Sanger, ND

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota is located in Oliver County, on the west bank of the Missouri River. It was a true ghost town when we visited in September of 2004, but that would change by 2013.

Sanger was also known as Bentley, ND when it was founded in 1879, named after the town doctor W. Bentley, who was also a member of the territorial legislature. Bentley was considered the county seat until 1884, when the county seat was moved to Center, ND and the town was re-named Sanger, for Henry Sanger, the owner of the townsite.

We received an email from Bob & Caryl Rutten of Bismarck which told of two people who may have been Sanger’s final residents. It read in part:

Sanger was in fact occupied in the late 1970’s (I believe) through the early ’80’s by Linda Whitney and David Christie, two ND visual artists who trained at UND and moved out to Sanger to set up studios. We used to read about them in the Bismarck paper now and then back in the day.

In addition to all the houses in Sanger, there are several empty lots which clearly had homes or buildings at one point. Sanger’s layout is still recognizable with the vacant homes lining what used to be the main streets.  Visiting Sanger in person, it’s easy to imagine riding up to the town in a horse & carriage. Unlike many ghost town sites in the state, there seems to be very little tampering and vandalizing of the town site.

See more of our Sanger stuff here.

Sanger, North Dakota

For years we’d been told this was the former Post Office in Sanger, but the residents we met in 2013 told us it was The County House, a boarding house for travelers in a time when a trip from Minot to Bismarck took several days.

Sanger, North Dakota

We’ve been looking for old photos or postcards that show Sanger back in the day.  If you have any to share, we’ll gladly post them here for everyone to see.  Just contact us.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Check out the sweet old appliances.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

We’re told this house was moved from somewhere else and placed on this lot in Sanger, but nothing ever came of it. Years later, it was still here.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

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

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18 Comments on “Sanger, ND

  1. A friend of mine is buying up the lots and houses of Sanger and creating a retreat. He’s planning to turn Sanger into a very low key destination community.

      • My daughter and i went by there today to take some pictures of the homes and someone had started to restore atleast one of the homes from what I could see. Also, there is a newer structure for storage built on the site.

  2. I spent most of summer 1973 in Sanger doing archaeological field school (excavating part of a Hidatsa village site). Cross Ranch maintained a couple of structures, partly to support the field school. They provided gas and electricity and loaned us a cook. We played volleyball almost nightly with some of the ranch staff. None of the posted photos show the grain elevator and the town hall on the eastern side of the ‘street.’ Town hall was picked up and rotated some 30 degrees in a tornado in the early 1950s, according to the ranch folks we talked to.

    • Hi Garner,

      I would like copy of the Sanger ND women baseball players’ photograph. I would like to send it to my Uncle who grew up in Sanger. He still plays baseball today, in his 90s! I am sure he would get a kick out of seeing this old picture. His Dad was the station agent for Great Northern when it ran through this neck of the woods. Also owned and ran the grocery store for awhile. Everyone left for California during the dust bowl/great depression era.


  3. When we were touring the National Baseball Hall of Fame we came upon a photograph of a women baseball players wearing uniforms that had “Sanger ND” on the fronts. I took a picture of the photograph which I would be willing to send to you if you send me an email address.


  4. This is very interesting to me because my grandfather grew up in Sanger as a young boy. He had to share the up stairs of a very small house with his brothers and sisters.I have been out to see this house with my own eyes and there was not alot to see as i remeber you could not see any other structures from there. my father and grandfather went back in 1992 and took some photos that i have recently recieved after my grandfathers passing. the four photos i am having professionaly framed right now to hang in my home as a reminder of how hard of life that they had and how much he made out of it. Most of my favorite memories as a child myself were hanging out with my grandpa on his farm Washington before they moved back to North Dakota for their golden years.
    The pictures i have are of a much older structure 1920’s.




  5. Sanger was great I remember my uncles house with the green roof The house was built in the 20s I think he dies in the 60s my aunt lived there till 87 then Sanger started to go down hill people moved out.

  6. I would like any contact info I can find about this town. I have went to Oliver County Courthouse and they gave me a name of a person we hope owns the 2 lots I am interested in. I would like to own a piece of this town. I am not a person to develope golf courses or such. I just want a place that is out and awy from everyone that thinks they can run others lives.

  7. My boyfriend and I tried to visit this little old town yesterday. But, we were surprised to see that one of the houses is being completely redone. They are putting up new siding, put in new windows and doors, and are really making this old house look nice. The grass was mowed and the yard fenced in, and a sign that read “no trespassing.” there was a newer looking garage along with a camper and boat parked on the property. This house that is being remodeled is in the center of all the other old buildings, and we had no idea if someone owned all of the property? Since it looked like whoever was remodeling the house would show up at any minute, we decided not to look at any of the other old buildings. We didn’t want to get any tresspAssing charges! So if anyone wants to go visit or see the town… I’d recommend getting permission or talking to the owner first.

  8. If anyone has contact info for the owners of the lots in Sanger, I would appreciate them passing it along. Thanks!

    • You can contact the court house in center.They have map of sanger and listing of the people who own the lots. I got one last year.

  9. My husband and I drive around Sanger every time we go fishing on the Missouri at Sanger Bottoms about 2 miles east. We have considered building a retirement home there mainly because it is so close to the river, Cross Ranch, great summer fishing (winter not so much) and camping. Downside-although it is close to the river, there is no river view. Not much of a view to the west either because of a backdrop of hills to the west tht the town is kind of nestled up against. It not too fr from Washburn or Mandan – about 30 miles. But definitely isolated which is part of the charm. I heard there are people buying up lots too.

  10. Pingback: More views of Sanger :

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  12. I lived in sanger in summer of 1969 with the university of missouri archeological research team. Anyone out there who was there…leave your name..jim colclasure

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