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Alfred, ND

Alfred, ND

Alfred is a near-ghost town in Lamoure county, southwest of Jamestown.  Alfred is unincorporated, hence official population figures are hard to come by, but there appear to be perhaps ten permanent residents in the actual town site with more in the surrounding rural area.  Alfred’s reported peak population was 150 in 1930.

Alfred has a well-maintained cemetery and a Seventh Day Adventist Church which was in session the day of our visit.  There were approximately ten vehicles parked outside, so there is plenty of activity for such a small town.  As we’ve seen in other towns like Alfred, the church will quite likely survive long after the residents are gone.

The northeast portion of Alfred is largely abandoned structures, near the lake and the former rail line (now gone).  The rest of the town is quite nice.  Alfred was founded by Englishman Richard Sykes, who founded five towns in North Dakota — Sykeston, Bowdon, Edgeley, Chaseley, and Alfred.

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3

There are actually three structures in this photograph. On the right is a garage, in the center is some kind of small, one-room structure, and hidden in the trees on the left is a full-size home. Interior shots are below.

This is the interior of the one-room structure shown above.

This is the entryway of the home hidden in the trees.

What would have been the living room at one time…

This is the former kitchen and dining room. There was a small hole in the floor, and the you could see through to the basement. The integrity of the floor is a little suspect.

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.
Knox, ND

Knox, ND

Knox is a rarity as near-ghost towns go — it is located right off a major highway — US 2, between Rugby and Devils Lake.  According to the 2010 census, Knox is home to 25 residents, has 13 occupied households and 13 vacant households.  Knox was founded in 1883 and reportedly had a peak population of 330 in 1910.

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

We drove into Knox and realized there are a lot of impressive vacant structures, not the least of which is the grain elevator.  It was very quiet in Knox, with very little activity for a Saturday afternoon.  A local resident told us the predominantly elderly population of Knox was temporarily relocated several winters ago due to heavy snowfall and the inability to find anyone who would clear snow from the town’s roads.

We ran into a gentleman who had an interesting story to tell while we were photographing Knox.  He was a traveling gospel singer who had arrived in Knox three days earlier.  He was a soft-spoken man with a noticeable southern drawl due to his Texas heritage, and he told us he didn’t have a home — he spent his days traveling the country in a minivan, stopping at little towns, bartering his gospel performances for food and lodging.  He’d been traveling for eight years.  Imagine the things he’s seen and the places he’s been.

knox7

The former Knox Post Office

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

A resident told us his stepson is in the process of dismantling this home.

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

There were a few homes like this one where it wasn’t totally clear whether anyone was still inhabiting them.

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

This flyer was hanging in the display case in front of the now abandoned Post Office.

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.
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.
Passing Through Fordville

Passing Through Fordville

Fordville just happened to be on our route as we explored a few towns in Walsh and Ramsey counties.  It is not a ghost town or a near-ghost town… more like Pleasantville.  According to the 2000 Census, Fordville had 266 residents, shrinking to 212 in 2010.

The most prominent landmark was the Ford Theater, a beautiful brick building that’s been carefully tended, but in need of help with the roof.

The owner kindly posted a flyer which reads as follows:

FORD THEATRE

Est. 1948 by
Hub (Hulbert) and Richard Casement

Construction by: Martin Hustad, Peter and John Peterson.

Brickwork by Arnie Steen

First movie shown: “Little Mr. Jim” on March 19th, 1948.
Starring Butch Jenkins, James Craig, and Francis Clifford

Theatre was closed in the early 1960’s
Purchased by Donald and Jean Omdahl on Dec. 8th, 1970
Used for community plays and gospel services in the 1980’s
Purchased by DeLon Freije
from Don Omdahl on June 18th, 2010
Don went home to Jean on August 31st, 2010

Future plans: Restore theatre, display train collection for public display and offer tours of the theatre.
Popcorn sales on Thursday evenings through the summer
Any help with roof repairs would be much appreciated.

There were a few structures that looked ‘semi-vacant’– in that gray area between seldom used and used every day.  No real abandoned structures however.  So we just took a few shots that looked nice.

The clock struck noon while we were visiting and the air raid siren on top of this tower sounded.

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.
Mondry Elevator in Ardoch

Mondry Elevator in Ardoch

We stopped in Ardoch primarily to photograph the elevator which Terry had been wanting to shoot for some time.  We drove into town past the city hall and a little yapper dog promptly ran right in front of Terry’s car and stopped.  He just stood there staring at us.  So Terry started to back up, and a second dog joined the first in circling around his car.  We were kinda stuck, not able to go forward or backward very quickly for fear of running over these two little dogs.  And the whole time it’s happening, the woman who owns the two dogs is sitting in a lawn chair, watching.  She had a look of befuddlement on her face–like, how did this happen, these two geniuses are trapped in the street by my chihuahuas?

Inevitably, Terry was able to break free from the insane chihuahuas, and we proceeded to the elevator.  Terry took some shots while I did a social media update, and he got some good ones.

Terry walked the full perimeter of the elevator in waist high grass, snapping photos all along, and then returned to where I had parked the car across the highway.  I was grabbing a bottle of water out of the car when I looked over and saw Terry kinda patting himself down, looking for a phone that was no longer there.  He had just finished walking through waist high grass for like, thirty minutes straight.

I asked him, “Is your ringer on?  Will your phone make noise if I call it?”  He nodded.

Terry walked back across the highway and I took out my phone and began calling his repeatedly while he listened for it to ring.  He was walking through the grass, and I was watching him from across the highway.  I would dial his phone, his voicemail would pick up after 15 seconds, and I would have to hang up and call back.  And he’s still just over there on the other side of the highway, waving his hands along the tips of the tall grass and prairie flowers like he’s the lost phone mystic or something, about to sense the electromagnetic energy of a lost Sprint slider phone.

Then all of a sudden, he squatted down in a wrestler’s stance and rotated right to left like a radar dish, listening.  I looked down at my phone.  The voicemail picked up and I had to hang up and redial.  I called back and looked across the highway at Terry — he was still crouching in the grass.  The call connected and I saw Terry leap into the grass — he found it near the garage door pictured second photo down.  It’s a shame there wasn’t a reality TV crew around to capture it the way I saw it.

Order Ghosts of North Dakota Books

I went back to Ardoch in 2012 and got a few photos of Ardoch without any problems from Taco Bell’s mascot tryout class.

A beautiful, nearly full-page photo of this elevator appears in our book, Ghosts of North Dakota: North Dakota’s ghost towns and abandoned places.

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.
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.
Return to Merricourt

Return to Merricourt

Merricourt is located in south central North Dakota, Dickey County, about twenty minutes from the South Dakota border, and it is a place we’ve visited on a number of occasions. Each time we’ve visited Merricourt, we’ve found the former Soo Line Railroad town hovering near the end, with just one family (and at least one dog) still living in Merricourt. As is the case with so many vanishing towns on the prairie, there are no businesses in town, no industry, and no reason for new residents to settle in Merricourt in any significant number. It won’t be more than a generation or two before Merricourt is a true ghost town.

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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.
Danzig, ND

Danzig, ND

A few buildings are all that remain of the town that was once Danzig. In the extreme south central part of the state, Danzig is about halfway between Ashley and Wishek, southwest of Jamestown. The first Post Office was established in 1898 but it closed due to lack of development in 1903. During a brief boom, a Post Office was opened again in 1911. It closed in 1955. Danzig’s population never exceeded 100.

Danzig, North Dakota

These photos were contributed by Jeff Baumann. Jeff’s comments: “There are 2 people living there now – Brian Dohn and his wife. He was very kind to let me take pictures last June. The only structures that are still standing are the Bank, 2 Grain elevators and I believe the lumber mill.”

Danzig, North Dakota

Danzig, North Dakota

Danzig, North Dakota

Danzig, North Dakota

Photos by Jeff Baumann, original content copyright © 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.
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.
Bucyrus, ND

Bucyrus, ND

Bucyrus, ND is along Highway 12 in southwestern North Dakota, east of Bowman. It was founded in 1907 as Wolf Butte, and was also known as Dolan for a time. Bucyrus is just down the road from some other places we’ve visited, like Gascoyne, Haley and Griffin.

US Census Data for Bucyrus
Total Population by Place

1920 – 113
1930 – 124
1940 – 117
1950 – 111
1960 – 60
1970 – 42
1980 – 32
1990 – 22
2000 – 26
2010 — 27

Bucyrus fell victim to a wildfire on October 17th, 2012.  The town’s residents were evacuated, but numerous homes were lost to fire.

 

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.
Bentley, ND

Bentley, ND

Hettinger County
Inhabited as of 5/07

The town of Bentley, ND was founded in 1906, fifteen miles south of its present location. In 1915 the town was rebuilt at the present location. Bentley should not be confused with Sanger in Oliver county, a town which was also named Bentley for a time.

At one time it may have been home to as many as 200 North Dakotans, but the 1960 census indicated a count of 51, and today it’s home to maybe twenty.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

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.
An Old West Hotel in Manfred, North Dakota

An Old West Hotel in Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota is in Wells County, about 30 miles south of Rugby, near the geographical center of North America. Manfred reportedly had 439 citizens in 1920, but that declined to 70 by 1960, and about a dozen when we took these photos in 2006. We actually hadn’t planned on stopping in Manfred, but we drove right by it on the way to Silva and Fillmore, and when we saw the hotel from the highway, we immediately decided to go to Manfred on the return trip. It was worth it.

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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.
Merricourt, ND

Merricourt, ND

A farm post office for Merricourt was established in October 1883. North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick lists Merricourt’s peak population at 153 in the 1940’s.

During our visit to Merricourt, we saw one home which was occupied, right in the middle of the townsite. We also heard someone calling for their dog, so we didn’t stay in that area long. There are quite a few abandoned structures, as well as some buildings which are still maintained. The surrounding miles of farmland are dotted with crumbling farms in every direction. Population loss was hard on this part of the state.

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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.
Arena, ND

Arena, ND

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1Volume 1 in the Ghosts of North Dakota series is officially out-of-print, and we are down to our last few dozen copies. It will soon be replaced with a softcover, expanded special edition. This is your last chance to order Volume 1 in its original hardcover form, and Volumes 2 and 3 will soon follow, so get ’em before they’re gone.

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1 is an 88 page, hardcover, full-color book featuring some of the best photos from the Ghosts of North Dakota project — photos of ghost towns, near-ghost towns, and abandoned places across the state of North Dakota, plus comments from the photographers, historical tidbits, and more. Places in this book include Lincoln Valley, Haley, Lunds Valley, Alkabo, Gascoyne, Corinth, the former San Haven Tuberculosis Sanatorium, the Stanley Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, and much more.

See the photo index.

See a 25 page preview

$29.95 Sale Order 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.