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Tag: Wells County

The Why and How of Cathay, North Dakota

The Why and How of Cathay, North Dakota

Near the center of the state, in Wells County, about fifteen miles northwest of Carrington, Cathay stands as a great example of a shrinking North Dakota railroad community in the heart of farming country. It was founded in 1892 and the first post office went up the following year, to serve the Soo Line railroad. At one time, there were 255 residents here, but in the 2000 Census, the number was 56. Ten years later, the 2010 tally was 43.

Some might argue it was after the closing of the school when things started to look a little bleak in Cathay. Some might say, “No, it was the post office,” and still others would insist there was some other tipping point, but in reality the railroad was responsible for the fate of many small towns like this, and as went the railroad, so went the 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. @NorthDakotaTroy

Chaseley, North Dakota: 12 Years Later

Chaseley, North Dakota: 12 Years Later

The last time we visited Chaseley, North Dakota, was in June of 2005, and it was a spur of the moment stop that we hadn’t planned. We took a few photos but didn’t run into anybody wandering about, so we moved along to the next stop without learning much about this tiny town in Wells County, right in the middle of North Dakota.

On the way home from a trip to western North Dakota in July of 2017, however, we decided to make another stop in Chaseley, and we’re glad we did, because we got to meet a couple Chaseley residents and learn a lot more about this slowly vanishing place. 

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

Hamberg Flashback

Hamberg Flashback

We visited Hamberg, North Dakota, a near ghost town in Wells County, about 18 miles east of Harvey, for the first time in 2008, to photograph an old school which has since burned in an accidental fire.

Thanks to Heidi Ermer, we can now take a brief look at Hamberg as it appeared in yesteryear when there were residents numbering in the hundreds, as versus the approximate 20 residents who live there today. Heidi sent us the following postcards. The exact year of these photos is unknown.

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

Bethel Lutheran Awaits Just One More Potluck

Bethel Lutheran Awaits Just One More Potluck

The cornerstone for this church along County Road 5 reads “Bethel Hauges Norsk E.V. Luth. Kirke, 1915”. Put more plainly, that’s Bethel Hauges Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church. The building is located in northern Wells County, about 10 miles east of Harvey, and although the cemetery is still active, the building stands abandoned and boarded-up. In the place where the Lord’s word could once be heard on Sunday mornings by 80 or 100 parishioners at a time, Bethel Lutheran awaits just one more potluck.

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

Vanishing Bremen, North Dakota

Vanishing Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen is a small, unincorporated town near Fessenden in Wells County.  This central part of the state is very sparsely populated and dotted with abandoned places like the Remains of Munster School and Hamberg.  These photos were taken in 2008, and we hope to revisit the area sometime soon for an update.

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen supposedly had a population of 200 at one time, but it hasn’t had nearly that many for a very long time. Most of Bremen’s residents (there aren’t many) live in a cluster of residences a short distance to the southeast, leaving the street shown here a rather lonesome place.

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Do you know what this building used to be? Please leave a comment.

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

The former Bremen Bank is the most striking derelict structure in Bremen. The amazing stone architecture is a thing to behold, but also perhaps a liability considering moving the building for the sake of preservation would be very difficult and expensive. The roof is totally porous already. Unless someone takes heroic measures to save this structure where it sits, it will eventually fall victim to time.

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

A peek inside the building from the rear, looking toward the front.

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

There’s something storybook about this winding drive, leading to a decidedly non-storybook abandoned home.

Bremen, North Dakota

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

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

Inside Sheyenne River Academy

Inside Sheyenne River Academy

We visited the former Sheyenne River Academy, in Wells County just a few miles northeast of Harvey, in 2012. We were unable to find anybody at home when we visited, so we were unable to get permission to go inside.

However, John Mosher recently posted some photos of the abandoned remains of Sheyenne River Academy to our Facebook page and graciously gave us permission to post them here.

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

More Abandoned Hamberg

More Abandoned Hamberg

Hamberg lost their school to a grassfire on April Fool’s Day, 2012.  In its absence, we took a new look at our archive of photos from 2008 and found these previously unseen things.  Enjoy.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

To see the collection of school photos, see the main Hamberg photo gallery from 2008.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

This old bus next to the school sure would have been a nice fix-up project.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

We have a special weakness for old Post Offices like this one in Hamberg. They’re steeped in history and frequently have so much character.

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Hamberg, North Dakota

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

 

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

Disappearing Hamberg, North Dakota

Disappearing Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg is a central North Dakota near-ghost town, in Wells County, about eighteen miles east of Harvey. It was founded as a Great Northern Railroad town (Heidi Ermer contributed a photo of the old depot) and was originally called Viking. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick, the name was changed to Hamburg by German residents, but later the Hamberg spelling was adopted as a compromise with the Scandinavian settlers in the area.

US Census Data for Hamberg
Total Population by Place

1940 – 154
1950 – 124
1960 – 64
1970 – 51
1980 – 41
2000 – 28
2010 — 21

Hamberg, North Dakota
During our visit in 2008, this school looked like it had very few years left in it. Unfortunately, it burned to the ground on April 1st, 2012, during one of the driest springs on record. A Facebook fan reports a controlled burn got out of control due to the wind and the dry conditions.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

The traffic passes, but rarely stops.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg’s Post Office.

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg, North Dakota

A quiet Saturday morning in Hamberg.

Hamberg, North Dakota

See also: More Views of Hamberg
See also: Hamberg Flashback
See also: More Abandoned Hamberg

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

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