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Duck Inn and Waddle Out of Venturia, North Dakota

Duck Inn and Waddle Out of Venturia, North Dakota

Venturia, North Dakota is located in McIntosh County, just north of the South Dakota border, forty-five miles east of the Missouri river, about nine miles southwest of Ashley, North Dakota. Like most shrinking rural communities across the state, Venturia was founded as a railroad town, but today the tracks are gone.

We visited Venturia on an overcast day of intermittent sprinkles, and we were excited by the photo opportunities but we needed a break from the rain. It took us a few minutes of sitting in the car, waiting for the rain to pass, before we realized the neon sign on the bar behind us was lit — OPEN. We decided to go pay a visit.

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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.
Hamberg Flashback

Hamberg Flashback

We visited Hamberg, North Dakota, a near ghost town in Wells County, about 18 miles east of Harvey, for the first time in 2008, to photograph an old school which has since burned in an accidental fire.

Thanks to Heidi Ermer, we can now take a brief look at Hamberg as it appeared in yesteryear when there were residents numbering in the hundreds, as versus the approximate 20 residents who live there today. Heidi sent us the following postcards. The exact year of these photos is unknown.

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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.

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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.
Abandoned: Freda, North Dakota

Abandoned: Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota is a true ghost town in Grant County about 35 miles southwest of Bismarck.  Freda started out as a Milwaukee Railroad town, and once had a population  of 50 plus its own bank.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

Today it is totally abandoned with the remains of its depot crumbling in the elements. There is one other structure next to the depot, and the ruins of several other buildings on the town site. The depot originally stood about a half mile to the south, but was relocated here. There was also a grain elevator here at one time, but it was moved to Raleigh.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

We spoke to an area resident who didn’t even know Freda still existed. If you don’t know what to look for, you’ll probably drive right past it. One interesting footnote: according to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick, a meteorite fell in Freda in 1919 and is now displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

Freda, North Dakota

Above: Inside the depot.

Freda, North Dakota

The building above looks like it may have been a store or perhaps a post office at one time.  Update: user Ken Laches tells us it was a post office (see comments.) Below: a look inside tells us harsh weathering has been going on for decades, and it looks like someone has scavenged some rusty tin from the back wall.

Freda, North Dakota

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Freda, North Dakota

The foundation of the former church, on the east end of Freda.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

This abandoned farm stands just about a mile or two north of Freda.

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.
Morning in Sheldon, North Dakota

Morning in Sheldon, North Dakota

I was on the road to deliver some books this morning and I decided to stop in Sheldon because I’d seen the old bank once before and I wanted to shoot it.  It’s not a ghost town, not even close, the population in 2010 was over 100, but I’m always on the lookout for good photo opportunities in small towns.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota is in Ransom County, about 33 miles southeast of Valley City.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota

I was ready to take off after I snapped a few shots but as I was driving away, I noticed a few other notable places and decided to shoot a little more in Sheldon.

Sheldon, North Dakota

This old depot caught my eye right away.  Sheldon was founded in 1881 and the Northern Pacific railroad arrived in 1882.  In your mind’s eye you can almost imagine travelers waiting here for their train.

Sheldon, North Dakota

The depot is locked up tight with shiny new locks, and the present owner is using it for storage.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon has an interesting story about the failed attempt to drill an artesian well to serve the local roller mill in 1906.  The foreman was too busy in a card game to oversee the final installation of the casing, so he gave an assistant instructions on how to finish the well without him, with catastrophic results.  When the valve was opened, water sprayed 200 feet in the air and all attempts to fix the well failed.  It was eventually abandoned.

Sheldon, North Dakota

You can almost imagine the old railroad agent arriving here before dawn under the light of the lamp over the door to prepare for the days’ travelers.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Former home of the Sheldon Shadows.  The mascot name was spelled out in colored shingles on the roof, but weathering has started to peel the roof resulting in the (perhaps apropos) blurring of the name on the roof.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota

A local told me they have pretty good food at D’s Dear Stand in Sheldon.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota

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.
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.

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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 of the Fargo Waldorf

More of the Fargo Waldorf

We added a postcard of the Fargo Waldorf as it looked in 1911 a few days ago.  Here are a few more looks at this long gone Fargo landmark.  In the first postcard below from 1906 or ’07, the Northern Pacific Depot is center-left, and the Waldorf is the four-story building center-right.  This view is looking southeast from the tracks at 8th Street North.

np-depot-1906-07

The postcard above was sent to Miss Margaret Kelly in Detroit, Michigan in February of either 1906 or ’07 with the following message:

Hello Margaret. I just got home from Fargo.  Would send from there but did not have address.  Now, even away, I think of you.  Many thanks for the nice Xmas card.  Will write you a letter soon.  Hope you are well.  Kindest regards from J. and myself.  Write [something illegible] Don’t wait.  Mrs. [first name illegible] Shea.  Two Harbors. 2/22/06 (I believe she mistakenly wrote ’06 instead of ’07)

In the postcard below, from the same time frame, we get a look at the Waldorf from the opposite angle.  This shot looks southwest from Front Street and Broadway.  The Waldorf is at the end of the block, under the tree.  Thanks to Jordan Doerr for the postcard.

waldorf-block6

np-depot-1924

Here we have two similar angles on the same scene, nearly ninety years apart.  The postcard above is from around 1924.  You can see the reddish Waldorf center-right, now a five story building due to the floor which was added sometime between 1907 and 1911.  You can also see the DeLendrecies department store, the tan building in the center, which is now part of the scene, and the NP Depot on the left.  In the shot below from 2011, the Delendrecies Building and Depot are still there, and the tall, skinny sign behind the lightpole with “LJA Architects” on it marks the spot where the Waldorf once stood.

np-depot-today

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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.
Another Look at Hanks

Another Look at Hanks

Clif Nelson contributed these photos of Hanks, North Dakota, a near-ghost town in Williams County — population one. Clif’s comments:

“It was never much of a town, but they had coal mines north of town and grain elevatorsin the early 1900’s.  My Grandfather Anton Nelson who farmed about 7 miles northwest of Hanks would haul a load of grain in and haul coal home from the mines just north of the town of Hanks.  They had a bank at one time, and a store plus I’ m sure other businesses.  The school became a museum of which I have pictures included… My Uncles farmed the old Nelson homestead so we used to visit a lot out there from the late 40’s and on.  My children and family used to frequent the Museum when we would visit the Uncles in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  It was quite a museum and how long it has been closed now I have no idea.”

More of Clif’s comments are included as captions below.

It’s interesting to note the presence of the former Bonetraill school and the Zahl depot in Hanks.  It’s quite common for structures to be moved from a vanishing town to another location, many times for use as a museum or other historically-oriented destination.  In this case the structures have been moved from one withering location to another.

Hanks was featured in the National Geographic article “The Emptied Prairie” in 2008.  You can also check out John Piepkorn’s gallery of Hanks photos from 2010 here.

Back side of the old chicken hatchery

Back side of the Zahl depot…Zahl was about 5 miles east of Hanks on the Railroad line and the highway

Front of the old Zahl depot

Former bank building in Hanks, later had a gas pump in front of it, so it maybe was a store and or gas station in later life.

Old Pioneer Trails Museum. Was the school at one time.

Bonetraill township one room grade school. Township was north of Hanks.

Photos by Clif Nelson. Original content copyright ©2016 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.
Pingree, ND

Pingree, ND

Pingree is a small town in Stutsman County, northwest of Jamestown.  According to the 2010 Census, Pingree is home to 60 residents.  Pingree was founded in 1881 and reached a peak population of 268 residents in 1920.

We didn’t have plans to visit Pingree, but we saw a few photo opportunities from the highway and decided to stop.  On the day we visited, several local residents were busy towing cars from the townsite.  There is a sizable auto repair/salvage operation in Pingree.

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

This church is beautifully well-kept and still in use.

Pingree, North Dakota

This church is beautifully well-kept and still in use.

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

The former Pingree depot and gazebo.

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Relics of Pingree’s railroad heritage are prominently displayed in town.

Pingree, North Dakota

Inside the caboose.

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

The former Pingree Jail — two cells.

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

Pingree, North Dakota

pingree20

Pingree, North Dakota

Photos by Troy and Rat, 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.
Bordulac, ND

Bordulac, ND

Thank you to Dustin Person and Durton Koble for contributing these photos of Bordulac. Dustin’s comments: I was really surprised by this town as well, the population is around 15-20, and the elevator and bar & grill are the only businesses in town. The white building was the Bordulac Hall. The reddish building was the Carrington train station I believe, and it must have been moved the 9 miles to Bordulac.

bordulac1

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Click Here to see our photo of Bordulac Bank, taken in 2005.

Photos by Dustin Person. 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.
Marmarth, ND

Marmarth, ND

Slope County
Inhabited as of 5-07

Marmarth, ND is a Badlands town in Slope County in the extreme southwest corner of the state.

Marmarth is one of the more populous towns we’ve photographed with 130 people according to the 2010 Census, but minimum conveniences. Marmarth has lost 190 residents since 1960.

There’s an exhilarating old west ambience in this part of the state… Montana is only five miles west and it’s just a three hour drive to Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.  The landscape is a harder, chalkier badland than the more pastoral lands to the east and radio signals sometimes elude the car radio as the highway winds past the occasional butte.  There’s a gas station, a bar/steakhouse (with excellent food), and a railroad bunkhouse where you can rent a room with a double bed for $15 per night.  At the time we visited, we were told they had dial-up internet in Marmarth, and satellite was the only way to get TV programming.

The most prominent abandoned structure in Marmarth is Barber Auditorium. It’s actually two buildings, Barber Auditorium and First National Bank of Marmarth.

The train depot has been cut in two pieces and relocated to a stretch of grass along the highway as you enter from the east.

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Marmarth, North Dakota

The 1st National Bank and Barber Auditorium in downtown Marmarth, built in 1918.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

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Marmarth, North Dakota

In the basement of Barber auditorium.

Marmarth, North Dakota

The red velvet theater seats still wait in the murky black.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

The staircase on the main floor of the auditorium.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

A former storefront, now only storage.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

The former Mystic Theatre

Marmarth, North Dakota

These were the first two jail cells ever installed in Marmarth.

Marmarth, North Dakota

The Pastime Bar has cold drinks, and the food in the steakhouse at the rear is excellent.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

One former filling station.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Another former filling station.

Marmarth, North Dakota

The depot has been moved.

Marmarth, North Dakota

It now rests on blocks alongside the road in downtown Marmarth.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

A boarded-up school.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

We rented rooms at this former railroad bunkhouse for $15 bucks a night.

Marmarth, North Dakota

See more photos of Marmarth here.

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.