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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.

See Also: Marmarth, North Dakota

Original content copyright © Sonic Tremor Media 2017

Ruso: Smallest Incorporated Town in North Dakota

Ruso: Smallest Incorporated Town in North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota is in McLean County and had a reported population of 4 in the 2010 Census. A claim from an unknown source that we’ve seen around the web says Ruso is the smallest incorporated town in North Dakota. Several unincorporated towns are even smaller, like Hanks (pop. 1), and Merricourt, and ghost towns with zero residents.

Ruso, North Dakota
Ruso, North Dakota. Image/Google Earth

Kelsey Rusch visited Ruso in 2010 and contributed these photos with the following comments:

Right off highway 41, south of Velva, you will find Ruso. Though it has ten or so abandoned buildings, there appear to be three residences as well, making it inhabited, but probably for not too much longer.

It is located just south east of the borders of McLean, Ward, and McHenry counties in a very beautiful yet desolate part of the state.

According to the North Dakota Place Names book, “The post office was established on December 1, 1906 with Edwin J Burgess as pm. The village incorporated in 1909 and by 1910 reported a population of 141, with a doctor, newpaper, and many other luxuries often missing in new townsites.” The Place Names book (first published 1988), claims the zip code was 58778 and was still open at the time. However, a sign outside what I assume was the post office suggests that it closed in 1981.

Ruso, North Dakota

As far as the name “Ruso,” the Place Names book says the name either is a Russian word meaning “south of us,” or, as others say, it was coined from the words SOuth RUssia, which was the homeland of many of the area settlers.

Ruso, North Dakota

The town is in a very peaceful location. The sole road passes one residence right next to the highway before leading to several abandoned ones. The post office, now a home, sits in the middle of town, next to a collapsed building and across from an empty and overgrown field. From what I can gather a section of the field used to be a baseball diamond. If only the kids who used to play there saw it today.

Further down the road sits what was once a pretty nice sized school but now is used as a residence. Around the corner and down the road sits what was once a beautiful church. Two outhouses sit to the east of the church, and to the west a flax field is planted almost all the way up to the doors of the church, which faces west. The grounds surrounding the church, unfortunately, are a mess. There is a junked bus sitting outside, as well as two or three junked pickups. Numerous other things are scattered around and it is obvious the few remaining residents do not take care of the church any more.

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

There were a few other abandoned buildings hidden in the trees surrounding the city but they were either posted or too overgrown to get to. If anyone has any other information about Ruso, especially about history or as to why there is a large bus that says “Huntley Project Red Devils” parked outside of the church, I’d definitely love to hear more about this place. It was very calm and serene and is in a beautiful location in the state.

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Ruso, North Dakota

Photos by Kelsey Rusch, original content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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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.”

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An Abandoned Port of Entry in Northgate, North Dakota

An Abandoned Port of Entry in 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.

Northgate, North Dakota

Above: The former Northgate Port of Entry building. The road to the east of Northgate is the highway which formerly functioned as the port of entry, but it is now closed and well-posted by US Customs and Immigration. The new border crossing is about a half mile west.

Not wanting to attract the attention of US Customs and Immigration by driving toward the border on a farm road, we took a long walk down the road to get pictures of the former Port of Entry building. We got within twenty feet of the Canadian border.

Northgate, North Dakota

As mentioned by a site visitor in the comments section below, the building in the background of the photo above is the former Canadian Port of Entry building, on the Canadian side of the international border. The road to the right of the building shown above was gated when the former border crossing was closed.

We visited another former border crossing in Noyes, Minnesota.

Northgate, North Dakota

Update: we’ve been told this building has now been demolished. The old Port of Entry is now gone.

Northgate, North Dakota

This is the view from inside the Port of Entry building.  The town outside is the original North Gate.

Northgate, North Dakota

The town in the background of the above photo is North Gate, on the site of the original town platted in 1910.  It is now in Canada.  It’s unclear how may people live there. We did not see any activity. We’ve been told the Canadian government was planning to demolish what’s left of North Gate, if they haven’t already.

Northgate, North Dakota

To get quite specific, in the photo above, the asphalt road in the foreground is US territory.   The grassy ditch just beyond the road (where the railroad crossbuck is planted, just on the other side of a barely visible barb-wire fence) is the US-Canadian border.  The dirt road and homes at the rear are in Canada.

Northgate, North Dakota

A couple years later, we visited another impressive abandoned border crossing in Noyes, Minnesota.

Northgate, North Dakota

Terry ventured onto the road to take this photo, but we escaped without any customs and immigration entanglements.

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

These elevators are along the now closed highway which originally crossed the border.

Northgate, North Dakota

There were a lot of places built in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century that were affected by changing policies at the international border. One of them, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Caribou, Minnesota, was featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Northgate, North Dakota

We met a not-so-tactful Northgate resident who first asked if we were lost, and then informed us they didn’t like strangers poking around in their town. All in all, an eventful visit.

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

Northgate, North Dakota

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

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The Shadow of Lunds Valley, North Dakota

The Shadow of Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley is a beautiful near-ghost town nestled in a valley in Mountrail County, about fifty-four miles northeast of Williston.  It is one of those towns where we showed up a little too late, because there aren’t many of the original buildings still standing.  It is a mere shadow of its former self.

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley was considered a rural post office and the population of the town never exceeded 100.

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Terry’s photo of this elevator is featured on the cover of our first book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1, and the affordable, softcover Special Edition, too.

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

This is the remains of the former Lunds Valley school, destroyed by fire. Wylora Christianson sent a photo of the school before it burned.

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Sidewalks remain, long after the buildings are gone.

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

We’ve seen references online where the name of this place is sometimes spelled as one word, Lundsvalley.

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

Lunds Valley, North Dakota

See also: Lunds Valley School before it burned

See also: More Lunds Valley

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

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Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Griffin is a true ghost town in Bowman County, along Highway 12, about halfway between Bowman and Rhame, North Dakota. Although there are some working farms and ranches in the area, there’s barely a town any more, and no apparent residents in the actual townsite.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

A maximum population of 67 was reported in 1930, but the post office closed that same year and the town quickly vanished. This old schoolhouse is the most prominent remaining structure from Griffin.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Above: a look inside the old schoolhouse.

Griffin was once the home to some of the biggest stock yards in southwest North Dakota, and reportedly had a store and lumber yard.  It was also a stop on one of America’s first cross-country highways–a route from Massachusetts to Seattle, marked in places by three foot stone markers painted yellow, known as the Yellowstone Trail.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Griffin is just one of many true ghost towns we’ve visited in North Dakota, where the buildings still stand but the people are gone. See a list of true ghost towns, population zero.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Griffin was a Milwaukee Road railroad town, and known as Atkinson until February 10, 1908, when the name was changed to Grifiin to honor H.T. Griffin, the Assistant General Passenger Agent for the railroad. What do you know about Griffin, North Dakota? Please leave a comment below.

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

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Two Minutes Until Winter

Two Minutes Until Winter

It was November 7th, 2014 and it was two minutes until winter in Josephine, North Dakota when we briefly braved forty mile per hour winds to get the photos you see here.

Josephine, North Dakota

I consulted Douglas Wick’s North Dakota Place Names book, which says Josephine, North Dakota was founded in 1901 on the site of an earlier pioneer settlement known as Genin. Josephine was named for Josephine Lindstrom Stickelberger, one of North Dakota’s first female physicians.

Josephine, North Dakota

It had a population of 30 once, but today, Josephine is a ghost town with only two elevators and the accompanying office remaining on site.

Josephine, North Dakota

store-banner

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



Cartwright Tunnel and Fairview Lift Bridge

Cartwright Tunnel and Fairview Lift Bridge

This is a small sampling of photos from our visit to Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel in July of 2014.

If you’re interested in the history of this lift bridge, which was only raised once, you can check out our previous gallery featuring photos and captions from our friend R. David Adams, or you can read more about it at the MidRivers page, which has nice background on both Fairview and its twin, Snowden Lift Bridge.

Fairview Lift Bridge

There’s a campground in the shadow of this bridge where we intended to camp during our visit, but when we arrived, we found the place off-limits. We’re told some people had been abusing overnight camping privileges, so camping is no longer allowed.  We ended up in a jam and had to settle for last minute accommodations at a primitive campground some miles away.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Today, the bridge is a tourist attraction and a popular spot for watersports among locals. The bridge and tunnel are both handicap accessible. The gate shown above marks the west end, just above the parking lot.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

The sky was clouded by smoke from forest fires on the day we were there.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

This island is right in the middle of the Yellowstone river, which is one of the longest un-dammed rivers in the western hemisphere. William Clark devoted some time to exploring this river during Lewis & Clark’s return journey from the Pacific Coast. Just miles from here, it empties into the Missouri River.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Cartwright Tunnel

The decaying ruins of the Cartwright tunnel were shored up and reconstructed between 2004 and 2006 by the North Dakota Army National Guard and Friends of the Fairview Bridge.

Cartwright Tunnel

Cartwright Tunnel

 We did not realize how big this tunnel was from photos. When you’re there in person, it is huge.

Cartwright Tunnel

The hike, from end to end, took us about 8 minutes.

Cartwright Tunnel

A neighbor’s dog accompanied us on our hike.

Cartwright Tunnel

Cartwright Tunnel

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

Do you have our hardcover, coffee table books?

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

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Northern Pacific High Line Bridge #64

Northern Pacific High Line Bridge #64

High Line Bridge in Valley City is the longest railroad bridge in the state and like the Gassman-Coulee Trestle in Minot and the Sheyenne River Bridge near Karnak, we chose to photograph it and feature it here due to the railroads’ pivotal role in settling North Dakota. All three of these bridges are still used daily.

High Line Bridge

There are sources with varying lengths and heights for this bridge, depending on where the measurements are taken from.  We’re using the plaque on the site of the bridge for these stats: the bridge is 3,886 feet long and 155 feet high.  Other sources say the bridge is 3,860 feet long and 162 feet above the river.

High Line Bridge

High Line Bridge

High Line Bridge

Hundreds of vehicles pass beneath this bridge every day while trains cross above.

High Line Bridge

High Line Bridge

The park beneath the bridge also holds a significant place in the history of the Boy Scouts.

High Line Bridge

High Line Bridge

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

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Sheyenne River Bridge

Sheyenne River Bridge

This is the Sheyenne River Bridge, a railroad trestle at the north end of Lake Ashtabula, in the marshy transition between the lake and the Sheyenne River.  Built in 1912, it is 2,736 feet long, making it a little shorter than High Line Bridge in Valley City and a little longer than the Gassman Coulee Trestle in Minot. Railroad bridges played such a crucial role in the settlement of our state that we’ve chosen to occasionally feature some of them here, even if they’re not abandoned.

Sheyenne River Bridge

We’ve heard this one referred to simply as the Karnak bridge after the near-ghost town about a mile down the track.  Though not as long as High Line Bridge in Valley City, I would argue this one is more beautiful in setting. It’s remote, wild, and incredible.  This area is also part of the North Country Trail, an ongoing effort to create the longest scenic trail in the nation.

Sheyenne River Bridge

There’s one narrow dirt road that descends down to the west bank to a boat launch and a short nature trail.

Sheyenne River Bridge

Sheyenne River Bridge

Sheyenne River Bridge

Sheyenne River Bridge

Sheyenne River Bridge

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

See also: Gassman Coulee Trestle
See also: Karnak, North Dakota

Omemee and the Batie Family

Omemee and the Batie Family

These photos were sent in by Cathy Zabel, a collection of things on Omemee, North Dakota, a true ghost town in Bottineau county.  Cathy’s comments are included below.

The A. R Batie Residence was purchased by Adam R. Batie when he married Miss Jessie M Paff, June 27, 1907.

A.R. Batie Residence

A.R. Batie Residence

Adam Batie was ‘Head Clerk’ & a Partner at the First National Bank of Omemee. Miss Paff was teacher at the Omemee School. Their home & lot backed up to the Omemee School play yard at the south side of the school. Note the Great Northern train trestle in the photo (above). The home was moved to Rugby in the mid 1930s. All 7 of the Batie children were born in this home and all graduated from Omemee High School between 1922 & 1937.

Adam & Jessie Batie wedding photo

Omemee School 1904

Omemee School 1904

I am hoping to locate some photos of the graduating classes at Omemee School (around 1930) and Omemee High School 1936 & 37.

1930-Omemee-Sch-&-Victor-FINAL-copy

Behind Omemee School, 1930

Order Books

Omemee, ND Main Street about 1904

Omemee, ND Main Street about 1904

Omemee, ND Birdseye view

Omemee, ND Birdseye view

This Birdseye View is looking northeast. You can see the Soo Line tracks in the foreground and the school. This photo was a postcard & the backside indicates that my Grandmother, Jess Paff Batie mailed to her twin sister, Jennie (Mrs. W.)Trockstad of McKinney (also a ghost town). It is dated August. 1909.

Omemee Birdseye view back

Photos and postcards contributed by Cathy Zabel.
Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

 

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.

George and Hope (Harding) Mangold were my great-grandparents and I believe it was his father who homesteaded in Omemee.  Mangold Blacksmith was their business – which moved to Phoenix Arizona at some point (1930ish?)

George Mangold, Omemee, North Dakota

George Mangold, Omemee, North Dakota

Hope Harding Mangold, Omemee, North Dakota

Hope Harding Mangold, Omemee, North Dakota

Omemee, North Dakota

From my great-grandmother’s photos (Hope Harding Mangold)

Omemee, North Dakota

“Mangold and Son Blacksmith and Wagonshop”. Looks like “Campbell Bros” on building next door. My greatgrandfather Geroge Mangold owned the blacksmith shop. My grandmother spent her childhood here, in the 1920’s.

Omemee, North Dakota

Omemee, North Dakota

On back of photo “church across the street from our house”. No date, but probably early 1920’s.

Omemee, North Dakota

Editor’s note: The size of Omemee and the sheer number of vanished places becomes quite apparent when you consider what remains today.

Omemee, North Dakota

omemee7

Mangold Family Living Room

This photo was captioned “Our front room.”

Photos contributed by Tim Brannan.

Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden is a small town in Cavalier County, home to the Cavalier County Museum at Dresden, about six miles northwest of Langdon.  The museum is housed in the former Holy Trinity Church, an incredible field-stone structure erected in 1936.

Dresden is home to numerous historic structures in varying states of restoration, including the Dyer School which was moved to the site from Milton, the former Langdon Jail, and more.  The crew at the Cavalier County Historical Society is doing quite a job up there. They have their own blog where you can learn a lot more about Dresden and the attractions.

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Hopes for a boom spurred by the railroad were a longshot for many communities near the Canadian border.  Many of the railroad lines just petered out without actually crossing into Canada.

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

There’s a collector out there who would pay good money for that truck.

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Dresden, North Dakota

Luxury accommodations in this 1896 jail cell from Langdon.

Dresden, North Dakota

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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

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

Bartlett… Almost Gone

Bartlett… Almost Gone

Bartlett is about twenty miles east of Devils Lake and is about as close as you can get to ghost town without actually being totally abandoned… there is perhaps one occupied property, and we saw the remains of several crumbling homes.  The former town site is quickly getting overrun by nature — the roads are shaded even on a bright day like this one. As we drove into town, untrimmed branches reached into the road to greet us, nearly touching the sides of the car.

Bartlett, North Dakota

The Andreas Historical Atlas of Dakota (pre-statehood), published in 1884, describes Bartlett like this:

This place, located near the east line of the county, on Section 25, Town 153, Range 61 was commenced in the fall of 1882, upon the completion of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway to that point, and for a number of months had a wonderful growth and business, the population, at its maximum, reaching 1,000. there were 250 buildings in the place, and the people had high hopes that its boom would be a permanent one. But the laying out of Lakota, in Nelson County, four miles east of Bartlett, and the establishment of the county seat at the new town, resulted in the removal of the bulk of its business to Lakota and the city of Devils Lake. One hotel building was taken down and removed to West End, in Benson County, where it was metamorphosed into a number of cottages. There remains at Bartlett two hotels, several stores, and altogether some twenty five or thirty buildings.

Bartlett, North Dakota

A population of over one thousand in 1884 had become just 120 residents by 1910.

US Census Data for Bartlett
Total Population by Place

1910 – 120
1920 – 98
1930 – 67
1940 – 78
1950 – 51
1960 – 39
1970 – 19
1980 – Delisted

Bartlett, North Dakota

The railroad tracks just outside of Bartlett were the site of a terrible railroad accident in April, 1907.  The Great Northern Oriental Limited derailed just after 1am, rolled down an embankment, and caught fire when a gas tank exploded, an explosion so loud it was heard in Lakota, four miles away. Three died, including mail clerk Harry Jones who was killed instantly when the car he was riding in was telescoped by another, and an unknown Greek laborer who burned to death, trapped in the wreckage.

There were reports that the tracks had been tampered-with, a suspicion perhaps bolstered by a derailment that had happened less than a year prior, on the same stretch of track, just 100 yards away.

Bartlett, North Dakota

When you’re the only resident left in town, there’s nobody around to object when you rename N. 24th Street to Bartlett Rd. with a paint brush.

Bartlett, North Dakota

This part of the state in the Ramsey/Nelson/Grand Forks County area has a couple cool little places to visit, like Whitman, Mapes, and Niagara.

Bartlett, North Dakota

Bartlett, North Dakota

Bartlett, North Dakota

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

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Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Thank you to R. David Adams for submitting these photos of the Fairview Lift Bridge and the accompanying Cartwright Tunnel, between Cartwright, North Dakota and Fairview, Montana.  This bridge is frequently confused with the Snowden Bridge, a few miles away in Montana, partly due to a similar history (each bridge has only been raised once) and construction. However, this bridge is distinct from the Snowden bridge when the Cartwright tunnel is taken into account.  To our knowledge, the tunnel is the only train tunnel in the state of North Dakota.

As you’ll learn from Mr. Adams’ comments below each photo, this lift bridge was built to accommodate steamboat traffic on the Yellowstone River, but the steamboats stopped steaming the Yellowstone River before the bridge was complete.  Thus the lift was only used one time.  The last car crossed the bridge in 1955, and the trains ended in the 1980’s.   Since the bridge and tunnel were so narrow, travelers were required to pick up a phone at one end and call to ensure no traffic was coming from the other side!

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

On ramp west end of Fairview Lift Bridge just a couple of miles East of Fairview Montana. This Bridge was finished in 1913 and was a bridge used for rail and automobile traffic until 1955.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking east as we walk on the rail bed. You can see the Cartwright tunnel at the end of the bridge.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Approaching the bridge support from the west looking east.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

The center section or “draw” weighs in at 1.14 Million Pounds. At each end of the span large concrete counterweights are hung to assist in the lifting of the span.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Platform that contains a three cylinder kerosene engine that lifts the bridge span.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Closer look at the lift mechanism. this lift operated one time to test the bridge and never again. It seems that steamship travel on the Yellowstone ended during the construction of the bridge in 1912!

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking up at one of the two counterweights. Held up by several 2 inch cables. I was thinking they have been there for almost a hundred years and decided to move… just in case!

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Order Books

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

On the east end approach showing the west tunnel opening.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Notice the size of the treated lumber used around the opening! Cars traveled across the top to gain access to the bridge on the right just behind where I was standing.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Inside the tunnel.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

The road that used to allow cars to use the bridge until 1955. right behind me the road slopes down to the bridge and also branches off to get down to the bridge abutments.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking west from the tunnel to the bridge.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Looking west.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

I climbed up the small hill on the south of the rail bed to get a better picture of the engine and tower houses that move the center span of the bridge up and down.

Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel

Just around the bend is the east entrance to the Tunnel but is now on private lands. Cartwright is just a mile to my back. To read more about this bridge, visit this site.

All photos by R. David Adams, copyright RDA Enterprises. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Our May 2010 trip took us through Minot, so we stopped to take some photos of this — the Gassman Coulee Trestle in Trestle Valley, just outside of town.  It’s not abandoned, but it’s a really nice place to be outside with your camera on a hot summer night.

Gassman Coulee Trestle

The bridge is 1792 feet long and 117 feet tall at its highest point. When a train crosses, you can hear the rumble miles away.

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Gassman Coulee Trestle

The Sheyenne River Bridge near Karnak is one step larger than this bridge.  The Northern Pacific High Line Bridge in Valley City is bigger still.

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Gassman Coulee Trestle

Trestle Valley Lodge

Years ago, there was a ski resort in this valley called the Trestle Valley Ski Resort and this was the lodge.

UPDATE: Site visitor Jeff snapped these photos of the former lodge, today a private residence.

Trestle Valley Ski Lodge

Trestle Valley Ski Lodge

Trestle Valley Ski Lodge

Trestle photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, original copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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

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.

US Census Data for Merricourt
Total Population by Place

1960 – 66
1970 – 22
1980 – 17
2000 – Did Not Appear

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.

Merricourt, North Dakota

A nicely paved two-lane highway runs right through the middle of Merricourt, but there’s very little risk you’ll encounter any traffic. This town is very much off-the-beaten-path. In fact, Merricourt is so remote, FM radio and cell phone service were nearly non-existent when we visited in 2005. There are no services (gas, lodging etc…) of any kind in Merricourt.

Concerning the building pictured above, Host/Author/Producer Keith Norman writes,

“This building is my Aunt and Uncle’s old house. They operated the post office from the building. The old WPA constructed gymnasium is currently owned by a British construction/energy company. The area just to the west of Merricourt is considered the best place in the entire United States for wind energy. The British company (and I forget the company name) has talked about a Billion dollar wind energy project in the area. No word on when or if they’ll ever get going. I believe that there are a person or two living in Merricourt.”

Mr. Norman has also contributed a story about a robbery in Merricourt.

Merricourt, North Dakota

We returned to Merricourt some years later and found the bank shown above in much worse condition.

Merricourt, North Dakota

Merricourt, North Dakota

Merricourt, North Dakota

The elevators in Merricourt are very imposing structures. They are much taller in person than they look in photos, yet their deteriorating state is a constant reminder of their fragility. One of them is a brick elevator, seemingly rare since it’s the only one we’ve ever seen. Update: we’re told there is also a brick elevator in Beach, North Dakota.

The tracks which run beside the elevators are still in use.

Merricourt, North Dakota

Merricourt was featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3. If you enjoy this website, please consider ordering a book via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or our website, or you can pick up a copy in person at one of these fine retailers.

Merricourt, North Dakota

Merricourt, North Dakota

Merricourt, North Dakota

The large structure on the right is a former WPA gymnasium/community center.  When we visited in 2005, we thought it looked like it was in pretty good shape, and perhaps still used.  When we came back years later, the basement was full of water and it is clearly no longer usable.

Merricourt, North Dakota

Merricourt, North Dakota

It was a misty and somewhat spooky on the day we visited.

Merricourt, North Dakota

Merricourt, North Dakota

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

Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

Foster County
Inhabited as of 10/04

Juanita was founded along the Great Northern Railroad Line in 1911. It was originally named “Wanitah”, a native american word of unknown meaning, but later renamed by town planners with the Spanish spelling.  It reached a peak poulation of 150 in 1920. It’s present population is probably around five to ten.

Juanita did have a fairly impressive stone school building, however it appeared to be in use by one of the town’s residents and we chose not to photograph it for privacy’s sake. There was also a big dog running loose which made our visit a quick one.

There were quite a few empty homes in Juanita and the landscape is severely overgrown. From one home, only the chimney was visible through the trees.

Other than the homes, the school building is the only structure still standing in Juanita.

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Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

Juanita, North Dakota

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Juanita, North Dakota

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

Heaton, ND

Heaton, ND

Wells County
Inhabited as of 5/04

Heaton was founded in 1899 as a Northern Pacific Railroad town, named for George Heaton, the manager of land sales for the railroad. Population figures include 400 in 1930, 62 in 1960, and approximately 5 when these photos were taken in 2004.  In 2012, we spoke with the final resident of Heaton.

Heaton, about twenty miles west of Carrington, ND, is an interesting town. There were three or four houses which looked occupied, but a ton of vacant homes. The whole time we were taking these photos, we could hear kids playing nearby.

Site visitor Brandon Miller, who grew up one mile north of Heaton, wrote to tell us it was his Grandfather’s opinion the tornado which ravaged Heaton in 1907 was a big reason for the town’s eventual decline.

In it’s heyday, Heaton played host to a post office, a lumber yard, gas station, bank, hardware store, two hotels, and three churches.

**Source Material – North Dakota Place Names – Douglas Wick

Wanna see what we found when we returned to Heaton six years after this visit? Check it out here.

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