Tiny Haley, North Dakota

Haley, North Dakota

Haley, North Dakota is a near-ghost town in Bowman County, southwest of Bismarck. We first visited Haley in 2007 after we talked to some locals at an area gas station. We told them we were photographing ghost towns and abandoned places and someone said, “You guys need to go see Haley.” Earlier in the day, we had struggled through a vehicle breakdown, and when we got our Jeep back from a repair shop in Bowman, we were eager to make up for lost time, so we were thrilled to get the recommendation to visit Haley, a place we had never previously heard of. 

Haley, North Dakota

As we approached Haley, the roads went from paved to well-traveled gravel to somewhat rough gravel and we got hopeful that we were approaching a good photo location. We were not disappointed. When we arrived, we found an old one-room country school, an abandoned Post Office, and the former Grand River State Bank on-site, as well as an occupied home, and a still-used church.

Haley, North Dakota

Haley, North Dakota

We met the residents of Haley when we visited in 2007. There were two of them. Recounting as best I can from memory, the story goes something like: the last resident died, passed the property on to a daughter, who in turn recently passed it on to her son and soon-to-be daughter in law. They had just recently moved to the townsite, and Haley once again had a full-time, year-round population. Two.

Haley, North Dakota

Haley’s old Post Office gave us the impression that perhaps it might have also been used as a dwelling for awhile. Maybe someone who knows more can comment below.

Haley, North Dakota

Haley, North Dakota

Haley, North Dakota

The town is very much off the beaten path, but the church is still in use at the time we visited in 2007. See the photos from our return visit to Haley in 2015.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2017 Sonic Tremor Media

31 Comments on “Tiny Haley, North Dakota

  1. there is a paved rd.from scranton nd.east of bowman,about 10 miles,go south of scranton to bowman haley dam rd,about 8mi.,follow signs to haley.rds. are paved mostly but are rough,word is they are gonna resurface this rd. 2010. i am a bowman nd. resident.

  2. So many memories of Haley. My Grandma was Edith Hetland. She worked at the Post Office at one time. Would visit her in the summers and on weekend. I enjoyed seeing all of the pictures of Haley. Thank you for this website. Debbie Hetland Domagala.

    • Well hello Debbie! It has been a long time! We sure had some fun in the summers when our Grandmothers got together, didn’t we? Just in case you are confused – my Grandma was Inez Lloyd! 🙂

    • Do you know of a duane hetland. I found an old school autograph book from 1944 in a goodwill He signed the book for someone named Donna Mae

  3. The post office really reminds me of one of the few remaining buildings in Ollie, Montana, which along with Carlyle, are just barely enough over the border to not be North Dakota ghosts.

  4. I grew up 3 miles north of Haley. Most of my family is buried in the cemetary there. It is a beautiful little town that always makes you feel like time stops when you are there.

    • Hi Mary – Most of my family is also buried there. John Lloyd, Inez Lloyd (my Grandparents), my Mom’s twin sister, Gayle Lloyd and my brother David Peitsmeyer who died as an infant. Uncle Giles and Aunt Shirley too. The list goes on. I really do need to plan a visit back!

  5. I grew up a mile and a half from Haley. Went to the Haley School 1st through 4th. Haley was a nice little place back then. We even received our mail at the postoffice with Elmer Crawford at the windo.

  6. It sounds a little like Walnut Grove: a place Iwant to visit before I die. I look forward to visiting Haley in July 2012!

  7. So great to see theese pictures! I stayed in Haley and the lovely Mrs Elsie Anfinson a few times during the 90’s. She was my grandfathers cousin and lived there alone with her 5 or so cats after her husband had past away.

    Too bad you never got to see her “collection” of auction items she stored in the “store house” behind the gas pump. I guess they all got auctioned away after she died.

    Thanks for posting the pictures. Brought back a bunch of memories! 🙂

    I’m gonna have a check on my picture server later and see if i can find a picture of the old lady. Will post a link in that case.

  8. Grandpa had lived in the Dakota Territory and had homesteaded there many years before. He would tell stories of the town when the stones in the field next door were the foundation of the Bores Head saloon. The cowboys would come in on a Saturday night and shoot it up. There were so many holes in the ceiling when it rained you had to be careful where you sat. He said there was even a shootout in Main Street in front of the general he store at high noon one day. The cowboys’ both fired their weapons until they were empty and never landed a single shot, except for the saloon’s mascot. They then got on their horses and road away, while Grandpa and Orville (The owner of the saloon and general store) butchered Gertude. The following Saturday night neither one of them could remember what the argument was about, but were only too happy to contribute 2 bits for an all you could eat pork dinner. Years later, when I was 11, the general store was still there and Oliver still ran it. He was the same age as grandpa and when they got together they could tell some of the most outrageous stories I had ever heard. The old wooden floor of the general store was still there along with the original glass countertop were large glass fish bowls full of penny candy still were on display. An old gas pump outside with the handle on the side and a glass 5 gallon container at the top stood out front on the wooden walkway. The old floor was pitted with bullet holes and Oliver could tell you a story for everyone. Several holes together were where he had to dance when a gun slinger came to town, and then he took his shoe off and revealed a missing toe.
    Grandpa also told me that He and Grandma were in the hay wagon headed for Bowman one dark night and the night turned to day as a comet passed by. He said it made an awful noise and stirred up so much dust he had to pull over because it scared the horses half to death. He was sure it was Hailey’s Comet, and he named the town Hailey after the Comet. I believed every word, but as I got older I thought it may have been that old model T in Uncle Giles’s pasture that Bert and I used to play cops and robbers in, that Grandpa really saw.

  9. My Grandfather (Matthew Frank Beckler) homesteaded a farm not far from Hailey in 1906. My father Milton Frank Beckler, use to tell about the post office and gas pump that was there. I went there several times when I was young, when we visited my grandfather. Lots of memories about that area and also the town Buffalo Springs.

    • Hello Milton,

      My name is Scott Millius from Vinton, Iowa and we are 3rd cousins……your grandfather Matthew Frank’s mother Susanna Muehlius (your great great grandmother) was my great great Aunt. Please contact me as I have much information of the Beckler family. blacklandis@gmail.com

      Look forward to hearing from you, Scott

  10. My grandfather homesteaded southwest here in 1907. I now live here in Haley. Haley was the first established town in Bowman County, 1898. I own the store building as it stands in the picture. That was built in 1900 by John Currey. The town was established because the thought was that the Milwaukee Road was going to follow the Grand River but for some reason it went 15 miles north. Haley thrived because of the homesteaders. The store still has the glass display cases that are on a picture taken in 1908. The gas pump is still standing in front of the store. From 1900 to 1967 the store was open for business and had 3 owners. The postoffice was operated until 1965. My dad was the mail carrier when the postoffice closed so he was transfered to Gascoyne and hauled the mail from there. Just a little history of a ghost town of North Dakota. Come visit sometime. My email address is rickseifert46@yahoo.com and my addressis 10009 132nd Ave SW, Haley, ND 58653

    • I grew up in Harding County, South Dakota, south of Haley. We received our mail out of Haley. I remember going fishing Sunday afternoons in the Grand River, just west of the Haley Bridge. There was a dirt road where we could cross the “river”.. After fishing, we would go to the Haley Store to buy a half gallon of ice cream. Oliver Ellingson was the owner then. He would wrap the ice cream in newspaper and then tie store string around it.

      I also remember when I attended high school in Bowman, 1957-61. I roomed and boarded in Bowman and my Dad would come and take me home on weekends. One winter it had been blizzarding and we got as far as Haley but the roads were impassable. So we went to Hettinger & stayed with my Grandmother. The next morning we tried to get back home. The blizzard subsided but the roads were still blocked south of Haley. My
      Dad then went to the Nelson farm, east of Haley. He owned an airplane with snow skis. He took us to our farm, one at a time, because his plane would hold only one passenger. He landed in a pasture east of our farm.

    • Oh my gosh Rick… Do you remember when Eileen ran the store? When we would go in there with my Grandparents, John & Inez Lloyd, she would always give me one of the HUGE tootsie rolls! She also truly helped develop my love of horses! She would take me into her house and she had beautiful bronze statuettes of horses. She had a horse lamp. Oh how I loved visiting her! 🙂

  11. Does anyone have any pictures of Haley when it was at its peak in population & buildings? Also does anyone remember any occasions in the 1940’s when movies were shown in a large erected tent across from the grocery store?

  12. Haley- My Grandpa (David) and Grandma (Mina) Hanes lived on the corner coming from Scranton to Haley. They are buried in the Haley cemetery overlooking their farm on one side and the tiny town of Haley on the other. I remember going to grocery as a very young girl. I remember loving Sunday school in the basement of the Haley Lutheran Church. I learned to drive a car on the rode outside of Haley. Sweet, sweet memories.

    • Your Grandpa, David and Grandma, Mina let my Grandma, Inez Lloyd borrow a couple of horses during the summer so that I could ride. I just loved horses and this was so generous. I’ve been breeding and raising horses for over 35 years now thanks to the love that was nurtured in my youth, in part, by your grandparents!

    • I’ll try to get over to my Mom’s and look through photos. She should have many of Haley since she was raised at a farm near there!

      • Were you able to find any photos of Haley N.D. in your mom’s pictures?

  13. A 1917 map shows 10 structures on Main St. of Haley, including the Catholic Church, barber shop, general merchandise store, and a “store.” The only ad that I can find is from the Wm. Phillips and Son General Merchandise store. –

    • My mom and dad, Alex and Frances Domagala Gunther lived in Haley between March,1934 and March,1941. Dad delivered mail to Gascoyne during this time, replacing Bert Woodley who did it
      for the 8 years before. He then went to work for N.E.Buckman in July,1940.I was told they moved
      into a house just east of Gascoyne. Their home in Haley was between the hall and the post office
      and had a basement and was the old Elliot house that they had moved in from a farm. Ida Murphy
      was the postmistress and owned the 4 lots next to the post office where supposedly my folks lived.
      I am doing ancestry and would like any help as far as pictures,stories, or any information on my
      parents time in this area. Recently I received a picture of the Haley hotel before it had the post
      office in it, but it is twice the length of the current standing building and has 8 windows on its side.
      Any info. on it maybe having a fire or a disaster of some sort?
      Terry Gunther 1-406-655-0176

    • Where did you find this 1917 map of Haley? I would like to see it as I am trying to figure out where mom and dad
      lived in Haley. I found a mis-identified picture of the Roach hotel that mom wrote on the back it was where dad
      carried mail from and they lived. They also dug a basement between the post office and a hall to move the old Elliot house onto and make ready to live in. I believe this was owned by Ida Murphy. Dad and mom moved to Gascoyne
      2 months before Ida retired as Haley’s postmaster and she moved into this house and lived for 4 years until she
      passed away, but no one remembers a house on main street. Maybe a map or picture can be found.

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