Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia is a small town in Logan county, about 80 miles southeast of Bismarck.  We had not intended to stop in Fredonia, but we saw a few buildings we wanted to photograph, so we made a quick stop.

Occasionally, residents (or former-residents) of some of the towns featured on this site to take offense when we post photos of and/or talk about their town. We have encountered several visitors who are clearly offended that we have chosen to feature Fredonia on this website — users who believe we have somehow labeled Fredonia as a “ghost town” by featuring it on this website. Nothing could be further from the truth and we stand by what we’ve posted here.  This website is not only a chronicle of ghost towns, but individual abandoned places and buildings.  There are several locations which fit that description in Fredonia.

So, to make sure it is quite clear, Fredonia is not a ghost town, and we wouldn’t even classify it as a near-ghost town at this point, although in another decade or two, it may be.  The census data below supports that conclusion.  If we’re wrong and Fredonia begins to grow, we’ll be thrilled.

US Census Data for Fredonia
Total Population by Place

1920 – 296
1930 – 394
1940 – 309
1950 – 268
1960 – 141
1970 – 100
1980 – 82
1990 – 66
2000 – 54
2010 – 46

Fredonia, ND

A sleepy Sunday in Fredonia. Not many of the reported 46 residents around.


Fredonia, ND

This church was in really good shape and we’re told it is still used. The brick work is simply amazing.

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND


Fredonia, ND

We were intrigued by this abandoned farmstead on the outskirts of Fredonia.

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND


Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

Fredonia, ND

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

50 Comments on “Fredonia, ND

  1. I seem to remember reading something about Fredonia in the ’80s – something about it being the last town in ND to get touch-tone phone service?

  2. This is one of the neatest little towns left in this area,, You can get the best food, at this little cafe , friendly folks, . there is a nice legion Hall, and a good CO-OP oil company,, with good service.. going bigger is not alwasy the answer,, should have more like it..

  3. The church is The Nazareth Congregational Church. It is still in use to the best of my knowledge. There is a mural with gilded german text behind the altar. And smaller piece (which my grandfather made) detailing the history of the church on the wall in the basement.

  4. My family was there for the centennial that’s in the picture. I have a sweatshirlt with that saying on it. “Fredonia will shine” My grandfather, Jacob Friederich ran a grocery store, and a gas station. We would visit from Jamestown almost every weekend. Such fond memories.

  5. The Nazareth Congregational Church is alive and growing. I know this as fact as my husband is the current pastor. The town itself is also growing; there have been a couple of houses moved into town. As for the Homeplate Cafe, it is the best kept secrete in North Dakota. We have Many people who will drive many miles out of their way to enjoy a good home cooked meal. They also serve a German meal once a week. It angers me to read your web site and see many towns you have catagorized as “Ghost Towns” when they are in fact quaint small towns who will go out of their way to help people.. Many of the so called abandonded structures do belong to people. They hold on to them in hopes to revieve them to their former glory.

    • I have a German Confirmation Certificate that was issued to my mother, Martha Sayler, on April 17, 1917, by the Congregational Church, Fredonia, Logan Co. North Dakota. Ted H. Penning, Pastor. Printed in German, I may have the pastor’s name misspelled. It’s hard to read his signature. I’m wondering if this building existed on that date or if this is a newer building?

      • From the Fredonia Golden Jubilee book (1954), This is the second Congregational Church and was built in 1929. The first Congregational Church was built in 1906 and was sold and moved to Lehr, ND. Both were built on the same lot.

  6. Pingback: Homesick, Chasing Ghost Towns, & The Most Perfect Rhubarb Pie. | Like A Fish Out Of Fargo

    • My mother was born in Fredonia, and My grandfather, John J. Meidinger, owned a general store in Fredonia until the late 1920’s when it burned down and he later moved to Alfred and then Wishek. My uncle used to be the town cowhand. He had to gather up the peoples cows in the mornings before school and take them to the village pasture and then get them after school for evening milking.

      • Hi John
        My grandmothers maiden name is Meidinger. Her first name was Joyce. She is also from Fredonia.

        Any relation?

        • Hi Jon, my great-grandfather was Jacob Meidinger. My great-great-grandfather helped build the Berlin Baptist Church.

      • Hi Jon, my great-grandfather was Jacob Meidinger. My great-great-grandfather helped build the Berlin Baptist Church.

    • My parents use to own the now “Third Base” formerly “Bob’s Bar”! My parents built-on the side of the main building which is now “Third Base”. Although I did not grow up there because they moved there in 1975, you will not find a better community where people will give you a home cooked meal and the shirt off their backs with no questions asked! My husband and I had our wedding reception and dance at the Legion Hall! Many fun memories of Fredonia and always visit when we get back to North Dakota!

  7. Having been born and raised in a Near “ghost town” in North Dakota I have been trying to imagine the resources and effort it took for such a small town to build a beautiful structure like this church in Fredonia. The attention to detail and the obvious upkeep is a testament to the commitment those original residents had to their heritages and religions. Congratulations for keeping your little town beautiful.

  8. My Mother lived in Fredonia and her early teens which would make it about 1910 1915 I’d guess not sure, my grandfather homesteaded a place there but lost it due to fire.

  9. I pretty much grew up on Fredonia. I knew the people who lived in those houses, went to my grandpa’s funeral in that church, remember the silver and golden jubilee celebrations. The best years of my life were spent there. Thanks for the memories.

  10. There was once a school in Fredonia. In the mid 40’s my sister, Florence Blessing, was a teacher there. There were enough children to justify 2 teachers. At one time they even had a Christmas program there. A few years ago we passed by there while driving to Wishek and noticed that Fredonia was still there.

  11. Fredonians are not without a sense of humor. A few years ago, as I was coming up on Fredonia from the north, a sign by the side of the road read: “Fredonia—next 3 exits.”

  12. My great grandfather, Martin Burkle, emigrated to this area in 1893-4 and had a farm a short distance East of Fredonia. He was one of the founders of the first church and his name is listed first in its old roster. He was likely there for the new church also, dedicated in 1931. There was quite a crowd there at the time. Then my grandfather and his siblings grew up there. Thanks for the photos.

    • Who is you grandfather? My grandfather is Elroy Buerkle. I remember visiting the Buerkle farm looking in the old sod farm house and the barn during the centennial and recently visited it again in August during my grandpa Elroy Buerkle’s funeral.

  13. i want to start off by saying i love this site. looking at these towns bring back a flood of memories. I do have to say though, no matter what anybody says the people that have grown up here in the great old town of Fredonia, will defend this town like no other. We love this place and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m proud to say i was born and raised in this town and i love every minute of it.

  14. I spent many weekends in this small little town when I was growing up~~my grandma and my uncle lived there for years. Fond memories of running down the dirt streets and listening to the folks speak german to one another.

    • We may be cousins? My grandfather was Gottfried Radke. His sister, Hulda, married a Sukut (Fred?) Also related to Buerkles, Rempfers, and Kruegers from Fredonia. My father was born there. I visited Fredonia after my father passed away. Several relatives are laid to rest in cemeteries nearby.

  15. That church is right across the street from my aunt Wanda’s house!! My dad Ray and Randy Schlecht shingled and took the bell down, and repaired the bell tower. My aunt helped them! This is epic! Saving this wonderful building! 🙂

  16. I moved to Fredonia in the mid 50’s when my father was hired to run the Farmers Elev. My mom taught school in the 2 teacher elementary school and as a high school student I went to school in Kulm. Fredonia was a vibrant little town then. All of the amenities needed. Grocery store, bank, hotel, restaurant, bar, gas stations, 2 churches. Dances and rollerskating in the Legion Hall and main street full of cars on Saturday night. Some good memories.

    • your Mother was my teacher! and i only had her for !st and 2nd grade, but i do remember how beautiful she was. and she had beautiful clothes and her heels always matched (through the eyes of a child). 3rd grade, we had to go to Kulm School.

  17. My grandfather, Gottfried Dittus, and grandmother, Clara (Findel) Dittus, had a homestead farm southeast of Fredonia. My mother, Alvina (Dittus) Otterstetter, went to the Congregational Church during the thirties and forties, where she was baptized and confirmed. The church documents are in German. I have enjoyed a meal in the Home Plate Café and can honestly say that I have not eaten a better meal in any other restaurant.

  18. I was born in Minot, and lived in Parshall in my early years. I did not know of Fredonia, except from the Marx Brothers’ movie ‘Duck Soup’. As the chorus sings the Fredonian national anthem, in the movie, HAIL, HAIL Fredonia!!!

  19. My great granparents settled here when first coming to America. My father was born here. I actually made my first ever vist this past summer..It’s really nice to know a little more about this great town.

  20. My husband is from there. My daughter was baptized in the Lutheran Church there and we lived there for a couple of years when she was younger in the 1980’s. We still own the family farm and go back several times during the year. Still have family and friends that live there.

  21. Please keep posting photos and information on these little towns as they are interesting and enjoyable to read. I once photographed a small town in eastern Wyoming, (where my wife grew up) and encountered the same resentment from the local towns people. It had once been a sizable town during the 1920’s oil boom in that area but at the time I was there, only a few families remained. I think they thought I was trying to make fun of their town, but far from it, I was interested in their history and trying to share it. Keep up the good work.

  22. Have seen this page before but it popped up again on Facebook. My late wife was from Fredonia. Rosemary Dittus she grew up on a farm south of town. We were married in that church in 1967. A very neat building with lots of memories. Rosemary’s parents later moved in to town in Fredonia. In the early years I remember going to a store in town and getting something for the farm seems like they had a good assortment of hardware. I was gifted with 44 years with Rosemary who was my Fredonia connection. We met on a blind date in Fargo where she was working and I was a college student. My children have many memories of trips to Fredonia, playing with cousins and going to the Fredonia park

    • My maternal grandfather, Gottfried Dittus, and grandmother, Clara (Fiindel) Dittus had a homestead farm south and a little east of Fredonia. Their children’s names are Leonard, Annetta, Emma, Gerhardt, Paul, Alvina, Lorraine, Marion, Roy, Rueben, and Willie. Any relation?

      • O my goodness.. I am related to you! My Dad was Leveorn Dittus, son of Emma and John Dittus. I remember Gerhardt and Marion and Annetta. My Grandmother Emma was a Mund.

  23. I was raised in Fredonia , and moved to Iowa when I was three, but I went back for many years for vacation to see my aunts and uncles who were farmers. The church is definitely a landmark. I went there each summer I visited. My aunt was the organist there. Your pictures brought back great memories of a small town

  24. My grandfather worked at the Fredonia Bank for several years until his retirement, probably in the 80s. His name was John Borth and he lived in Kulm but “commuted” daily to Fredonia. Not only did Grandpa work at the bank, I believe he was their sole employee. If Grandpa wasn’t there, the bank wasn’t open. I would go with him sometimes in the summer when we visited from Minnesota and loved their giant safe. At lunch he would lock up the bank and we would go across to the “filling station” and he would buy me a glass bottle of orange pop from their chest cooler to eat with the lunch my grandma, Lorene, had packed for us. Big treat!
    I went to the cafe in the 90s and their food was always very good – we would drive from Kulm once in awhile especially for it.
    Our family gathered at The Third Base the night of my grandpa’s funeral in 1996 and he is buried in Kulm Cemetery. If I ever take my kids back to North Dakota the trip will not be complete without a visit to Fredonia!

  25. My parents Dellamae Heller and Raymond Wolf were from Fredonia. By the time I was born my family had moved to IA but every summer we made our annual trip to Fredonia. Visited family including my grandma and grandpa and aunt and uncle and cousins. Made many friends over the summer vacations along with many memories.

  26. My grandfather and grandmother retired to Fredonia in the late 40’s early 50’s from the Gackle area. My uncle Herbert Presler was sheriff during the early 60’s or so. During this time there was not much for real estate going on and several houses were abandoned as families moved away looking for more productive communities. The school that was mentioned was across the street from my grandparents. I remember the main entrance had two concrete lions, one on each side of the steps.

  27. I
    Our family farmed a few miles northwest of Fredonia. I spent grades 1,2,3 at the Fredonia School with Rev.
    Emanuel Gackle as my teacher. He taught four grades on one side of the building and a Charlie? taught 5-8 on the other side. Rev. Gackle was also the pastor of the Congregational Church.
    . He would preach the sermon in English, and then give it in German. This was in the 50’s. There was a grocery store on Main Street, (Otto Elhardt owned) that was the gathering place for kids after school. I watched my first television show there in 1956 (“Wild Bill Hickock”) . (also “Superman”) Fredonia was a fun town to be a kid in the 1950’s. Saturday evenings were fun as we all came to town, sold eggs and cream, got a dime from our dad, and made it last. My father was Paul Eslinger, and grandfather, Emmanuel Eslinger. I have such good memories of Fredonia….baseball games on the west side of Hwy 56 on Sunday afternoons. My father played for them. There was a Janke who could really pitch. Many of my relatives buried in cemetery north of Fredonia , and also on cemetery further north on Hwy 56. At 67, I have only good memories of what was a wonderful childhood.

  28. I live in Alfred, which is a real ghost town, and is about 50 miles , or so, NE of Fredonia. I moved to North Dakota 17 yrs ago from St. Paul, Mn. I met a man from Alfred, and came out here to be with him. Sadly, he passed away last April. I will be moving from here this fall, leaving Alfred with a population of about 8 when I go. But I have really enjoyed living out here, and yesterday I took a short road trip and ended up in Fredonia. What a quaint and nice little town. I had the feeling that I’ve been here before although I really hadn’t been. I love the little towns like this out here in North Dakota. You don’t find places like this in Minnesota. It makes you feel like you’re at “home”.

  29. My father was from Fredonia, and my grandmother Ida lived next door to the church for many years. Dad taught school there for a while in his early 20s before moving to Minnesota and meeting my mom. They settled out west in Washington state.

  30. Made it back to Fredonia last October(2017) in connection with Sauerkraut Day in Wishek. Had a nice meal in a cafe called “Home Plate”. There was also a tavern called “Third Base”. I believe it was open but we did not enter. I made many trips to Fredonia during the 1940’s when my sister , Florence Blessing,was a school teacher there. Yes! there was a school in Fredonia in those days. Tombstone, AZ calls itself “the town too tough to die” Fredonia should take a similar stance.

  31. My husband was an interim pastor at this church for 9 months back in ’96. There is a big beautiful mural on the wall behind the altar with the writing in German. The people at that church were so nice to us. I’m sure the church is closed now.

  32. I am trying to find relatives of family Wittmayer in Fredonia and surroundings.
    Originally they came from Bessarabia.
    There are so many with this name and I don’t know any first names , the only indication would be Bessarabia Akkerman Gluecksthal..
    Can anybody help? Karin

  33. My grandfather, Gottfried Hass, owned a general store in Fredonia from about 1908 until 1915 when the family moved to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. They had immigrated from Bessarabia. Since my dad was born in Fredonia in 1914, I visited on a Sunday morning in June 2019, Nothing was open and I saw no residents. I had hoped to have breakfast at the Home Plate Cafe, but they were closed due to a family emergency. I wonder if Third Base is the same building as my grandfather’s general store? It was two stories and the family lived upstairs above the store. After I returned home, I found an old photo on the web, got permission to use it and put it on my photo web site:

    The third gentleman from the left with the paint can and brush is definitely my grandfather (his last name was misspelled in original caption as Haas). Here he is in another photo from the same time period:

    Needless to say, I was very pleased to find the Fredonia photo. I’m posting this message because I thought it might help others identify relatives from the same time period.

  34. My Grandmother taught school here one year, according to her obit that was published Nov 25th 1936. . She was a member of the graduating class of the Nome Public School of 1924. Her name was Norma Pedersen (Hanson) (Wolff) depending on what year she taught… does any one know where I could locate school records?

  35. My grandparents lived in Fredonia. When they left the farm they moved into a house in Fredonia. We would go there all the time to see Pauline and Ed Ruff an would walk around the town. I remember going to the gas station to get candy and at Christmas we would go to Church and sing some Christmas songs in German. All of the children would get bags with candy fruit and nuts in them it was a tradition. I felt there the true meaning of Christmas, not for money and things but for family, cooking and togetherness. How times have changed.

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