Omemee: Now and Then

After visiting in 2004, contributor Mark Johnson made a followup visit to Omemee. We were able to match Mark’s photo of the Superintendent’s house with an old postcard. The picture says it all… there’s not much time for Omemee. Mark’s comments:

“Attached are a couple updated photos of the “superintendent’s house” in Omemee from last October… the house has seriously deteriorated further since I was there originally. The whole front of the house has collapsed.”

Omemee Then and Now

Photo by Mark Johnson, original content copyright © 2017 Sonic Tremor Media

31 Comments on “Omemee: Now and Then

  1. What’s even more amazing to me in the before and after photos is the rest of the town that once was there and isn’t anymore. Where did it go? Is there evidence of it laying around in the grass? Were those other houses burned? Were they bulldozed? How an entire town can just disappear like this is mind boggling.

    • Sometimes there are foundations you can still see. A lot of times they do burn the homes, or bulldoze them into the basements (and then burn them), and fill it with dirt. In the case of Omemee, I didn’t stay too long this time, as the entire townsite was posted no trespassing (it wasn’t in 2004), but the grass gets so thick over time that it’s really hard to find anything if it’s not 2 feet or taller!

      • Stacy! My friend and I are doing a documentary on abandoned places in North Dakota. And we we live near bottineau! We were wondering if you’d like to do an interview? Please reply if so.

    • I was one of the last people to truely reside in the town. I lived there until I was 15 in 1996. I moved from there to Bottineau and my family stayed there several years after that. I just wanted to let you know that from what I know most people actually picked up there houses and moved. I don’t mean their belongings, but their actual houses. A few buildings were left standing when my family purchased the land, but not many. The buildings that were left we used to house farm animals and they didn’t last long. The town didn’t vanish, those of us that lived there moved on. The spirit of the town will forever and will also haunt me forever. I have no plans of ever returning to the “ghost” town of Omemee.

      • My family lived on a farm a few miles from Omemee and I went to school there through the 8th grade when the high school students were bussed to Bottineau. We moved from Omemee when my brother was killed in 1954, Later my mom sold the farm to a neighbor who only wanted the land, so our house was moved to Dunseith. A few years ago we located the house and the current owners let me peek inside. Needless to say it was much smaller than I remembered it.

        Thanks everyone for sharing your memories.

  2. The sad part about all of this is that someone bought several lots probably for taxes and THEN turn around and try to sell them for hundreds of $$$. One person even stated that a new school was going to be built, a picture showd a nice creek w/bridge and trees. I sent an e-mail to the seller stating they were misrepresting the lots and they replied that “someone at the court building” had told them this. I find this VERY hard to believe. A local farmer does keep a lot of it mowed and he also takes care of the cemetary. The reason I know alll this???? We own 2 of the lots – taxes are .57 yr. and we did not pay an outrageous price – just recording fees and $50. Have not the faintest idea what he plans to do with the lots as they are not big enough to build on. Also I attended school in Bottineau ND and that’s where the Omemee kids went after thier school was closed in 1952 or 1953.

    • i saw an article not long ago that people from other states are buying sight unseen dirt cheap then selling on ebay for massive amounts, completely misrepresenting the lots, to others who have never seen them. cashing in on the oil boom.

  3. Greetings from Omemee! We are Charles adn Helen Davidson Kippen . We live 1 mile east of Omemee on tne Kippen homestead. Our son Scott farms the land now with his 3 sons. They live 1 mile north of us. Charles
    continues to help where needed, gardens and mows. Wee do keep the cemetery mowed. There is a new
    Omemee Cemetery Book with pictures so all the stone and brief histories of the families put together by
    Karen Welin Charnholm. We remembers the Guttus (visited om the motel parkin lot when you were here)
    When you visit the area do stop by.


    • WOW!! There is a book. Do you know where I can get it?? My name is Della McFarlane Moore. I currently live in Nebraska but am coming “home” later this summer. One of my stops will be the cemetary for Omemee as my grandparents are buried there. I remember families getting together before Memorial Day to clean the cemetary and we all had pot luck at the school Lots of fragmented memories of Omemee, the Presbyterian Church, the pop factory and Aunt Janet’s house AND the Kippen farm. Spent many a Sunday there when I was growing up. My Dad was Clarence “Scotty” McFarlane. I saw Gary a few years ago while I was visiting Bottineau. Do you happen to have any Kippen history that might include any McFarlane items?? So sad never was interested in family heritage when young and folks around but now I am. I spent 13 days in England and Scotland last August and had the great fortune of finding McFarlane homestead of 1697 and still able to be used as part of little hotel. Also, this is Arrochar and there was a Kippen who served the “kirk” in that area. Do you suppose relative. My e-mail is if you would give me idea of how to get copy of book and if you have info. You never know what you might find when get on some of these sites. Am glad to see your note. Brings back lots of memories. Jack and Hazel were very wonderful people. Della

    • Hello Kippens!

      You helped my sisters and I find our great great grandfathers grave in Overly. You were so helpful. We would have left without finding it had you not have been so gracious.

      We called the police to find the old graveyard, no one knew where it was. They said call the Kippens!

      So glad to see your posting! I need to send a photo of you two showing us the old plat maps. Will do it. Denise

    • Hi Helen – My name is Faith (Christensern), but you may remember me as Alice. I am Helen Dore’s sister. I did see you at the church in Bottineau when you and others prepared a nice get together after my mom died in 1980. My husband and I have come back to Omemee/Bottineau a couple of times in the past few years. You can reach me at

  4. My family lived in Omemee and the surrounding area at the turn of the century.

    My family has stopped by through the years. We have photos of the superindents house in a few stages of wearing down. It is all gone now. The railroad has been removed.

    I was delighted to find your photos here of the early days. It is also wonderful to read the comments and hear some stories.

    Thanks for making the web site and thanks to those who commented.

  5. I have a lot of photos I found this weekend of Omemmee when my great grandparents lived there. Is there a way to post them here – or is anyone interested?

    • My grandmother Carrie Hawn is buried there. My mom Lillian was born there in 1901.

  6. Hoping Tim B. can post his photos, it would be very cool to see what he has.

  7. Hi Again. Can someone let me know how to post photos – or where to post them for folks? Thx.

  8. the house picture on main street the first one in the row can be seen over on brander street in bottineau ,over by the college its on the corner on brander

  9. Tim Brannan,
    I do not know how to post photos to this website, but would welcome photos of Omemee. My mother’s parents, Adam & Jessie Batie, lived in Omemee from 1904 through about 1937. My mother, Marian, and all her siblings were born and schooled there. My Grandfather ran the First Bank of Omemee. Do you have photos from that era?
    Any school class photos of the time would, also, be appreciated. Would you be willing to email photos to me? Thank You!

    • Hi. I posted some photos on the Ghosts of North Dakota Facebook page, and also emailed them to Troy (possible posting here). I will try and scan in more and get them sent. My great-grandfather George Mangold (Hope Harding Mangold) owned the blacksmith shop in Omemee. My grandmother, Enid Ann Mangold (Heck) and her siblings (Betty and Kenneth) spent their childhoods here. Thanks.

  10. Interesting photo. I wish the rest was still there though, that would definitely be a sight to check out driving around North Dakota.

  11. Greetings–My name is Odell Krohn and I was born in 1933 on a farm about two and a half miles northwest of Omemee. This farm was about a mile north of my grandfather’s farm which was just over a mile from Omemee. I know when I was in high school in Bottineau, class of 50, I could run from his house to the general store in around six minutes. It was good training for our track team. I really enjoyed the comments about Omemee as it brought to life many fond memories of my youth. I remember my Mother and Dad usually made the trek from Harvey, ND where they lived the last few years of their life to the cemetery just before memorial day to help clean and mow. It was the social event of the year for them to meet with old friends. Later years I would tried to take their place. My mother was born in the big square house on the east side of Omemee in 1906, upstairs in the north east corner room. My father, Willie (Bill) Krohn was born in Minnesota and came with his parents to ND and was raised on a farm between Omemee and Gardena. Omemee was a Scottish-Irish Presbyterian community and to the west was Gardena and Kramer which was more German, and to the north was Bottineau which was more Norwegian and Lutheran and then to the east was Dunseith which was more Catholic. Now in those days the mixing of young people was not seen in the best light. My mother and dad went together seven years before they eloped to Minot to marry, as no self respecting Presbyterian girl would ever marry one of those Germans. The house I was born in later became the home of I think the Arnold Schultz family. It later burned down and I think Mrs. Schultz lost her life in that fire. My brick house where my mother was born later fell down and one summer when one of my grandsons was with me we purchased some of those bricks and I built a nice flower planter out at my Morgan horse farm just northeast of Harvey. Those bricks in that house and many more bricks used at that time came from a brick factory my father told me from a town or city called Arnedo, which is no longer listed anywhere. It was along the Great Northern track about half way between Omemee and Bottineau. Some of the bricks on the north wall of the Thompson blacksmith building across from the creamery in Bottineau came from the Shamrock Hotel in Omemee. My mother’s aunt, Mrs. Edmondson ran and owned the Shamrock. It was so nice to read about Mr. Chris Rasmussen and the Omemee pop factory. He got all of his water from my grandfathers farm (Mr, Hillery Smith) and the only agreement they ever had was that in case the road became closed in the winter Chris would help shovel it out. I think his son Gordon lived in Minot and maybe still there. I am sure he remembers hauling water for his dad. By the way Chris sold pop for 60 cents a case of 24, and he made some 10 or 12 flavors. He would load his little Ford pickup, maybe about a 33 or 34 model and go up to Lake Metigoshe on a Sunday and not go home until the last bottle was sold at 5 cents a bottle, That was perseverance. I have many fond memories of Scotty McFarlane, as he worked on the farm for my father. It was good to hear from Jackie Getzlaff as she and Janice Knophlie and I went to Bottineau High School together. My home I felt was always Omemee but I never went to school there. I went to grade schools where my mother taught, which was one room country schools and then when I went to high school she did teach in Omemee. I think Helen Davidson Kippen was a student of my mothers.

  12. It would be so nice if you could show a ND map with a location of each ghost town. I have no idea where most of there are and I’m sure there are others who don’t know, as well. Just a thought. I love what you are doing. I am intrigued by old abandoned farmsteads and towns. I seem to love anything old and your pictures are terrific. Thank you for what you do.

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  17. I am the granddaughter of Adam Batie and Jessie Paff Batie. Their children were: Jacob, June, Rob, Harriet, Marion, Morris, and Victor. My Grandfather Adam is buried in the Omemee Cemetery. My Aunt June married Leon Ebenhahn whose father, Max, owned the Ebenhahan Store. June’s home in Omemee was flooded and the family lost their school albums and pictures. Please contact me if you have any pictures of them or their classes. I would be happy to reimburse you for copies.

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