Flaxton, ND

Tom Pence sent us the following photos of Flaxton, ND. Flaxton is in the northwestern part of North Dakota, just miles from the Canadian border. Although Flaxton is not a ghost town (it still harbors a population of 66), there are quite a few abandoned structures.

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48 Comments on “Flaxton, ND

  1. Very neat pictures! But the one where the curtains kind of moved over & looks like someones pushing on it is kind of creepy! Lol

  2. Nice pictures, makes one wonder if it’s inevitable that Flaxton will become a true ghost….. What is left of the town now?

  3. I wouldn’t write off Flaxton too soon.

    From their official website http://www.flaxtonnd.com, it seems like a tiny town of 55 with alot going for it.

    President Taft’s visit along withother interesting history and pictures on the website.

    What was the building in third picture from the bottom?

    • Third from the bottom is the old school. There was a second story but that was removed. Someone actually used it for their residence and stored heavy equipment in the gymnasium, etc.

    • That building was the school my mom attended. It used to be 2 stories. Someone bought it to turn into apartments and just let it fall down. Very sad.

      • My motherand her family grew up there and went to that school. At one time was an awesome little town. I was there in Sept with my sisters and they were in the process of bull dozing the school down and building a hotel..

  4. Thanks for the picts of Flaxton. I have so many childhood memories there. My great-grandmother, Gertrude Jensen, lived in Flaxton. I remember spending many summer afternoons at her house. I remember the downtown co-op and café, the Burke Co. Fair and my great-aunt & uncle’s farm on the outskirts of Flaxton. I remember driving my great-uncle’s pickup from the farm into downtown Flaxton before I was even a teenager. We also spent a lot of time in Northgate; another great-aunt & uncle of mine owned & operated the café & gas station there. Oh the memories…

    • I want to tell you that I too have many childhood memories of Flaxton. I lived on the Nygaard farm 1 mile north of the fairgrounds. Henry and Leora Rawn are presumably the great aunt and uncle you referred to in Northgate. I would be interested in your parents names. Probably your great grandfather was Alfred Jensen. and you probably drove Harland Knight’s pickup from the farm to town. I was in school with Ardel and Kenny Knight and Gary and Patty Rawn. Sad to see how the high school is slowly going away.

      Regards, Leland Richmond Va.

      • I’m betting the farm on the outskirts was Harland and Ilene Knights. I loved that place too. I remember being at the Northgate cafe with Gramma Leora and Grandpa Hank.

  5. Where is the yellow house and the one right after the second picture of the yellow house. Neither one looked familiar.

    • Anita, the yellow house (with the garage) is on the south side of the highway. Would that be in the are of Kundiggers? (sp?) The other one (the stucco one?) right before the Co-Op is over by Vi Potters I think. Near the road that goes from downtown to the old gas station by the highway.

      • My parents Harry Hansen & Yvonne (Halverson) Hansen talked about kundiggers house. Alice Halverson was my Aunt and Carl Hansen across the street my grandfather. I think that was SE 1st St. Been trying to see current pics of hse but not on Google Earth. Many Many memories for my sisters and Iof visiting in the summers there!

        • We would visit a Alice and Floyd Halverson when we went there in the 50’s to stay at my grandparents house, Andrew and Gunda Nelson. They homesteaded in I believe 1901 on a farm and then moved into town, right down the street from the school..Great memories

          • Alice and Floyd Halverson were my uncle’s mom and dad. I think I remember seeing their house when I was in town with my parents for an all school reunion…back when the school was still there.

  6. Fun to see photos of my old home town. Its been 10 years since I was last there, though I dropped by my old family home at Northgate this fall. Interesting to see how the buildings are changing. The old high school is almost unrecognizable.

  7. I nearly bought a 1967 Corvette from a man in Flaxton, ND in 1970 – 71. My Dad was with me, and the man knew him so he let me take it for a drive by myself.
    The Burke Co. Sheriff stopped me and told me I’d been doing 135 and convinced me I ‘couldn’t afford that car’ since I’d get to know all the police between North Dakota and Oklahoma………

    I bought a 1972 Chevy Camaro instead.

  8. Hello, Im a Senior that is looking for information/pictures on flaxton that i could use for a ND studies class, so if anyone knows any one that could help me get information it would be nice

  9. I lived in Flaxton in the late 50s when my dad was the Soo Line depot agent. He was originally from Flaxton and his mother, my grandmother, still lived there in the Flaxton Hotel. She was one of the earliest settlers of Flaxton and one of North Dakota’s first woman pioneers. She and her sister moved to homestead near Flaxton in 1902. We have pictures of their homestead shack. Very small and crude. They must have froze in the winter.

    She was 21 and her name was Mary Wood. She married Daniel Lynch. She taught school in the area for many years. They had a farm near the fair grounds. I believe they lost it during the Depression. Her husband, my grandfather that I never knew, died in the 30s.

    I enjoyed my time in Flaxton and have visited several times over the years. The depot we used to live in is now on a farmstead near the fair grounds. I believe it is owned by the Nygaard family.

    • Tom, I remember you, and visiting you in your place above the depot in Flaxton. I believe we were in the same grade. Like you, we left Flaxton in the early 60s, and have only been back on vacation a few times over the years. Wishing you the best.
      Keith Wanamaker.

  10. Tom–

    Yes, Norman Nygaard told me 20+ years ago that he bought the old Soo Line station for $1 and moved it to his farm. When I visited the depot–still with the same cream yellow paint–he smiled a wry Danish smile and said, “Some day archeologists are going to find the station here and they’ll wonder why there are no tracks out here.” My grandpa, Henry Medchill, was Soo Line depot agent in Flaxton (probably before your dad) after which he was some sort of regional agent out of Flaxton. By the way, Norman Nygaard took me on a tour of his depot that was filled with Soo Line memorabilia and gave me as a gift the desk my grandpa sat at for 35 years and his typewriter! Prized possessions, needless to say. So Henry and Anna Medchill were my grandparents, as were Vernor and Anna Sorensen. I’m Don and Jean’s son, David Sorensen. My dad has been gone for 29 years, my mom is in Mesa this winter where she regularly sees many of her old NDak friends.

    By the way, Brent, Gert Jensen was a friend of my grandmothers’. I remember her well. Loads of memories. Life goes on…

    Blessings to all.

    • My father, Palmer Dunham, was the Soo Agent in Flaxton 1948-57. We lived in the depot and left after my sixth grade year. Henry Medchill and my dad were best of friends. Mrs. Medchill was my teacher in 1st, 5th, and 6th grades. I slightly remember Don and Jean, and I do remember Jim Medchill what was a couple of years older than me. I’ve been back a handfull of times and have visited the depot at the Nygaard farm. It’s the first home I remember.

    • David,
      I also grew up in Flaxton, and your Grandmother, Anna Sorensen was a delightful lady. Anna was in our church, and close to my grandmother, Marie Rawn, and to my Mother, Ellen Wanamaker. She made wonderful maple frosted long johns, which I have described to my family many times. Is there a recipe? Warm regards, Keith Wanamaker

  11. It was wonderful reading all the comments. My friend Delores and I are sitting here in Arizona remembering all the good times we had in the little towns of Flaxton and Columbus/Larson as well as the surrounding towns in Burke County. The pictures on this website are wonderful and have brought back great memories.

  12. Just discovered this interesting site — kudos! And discovery coincides with a mystery some of you might be able to help me with….

    Like many of those commenting, I have prolific Flaxton memories — including memories of some of those posting. I was born in Portal in 1941 and lived (for the most part) on the farm along route 52 a mile and half east of town, attending school through freshman year of high school, until 1956 when we moved to Spokane WA. My grandfather, Frank Huttner, homesteaded northeast of town in 1898, proving a claim in 1905, and died in Flaxton in 1966. All of his children were born there, including my father, Fred Huttner, who married Fern Nolting (born in Northgate); one of his daughters, Hazel, became the wife of Gerhardt Peterson, who long managed the grain elevator… I could go on at length.

    My (current) mystery concerns Frank’s oldest sibling, Amelia, born in Winona County MN in 1875. She seems to have married a man named “Dow” in or near 1895, had a child, Emma, in 1896 — and according to the 1900 Census was then living with Emma, Frank and their younger brother Richard in Twp. 163, very close to Frank’s 160 acres. She acquired her own land patent in 1904 in Richland Township, and again in 1910 she is listed as head of household with Emma, Frank and Ricard (who soon staked out land near Lignite). So, it seems, Dow had died, of the couple had divorced, by about 1900, prompting Amelia to homestead alongside her younger brothers..

    I have one old photograph depicting Richard and his wife with “Mr. & Mrs. Vandergranton (Emma Huttner),” and indeed I find both Joseph and Lawrence Vandergrinten made land claims in 1905 over toward Northgate. There is an otherwise nearly blank Ancestry.com record suggesting Amelia Dow married John Vandergrinten (1867-1951), who was Canadian — and indeed the only further record I find is in the 1916 Canadian Census where Amelia Vandergrinten, b. 1874 in the U.S. (age 42 and single), mother of Emma, 20 years old, farms near Weyburn, Saskatchewan, with three young men identified as boarders and farm workers. Did Amelia’s second marriage fall apart? What happened to her after 1916? No one spoke about her when I was a child: were her marriages somehow scandalous?

    Alvie Bird in 1962 reminiscences about Flaxton (found elsewhere on the web) remembers the “Van Dergrenters” as among the earliest residents in Flaxton.

    Do any of these names/circumstances ring bells for anyone? Or do you know anyone who might have memories or records?

    I’d also be pleased to hear from anyone who recognizes my name — by reply to this post or direct to sid [period] huttner at uiowa [period] edu.

  13. Just realized that I made an error in my email address if anyone wants to contact me directly: rather than as noted (with [period]), it should be sid [hyphen] huttner at uiowa [period] edu.

  14. Can anyone please tell me the address or GPS coordinates of the abandoned house in the picture?

  15. Anita,
    That stucco house in the picture after the yellow house Is the old Erny and Lucille Ericson house. I was raised in that house from a baby to 19 years old. Many fond memories in that neighborhood, growing up with the Potter and Soiseth kids!

  16. my grandpa and granny paul and wilma larsen lived in flaxton grandpa owed a mobile gas station. they attended the lutheran church in flaxton for many years. granny played the piano for the church. next year i plan to visit flaxton and show my kids where my dad wilmer larsen (wilma and pauls son) grew up if any one know my granny and grandpa i would like to know where their house in flaxton was. i was very young when granny sold it so i dont remember where the house was. all i remembere it was a white house with a windmill in the yard.

    • I know where that house is, the windmill is gone now, but when I was a little girl I loved that thing, my grandma lived right next door! if you go north down Davis Ave, then turn east on 2nd St it is the second house on the N side of the road!

      • Thanks so much I haven’t been to flaxton in over 20 years

    • I used to play in that house when I was little. I would visit my cousins, Sheri and Brant. Grandma Larson always had her candy drawer we got goodies from.

    • My grandpa, Carl Hansen, built the front section addition to the Lutheran church.

  17. This is so cool! My dad grew up in Flaxton and my grandparents lived there up until October of 2011. We celebrated my grandpa’s 80h birthday at the memorial hall in September 2011. My sisters and I went to Flaxton and Lignite every summer as kids to spend time with our grandparents. We just went to Flaxton in October 2013 to bury our grandpa (he passed away in Bismarck) in a small cemetery right next to their home. My great-aunt still lives up there as well as my uncle who is living on the farm for now. Thanks for sharing these photos! As kids, we got to explore deceased relatives homes and farmsteads that had been abandoned for many years and I found it incredibly fascinating.

  18. Enoch Christensen was my mother’s father. I am trying to find out about the Lutheran churches in Flaxton during my mother’s youth. 1930 – 1950’s? The Burke County Tribune had a picture of St. Paul Lutheran Church closing down, but there was no article. My mother mentioned that two churches had to merge when she lived there. I can’t find the information on the web. Anybody know? Thanks.

  19. Kris — I have a copy of the 50th Anniversary booklet of the United Lutheran Church of Flaxton, 1901-1951. It records the name of the original church (1904) as Ebenezer Lutheran. Meantime, a Scandinavian contingent formed the Emmanuel Lutheran Congregation (1906). These two organizations merged at the end of January 1944 as the United Lutheran Church of Flaxton. The booklet does not mention a St. Paul Lutheran Church in Flaxton or elsewhere in the North Dakota-Montana District — but there may have been competing synods!

    I also have a picture postcard of the United Brethren Lutheran Church, undated but later (possibly 1970s?), which is the same building as the United Lutheran of 1951 (pictured in the booklet).

    I don’t see any way to attach images to this message, but if you want to contact me directly with your email address, I’ll be happy to scan and send to you. sid [hyphen] huttner [at] uiowa [period] edu.

    By the by, I have since answered most of the questions posed in my message of January 2013 (above).

  20. Flaxton seems to be on the rebound according to their website. Population as of 2014 is 114 and the local services are many such as senior center, lake, camping and lots of wildlife. They also have an oil rig and beautiful sunsets!

  21. i was the city guy ha ha for 5 years recently they got rid of alot of structures the town is nuts so are allot of the resedents dont go there!!!

  22. Sid, not sure if you still read this, I just wanted to say I was pleased to see your post. Gerhardt and Hazel were my grandparents. My grandmother use to read letters from your mom to me when I was a kid. I have lost touch with that part of the family.

    • I am having comments forwarded. sid [dash/hypen] [at] uiowa [dot] edu if you like to contact me directly: I can’t immediately place you (my memory not yours!). Wayne? Gary? Love to hear from you!

  23. I grew up in Bowbells, but loved the Flaxton Fair. One of the highlights of the summer. Going to high school basketball games, have the district tournament’s in Bowbells, and would decorate store windows in the colors and names of the teams that came play. if I remember right! Flaxton Raiders Blue and White. We were the Bowbells Eskimo Red and White. So much fun. What memories are made of. Graduated in 1960 and still live in ND Bismarck, ND no desire to leave this beautiful state.

  24. I have a fancy Certificate of Baptism for Donald Wilmer Christiansen, born March 5, 1916 in Flaxton. Son of Philip & Martha. I don’t recall how I came into possession of it – perhaps Edith Hansen gave it to me. I would like to send it on to his family. I can be contacted at lrhansen [at] comcast [dot] net

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