An Abandoned Farm near Lucca, North Dakota

Old Lucca, North Dakota

Lucca, North Dakota was founded in 1891 as a Soo Line railroad town, about a mile south of the present town site, and just north of a ghost town known as Binghamton, of which nothing remains today. Lucca was moved north, to be near the Soo Line/Northern Pacific Railroad junction, in the southeast corner of Barnes County, in 1900.

Old Lucca, ND

We visited in 2005 and found present-day Lucca looks a lot like a salvage yard these days, with only one or two abandoned buildings, and they were in the middle of some very elaborately posted private property. It was pretty hard to get any good pictures, so we chose to photograph this abandoned farm just north of town.

Old Lucca, ND

Whomever occupied this farm left a very long time ago.

Old Lucca, ND

Old Lucca, ND

Old Lucca, ND

Old Lucca, ND

There were crumbling outbuildings and fieldstone walls in various states of decay on this old farmstead.

Old Lucca, ND

Old Lucca, ND

Old Lucca, ND

Old Lucca, ND

Old Lucca, ND

These photos of the cemetery are from the present-day Lucca townsite.

Old Lucca, ND

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

53 Comments on “An Abandoned Farm near Lucca, North Dakota

  1. I love the pictures of Lucca. I agree it now is a sight to see. I grew up on the first farm north of Lucca. In the early days there were 5 elevators, a huge school, post office etc., a real “booming town”. The first two pics are the old Louise Kurtz home and the last pic is of the “new” Lutheran cemetary that my brother and I mowed when we were kids. You did a great job! Thanks for the memories!

    • Karen, that is fascinating! I took a random trip via a job interview and my family migrated from Russia to Barnes County back in 1908. I visited many different cemeteries on my visit and eventually found my G*4 grandma buried in the Lucca Cemetery (I think). I took a TON of pictures, and luckily emailed a few b/c my computer crashed and I lost all of them. So I don’t remember a lot of the details, unfortunately. Do you remember a gravestone with the last name HENKEL, I’d love to email the picture to you. It was an Anna Henkel. Let me know, I’d love to pinpoint the location for genealogy. 🙂

      • I’m sorry i just read this (1-11-12) …I do not remember the name I’m sorry…I hope you got to see the “last historical site”.. A group of men built a brick wall with LUCCA on it by the original well…Let me know if there is anything I can do to help more! I know a man in his 80’s is very sharp minded and loves to talk about the “old days” in Lucca. Maybe he can help oout on the genealogy part for you…

      • I took a few pictures of that brick wall, that’s really cute! O.k., so I don’t know if someone was yanking my chain or not, but one of the residents in town mentioned that the bar in Lucca became the chalet for Bears Den Mountain in Fort Ransom. Is this true??? By the way, FYI, the school may be torn down, but the flag and the post for it have actually been moved just a few miles north on the road going north, on a farmsite. My friend just recently bought the place and let me take a few pictures, as there’s a little marker right on the flagpost. It’s pretty awesome 🙂

      • I took a picture of Anna Henkel’s grave stone today if you would like me to email it to you. I have a friend named Courtney Henkel and when I read this I thought it was her. I Told asked her about this and she said it was not her but that this was weird because her family came from Russia and settled in that area.I plan on going back and getting a better picture, I took it with my phone. I’m sad to say the headstone was broken but is fixable, the section with her name just fell over and a cross fell off the top. Lucca is definatly a cute little town.

  2. Great Pictures! Thanks Karen for the info on Louise Kurtz family. My Nimmick family is related to Herkt family. If you have other info on this family please try to contact me.

    My grandfather, August Nimmick, owned the garage in Lucca, abt 1925-1930.
    The Nimmick family lived above the garage. There were two Nimmick children born in living quarters above garage and two other children born while Nimmicks owned garage.
    The garage also housed a large generator that was used to light the town street lights. My grandmother, Irene Nimmick, deceased 1991, remembered she would have to turn on the generator every night if August was gone. August’s brother, Arnold Nimmick, who is now in his 90’s says, “. . .the generator had the largest fly wheel he ever saw. . .”

    “The Enderlin Independent,” ran an article, “Lucca–Now a Memory,” on Thursday, April 28, 1983. Very good article about Lucca History. There are also a couple of pictures with article.

    Wish I could find a way to post Microsoft Office Word 97 – 2003 Document (.doc) file to this website.

  3. Enjoyed the posting about Lucca. My grandmother and
    grandfather were Ruth and Howard Tendick. They owned
    the Tendick General Merchandise store pictured in
    the Enderlin Independent article.

    Phil Taylor

  4. i’m from lucca,tuscany,italy….well,i’m courious,because there is a lucca in sicilyand another one in basilicata.regions of italy-….do you ppl know something about the origins of the name of this place in north dakota?

    • As far as I’ve read, there’s a few different reasons why it was named Lucca: One rumor is that the wife of a Mr. Underwood, who was (I think) a manager or president of one of the railroads that intersect there was in charge of naming all the towns along this line. This woman was rumored to have come from the town of Lucca in Italy. Some also claim the town was named after a famous Italian singer.

      • Wow I love stories like this… and could totally be what happened… again I love your site thanks again very much

  5. I love these pictures–Lucca is such a fascinating place to research! I wanted to ask about the “Old Lucca” however. It’s true that Lucca was in two different places (this place was actually a different name at one time too). But isn’t “Old Lucca” actually SOUTH of the current town? The cemetery you speak of was always on the outskirts of town, just south of it. So the Old Lucca you speak of a mile north of town was, in fact, new Lucca wasn’t it? When I looked through town history books, old settlers’ accounts, and even that Enderlin Independent article (as well as old 1900s plat books) it mentions Lucca being about 4 miles south of town, then a Mr. Ohm (when the NP crossed with another railroad whose name escapes me at the moment) started building a new town at its present location. That “ohm’s addition” became the new lucca, and old lucca was picked up and moved there. When I visited the town last fall, I ran into one of their residents, who confirms this as well. If someone wishes to confirm this (or argue it) or comment on my info, please do!!

    • go to the website below i have posted! if you need further info let me know!

    • I did a larger post below, but just wanted to say one thing here. The 1980 Fingal book I looked at makes no mention of Lucca ever being 4 miles south of its current location. I’m wondering if the Kibby/Binghamton location (which is about 4 miles by road to the north) is somehow being confused into the issue?

      • I went back and re-read my paper, and I re-read old plat books that are available at the following website:

        And yes, I did get the Kibby/Binghamton issue confused–that was 4 miles to the east. I have east, though however you say it was to the north. I went off of a Kibby-Binghamton recollections article that I got from the Barnes County Historical Society.
        I got it confused with the fact that, according to Historical Map Works, there was an older Lucca that was south of the cemetery by about a mile (my recollections seem to have distorted it to 4).
        If you look at the 1910 Barnes County Plat Book, it actually lists a “Lucca” and then an “original town” that was south of the cemetery by about a mile. I took pictures of that, though it is now just a field. It might be at that intersection you mentioned in a previous post, I’ll have to see if I can look at my pictures a little deeper…
        But that’s where I got a lot of information from, in addition to the Enderlin Independent article, as well as the Fingal history book.
        Part of the issue I encountered in my research is that the Fingal history book and the Kibby/Binghamton paper that was written by C. Fremont Ellsbury has different locations for Kibby/Binghamton. Ellsbury mentions an addition to Kibby called Northrup’s addition, which apparently later became Binghamton. Then it also seems like Binghamton is actually in two places at once, because many of the buildings are relocated to Lucca, but the “church” there still called itself Binghamton. It was exhausting trying to clear up all the information, and I think I still am a little confused….

  6. HI.. I remember as a kid going to lucca… in the 50s the postmaster was perletta fish… she had one daughter marge who became a nurse and moved to st paul was a friend of my mother….. the post office was in the front part of her house.. wow great to see these pics.. thanks

    • I was very young when Perletta was postmaster, my sister remembers her though..thanks for bringing back a wonderful memory…karen

  7. I lived in Lucca as a guest to this country back in 1977…my brother purchased a house there with a farm not too far away. There were not many people living on this tiny street when we lived there then. Eventually he sold the farm and moved to Valley City.

    • Lorena, I remember your family 🙂 Every now and then we drive by your old house in Valley City. I grew up on the 1st farm north of Lucca! When does your family live now?
      Karen Steidl Fingal, ND

      • Karen, I’m grandson to Albina Stangler, daughter of Gus and Rosina Stangler (and maybe your distant cousin?) Do you have any recollection of where Gus’s farm/house might have been? I think it was “on a hill” near to town. Also, where was the 4-room school that was built in the 20’s? I’d love to see a rough map of Lucca to show where things were in relation to the current roads. Where was “main” street with all the businesses (as shown in the photo in the “Lucca – Now a Memory” article)? Thanks for any info you can provide!!

  8. I believe my grandma was from Lucca. Evelyn Johnson. She eventually married John Wolters. How amazing!

    • Oh, and my Grandma (Albina Stangler) also taught at the Lucca school for about 9 years in the late ’30s too.

  9. I’ve found the 1980 Fingal book, which details much of the history of Fingal, Lucca, and the surrounding area. It includes some great maps and I think it’s the source for much of what is on that “Now A Memory” website. Regarding the moving locations of Lucca, this is what it has to say….
    A town called Kibby was formed in 1880-1881 in Cass County. But, in October of 1881, Kibby was platted “in the NE 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Section 25-138-56” (so, it was moved to the Barnes County side of the road). Additional platting was done in 1884 in the same immediate area but was called Binghamton. This area is about 3 miles north of the Lindemann landing strip (which is identified on Google maps and is 1 mile SE of the current location of Lucca). This “Binghamton” locale was owned by Gerald Wadeson as of 1980.

    In 1891, the Soo line came through south of town (instead of through town, as expected), the town was moved south so that it was just west of the Lindemann landing strip (Section 11-137-56). This is when the town was renamed Lucca.

    In 1900, when the NP line came through and crossed the Soo line, the town was moved just a little north, to that intersection. This is called “Ohm’s Addition” and is where Lucca is marked today. (I have a plat map of “Ohm’s Addition” that shows the two railroads intersecting.)

    Although the NP line is gone, you can still see where some of the railbed is located. The intersection of the two railroad lines is a bit SE of where the remaining buildings for Lucca are. So, “downtown” Lucca, which was right on the NP line, is totally gone.

  10. I think the angel photo in the cemetery is my great grandparents Carl and Lena (Goetz) Bantel. They lived in Lucca as did Lenas sisters, Otto and Caroline (Goetz) Sprockhoff and Bernard and Catherine (Goetz) Reck. Also her daughter Pauline who married John Mann. I have enjoyed researching this for my family tree. Thank you, great info here.

    • Colette, I just read your post! My parents passed away when I was very young so I never knew much of our relatives. BUT my older cousin just told me we are related to the Bantel’s! My maiden name is Schlagel

      • Yes I have a bunch of Schlagels in my tree. Tell me where you fit in. Carl and Lena Bantel daughter Helen married Edward Bearman. They lived in Enderlin. Their oldest son Charles Bearman was my dad. He worked for the railroad in Enderlin also.

  11. Karen I was wondering if you or anyone you know remember Carl and Anna Janz. I believe they settled in Lucca, ND in 1907. Their children’s names were Marie, Anna, Erna, Agnes, Martha, Bertha, Frieda, and Willie. I’m not sure how long they were all in the Lucca area though.

  12. My grandparents Bertha and Ernest Miller lived in Lucca. Bertha cooked for the school and at one time the owned Th Blue Room Tavern in Lucca. Does anyone have pictures of the tavern or any recollection of that.

    • Holly, I spent ALOT of time at Bertha and Ernie’s. I was at Bertha’s funeral. Im to young to remember the Blue
      Room and have no photos! I lived 1/4 mile north of Lucca.
      Karen Steidl

      • Karen, Thanks for responding. I am too young to remember the blue room too. I do have cousins that remember a little bit. Sure miss gram and gramp. they were wonderful. Holly

    • Hi Holly,
      I’m Perry Schlagel from Lucca. I knew your grandparents very well. Bertha was the cook in school 5 of my 8 years there. Ernie was quite a prankster! I remember he used to take the eggs out of their house, put them back under the hens & Bertha (not knowing what he’d done) would gather them again & tell the neighbors how well her hens laid! He also occasionally did some plowing for my dad Ray.
      Do you remember when you, my sister Brenda & I would play tag @ your grandparent’s farm? Thanks for the memories!

      • Hi Perry, I do remember you and Brenda and playing tag. That was alot of fun. I used to occassionally go with Gram to Lucca school and play in the kitchen and gym area while she cooked. Good old North Dakota memories. I love N.D. You are right. Gramp was a prankster. He always had some trick up his sleeve. Hope this finds you well. Holly

      • Dear Mr. Schlagel, my father just passed away this month, Mryl Albright…. He showed me where he grew up and the one room school house, that was in the early 80’s, i was just wondering if you knew of him?

        • Jeffrey, Perry Schlagel is my cousin I will call him and tell him to read your message

  13. I spent many summers just down the road at the Johnson farm. I still get teased by my cousins that I
    was the last one to paint the windmill (only one dumb enough to climb up there!) It was quite an
    adventure for a young “city” boy.

    I remember two barns, one for milking and one for horses. Horses were used through the 50’s for pulling hay wagons. The larger milking barn is still there, the house and a couple of out buildings. I can remember my grandmother having me gather eggs from the chicken coop and there were also a couple spots in other areas where they laid them. I’m ramblin’!

    The reason I got on here was the “Blue Room” . I think that was a small building in Lucca with a fridge stocked
    with beer, a table and some chairs. It worked on the honpr system and the local farmers would stop in
    and visit, have a beer or two and catch up. I may be wrong, but I think that’s what my uncle Sonny
    called it.

    Well, I could go on for quite a while, but I won’t.

    • I used to play at the Johnson’s occassionally as well. Loved your stories. Keep them coming. Holly price

  14. Ron, I used to work for Robert (sonny) & Thelma Johnson and my dad was his best man. Sonny’s daughter and husband live on the farmstead now and have painted the windmill and barns. You should stop there for a visit.

    • Karen, I was there a couple years ago. Had coffee with Sharon and her husband and strolled around the property. A lot of the buildings are gone but the main barn is still there. I hope that it can be maintained for years to come

      .I saw Sonny when he was at VA in Fargo. He’s as funny as ever. He’s got one of the largest collections of old one cylinder engins around. He used one for his ice cream maker that he went around to nursing homes and other socials. Made some great ice cream and had a great article in the Fargo Forum a few years back.

      I’m ramblin’ again……..til later…Ron

  15. The Pictures of the farm are of my Grandparents farm Frank and Augustie Domesle. It is 1/4 of of a mile from the Stangler place.
    My Aunt Ethel”Domesle” Stangler and my brother Peter and myself, Mark Otteson, still own the farm. I can remember when there was still a store and Post office in Lucca when I visited my grandparents

  16. I have many relatives buried in the Lucca cemetery. I was there this summer taking pictures and am figuring out how each one is related to the other. My dad had many relatives in this area when he grew up and visited there a lot. I also remember going to Lucca to visit relatives when I was very little. My mom also taught school in Lucca for a year or two.

  17. I want to add something, and I’m wondering if anyone can confirm this for me:

    When I visited Lucca a few years ago, a local resident told me that the bar in Lucca was actually relocated to Fort Ransom, and became the ski lodge there. Is this true?

  18. The building moved to Fort Ransom was the old hall (I think) the bar was called The Blue Room

  19. My aunt was Perletta Fish. Her husband, Andy, had been station master for the Soo Line til his death in 1958. She died Feb 29, 2000 at the age of 95. Her daughter died a few years later. I used to spend summer in Lucca.

    • Gene, I remember very well your Aunt Perletta. I am Bertha and Ernest Miller’s grandaughter. Her daughter Marge used to give me a ride to Minneapolis and it was at her brothers home that my Aunt and Uncle from White Bear Lake would pick me up. I do remember the post office. I was very intereseted in that. Gram Miller and I used to stop by Perletta’ s place. In fact we talk about Perletta often in my family. Holly

      • Nice to meet you. Auntie Pet (as we called her) was my favorite aunt. I remember well my trips to Lucca when I was young; the Godfredsen’s store, Milly and Happy Trapp. I played with a kid across the street named Danny. Don’t remember his last name. I went back in 1991 and couldn’t find anything but the old pump and the railroad crossing where the depot used to be.

  20. I learned about this site from an Iowa friend about an hour ago. My great grandparents and grandparents (Jens and Clover Jensen) farmed just south of Lucca. My grandfather was born there about 1884 and my dad and his sister (Peter and Catherine) were born there. I was born in Fargo in 1945 but brought to the house in Lucca at the time. The old pump organ from the now demolished Congregational Church is in my living room here in Michigan (converted to a desk.). My cousin Don owns the “home place.” and I have the quarter closer to Nome. Perry Schlagel. Has farmed it for three generations of us. I remember the well, the Fish, Miller, Godfredsen, and Kurtz families. The Christensen’s who are cousins are still in the area. I was 1 1/2 when we moved to MN. but was back in the summers and almost annually all my life.. Thanks to all of you for my Lucca journey today.
    Mark Jensen

  21. I grew up 3 miles from Lucca, my grandparents and great grand parents lived in Lucca. I attended the 1st 8 grades there. I would like a picture or two of the Lucca School and the Lutheran church located by the south cemetery. I have relatives in the cemetery by the names of Howe and Ussatis.

  22. Does anyone know when the school was torn down? My mother-in-law is Violet Johnson.

  23. I was told by my grandmother, many years ago, that there was a monument in Lucca that had the names of the Founding Mothers listed, of which she is descended. Does anyone know if this monument still exists? Could be Brockett or Polsgraph or Baldwin? Or???

  24. Would love talk to the person with the Fingal book…
    Is there a write about William and Olga Gates (Goetz) in that book.
    As I am working on my family tree I found many of my relatives in Lucca, Bantel, Recks, Sprockhoffs, Mann. I ordered all the Lucca Ledger newspapers through the library And found some fun articles.
    Love this site…thank you.
    Colette Bearman Jensen

Leave a Reply