Now Arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs was founded in the Dakota Territory in 1873 and the Post Office opened with the name “CRYSTAL SPRINGS” in 1884–named for nearby Crystal Springs Lakes.

We were cruising west on the interstate one day and the Crystal Springs school, perched beautifully atop a hill along the highway, practically jumped out at us, and we stopped to get a few shots. Now arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota.

Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs, North Dakota

I’ve always thought Crystal Springs would be the perfect place for a roadside tourist stop. It’s about halfway between Bismarck and Fargo. The school above stands directly across the road from the church below… you could renovate the school into a B&B/gift shop with North Dakota-themed gifts, snacks and cold pop for the kids, last chance to get a North Dakota book! Crystal Springs would be back on the map. Ahhh, we can dream.

Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs was a popular roadside stopping point for years, until it’s access was cut off by Interstate 94. We didn’t realize when we took these photos in 2005 that there was another whole section of the town north of Interstate 94. A fellow photographer tipped us off, and we went back in 2013 to get what we had missed.

Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Crystal Springs, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2018 Sonic Tremor Media

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28 Comments on “Now Arriving at Crystal Springs, North Dakota

  1. In the late 1950’s there use to be a rock fountain that you could drink from, I think it was across from the gas station. I remember stopping there.

  2. You are missing all the structures on the north of highway 94. If you exit and go north, there are three to four abandoned houses, the spring, and some ruins of what was the gas station. I do have pictures I will try to send.

    • Hi my name is Alex and i am a senior at kulm high school and im doing a report on Crystal Springs and if you have any informaiton or pictures i could take a look at i would be very greatful!

  3. My sister and her husband have a cabin on the lake at at Crystal Springs and I just returned from spending a week there. It is paradise in the middle of the prairie. Well in the summer it is, but winter is hell. The lake stays fresh because it is spring fed and the swiming and fishing are great. I saw where the gas station was and the stone fountain is still there and a small out building.

  4. Everytime I drive by and see that building in the first picture it creeps me out. Any idea if this building is haunted?

  5. Hi I am a senior from Kulm High School. I am doing a report on Ghost towns of ND, and one of my ghost towns is Crystal Springs. I was hoping that if anyone had any informaiton or pictures from that area they would get a hold of me! Thank you

    • Alex, I wish I had some pictures and information for you, I too am at the beginning stages of researching Crystal Springs and would love to read your report. I plan on making a trip to Crystal Springs sometime in the near future and if you are still interested I am more than willing to share.

  6. hi my name is Elizabeth wolt, my grandparents owned the house and gas station that sits in front of the old big building of of the I94 in crystal Springs…. cant remember exactly the dates they lived there but it was a long time,,,, they also had a little red school house on the land but that is no longer there i have a couple pics of the place in its better days!!!! i grew up their and miss it so much!!! my grandfather ran the gas station and also was the post master for 30 + years if you want to know some info i cant give you as much as i know and can ask my dad about more of the history to… email is….

  7. Crystal Springs, ND was a rockin town back in the 80s I was in my 20s and dated a girl from Crystal Springs, ND. We would go to the dance on Sat night it was a lot of fun

    • I lived in Crystal Springs too do you remember the Johnsons Ermma and Jimbo we called him. My father was working in Crystal Springs for about two years.

  8. I just explored around here as well, we were on our way to Tappen to go investigate the alien encounter that happened in 2006. I’m a photographer/filmmaker as well. We explored the church, not much inside. Found a dead mouse. Kind of a cool basement. And the school, we were going to enter through an open basement window when some guy pulled up and asked us what we were doing. Seeing my nice camera, he accepted the explanation that we were just taking pictures. I guess he owned the church, too.

  9. I remember my aunt having a picture of her and my grand parents in front of that stone spring. It was a popular stop for fresh water in the “highway 10” days. I am glad it is still there and will definatley stop there the next time we are through there.

  10. I have a pasture by Crystal Springs,ND and there are a few houses there and I was looking through one of them and found some childrens shoes and a note from sometime in the 1800’s from the bank of Crystal Springs in an old chest!!!

  11. ok i use to go to a church camp on the lake there when i was a kid. was one of my favorite spots

  12. If you read the centennial book of Tappen or Medina it has history for Crystal Springs. My grandmother who grew up just to the north said the town burnt down twice and then never rebuilt. If the grass is short you can still see many old foundations. The Tappen Centennial book does have some pictures. Wolts ran the store that had the post office on the rightside with gas pumps and some neat old outbuildings. The rock foundation is down on old 10 by the lake.

    • We would drive Highway 10 in the mid to late 1940s and always stop for the finest drinking water at the well kept up stone fountain by the gas station which is situated north of I-94 and access via gravel road. The water we would ‘stock up’ with would be kept in a canvas container and kept on the front of the car to keep it cool.

      • Do you get offended at all or know anyone who does when visitors come by to take pics and such. I love old towns abandoned or not and wanted to know if it is rude to seek them out. We take pics and walk around nothing more, we dont go into houses or take things.

        • The old white church as well as the school (brick building) is all owned by the same guy who owns what was the gas station and house on top the hill. Out of courtesy if you are going to walk around on somebodys property you should stop and knock and see if its okay first. He is a really nice guy. I know this because he is my uncle. The fountain is still on the north side of the interstate on your way to Crystal Springs lake. It will be on the right side of the road. Last time I was down that road there was still a few abandoned houses left on the left side of the road. The school is believed to be haunted as well.

          • Thanks for the heads up. Yes you should always ask if you are going to walk on someone’s property.

  13. The fountain was a regular stop when we traveled that route in the 50s & 60s — it’s good to know it s still operational. I assume that old Hwy 10 is marked from the Crystal Springs I94 exit — Does anyone have better directions & distance to the fountain?

  14. When going west on 94, if you take a right away from the school, the road will wind and you will find three abandoned houses and the remains of the old gas station, as well as the spring, which now appears to be dry. I believe I have pictures on my website. Fascinating town.

  15. I also went to bible camp there. I loved it. Bests summers of my life. Beautiful country

  16. Stopped by the old stone fountain on a clear fall day recently, as I passed thru heading west. The fountain still appears to be in pretty fair shape, and evoked many memories of stopping there on pre- I94 family trips. Lotta memories

  17. Our family has stopped there in the 50s and 60s too on our way to and from Jamestown to visit relatives.

  18. My mother taught school at Crystal Springs school. I grew up only about 5 to 6 miles from there. Brings back memories as a kid.

  19. I’d love to know if there is a complete list of Crystal Springs postmasters. My grandfather, Perry Robinson, was one But I’m not sure what years.

    I spent many summers in Crystal Springs in the ‘50’s and ‘’60’s. Loved it!
    He ran the little store that the Wolts subsequently ran. It was difficult keeping the store going even before the “new highway” went in.
    I have dozens of photos taken during the first half of the last century of that area I assume others do to. Or do they?

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