Fillmore, ND

Fillmore, ND is in Benson County, about 20 miles SE of Rugby, the geographical center of North America. Fillmore reportedly had 150 citizens in 1920, but that declined to 74 by 1960 and today Fillmore is home to only two part-time residents.  When we arrived, we were surprised to find Fillmore was one fo the best North Dakota ghost towns we’d run across so far.

There is a defined Main Street in town with vacant buildings staring each other down from opposite sides of the street. There are many vacant homes too, not to mention two vacant churches.

The townsite pictured here is actually the second townsite to bear the name Fillmore. The original townsite several miles southeast is now wiped from the prairie.

Like most ghost towns in North Dakota, Fillmore was another casualty of the decline of the train and the rise of the automobile.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota

Fillmore, North Dakota

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

Fillmore, North Dakota, 2006

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

See also: Fillmore’s Lost Legacy
See also: Return to Fillmore

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153 thoughts on “Fillmore, ND”

  1. One of my great aunts lived there in 1916-17 (at least, they could have arrived as early as 1914 and left long after 1917) with her husband – a school teacher when they lived in Rolette County so maybe the same when they moved to Fillmore? – named Perry Brown. Her dad, my great grandfather Alexander O Anderson, and his wife Margaret, lived with them from some time the spring of 1916 to September 1916 (when he moved to Alberta) or January 1917 (when she died).

    I would like to see if there is any mention of them in the local papers. I can get old newspapers via interlibrary loan – I have already done so for Rolette County – but I have no idea what paper would have carried Fillmore news back then (Fillmore does not seem to have had its own paper). Papers from York, Knox. and Esmond all look like candidates. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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    1. Do you guys have any plans to revisit Fillmore this summer and post photos of the “now”? I would be interested in seeing what it looks like in its current state.

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  2. So interesting to read all of the comments (except for the one negative which had a great reply!). I am going to visit Enderlin for the first time and the Fillmore Cemetery is on the top list. My great grandparents from Norway farmed in Enderlin and are buried there as are many other relatives (Ole Knudsen Green and Ingeborg Johnsdatter.) My grandmother, Gertrude Green Liane was born in Enderlin (in 1893) as was my father, Oren Alivn Liane. This website is great for getting people back together and sharing their memories with one another!

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  3. Hi everybody, I’m heading to Fillmore, ND in June 2016 to check out my property to see if I can fix it up for my retirement home. If I can find it!!!!!!!!! I’ve read all the post, so I’m concerned its still there. I sure hope so. Is there still people living in this neck of the woods? I’ll find out for everybody reading this post. I plan on taking lots of photos and talking to anybody who might still live there. Let me know if there is somebody I can talk to, or if you need any photos of something special to you.

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      1. Thank You, I’m not quite sure where it is, I only have photos. After I bought it, I had a home inspector from Devils Lake go and find it, and he said its not hard to find. There are a few trees and looks like 3 or 4 buildings off in the distance. Has an outhouse in the back. Do you currently reside in Fillmore? I’m so excited to go, I’m having troubles sleeping. Cant wait to see it.

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      2. My husband’s family is from Fillmore on a farm but we do go there very often when weather permits.We own several places including the big stone church. Not many houses left there, is it a house in town?

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      3. I believe its in town….it might be by your church…he did say something about a church nearby

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      4. I would guess if it’s in liveable condition, it would be the white one with a porch, and alot of trees around it, believe at one time it might have belonged to Pete Goetz, and someone else bought it, but can’t remember their name.

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      5. It’s really none of my business but I am consumed by curiosity. Why would you buy a property without visiting the area first?

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      6. My hobby is to rehab older homes……as close as possible to original….I rehabbed 3 houses in Leeds, but as soon as I was done, the city took them from me, (eminent domain) So I have spent some time in the area. Fillmore is new to me, but I love a challenge

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  4. Does anyone know when the Oakland Hotel closed or when the Soo Line Railroad quit coming to Fillmore. My grandparents owned the hotel and I am looking for more information about my ancestors and their history. My maiden name was Oakland and I am Peter Oakland’s (deceased) youngest daughter. Would appreciate any information of if anyone had pictures I would be very willing to pay for copies. Thank you. Paulette Oakland Bischoff.

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    1. Hi Paulette, I remember there was a very nice gentleman that visited us in our church during the gathering and his name was Dan Oakland and they lived just out of Fillmore. Maybe a relative. I can’t remember what all he said but I believe he posted someplace under the Fillmore sight. Good luck, always interesting to find those family roots. There was a write up in the Esmond Jubilie Book, that is how I found some information. My husband’s family is from Fillmore , if I find any pictures, will gladly contact you. Lorna

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    2. Hi Paulette, I’m working on the Watland genealogy. My husband’s great grandfather is Thorvald Watland, brother of Christine Watland who married Ole Oakland. I’d love to share information if you’re interested.

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  5. Thank you very much for the reply. I looked back and could not find anything from Dan Oakland but rather a Dan Peterson. By the way do you know if someone has purchased the spot my grandmother’s hotel was located on? Also, just a little information you Lorna; my husband and I were married in the catholic church. It will be 50 years ago on August 20th of this year. Thanks again for the information.

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      1. My husbands family were members of St Ann’s catholic church in Fillmore for as long as they farmed about 8 miles northwest of Fillmore. My husband’s father also helped with the building of the church. My husband Ken,( if his memory serves him right); thought that it was a Patterson that laid the rocks. He thought he possibly built the Rugby Geographical stone monument too. He said his memory is slightly foggy as he was quite young when this took place. I also have wonderful childhood memories of Fillmore when we would visit Grandma Oakland, Ben and Tillie Shear, the Brenno’s and the Watlands to name a few. I seen a post that the Borstads that were depot agents were living in Arizona; would you have an address or email address for them? I would assume they would have some answers for me. The majority of my grandmothers hotel guests were the railroad crew when the train stopped overnight.

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      2. Hi, I just ready you comment and I had the last name wrong, It was Watland that come to visit us in the church. He stays in Arizona also and knows some of families that also live there. No I don’t have any emails. We also have the old Herman Brenno’s fuel truck shop. Yes, I was told by someone also that a Patterson was the mason, and his son helped. Alot of the stone come off my husband’s family farm so was pretty special to be able to buy it. Some people put their names in the church hymnal. When I ever get thew them and see the Bischoff name will surely let you know and you could have it.

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  6. Thanks Lorna. Do you have any idea if my grandmothers lot has been purchased or if it would possibly be for sale. I know at one time they purchased it for a bus barn and that is when they started to tear it down but realized it would not work for their purpose. don’t know why but and is all hearsay.

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  7. As a child, I lived in the house across the street from the stone building that used to be a church. It had a porch on the front at one time, but I have seen pictures that indicate the porch has been removed. I loved that house and have lots of memories around town.

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  8. Cool String!! I used to visit the Rendahl Ranch just outside of Filmore as a boy. My father did the same back in the 30’s and 40’s. My Great Grandmother Sena Rendahl (formerly Amdahl) I believe was a founder of the township.
    There is a family cemetery on the ranch. I remember as that as a boy (in the 60’s) there were a few people living in town. I think the grain elevator was still working but I’m not positive about that. I understand that it “recently” lost it’s zip code. Lovely summertime exploring but a brutal place to be in the winter!

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