When we started this project in 2003, there were plenty of places where we arrived too late; we showed up to discover there wasn’t much left to see in many cases. Now, years later, we’ve been sad to see many of the places where there were things to see… vanish just the same. If you didn’t see these places already, a visit now would reveal that you’ve arrived too late. Here are… Read More

The events of 1930 could be considered a textbook example of “hard times” anywhere in America. The stock market crashed near the end of 1929 and ushered-in the Great Depression. Unemployment skyrocketed along with the price of imported goods. North Dakota and other rural states endured unprecedented drought that would eventually lead to the Dust Bowl. In the midst of these events, it wasn’t uncommon for families to pack up as many… Read More

We first visited Arena, North Dakota, a ghost town in Burleigh County, about 35 miles northeast of Bismarck, in 2004, and we’ve been keeping our eyes on it ever since, with the assistance of some kindred spirit adventurers who check-in from time to time to let us know what’s happening.

Defining what exactly constitutes a “ghost town” can sometimes be tricky.  In our years of exploring North Dakota’s abandoned places, we’ve often encountered former towns where the townsite itself is empty, but there’s a farm about half a mile down the road.  Sometimes a former town like Sims, North Dakota has an active church, but nobody actually lives on the town site.  And still other times, we will hear objections from people… Read More

This is one of two rural schools we photographed in Clear Lake Township, and we’ve seen it referenced simply as Clear Lake School.  Kathy Wilner emailed us to say she’s been documenting one-room schools for the North Dakota Historical Society and had the following comments: It was [originally] located on the south side of a body of water called Long Alkaline Lake, straight north of Highway 36 on 31st Ave SE…  This… Read More