Alkabo is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating but remote towns we have ever visited. Roughly six miles from Montana and eight miles from Canada, it is the most northwestern settlement in North Dakota.
We drove north from Grenora to get to Alkabo and found the drive beautiful but distant from services and fuel. If you decide to visit Alkabo, you should plan accordingly.
Alkabo is home to a handful of residents (there were only 19 remaining in 1976), and is situated on the side of a hill with the school at the top.
The former Alkabo School is now a museum and we’re told it’s open by appointment.
After the destruction of the structures in Fillmore, North Dakota, Alkabo’s Main Street remains as one of the most impressive examples of an abandoned business district, with old vacant buildings standing side-by-side. Most of the structures east of Main Street are now abandoned, while Alkabo’s remaining residents inhabit the west side of town.
The railroad that gave rise to Alkabo still passes through at the south end of town, but there is no depot and the trains no longer stop.
On the fair right, a common sight in towns like Alkabo — the bank vault still stands but the bank is gone.
This old structure stands on Stromstad Street, and looks like it might have been a school. If you know, please leave a comment.
If you build it, they might come, but will they stay?
Open basements, structural ruins, and vacant buildings dot the townsite.
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Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media
90 thoughts on “The Quiet Beauty of Alkabo, North Dakota”
My mom used to baby sit Zoren the principles son.
Love the site – great grandparents, grandparents, cousins all from Divide County (Raaum). Wish you had a “share” button.
My aunt Julia and uncle load lived in alkabo, loved to visit from westby as a kid. We roller skated inside when no movie being shown. Parked in the middle if the street, had ludafisk and lefse at the school. Uncle olaf had the blacksmith shop. Soo line went thru town. Good memories.
We visited this town last weekend, December 2018. It was cold and icy but we braved the cold and toured the old school. There is a brick in front of the door but we were told by a lady who works in the Westby grocery store that we could go inside. It is not locked and surprisingly no person has vandalized nor stolen any of the original books, maps, desks etc. The gym floor looks perfect as does the old stage and bleachers. The old kitchen is still stocked with pots and pens and it really gives you a good look into the past. It is in a beautiful part of the state and well worth the road trip. Signed the guest book which had other visits recently!
We visited North Dakota last weekend for the Threshing Bee. My husband’s great grandfather was Benny Stromstad. Cousin Jerry gave us the tour of the old homesteads and the little towns. Beautiful county! Got to see the old school in Alkabo, Grandpa’s big barn that’s still standing, Writing Rock cemetery where Alice and Allen, Benny and Esther & Andrew and Ida are, the beautiful Church and many other places in addition to the threshers. The fields look a bit different from what we are used to here in Nebraska but are gorgeous with the bright yellow and purple. We cherished our short visit and tried to soak in as much history as we could. Hope to make another trip soon to learn more.
What does the museum contain? My mother and her family lived in Alkabo during the 1933/34 school year when my grandfather, Morris Webster, was employed as a school teacher. He received $100 a year (mostly in pay warrants as the town had no cash) and a free apartment above what my mother recalled was a former livery business. No electricity (kerosene lamps) and no indoor plumbing — an outhouse out back and water from a community well, heated in a reservoir attached to the stove. Would love to see an example of a pay warrant from Alkabo during the Great Depression.
like many places time in the past real life but hard sometimes but of real life and family.
takes a hardy love of nature and a real hardy soul and faith even today, good places in time not forgotten but quite often cherished. Tough as always with toil and Faith many survived which made us all stronger..