Merricourt, ND

Merricourt, North Dakota

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.

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

US Census Data for Merricourt
Total Population by Place

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

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

21 Comments on “Merricourt, ND

  1. One of the houses pictured was my grandfathers house. I miss this place.

  2. I was born and raised on a farm southwest of Merricourt and still visit often as the family farm is still operational. Thank you for the wonderful photos and history lesson.

  3. I also remember stopping here in ’78 or ’79. We were working on a ballast train (done dumping and eastbound back to Hankinson) and had to clear for the local westbound (heading for Wishek). The local cafe was still open as we had lunch while we waited. Soo Line (now C.P. Rail) operated the line at that time. It is now a short line, Dakota, Missouri Valley and Western now. The elevators were abandoned at this time too. I always wondered too about the brick elevators these are the only ones I have ever seen. Did someone locally manufactor bricks for the elevator? Lack of lumber at the time? You would think that it would have been expensive to ship this many in.

  4. what interesting photos, and history lesson, Our country church shared a pastor with the Merricourt church, so at different times we would attend church there as well as for the confirmation of the three churches served by the same pastor, I believe it was a Rev. Moos, he served our country church and one in Kulm as well. I lived out on the McIntosh/Dickey county line at that time.. great job…

  5. Photos are spectacular. I have a question though. If there are no services there, how does a person, or two, live there? Is there any electricity?

    • That is a good question. We think there is utility-supplied electrical power. Perhaps we’re using the wrong terminology but when we say there aren’t any services, we’re actually referring to businesses, stores, gas stations, fire department etc… there are none in Merricourt.

      • Merricourt has had lights since at least 1927 – they may have had a municipally operated light plant before that, not sure. It was Northern Power & Light from the mid-1920s to 1939 when it became Dakota Public Service Co. and finally Montana-Dakota Utilities in 1945. I’ve been through Merricourt a couple times – the substation is about a half-mile northeast of town (and a very small one at that); for some reason the company decided to bury the main line into town.

  6. my dad grew up just eaST OF THERE .my kids and i drove around the area would love to bUy aND RERSTORE SOME OF THE PROPERTY .

  7. Pingback: Merricourt, ND (Area) Abandoned Farmstead « Outdoor Guy Photography

  8. I lived my first 5 years in Merricourt. 1955-1960. The hall was just across the street from our house.

    • Hi Brad! I went to Merricourt grade school with your sisters Valerie and Suzanne. My Grandma Frances Rall lived next door to your family!

  9. Pingback: Merricout Abandoned Farmstead | ND Drift Prairie | Dan Traun

  10. My dad grew up in Merricourt and rode a horse to school when he was a little boy! We would visit our grandparents each summer and often drove out to Merricourt. I am thrilled to see these photos!

    I am horrified about the wind farm development there and in Edgeley. Wind farms destroy the environment and cause illness in humans. Used to be you could drive for miles and miles and saw farm land and occasional farm houses – it was so beautiful and quiet!

    Thank you for the photos! 🙂

  11. My father was born in Merricourt. Our family farm was north of Merricourt. My dad’s original farmhouse was just north of town. Merricourt was dissolved some years ago. My g’ma and I went into town and got ice cream at the store. Lots of good memories.

  12. My wife’s grandma ran the Do Drop Inn till the 1980’s when she was shut down as she used water from a well across the street. She had power and love to watch to see who came and go from the bar across the street.

    • Edward Vickers, Edith Maly the proprietor of the Do Drop Inn Cafe was my great-aunt! What is your wife’s name? We must be cousins! I grew up on a mile or so from Merricourt. My Dad was Ross King and My Grandpa Lou King ran the bar across the street from Edith’s cafe. I loved eating there! She made the best hamburgers – she grilled the buns in butter!

  13. I went to college in Ellendale in the 80’s and we used to drive out to Merricourt on the weekends and just walk around. Even then it was pretty deserted. Beautiful and peaceful. Is the church still standing?

  14. I am friends with the person who owns that grain elevator and the land on it. It is quite dangerous yet extremely breathtaking climbing all the way to the top. BTW please don’t attempt this as it is private property. Granted I am friends with the owner we get to visit, camp and have a good time. Once again that portion is private property. Ask for permission. He is a good person.


  15. I just passed through Merricourt on my way to the Whitestone Hill Memorial nearby. The aforementioned wind energy project is in full swing between Merricourt and Ashley to the SW. Construction is very active across the area. Merricourt though looks worse than ever in comparison to the photos here, mainly due to the unchecked proliferation of trees and shrubs. The gymnasium is still standing but has trees growing right up to the walls. There’s one active home in the center of town and a farm to the west side of the main road. The unique brick elevator is still standing on the north end but looks pretty dangerous. Aside from crumbling houses, nothing else was visible from the main road due to thick foliage. I wasn’t sure on what was private property so I didn’t venture off the main road. I sure wanted to though– such an interesting place.

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