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Tag: then and now

Ghost Town Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Ghost Town Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota is in Sheridan County, about 8 miles NE of McClusky. Lincoln Valley was a primarily German/Russian settlement when it was founded in 1900 by George and Conrad C. Reiswig as Lincoln. In 1912 the name was changed to Lincoln Valley. There were hopes that the railroad would come through Lincoln Valley and spur a boom, but the tracks never came and Lincoln Valley slowly withered.

We first visited Lincoln Valley in 2004 and took these photos. Before we even made it into town, we ran into an intriguing home on the northeast edge of town. It was in the middle of a field with no driveway or outbuildings… just a lonely home, all alone and decaying. 

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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.
A Look Back in Time in Berlin, North Dakota

A Look Back in Time in Berlin, North Dakota

We recently received an interesting batch of photos from Paul Ensign regarding Berlin, North Dakota. It’s a place we first became aware of when Sabrina Hornung sent us some photos back in 2011, and which we visited for ourselves in 2012.

Paul’s Great Grandfather was Wilhelm G. Lentz, proprietor of the Berlin Blacksmith & Wagon Shop around 1912, and the photos Paul sent along from his collection are very interesting.

Berlin, North Dakota

Beginning with the birds-eye view shown above, a photo from 1904 which was likely taken from the top of the grain elevator, we can identify three buildings which still stand in Berlin. We can see (1) the building known today as Legion Hall of Berlin, Post 206.

Below, the building in 2011.

Berlin, North Dakota

Around the corner is the former Blacksmith Shop.

Berlin, North Dakota

Above, the Blacksmith Shop sometime around 1912 to 1915. Below, the Blacksmith Shop in 2011. It’s numbered (2) in the birds-eye shot at the top of the page.

Berlin, North Dakota

Berlin, North Dakota

Above, another photo of the exterior of the Blacksmith Shop. Below, the interior of the Blacksmith Shop circa 1915. Paul says his Great Grandfather, Wilhelm Lentz “is center on in the photo with his children lined up to his left. My grandmother, Ella E Lentz Ensign is the youngest and farthest away from Wilhelm. She was born 22 Nov. 1910. My guess is that she is about 4 years old in this photo – maybe 5.”

Berlin, North Dakota

Below, the shop looks like an abandoned relic.

Berlin, North Dakota

Below, the derelict fire house in Berlin as it appeared in 2012. It’s numbered (3) in the birds-eye view at the top of the page.

Berlin, North Dakota

Paul sent along one last photo, which he also believes was taken in Berlin, below. “My Grandmother (Ella E Lentz Ensign) is on the right in the pic – her older sister Ida is on the left.”

Berlin, North Dakota

Unfortunately, most of the other buildings visible in the birds-eye view at the top of the page have been lost to the sands of time, including the depot. What do you know about Berlin, North Dakota? Please leave a comment below.

Photos courtesy Paul Ensign and Sabrina Hornung, original content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Underwater Ghost Towns of the North Dakota Missouri River

Underwater Ghost Towns of the North Dakota Missouri River

The construction of Garrison Dam flooded the Missouri River Valley and created Lake Sakakawea, something we’ve covered before in posts about Sanish and Four Bears Bridge.  We’ve photographed both a church and a home that once stood in Elbowoods — structures that were moved to higher ground to avoid the flood.

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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.
Oil Boom Reviving Tiny Prairie Towns

Oil Boom Reviving Tiny Prairie Towns

The AP did a story in April about the oil boom and Ghosts of North Dakota supplied one of the photos of Appam, North Dakota. Watch the video from the AP’s Martha Irvine.

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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.
Maltese Cross Cabin: Theodore Roosevelt’s Mobile Home

Maltese Cross Cabin: Theodore Roosevelt’s Mobile Home

On Theodore Roosevelt’s first trip to North Dakota in 1883, before he made Elkhorn Ranch his home, he stayed in a modest frontier cabin about seven miles south of Medora at Chimney Butte.  It was still the Dakota Territory then and the future President was bolstering his rawhide credentials.  The National Park Service has a nice page on the cabin here.

Maltese Cross Cabin, Chimney Butte

Above, the Maltese Cross Cabin at Chimney Butte, circa 1904, photo by Jospeh Kitchin. The cabin originally had a steep, pitched roof but according to a report by the Historic American Buildings Survey, it underwent structural changes in 1884 or ’85 and again in 1897 or ’98. Other modifications to the cabin are also visible in the photo above.  You can make out the timbers that were used to patch the doorway in the wall. Compare to the photo at the bottom… the door has been restored today.

Maltese Cross Cabin, World's Fair 1904

During Theodore Roosevelt’s Presidency, the Maltese Cross Cabin began touring the country. It is shown here at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and it was also shown at the Portland World’s Fair the following year.

Maltese Cross Cabin, World's Fair 1904

After traveling the country, the Maltese Cross Cabin came back to North Dakota and resided at what was then the State Fairgrounds in Fargo for a couple years before moving to the grounds of the State Capitol in Bismarck.

Maltese Cross Cabin, Bismarck

Above, the Maltese Cross Cabin when it was at the State Capitol in Bismarck, approximately 1909 to 1959.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Today, the Maltese Cross Cabin stands behind the visitor center at the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora and the original pitched roof has been recreated. Admission is free, there are guided tours and a very talented Theodore Roosevelt impersonator.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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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.
Watch Verendrye Age Forty Years

Watch Verendrye Age Forty Years

Yesterday, Steve Lee sent us some photos of flooding in Verendrye, North Dakota. They were taken
by his father during the Mouse (Souris) River floods “sometime in the mid to late forties.”

My father, Howard Lee, took these photos.  He grew up on his grandfather’s (Herbrand Lee) farm, 2 or 3 miles northeast of Verendrye. Herbrand Lee homesteaded in the area.

Today, Steve sent us another photo with the following note:

I just noticed, on Google Earth, that this structure is no longer standing. With that in mind, here is a photo of that storefront from about 1983. It was taken with a 4×5 Crown Graphic. I was trying to emulate the same angle as my father’s photo.

With that we have two images of the same place, separated by a generation, captured by a father and son with deep family roots in North Dakota.  We put the two photos together in an animation.  Watch as the General Store in Verendrye ages nearly 40 years:

Verendrye, North Dakota

Photos by Howard and Steven Lee
Animation by Troy Larson
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.
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.

Verendrye, North Dakota

My Aunt, Uncle, and 5 cousins lived in the white house that can be seen beyond the kids in the back of the school photo [below]. The last time I was there that house was just a foundation. I think the two photos of the school were taken about the year 1960 or 1961. I have to check with my brother to be sure on that. He would know since he graduated from the 8th grade there in, I believe, the last year it was open. I went there in the 2nd & 3rd grades until the school closed and we were bused to school in Velva.

Verendrye, North Dakota

falsen-school

Only the facade remains standing today. Photo by Terry Hinnenkamp.

Verendrye, North Dakota

This is an ink drawing composite and I’m sorry that it’s not very clear. I did the ink drawing several years ago using all the enclosed cafe photos as well as memory.

Verendrye, North Dakota

I lived in the restaurant building in Verendrye with my parents and 4 siblings in the 1960’s. My mother ran the restaurant for a couple of years but when the customers dwindled she closed it.

Most of the photos are of the restaurant/bar/garage/home that once stood near the railroad track. The side door faced the tracks & the front with gas pump faced the road that crossed the tracks. The restaurant was on the right-front, a bar inside to the left and on the far left a small mechanic’s garage with a grease pit. The bar and mechanic’s garage was not used when we lived there. We lived in the back part of the building that faced the tracks on the right side of the photo [below]… that separate garage on the right side of the photo was our car garage.

Anyway, down the street and to the left of the front (gas pump) of the restaurant was a hotel that was later moved to the Walhowe farm. Fred Walhowe’s sister and brother-in-law ran the hotel. (I can’t remember their names.)

Verendrye, North Dakota

These photos of the cafe were taken in 1966.

Verendrye, North Dakota

If a person where standing on the road at the railroad crossing (looking towards the school) you would see the cafe building in front of you & on your right. You would have the elevators behind you and on your left. Also the building that can be seen behind our garage [on the right, in the photo above] was a home also used for a US Post Office. The last time I drove through Verendrye that buiding was still there.

Verendrye, North Dakota

Verendrye, North Dakota

This last photo is of “the cabin” as we have always called it just a few years ago. There was a series of, I think 9, stories printed in the Minot Daily News, starting on June 10, 1967 written about 14 log cabins in a 15 mile area of the Mouse River near Verendrye. The cabin that we lived in (we added a kitchen & bedroom as well as putting in electricity) was log cabin #7 in this series. — Kathy Haynes

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.
Two Views of Blabon, 97 Years Apart

Two Views of Blabon, 97 Years Apart

These two dramatically different views of Blabon, North Dakota vividly depict how quickly things changed for some small North Dakota railroad communities in the twentieth century.

Blabon, 1916

The postcard above was sent to Olaf Andersen in Detroit on October 4th, 1916 with a message written in a foreign language. The photo by C.A. Sund reveals an entire townscape which has virtually vanished from the prairie with the exception of the two homes on the left.

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Blabon, North Dakota

In 2013, the two homes above are the only two remaining structures shown in the postcard above.  The church, the grain elevator, and all the other structures (with perhaps the exception of the homes on the extreme left edge of the postcard) are gone today.

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp except where noted.
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.
Fargo’s Front Street, 1909

Fargo’s Front Street, 1909

If you’re fascinated by history, you know postcards are really a simple pleasure. You can tease so many stories out of a few fine details when you look close.

This intersection in Fargo is significant in the history of our state as the place where Fargo literally rose from the ground after the NP Avenue Railroad Bridge was completed in 1872, less than a mile to the east.  It was the first railroad bridge across the Red River at a time when this was still the Dakota Territory. The Northern Pacific stopped at the depot just out of frame on the right and thus, this city block became the first stop in Dakota for the majority of travelers from the east and was frequently the first time many had experienced what they perceived as “the west.”

Moody’s department store would have been just out of frame on the left of the scene below, and there are other interesting landmarks in this postcard, too. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the postcard.

Front Street Fargo, 1909

I found this card when I was nosing around in a box at an antique store. It shows Front Street in Fargo, a street known today as Main Avenue, circa 1909, with Broadway intersecting in the foreground. As you can see, the card was in pretty bad shape, so I started by doing a quick restoration.

Front Street Fargo, 1909

That’s not perfect, but a little better.

Front Street Fargo, 1909

Dr. Mallarian had his offices right on the corner in the same building as the bank, which was founded in 1878 as the First National Bank. However by the time of this photo in 1909, the bank had changed hands and was known as Commercial Bank of Fargo.

Front Street Fargo, 1909

Signs for Emery & Johnson Cycle Company and H.F. Emery Hardware.

Front Street Fargo, 1909

I count three drug stores on this block, a dentist, an insurance agency, and whatever H.G. Edwards sold.

Front Street Fargo, 1909

Front Street Fargo, 1909

Two interesting stories here… on the left, the old DeLendrecie’s department store.  At the time this photo was taken, it was only two stories (see photo top) but it would later have three more stories added.  DeLendrecies moved from this building to the mall in 1973 and was purchased and turned into a Herberger’s store in 1998, ending a one hundred year run.  The downtown DeLendrecies building has been redeveloped into the Block 6 apartment complex.

On the right, the Fargo Waldorf, a hotel that was ingeniously located directly across the street from the Northern Pacific depot.  Like the DeLendrecies building, the Waldorf is yet to reach its full stature at the time of this photo — it’s four stories, but a fifth would be added later. The hotel was destroyed by fire on December 13th, 1951. Read more about the Waldorf at Fargo Moorhead Lost and Found.

Main Avenue, Fargo

Here’s the block as it looks today, occupied by trendy stores, coffee houses and a pizza joint.  The street is considerably wider, and the former DeLendrecies building at the end of the block is now five stories.  All things considered, it’s a small miracle that almost all of these buildings still stand.

Main Avenue, Fargo

If you have suggestions on historically significant North Dakota places that we should feature here, please feel free to contact us.

Photos by Troy Larson, 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.
Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Sometimes we photograph a place and find out years later that it’s gone, sometimes the place is gone by the time we get there.  But the one constant is that the list of places is growing all the time.

Here’s another list of ten more significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time. When you’re done with this one, check out 10 Lost North Dakota Places, and 8 More Lost North Dakota Places.

Heaton, North Dakota

1. Heaton’s Main Street

Heaton has gone down quickly over the last decade, with most of their abandoned buildings razed and only one resident remaining.

2. Calvin Corinthian Lodge

In the time since Terry photographed this Corinthian Lodge in Calvin, North Dakota in 2006, this place has collapsed.  See MJ Masilko’s photos from after the collapse.

3. Eastedge House

This house is one of only two structures remaining on the Eastedge townsite, and it won’t stand much longer.

4. Isabel School

Isabel School, and the store across the road, have been gone a long time, and we’ve never even seen photos of them.  If you have any you’d like to share, please contact us.

5. Omemee

Contributor Mark Johnson took a photo that allowed us to do the above animation of one of the few remaining structures in Omemee, North Dakota.  It’s a true ghost town and the elements have been hard on this place.  It won’t be around many more years.

6. Most of Straubville

Straubville is a true ghost town with zero population, and most of the buildings, if they haven’t already collapsed, are crumbling.

7. Fargo Waldorf

The Fargo Waldorf was in the perfect location — directly across the street from the Northern Pacific train depot.  It was destroyed by fire on December 19th, 1951. Read more about the Waldorf in Fargo Moorhead Lost and Found.

Munster Schoolhouse

8. Munster Schoolhouse

We set out to photograph this schoolhouse in October of 2012 at the end of the driest summer ever in the state, and when we arrived, we were shocked to see the school had recently burned. We visited two years later, and it had collapsed.

9. Falsen School

Just the facade remains of the Falsen School in Verendrye, North Dakota.

1o. Lincoln Valley gas station

The filling station, the post office, and several other buildings on the block are now gone in Lincoln Valley.

Bonus Place: Lincoln Valley church

We know very little about this church.  Please feel free to comment if you know anything about it.  There did not appear to be wreckage of this church lying around, which makes us wonder whether it was moved somewhere.

If you enjoy posts like this, please check out our hardcover coffee table books in our online store, or pick them up in a store near you.

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.
Manfred’s Hotel Johnson, Then and Now

Manfred’s Hotel Johnson, Then and Now

We revisited Manfred last summer for the first time in six years and found some things had changed for the better.  Look at the Hotel Johnson in 2006 compared to how it looks now… the residents of Manfred have made amazing progress on the old hotel.

Hotel Johnson

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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.
Nome School: Then and Now

Nome School: Then and Now

Nome School in Barnes County — 1919 and 2005.

nome-then-and-now

Animation by Troy
Original content 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.
More of the Fargo Waldorf

More of the Fargo Waldorf

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

np-depot-1906-07

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

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

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

waldorf-block6

np-depot-1924

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

np-depot-today

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

Devils Lake Rises

Most North Dakotans know what has been going on in Devils Lake over the last few decades.  A steady rise of water levels on the lake has inundated towns like Church’s Ferry and Minnewaukan, plus numerous farms, homes, and businesses.  Without a natural outlet, the lake has continued to rise and has been the subject of contentious political battles.  One of Terry’s best photos features a home which was overtaken by the ever-expanding shoreline of Devils Lake.

Here is an animated photographic representation of what the residents of Devils Lake have been battling.  Take a look at the shoreline of Devils Lake in 1984 compared to 2009.

devils-lake-rise

Animation 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.
Return to Fillmore

Return to Fillmore

We first visited Fillmore in 2006 and we were completely blown away. Fillmore was one of the most impressive near-ghost towns we had ever been to. At the time, there just a couple of part-time residents, and more than a dozen abandoned structures including a bar, a store, a community hall/gymnasium, an auto shop, and numerous homes.

For some time, we had known the gymnasium had been listed for sale. In summer of 2012, we started hearing from people who said something had happened in Fillmore. A centennial celebration had taken place, and in the process of cleanup before the celebration, a number of structures had been burned. We heard rumors of lawsuits, and got emails from people who told us stories about angry property owners. In an effort to get a little clarity on it, I emailed and spoke with several people on both sides of the conflict over what happened in Fillmore, and this is what I was told:

  • Organizers of the centennial had concerns about the safety of attendees due to the large number of abandoned properties, and attempted to contact property owners about remedying the situation.
  • Property owners gave me varying accounts of whether they were contacted, and whether they were given enough time to comply with requests to secure their properties.
  • Prior to the celebration, a number of properties were cleaned out and valuables removed.
  • The bar, the store, the gymnasium, and the auto shop, all burned.  Numerous houses are all gone from the Fillmore town site since our last visit too.
  • Fire investigators determined the fires which took down the gymnasium and neighboring structures were intentionally set, but nobody can prove who did it.

These are conclusions I was able to draw based solely on conversations and correspondence with people involved.  And it brings several things to mind.  The importance of respecting property owners’ rights, for instance, regardless of whether the property owners are local residents.  On the flip-side, if a property owner lives in a distant location and purchases a property for a song with the intention of ‘doing something with it, someday,’ what responsibility do they have to visit their property regularly and maintain it? And how can these disputes be resolved respectfully?

In a state like North Dakota where properties in remote locations are frequently forfeited to the county for back taxes, then purchased by someone else for a dirt cheap price, these are not easy questions to answer.  But what we can say for sure is that Fillmore, North Dakota will never be the same.  We left with heavy hearts after seeing that fifty percent of the town is now gone.

Here’s a photo from 2006 on the sidewalk in front of the bar and store.

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

And here’s a photo we took in 2012 looking down the same sidewalk.  Both buildings gone.

Fillmore, North Dakota

Here’s a photo of the gymnasium/community center in 2006.

Fillmore, North Dakota

And here’s what remains today.  Just the front steps.

Fillmore, North Dakota

Here’s another view of the bar and store in 2006, note the position of the double pine trees behind the building.

Fillmore, North Dakota

Here’s a photo from 2012.  The double pine trees are still there, but both buildings are gone.

Fillmore, North Dakota

A Fillmore home in 2012.

Fillmore, North Dakota

Here’s the same home in 2006.

Fillmore, 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.
Omemee: Now and Then

Omemee: Now and Then

After visiting in 2004, contributor Mark Johnson made a followup visit to Omemee. We were able to match Mark’s photo of the Superintendent’s house with an old postcard. The picture says it all… there’s not much time for Omemee. Mark’s comments:

“Attached are a couple updated photos of the “superintendent’s house” in Omemee from last October… the house has seriously deteriorated further since I was there originally. The whole front of the house has collapsed.”

Omemee Then and Now

Photo by Mark Johnson, 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.
Heaton – Six Years Later

Heaton – Six Years Later

Wells County
Inhabited as of 5/10

We returned to Heaton nearly six years after our first trip in 2004. How things have changed.

CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

Heaton, North Dakota

This is an animation showing the former Heaton Bank and the Hawks of Heaton Gift Shop (which we believe may have been the Post Office at one time as well).  As you can see, sometime between 2004 and 2010, the structures have disappeared.  we don’t know what happened to them.  Several homes which used to stand in Heaton are gone now as well.

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

The awning over the porch on the home above has collapsed sometime since 2004.  Click Here to see what it looked like then.

Heaton, North Dakota

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Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

Heaton, North Dakota

All photos by Troy and Rat, copyright SonicTremorMedia.com

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.