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Six Years Gone in Larson

Six Years Gone in Larson

We first visited Larson, a near-ghost town in Burke County about 85 miles northwest of Minot, on a stormy day in May of 2010. According to the Census that same year, Larson had a population of 12.

As I recently planned a trip to photograph some Saskatchewan places, I decided to stop in Larson before I crossed the border to check on things and see how much had changed in six years. We had been told there was more activity for a time due to the oil boom, and a man camp had been planned for the area too, so I was unsure what I would find when I arrived. Would Larson be bustling with new activity? Would Larson’s previously vacant properties be inhabited with new residents who had repurposed them as housing, as we’ve seen in so many other western North Dakota communities? I wanted to find out.

Larson, North Dakota

Larson is just off Highway 5 and you can see St. John’s Lutheran Church from the road. I pulled in to get a closer look and found it looked much worse for wear than it had been only six years earlier. The exterior arch over the main entry was completely gone, and someone took down the protective plywood over the windows. Below: the church as it appeared in 2010.

Larson, North Dakota

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

Larson, North Dakota

As I explored the places we’d visited six years earlier, it became quite clear that nature is taking back many of Larson’s vacant places. The old service station is considerably overgrown. Above, 2016, below, 2010.

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

The former service station doesn’t look like it has long to live. We featured this gas station in our first book, which is now officially out-of-print, and we’re down to our last few dozen copies. If you want it in its original hardcover format, last chance.

Larson, North Dakota

The former bar is also in much worse shape than it was in 2010. All the signs have been torn down and weeds and brush have overtaken the building. See it as it appeared in 2010 here.

Larson, North Dakota



Larson, North Dakota

Above: Looking down the street toward the former bar in 2016. Below: the same scene in 2010.

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

There were still a number of abandoned houses in Larson to go with the inhabited homes of the few residents who remain. I didn’t see any increased activity from the oil field, or any sign of a man camp. Perhaps a local resident can help bring us up to speed on the happenings over the last six years in the comments below.

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

8 More Lost North Dakota Places

8 More Lost North Dakota Places

Unfortunately, we have to do a post like this from time to time. As the years pass, many of the places we’ve photographed also pass… into history. Whether it be the wrecking ball, weathering, or disaster, many of the places we’ve photographed since 2003 are now gone. We documented some of the losses in 10 Lost North Dakota Places and 10 More Lost North Dakota Places, now, unfortunately, here are 8 More Lost North Dakota Places.

Maza School

Maza School

A visitor recently commented to tell us the Maza School apparently burned sometime in 2015 or 2016. As one of the few remaining structures from Maza, the end of this school effectively spells the end for Maza.

Bluegrass Store and Gas Station

Bluegrass, North Dakota

Bluegrass, North Dakota, is a true ghost town, population zero, in Morton County, about thirty-five miles northwest of Mandan. Bluegrass is a former rural community that had a population of 20 in the 1920 Census, a relatively small peak population, but not surprising considering the railroad never came to Bluegrass. Sadly, this former store and gas station burned down in 2014.

Northgate Port of Entry

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. This building was once the Port of Entry Station, but was abandoned when a new Port was built. A person commented on our Facebook page to say the building has since been demolished.

Much of Leith, North Dakota

leith-store

Leith‘s troubles have been highly publicized, so we don’t have to say much except that numerous vacant structures were demolished after a white supremacist bought up the property in an attempt to take over the town. This creamery is one of the buildings which no longer stands in Leith.

Lost Bridge

Lost Bridge on the Little MIssouri River

Lost Bridge was so named because in 1930 when it was originally constructed over the Little Missouri River, about 23 miles north of Killdeer, there were no quality roads leading to the site, and the bridge was seldom used. Paved roads came in the sixties, but Lost Bridge was demolished in 1994 and replaced with a modern highway bridge.

Brantford Public School

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford Public School still stands in this Eddy County ghost town, but not for long.  One of the classrooms has collapsed and cracks can be seen throughout the exterior walls. Soon, Brantford Public School will be no more.

Minot Church

minot-church2

This church, known as Augustana Lutheran Church (and other names over the years) would have been a fantastic place for a business. It stood in a high traffic location, at the foot of Broadway, across from Sammy’s Pizza in Minot. Sadly, after years of dereliction, mold, and a close call in the 2011 flood, the church was demolished.

Most of Bucyrus

bucyrus1

Bucyrus, North Dakota was struck by a wind-driven grassfire in 2010 and many of the abandoned structures in town, as well as a number of family homes, were destroyed. This home, on the west side of town, was one of the casualties. Thankfully, nobody lost their life in the fire, but Bucyrus will never be the same.

Antler Bank

antler1

After being driven out of Leith, the same white supremacist allegedly tried to buy vacant properties in Antler, North Dakota. The city bought up a number of properties to prevent the takeover, and this former bank building was one of them. In early 2016, it was demolished.

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Ghost Town: Bluegrass, North Dakota

Ghost Town: Bluegrass, North Dakota

This is Bluegrass, North Dakota, a true ghost town, population zero, in Morton County, about thirty-five miles northwest of Mandan. Bluegrass is a former rural community that had a population of 20 in the 1920 Census, a relatively small peak population, but not surprising considering the railroad never came to Bluegrass. In his book “North Dakota Place Names,” Doug Wick says the last census figures in 1960 registered a population of 7.

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Dust Bowl North Dakota

Dust Bowl North Dakota

Russell Lee was a trained chemical engineer who passed on a career in the field in favor of art. He is best known for the incredible number of photographs he took during the Dust Bowl for the Farm Security Administration.  Mr. Lee spent a good portion of 1937 in North Dakota photographing families, farms and cities, too.

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

More Nekoma, North Dakota

More Nekoma, North Dakota

We got these photos of Nekoma, a town of about fifty in Cavalier County, in August of 2011. We stopped in to get photos of the nearby Stanley Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, and shot a bunch of stuff in town as well. These are some photos from our archive, never before posted. Enjoy.

Nekoma, North Dakota

Nekoma, North Dakota

Nekoma Coliseum

Nekoma, North Dakota

Nekoma, North Dakota

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Nekoma, North Dakota

Nekoma, North Dakota

Nekoma, North Dakota

Nekoma, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Verendrye in Black & White

Verendrye in Black & White

We’ve long hoped to run across some photos of the town that was once Verendrye, North Dakota. We drove by the crumbling facade of the school a few years ago and snapped a photo, but we hadn’t yet seen any photos of Verendrye when it still looked like a town.  So, we were thrilled when we got an email from Kathy Haynes with some photos and a drawing attached.  She was very informative, and her comments and captions are shown below.

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Vanishing Antler 2013

Vanishing Antler 2013

We’ve wanted to visit Antler for several years but it never quite fit into our travel plans until 4th of July weekend, 2013.  Antler is a very small town in Bottineau County, just two miles from the Canadian border.  The 2010 Census pinpoints Antler’s population at 27, although local residents claim a population of 35.  Local residents have fought valiantly at times to keep the population figure from dwindling, including an effort by two local residents in the 1980s to give away free land to families who would agree to move to Antler.  It worked in the short-term, with 6 families receiving land.

Antler, North Dakota

Antler has a rich and colorful history as a former Port of Entry, not to mention one-time World Record Holder for the World’s Largest Quilt.  There is a fascinating website dedicated to Antler’s history at AntlerND.com — a word of caution however, you will get lost in that site for hours.

We stopped for a beer at the I Have No Idea Bar & Grill (also known as The Cabin) while we were there… not the friendliest place to outlanders like ourselves, but they had good cold beer and the prices were reasonable.  You can see their Facebook page here.

Antler, North Dakota

This is the former Custom House for international travelers. It has also functioned as the Bank, Post Office, and Telephone Office.

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

This was also a bank, older than the Bank/Custom House in the center of the town square. The AntlerND.com site has photos of this building when it was still surrounded by other structures. We featured this building in our book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3, and we’re glad we did, because in the spring of 2016, they tore it down after a white supremacist attempted to buy it, allegedly with plans to take over the town.

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

On the left, the former firehouse and jail. On the right, the International Order of Odd Fellows hall.

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Vince Azzarello sent in a photo gallery of Antler in 2012 which you can see here.

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Tiny Tim once performed at the Antler Public School during a tour to support small schools.  Antler’s school is also featured in our third book.

Antler, North Dakota

This school was built in 1907. Hidden in the trees on the left, a quonset hut gymnasium built in 1949. On the right, a modern addition with extra classroom space, built in 1964.

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

The Antler school closed in 1976.

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, North Dakota

Antler, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Landa, ND

Landa, ND

Landa, North Dakota is a small town in Bottineau County, about seven miles south of the Canadian border.  According to the 2010 Census, Landa is home to 38 residents, down from a peak of 150 in 1920.

Landa, North Dakota

Landa, North Dakota

When we first drove into Landa, we saw a lot of inhabited homes with children playing and people out doing yard work, and we worried we might not find much to photograph. Upon a little exploration we discovered some good photo opportunities, including two vacant churches, a one room school house, and more.  There was also a somewhat modern school which someone has turned into an auto shop, and there some guys hanging around outside, so we chose not to photograph it.

Landa, North Dakota

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Landa, North Dakota

Landa, North Dakota

Landa, North Dakota

Once upon a time, this was the heart of Landa… the stopping point where residents gathered their goods and caught up on each other’s lives. Today, groceries are bought in other places, in bigger towns down the road.

Landa, North Dakota

Landa, North Dakota

We just love these old filling stations like this. Tiny little places where a couple guys came out and filled your tank, washed your windows, and sent you on your way.

Landa, North Dakota

Landa, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Return to Crystal Springs: A Town Cut in Two by the Interstate

Return to Crystal Springs: A Town Cut in Two by the Interstate

We first visited Crystal Springs in 2005, primarily to photograph the abandoned school which is quite visible from the Interstate.  We didn’t find out until later that we had neglected to photograph a portion of Crystal Springs which waits just north of the highway.  So, on Memorial Weekend of 2013, we returned to Crystal Springs.

While many towns suffered when they were bypassed by an interstate, Crystal Springs’ decline was hastened when it was bisected by the interstate, effectively cutting the town in two.

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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

If you enjoy this website, please consider ordering one of our hardcover, coffee table books.

berlin14

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Baker, ND

Baker, ND

Baker is an unincorporated community in Benson County.  We drove through on the way to Knox and got quite a kick out of the signs at the edge of town.

Baker, North Dakota

Baker, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Nekoma, ND

Nekoma, ND

Nekoma’s population was 50 in the 2010 Census, slightly more populous than most of the towns we photograph.  At the same time, there were a few cool abandoned structures and/or throwback reminders to simpler days… like the little orange gas pumps.  Since we were in the area to photograph the Safeguard Missile Complex, we decided to take a few shots in Nekoma.  It’s a fun town to photograph.

A nice small town post office still operates in Nekoma.

Excuse some artistic expression, please.

A sticker in the window of one of the local stores.

We have a hunch that the building on the left in the photo above might be the original fire station.  The building on the right appears to be used as a residence at present.

See our photos of the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard ABM Complex

See John Kelly’s photos of Nekoma in Winter.

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Erie, ND

Erie, ND

Erie is a small near-ghost town in Cass County, about 45 minutes northwest of Fargo.  We visited Erie during a trip to nearby Brewer Lake, also known as Erie Dam State Recreation area due to the small earthen dam which created Brewer Lake.  It’s a very nice, out-of-the-way campground that gets little traffic if you’re looking for a nice little spot to relax.

This is the now-vacant Erie State Bank building.

This is the earthen dam at Brewer Lake, about three minutes drive from Erie.

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia is a small town in Logan county, about 80 miles southeast of Bismarck.  We had not intended to stop in Fredonia, but we saw a few buildings we wanted to photograph, so we made a quick stop.

Occasionally, residents (or former-residents) of some of the towns featured on this site to take offense when we post photos of and/or talk about their town. We have encountered several visitors who are clearly offended that we have chosen to feature Fredonia on this website — users who believe we have somehow labeled Fredonia as a “ghost town” by featuring it on this website. Nothing could be further from the truth and we stand by what we’ve posted here.  This website is not only a chronicle of ghost towns, but individual abandoned places and buildings.  There are several locations which fit that description in Fredonia.

So, to make sure it is quite clear, Fredonia is not a ghost town, and we wouldn’t even classify it as a near-ghost town at this point, although in another decade or two, it may be.  The census data below supports that conclusion.  If we’re wrong and Fredonia begins to grow, we’ll be thrilled.

US Census Data for Fredonia
Total Population by Place

1920 – 296
1930 – 394
1940 – 309
1950 – 268
1960 – 141
1970 – 100
1980 – 82
1990 – 66
2000 – 54
2010 – 46

Fredonia, ND

A sleepy Sunday in Fredonia. Not many of the reported 46 residents around.

fredonia1

Fredonia, ND

This church was in really good shape and we’re told it is still used. The brick work is simply amazing.

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

fredonia5

Fredonia, ND

We were intrigued by this abandoned farmstead on the outskirts of Fredonia.

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

vol1-vol2-sale-banner

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

More Photos of Ambrose

More Photos of Ambrose

Laura Enerson Castro contributed these photos of Ambrose.  A few of her comments are listed as captions. To see photos from our trip to Ambrose, click here.

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Kloten, ND

Kloten, ND

Kloten is in Nelson County, situated about forty miles south of Highway 2, about halfway between Devils Lake and Grand Forks. Accurate population figures are difficult to find. Kloten’s population was reported at a suspiciously round number of 150 for many years, however our census records going back as far as 1960 do not include population reports for Kloten.

Nathan Mastrud contributed these photos of Kloten with the following comments:

Sign leading to Kloten reads “Dead End” but it still carried us through town. Maybe around 6-10 households remain in Kloten. Some of them were hard to tell if the were inhabited or not because most of the the yards were mowed …even the yards of houses that appeared abandoned. Also few of the remaining ones appeared to have a never ending yard sale.

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

The Kloten grain elevator still looms over the west side of town and a church still remains.

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

A Fire Hall bell was begging to be rung but a few dogs and the fear of shotguns advised otherwise.

Kloten, North Dakota

Kloten, North Dakota

Photos by Nathan Mastrud & Punchgut Studio, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Storm Clouds in Larson, North Dakota

Storm Clouds in Larson, North Dakota

Larson is a near-ghost town in Burke County, about 38 miles northwest of Kenmare, or sixty miles northeast of Williston. It was established in 1907 and had a peak population of 114 in 1920. Larson, and the nearby town of Columbus, were named for Columbus Larson, an early postmaster.  There’s a good-sized concentration of residents with Scandinavian heritage in the area.

Larson, North Dakota

US Census Data for Larson
Total Population by Place

1960 – 62
1970 – 35
1980 – 21
2000 – Does Not Appear
2010 – 12 (CDP)

Larson, North Dakota

We arrived in Larson at the same time a storm front was moving in which made for some dramatic skies as a backdrop. The former church was the first place that caught our eye. The kicked-in front door told us vandals had already been there.

Larson, North Dakota

Can’t you just imagine classic American automobiles coming and going at this old filling station on the corner of Division Avenue and 2nd Street?

Larson, North Dakota

Larson was quite sleepy for decades, went through something of a revitalization during the height of the oil boom, then slowed down again as oil prices dropped. We’re told it is still busier than it was before, though (see comments).

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

The people in this house had the best TV reception in town.

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

We didn’t know for sure, but this looked like the old Larson school. Can someone confirm?

Larson, North Dakota

We’ve been told Murphy’s Fine Food and Spirits was quite the hangout back in the day.

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, North Dakota

Larson, 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

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

Order Ghosts of North Dakota Books

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. @NorthDakotaTroy

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.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

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

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

Palermo is in Mountrail County, and quite populous compared to most towns you’ll see on this website, but there were a good number of abandoned structures that made for some great photo opportunities.

Palermo, ND
Palermo was founded in 1901 as a Great Northern Railroad town made up of primarily Norwegian settlers. It’s name was a tribute to the Italians who worked on the area railroads.

The school pictured here was built under the Works Progress (later ‘Projects’) Administration program and a site visitor reports it was used until the ’89-’90 school year.

Palermo, ND

The school is an impressive brick and stone building with art deco touches.

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

The small white building pictured here is the former Palermo Firehouse and Jail. There’s a story going around that Palermo welcomed transients and allowed them to use this structure as a place to bed down, but the town later changed their minds and ran off all the vagrants due to fear of vandalism.

Palermo, ND

US Census Data for Palermo
Total Population by Place

1960 – 188
1970 – 146
1980 – 97
2000 – 77
2010 — 74

Palermo, ND

One of Palermo’s notable former residents would be Miss North Dakota 2001, Michelle Guthmiller.

Palermo, ND



Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

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

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Now Arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Now Arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs was founded in the Dakota Territory in 1873 and the Post Office opened with the name “CRYSTAL SPRINGS” in 1884–named for nearby Crystal Springs Lakes.

We were cruising west on the interstate one day and the Crystal Springs school, perched beautifully atop a hill along the highway, practically jumped out at us, and we stopped to get a few shots. Now arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota.

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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. @NorthDakotaTroy