously rusted tin siding.

Balfour, North Dakota

The sunset was approaching and the street light was on.

balfour7

Right across the street, the former bank.

Balfour, North Dakota

As we were photographing this area, we ran into the Mayor of Balfour who informed us there are now about 20 residents in town. He also told us about the former fire station and jail, and gave us permission to shoot it as long as we promised to be careful.

balfour42

This little non-descript building once functioned as the fire station and jail in Balfour.

Balfour, North Dakota

Inside, the firefighters’ jackets still hang on the wall. The years they’ve been hanging here can be seen demonstrated in jacket number four. The original red wall paint remains on the wood where the jacket has shielded it from the elements that have been pouring in through the open roof for years. Winds have blown the jacket back and forth on the hook, wearing a fan shape on the wood, and the silhouette of jackets that have fallen on the floor can still be seen on the wall.

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

The siren still rests on top of a tower outside.

Balfour, North Dakota

This is in the room on the other side of the wall from where the jackets are hanging.

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

The door on the left leads to the Balfour town jail. Seeing this chair with the ashtray on the floor made me imagine a jailer, sitting here smoking cigarettes, waiting for a county deputy to arrive and take custody of a prisoner.

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

The jail cell is made from two by fours, and when the door is closed, it is pitch black inside.

Balfour, North Dakota

These two abandoned homes stand on the west side of town.

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

The clouds had been around all day, but just as we were finishing up shooting this school, the sun ducked below the cloud cover and illuminated Balfour in a beautiful golden light that would only last about twenty minutes before sundown.

Balfour, North Dakota

There was another school in Balfour before this one.

Balfour, North Dakota

Part of the wall has collapsed on the south side of the school.

Balfour, North Dakota

Trees have sprouted between the slabs that once served as the basketball court.

Balfour, North Dakota

Just north of the school, this building with a collapsed roof hides in the trees. We intended to get a closer shot, but the changing light conditions made us adjust our priorities. Perhaps next time.Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

There’s something hidden in the photo above. Can you spot it? (Click the image, then again on the next page to see it full size.)

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

We have featured Balfour in several of our hardcover coffee table books.

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Balfour, North Dakota

Photographer Ria Cabral sent us some photos of Balfour in winter you can see here.

Balfour, 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.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

As we ventured toward Minot for a book signing event, we decided we would try to sneak in some shooting time at a few different locations along the drive, but this was not a place we knew about beforehand — we just happened to drive right by it, on highway 30 in Albert Township, just north of Maddock, North Dakota and couldn’t pass up such a picturesque church.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This is the former Immanuel Lutheran Church. Founded in 1887 and closed “in God’s Service, July 1st, 2001.”

Immanuel Lutheran Church

The church was locked up tight so we couldn’t go inside, but a visitor to our Facebook page says a lot was removed from inside after this church closed.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This was a very windy and cold November day. Two days later, the first significant snowfall of the season hit a large portion of the state.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This church is featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains, which, by the way, makes an excellent gift. 🙂

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Someone definitely took great care to design a great roadside monument for passing travelers to enjoy, including a photo of the church in brighter days, and the bell.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This is the second church to wear the name Immanuel Lutheran Church. See the comment section below for the tragic story about the first Immanuel Lutheran Church and a lightning strike that claimed the church and the lives of several men.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

There are some pretty old headstones in the cemetery — pioneers who rest in peace at this quiet spot on the prairie.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

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

Join 4,987 other subscribers

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

Three Cogswell Churches

Three Cogswell Churches

We stopped in Cogswell specifically to photograph the beautiful United Methodist Church, and to see if a church shown on our postcard from 1918 was still standing. In the process, we ran across another boarded-up church we didn’t know was there.

Cogswell, North Dakota

Cogswell is in Sargent County, about 60 miles west of Wahpeton. According to the 2010 Census, Cogswell has a population of 99 residents.

Cogswell, North Dakota

Pastor Steve Olson left a comment on our Facebook page to say the church “is still active with worship services on Sunday Mornings at 10:00 AM.” That might be worth a roadtrip.

Cogswell, North Dakota

Cogswell, North Dakota

We ran across this former church on the way out of town… boarded-up and clearly no longer in use. Please leave a comment if you know any more about it.

Update: Tina Larson, a visitor to our Facebook page, says “The church that is boarded up was the Church of Christ. When I lived in Cogswell, the Pastor was Steve Smith.”

Cogswell, North Dakota

These Cogswell churches were fatured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Cogswell, North Dakota

The postcard below was mailed in 1918 to a recipient in Minnesota. We came by the card in an antique store some time ago and we stopped in to see if this place was still standing, but we didn’t see it anywhere. Interesting to note, the photography lab apparently mixed up the Dakotas (if you’re a Dakotan, you know how common that is) and labeled the church as Cogswell, South Dakota, and the printer of the postcard corrected the mistake with the caption in the upper left. The postmark on the back was also stamped Cogswell, N.Dak.

Cogswell. 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.

Return to Deisem

Return to Deisem

When we planned our trip in early October of 2014, we realized we would be in the area of Deisem and made plans for a return visit. Deisem’s former church, the lone remaining structure, was in such terrible shape last time we were there, we didn’t know whether it would even be standing when we returned.

Deisem, North Dakota

There it was, right along Highway 34, northwest of Edgeley, still standing but looking like more than two years had passed since our last visit.

Deisem, North Dakota

Once you get past the sadness for a place forgotten and left to wither in the elements, there becomes a certain magic to abandoned places like the church in Deisem; the last remaining structure from this tiny vanishing rural settlement. Angled rays of sunshine beam through the windows, and golden dust motes swirl in the light when your shoe scuffs a wood floor laid down by craftsmen nearly a century ago. The silence is deafening, and for a few more moments at least, the place still stands.

Deisem, North Dakota

The trains once came through Deisem, but the tracks were torn up long ago.  You can still see the telltale ridge of the railbed, running from southwest to northeast through this section of land.

Deisem, North Dakota

The building that was the Post Office and Store burned down on January 30th, 1943, and the loss spelled the end for the rural settlement that was once Deisem.

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

This church is featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Deisem, North Dakota

You can definitely see how the floor on the left has sunk considerably since our last visit.

Deisem, North Dakota

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

Join 4,987 other subscribers

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

Another Visit to Cayuga

Another Visit to Cayuga

In summer of 2014, I stopped in Cayuga on my way back from South Dakota and was shocked at the number of great photo opportunities. I was at the end of a long day and just snapped a few shots, making a mental note to come back. We were thrilled to discover it’s just as beautiful in the fall as it is in the summer.

Cayuga, North Dakota

We spoke with a local businessman, Butch, a super-friendly gentleman who owns Cayuga’s bar, the red building on the left. We were very surprised when he said our last visit actually brought business into his bar, and he connected with a cousin he hadn’t spoken to in thirty years through the Facebook comments.

Cayuga, North Dakota

Butch told us this building was the grocery store, and also a hotel at one time. When I visited Cayuga in June, this place still had windows. I neglected to ask what happened to prompt the plywood blinds.

Cayuga, North Dakota

The old post office is the tiny building in the middle, hiding in the trees.

Cayuga, North Dakota

 The brick building on the left was the International dealer.

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga is in Sargent County, about 40 miles southwest of Wahpeton.

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

The fall colors were about a week from peak when we were there, but windy weather had already stripped many of the colorful leaves from their limbs.

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

The incredible church shown below is actually in neighboring Geneseo, but we photographed it and included it here because a) it’s amazing and b) because a number of Cayuga residents call this church home. We included it in our book, Churches of the High PlainsSts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Cayuga is still active, too.

Geneseo, 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.

Abandoned Roadside Church

Abandoned Roadside Church

This abandoned country church is located in Rat Lake Township in Mountrail County, about fifteen miles southwest of Stanley. This church stands right alongside ND 1804 in a little-populated part of the county. The entire township has a population of 28 and the countryside is quiet, green and rolling.

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

We hadn’t planned to stop here, we just saw this church on the side of the road and made a quick pit stop to shoot it.

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

There’s a small, overgrown plateau next to this church, a “parking lot” so to speak, but looking at it, you can totally imagine the days when wagons delivered parishioners on Sunday morning.

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

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

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3

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

Grasslands Ghost Town: Trotters, North Dakota

Grasslands Ghost Town: Trotters, North Dakota

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 grasses with blooms of yellow and purple rule the landscape.

Trotters, North Dakota

Trotters was settled in 1903 near the source of Smith Creek and Francis “Lee” Trotters became the first Postmaster one year later. In his book “North Dakota: Every Town on the Map and More,” Vernel Johnson says Lee had to carry the mail every day from Wibaux, Montana, twenty-five miles to the southwest, without pay for an entire year to get a Post Office assigned to Trotters.

Trotters, North Dakota

In 1959, Leonard Hall took over as Postmaster, becoming the final person to hold the position and the last resident of Trotters. The town site shown here has been empty for over a decade, but the church is still used by area residents. Someone once told us that Mr. Hall would leave the gas pump unlocked at night and locals who needed gas could fill up on the honor system.

Trotters, North Dakota

Trotters, North Dakota

Trotters, North Dakota

Hi, fill ‘er up and check the oil, please.

Trotters, North Dakota

Trotters, North Dakota was featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains.

Trotters, North Dakota

In his book, “North Dakota Place Names,” Doug Wick says Trotters is one of North Dakota’s most remote towns. In terms of highway driving, it certainly is. County Road 16 is a two lane blacktop and runs north-south through Trotters, and it’s virtually the only link to the rest of the state with no intersecting highways, railroads or rivers. Grassy Butte, a similarly remote town just thirty miles to the east, is more than ninety minutes away by car, requiring a trip around the rugged and beautiful valleys surrounding Beaver Creek and the Little Missouri River.

Trotters, North Dakota

Trotters, North Dakota

See also: Trotters, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp copyright © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,987 other subscribers

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

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

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, North Dakota for lunch.Sentinel Butte, ND

Sentinel Butte is in Golden Valley County near the Montana border, just a few miles east of Beach, North Dakota, situated in a gorgeous green carpet of prairie grass, broken in places by ragged patches of badland and alkaline earth — a middle ground between inhabitable and inhospitable.  According to the 2010 Census, Sentinel Butte has 56 residents, down from 62 in 2000. They have their own website here.

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

This school is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s also home to a time capsule buried in 1976, scheduled to be opened in 2076.

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

We have substantial costs associated with hosting our photos and bandwidth expenses. If you enjoy Ghosts of North Dakota, please consider supporting our site by ordering something from our online store — books, coffee, tin signs, and more.

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Thank you for your service.

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

The grounds also make a great place to play horseshoes.

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Someone is converting this old Post Office to a residence.

This trip took place in July of 2014, and we saw a lot of this on this trip — old buildings appropriated for housing due to the oil industry. We don’t know if that’s the case here, but we did see a lot of it in various places. Schools, churches, and old abandoned homes, now re-inhabited, and frequently with RVs or 18-wheelers parked in the yard. In this housing shortage, people are using all kinds of old structures as dwellings.

Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Sentinel Butte, 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.

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, North Dakota

Judson was the first stop on a trip in which we had planned to go all the way to Montana. We set out at the crack of dawn from Fargo and drove three hours and fifteen minutes west on Interstate 94. Access is limited today and the traffic sails by uninterrupted by small-town life. We got off at the Judson exit, glad to stretch our legs.

Judson, North Dakota

The two most prominent structures in Judson are the church and the school, which is for sale. It appears it has been used for a home at some point in the past, and it now wears the stickers of replacement windows. There’s a For Sale sign in the tall grass out front, obscured in the weeds, as if nature itself conspires to foil a sale and consume this place.

To hopefully save you the trouble of sending us an email, we do not know the asking price or have any contact information for the property owner.

Judson, North Dakota

Judson, North Dakota

If you bought this school, this would be your view coming into your driveway.

Judson, North Dakota

Judson, North Dakota

The previous residents had a skateboard ramp.

Judson, North Dakota

Anybody who buys this property will have to tackle some upgrades to this bridge because it’s not in great condition.

Judson, North Dakota

Judson, North Dakota

This church was featured on the cover of Churches of the High Plains.

Judson, 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.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Neuburg 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.

Neuburg Congregational Church

We visited Neuberg Congregational Church in July of 2014. The sky was thick with haze from forest fires (in Washington, Oregon, or Canada, depending on who you ask) which lent some weirdness to the look of the sky. The light changed by the minute.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Neuberg Congregational Church was founded in 1898 by a group of settlers, Germans from Russia, who had come to America seeking relief from increasingly oppressive living conditions. For seven years, they worshipped at the farm of John Sayler, but in 1905, they bought a vacant Lutheran church and moved it to this site. Twenty years later, their congregation having swelled in number, they chose to build this church. According to the National Register of Historic Places registration form, the settlers that built this church “totally ignored the Russian part of their heritage. They culturally identified as Germans.” Until 1953, all services were held in German.

Neuburg Congregational Church

This church was featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains — a great gift for the North Dakota-lover on your list.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Must have been a big congregation. That’s a lot of biffies.

Neuburg Congregational Church

Neuburg Congregational Church

Sometime after we visited in 2014, area residents decided it was time to bring Neuburg Congregational Church back from the brink. Our friend Tim Riley got some photos in 2016.

Neuburg Congregational Church

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

Join 4,987 other subscribers

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

Before the Flood: Leaving Sanish, North Dakota

Before the Flood: Leaving Sanish, North Dakota

We’ve posted several galleries dedicated to Sanish, North Dakota, the former Missouri River town that was dismantled timber and brick and dispersed to higher ground when the Garrison Dam was erected, flooding this part of the Missouri River Valley.  There’s a gallery dedicated to the construction of Four Bears Bridge, our visit to the crumbling remains during historic low water levels in 2005, a Christmas in Sanish gallery, and a look down the street in front of the school and church, but no two photos we’ve seen so far capture this time in our history as these two photos submitted by Don Hammer.

Read More Read More

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

Whitman, North Dakota: Population 2

Whitman, North Dakota: Population 2

Whitman, North Dakota is in Nelson County, about thirty minutes east of Devils Lake. We had Whitman on our list when we visited neighboring Bartlett in 2011, but we had to cut it from our list that day due to time constraints.

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman got some national press for their centennial celebration in 2012. The population was reported as two. Judging by the lack of activity we saw the day we visited, that seemed accurate, and it put Whitman in a small club of places, just hanging on to their last few residents… places like Merricourt, Sanger, Hanks, and Heaton.  All have populations of two or fewer.

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota
Whitman, North Dakota

Looks like we were a few years too late to photograph whatever was once here.

Whitman, North Dakota

The banner on the garage is from the centennial in 2012 and it reads: “Dahlen on the Soo, Whitman in the Slough.  See you in two zero one two.”

Whitman, North Dakota

Despite the lack of residents, Whitman has an active, very well-kept Lutheran church in the center of town.

Whitman, North Dakota

Sarnia United Lutheran Church

Whitman, North Dakota
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2014 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,987 other subscribers

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

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City was on our list of places to visit when we stopped in nearby Mose and Juanita in 2004, but we headed off in pursuit of other attractions and didn’t make it to Grace City until May of 2014.

Grace City is in Foster County, about twenty minutes northeast of Carrington, and it had 63 residents as of the 2010 Census.

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

The intersection of Main Street and N Railroad Ave has been relocated to this former pump island.

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

 

This lonely, old, boarded-up church is in the hardcover book Churches of the High Plains.

Grace City, North Dakota

Grace City, North Dakota

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

See also: Mose, North Dakota
See also: Juanita, North Dakota

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

Ringsaker Lutheran and Romness Bridge

Ringsaker Lutheran and Romness Bridge

Someone suggested this place to us last fall, we waited all winter to visit, and it was worth the wait.  Ringsaker Lutheran Church and School are about seven and half miles north of Cooperstown, and they’re rich in history dating back to what is claimed to be the first Christian religious service in Griggs County, in 1879 or 1880.

RingsakerLutheran

Ringsaker Lutheran Church in Romness Township.

Ringsaker Lutheran Church

The site of this church and school reminded us of Sims, North Dakota — it’s a beautiful place with gently rolling hills… just spacious and appealing.

Ringsaker Lutheran Church

Ringsaker Lutheran Church

This church and school are featured in our hardcover coffee table book book, Churches of the High Plains, which you can order online or find it in-stores.

Ringsaker Lutheran Church

The cemetery on the grounds is beautiful and well-kept, just like the church, with the abandoned one-room school just across the road.

Ringsaker Lutheran School

Ringsaker Lutheran School

Ringsaker Lutheran School

Arthur Skramstad left his mark on the school.

Ringsaker Lutheran Church and School

A short walk south of the church and school leads to a closed road.

Road to Romness Bridge

Romness Bridge

A short hike down the closed road leads to the abandoned and washed-out Romness Bridge. This bridge was built over the Sheyenne River in 1912 by the Great Northern Bridge Co. of Minneapolis. It is a pin-connected Pratt through truss design and it originally had a wood floor. Total cost of the bridge was $4,195.00. It is owned by Griggs County and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Romness Bridge

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2017 Sonic Tremor Media

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. 

Read More Read More

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

Church and Sunflowers in Concrete, North Dakota

Church and Sunflowers in Concrete, North Dakota

Sometimes when we’re out on the road, we’ll run across a place and snap a few photos with the intention of getting the photos posted on the site, but then real life intervenes and by the time we get around to posting the photos, we’ve lost track of where we took them (we use GPS these days to avoid that problem).  These photos are a perfect example. Terry shot these in 2006 but they got lost in the shuffle and it was only recently that we remembered they were taken in Concrete, North Dakota.

Concrete is in Pembina County, about fifteen miles southwest of Cavalier and has just a handful of residents.  It’s named for the cement plant which once operated here and it was a loading station for the Great Northern Railroad.

Concrete, North Dakota

Dusk, the last ray of sun on the cross.

Concrete, North Dakota

Order Books

Concrete, North Dakota

Photos by 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 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.

Order Books

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.

When Omemee Was a Town

When Omemee Was a Town

We first learned about Omemee, North Dakota, a ghost town in Bottineau County, through contributors Mark Johnson and Tom Tolman, who contributed photos of Omemee as it looked around the turn of the millennium.  Those images were all we had ever seen of Omemee until quite recently.  Despite all the time we spend rummaging around at estate sales and antique stores in our free time,  postcards and photos of Omemee just didn’t seem to pop up very often.

So, Tim Brannon of Georgia caught our attention when he posted some photos of Omemee, North Dakota on our Facebook page.  He was kind enough to share these photos and comments.

Read More Read More

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

More Views of Lefor

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 North Dakota.  See our main Lefor gallery here.

Lefor, ND

Order Book Two

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

Lefor, ND

We took a look inside this vault and saw someone had been storing stuff inside, so we didn’t go in even though the door was open.

Lefor, 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.

Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

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 of ten more significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time. When you’re done with this one, check out 10 Lost North Dakota Places, and 8 More Lost North Dakota Places.

Read More Read More

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

Ten Lost North Dakota Places

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 our personal list, by no means exhaustive, of ten significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time.

Read More Read More

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

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota is in Pembina County and is home to the Pembina County Fair.  It still has a substantial population and is in no danger of becoming a ghost town any time soon — according to the 2010 Census, there are 61 residents.  But there are some cool abandoned structures to photograph, most notably, the Hamilton Baptist Church.

We visited Hamilton on a day when the skies were filled with haze which diffused the otherwise bright summer sun and created a somewhat dreamy effect.

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Order the Book

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, North Dakota

Hamilton, 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.