Browsed by
Tag: Morton County

A Ghost Town Built from Coal and Bricks

A Ghost Town Built from Coal and Bricks

Sims, North Dakota is a beautiful near-ghost town, founded in what was at the time a somewhat remote spot on the prairie of Dakota Territory, about 35 miles west of Mandan. The Northern Pacific arrived in 1879 and extra boxcars were set aside to be used as businesses and shelter until a proper town could be constructed. The original settlers were attracted to coal that was easily mined here, and several early names of the town were “Baby Mine” and “Bly’s Mine.”

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. @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.

Bluegrass, North Dakota

This building was once the gas station and general store in Bluegrass. For a long time, it was the quickest place for area residents to pick up some goods when they didn’t feel like going all the way to New Salem, ten miles to the southeast.

Bluegrass, North Dakota

Bluegrass, North Dakota

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3

Bluegrass, North Dakota

This house is really the primary residence on the Bluegrass townsite. The rest of Bluegrass’ reported population was loosely spread throughout the township, and there are likely area residents who still consider themselves residents of Bluegrass.

Bluegrass, North Dakota

Roads to the site are relatively narrow, loose gravel, and in the half hour we were there, we didn’t see a single vehicle pass.

Bluegrass, North Dakota

Visitors to our Facebook page have mentioned several family names as former residents of Bluegrass — Dachtler, Elwein, and Mindt, among others.

Bluegrass, North Dakota

Today, this part of the rural settlement that was once Bluegrass is totally abandoned, and it’s quite remote as well. The gas station/store burned down in 2014 leaving only the farmhouse and barn on-site. Our last update from Bluegrass came from a family member who told us the owner of the farmhouse was planning to donate it to the fire department, to be burned in a training exercise. Bluegrass will soon pass into history, if it hasn’t already.

Bluegrass, North Dakota

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

Join 5,436 other subscribers

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

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

Get Notified

Join 5,436 other subscribers



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

Sims, North Dakota

Sims, North Dakota

Sims, North Dakota is a ghost town in Morton County, about 35 miles west of Mandan, just a few miles south of Interstate 94 — a place so hauntingly beautiful, we chose the photo above for the dustjacket cover of our second book.  Sims is a place people have been telling us to visit for nearly ten years, but it took us this long to find a way to work it into the schedule.

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Several structures remain standing in Sims — the old house you see here, plus the still-active Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church and accompanying parsonage.  There are two more structures just to the north of Sims, but they’re on the other side of a now closed bridge, and posted “No Trespassing.”

Sims, ND

The Sims town site is abandoned — that is to say nobody actually lives there, although there are residents in the area, and the church is a landmark.  There is a comprehensive website dedicated to Sims and nearby Almont here.  Make sure you check out the publications — fascinating reading in pdf format.

Sims, North Dakota

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims was featured in our second book, Ghosts of North Dakota Vol. 2.

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

sims3

The view from the cemetery, looking down on the Sims town site.

Sims, 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