Mondry Elevator in Ardoch

We stopped in Ardoch primarily to photograph the elevator which Terry had been wanting to shoot for some time.  We drove into town past the city hall and a little yapper dog promptly ran right in front of Terry’s car and stopped.  He just stood there staring at us.  So Terry started to back up, and a second dog joined the first in circling around his car.  We were kinda stuck, not able to go forward or backward very quickly for fear of running over these two little dogs.  And the whole time it’s happening, the woman who owns the two dogs is sitting in a lawn chair, watching.  She had a look of befuddlement on her face–like, how did this happen, these two geniuses are trapped in the street by my chihuahuas?

Inevitably, Terry was able to break free from the insane chihuahuas, and we proceeded to the elevator.  Terry took some shots while I did a social media update, and he got some good ones.

Terry walked the full perimeter of the elevator in waist high grass, snapping photos all along, and then returned to where I had parked the car across the highway.  I was grabbing a bottle of water out of the car when I looked over and saw Terry kinda patting himself down, looking for a phone that was no longer there.  He had just finished walking through waist high grass for like, thirty minutes straight.

I asked him, “Is your ringer on?  Will your phone make noise if I call it?”  He nodded.

Terry walked back across the highway and I took out my phone and began calling his repeatedly while he listened for it to ring.  He was walking through the grass, and I was watching him from across the highway.  I would dial his phone, his voicemail would pick up after 15 seconds, and I would have to hang up and call back.  And he’s still just over there on the other side of the highway, waving his hands along the tips of the tall grass and prairie flowers like he’s the lost phone mystic or something, about to sense the electromagnetic energy of a lost Sprint slider phone.

Then all of a sudden, he squatted down in a wrestler’s stance and rotated right to left like a radar dish, listening.  I looked down at my phone.  The voicemail picked up and I had to hang up and redial.  I called back and looked across the highway at Terry — he was still crouching in the grass.  The call connected and I saw Terry leap into the grass — he found it near the garage door pictured second photo down.  It’s a shame there wasn’t a reality TV crew around to capture it the way I saw it.

I went back to Ardoch in 2012 and got a few photos of Ardoch without any problems from Taco Bell’s mascot tryout class.

A beautiful, nearly full-page photo of this elevator appears in our book, Ghosts of North Dakota: North Dakota’s ghost towns and abandoned places.

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp

11 thoughts on “Mondry Elevator in Ardoch

  1. I appreciate when you list the locations of the towns as in the nearest “larger” town. Thanks for the humorous descriptions you add to your stories.


    1. This small little town wash home to my grandparents who raised 9 children within walking distance of the Mondry Elevator. Thanks for the memories!


  2. Hello. Stumbled upon your site. Your pictures of MY DAD’S elevator are really so nice! I am the 12th of 14 children of Leo Mondry. I learned to drive in a field in a grain truck during harvest. I used to think I would drive off the edge as I very cautiously drove the full load of grain up that ramp drive way! Very cool to see your photos! Nice job! Thank You


    1. Hello Aunt Jackie! I stumbled upon this as well. What a treat! And even more thrilled that I see your name here.

      So for other “stumble upon” folks. I am the daughter of the first born son of the Mondry 14. I spent many a summer in the fields of my Uncle’s farm (son #5), with my cousins and my dad, just a stone’s throw from this elevator. Going up and down those long straight roads, inhaling the life of growing crops coming from the rich earth in the summer sun and vast skies of North Dakota. The elevator was my beckon for knowing I had arrived – and that I was going in the right direction, being a Colorado girl and using the mountains as directional guides… One needs a landmark, shall we say?

      This building has always fascinated me. Its a landmark with quite a rich story, indeed. Talk about paying it forward! This page has done that very thing, ten-fold. Thank you for this!


    2. Hi Jackie! My name is Irma, I live in Houston, Texas, my last name was Cantu when I lived in North Dakota! My sisters and I we worked for your dad, Leo Mondry in the 60’s. We worked during potato harvesting. Your dad used to drive a big Lincoln, wore a thin moustache like Howard Hughes, I will never forget his little hat! He was a sweet man. I remember he had a big family. I knew John, Joel, Jay, knew a handful of them, but cannot recall their names. It’s been so long ago. I remember it would get COLD, we worked from sun up till dark! I do not regret them days, sooooo different from what we have now! Hope you get to read my post.


    3. Do you know who built the elevator? My Dad built elevators in the Dakotas for Hogenson Construction and was curious if it was one he worked on.


  3. My grandfather I migrated to Ardoch from Poland in 1890, bought 40
    acres, took out a loan and sent for my great grandmother and grandfather who was only 3 at the time.


  4. I became aware of these photos recently. In April of 2020. Leo mondry was my father and in the summers of 1958 1959 and 1960 while I was on vacation from college I was assigned as assistant manager at the elevator. I have many memories of my time at the elevator and I still remember many of the patrons of the elevator, most of them if not all of them are deceased.


  5. I remember going from Grand Forks to Conway ND where we lived on Family farm and seeing the elevator which was so tall compared to everything out there in the countryside. I went to St. James H. School w/ Joyce, Jane, June and Judd Mondry. Their family home was so much fun to visit because of all the family activity there – even making school lunches in the morning was an adventure to me w/ the 13 Mondry children. This last year when June died I wrote about how much I enjoyed being there and got a thank you from her daughter. It’s great to see the notes from fellow N. Dakotans – I now live in CA, but have great memories of N. Dakota.
    DeAnne (Nasinec) Mahlum


  6. My family still lives in Ardoch ND…As a Child we were always told to stay away from the Mondry Elevator but alot of times we wouldnt listen and try and seek up into the building but there were always strange noises before we would entire we would run back across the street. im guessing strange noises duh to the building to old …


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