Manfred is a near-ghost town just off Highway 52 between Minot and Jamestown. We visited Manfred previously in 2006, and decided to stop again for an overdue visit on our way to north central North Dakota.
Manfred is home to about five residents these days, and several of them are doing a fantastic job at buying up properties and securing/restoring them. The Johnson Hotel was on the brink when we visited in 2006, but has since been repainted. In addition, there was an old school in Manfred which we chose not to photograph last time because it looked as though someone had been living in it. It is now undergoing a thorough cleaning, and the residents of Manfred have plans to restore the portico over the front stairs when they can raise the funds to do so.
We spoke with a few of the residents of Manfred and they told us they are considering various ideas to attract travelers to the town, including the possibility of having a campground nearby. We certainly hope something like that happens, because Manfred is an attraction. Of all the places we’ve visited in North Dakota, we have never been to a place where the residents are more determined to save what remains of their town. We can’t express in words what a fantastic job they are doing.
On this day, we arrived to find Manfred residents cleaning out the old school after acquiring ownership of it from a previous resident.
Today, the portico over the door has be replaced with a beautiful reconstructed version. Above: as it looked in 2012.
We’re told the previous owner of this schoolhouse tore up some of the floorboards on the right and sold them.
Piano and electric organ; necessary for any good schoolhouse production.
Manfred’s former store, owned by the Petersons.
The gorgeous and historic Vang Lutheran Church.
The Manfred Heritage Museum. No admission charge.
Painted, ground floor windows boarded up, grounds cleaned, and boardwalk installed
An upgrade is in progress on the front of this house.
This house is a good example of how quickly nature can overtake properties left to themselves. Six years ago, the front of this house could be clearly seen through the brush.
This Standard station has been a work in progress for years. It’s lookin’ really good with those vintage gas pumps out in front. You can almost picture a team of three guys coming out to check your oil, wash your windows, and fill it up.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp
13 thoughts on “Manfred: Six Years Later”
Wow! I am impressed with what they have done with Manfred.
The guys from American Pickers would probably love to get their hands on those old pumps & that Standard Oil sign.
The school: turn it into a bed and breakfast. There is a converted 4 room school house in some little out of the way spot going toward Minot that someone converted into a B/B. The place is booked out two years in advance and it is gorgeous.
I must admire the spirit and determination of Manfred;s citizens. Just goes to show you what a group of people, no matter how small, can do when they get connected into a plan and then set about making it happen. They are doing spectacular work! Hats off,
Love this i grew up in Manfred and lived there till I was 20
Two thumbs up to the dedicated Manfred-ites!!
I believe the Bed and Breakfast you are thinking of, Sharon, is in Riverdale. You are correct — it is beautiful and a wonderful example of what can be done with some of these old buildings.
There is also a B & B just west of Manfred past Martin (Anamoose address) in the old White School. It is called Sage Hill B&B. The restoration work in Manfred is continuing and there has been work going on to restore the school. There are several buildings that the fronts have been restored.
I took my son thru Manfred earlier this summer. My grandpa was born here (Donald Breyer) and my great grandpa owned that hotel at one time. The spirit is so alive in Manfred and all the positive energy radiates out of all those amazing buildings. I love the hotel but that schoolhouse was so charming and they did get that portico put up it looks beautiful. Made my boy sit on every step we could find, the post office is my fave pose of him, he’s 4. Anyway, I love this little town and I can’t wait to go back!
Haven’t seen the name Wanda Melchert anywhere in your reporting and Manfred would NOT be in the revived condition without her! To Wanda!!!
You are correct. And Wanda has never sought recognition for herself, so thank you for giving some credit where it’s due.
Wow! What a difference in just a few short years. Have not been here in about 2 or so years. My dad grew up here, and alas is buried in the graveyard just out of Manfred. Bring back memories of when I would go to visit when I was younger. Nice Job to whomever completed these projects! 🙂
Wow, what a difference, and wonderful that some one cared enough to take it upon themselves to keep the history vibrant, and alive.. perfect.
When I was a child my family went to Manfred for the summer a couple times. My mother’s sister lived in the house that was just past the old schoolhouse. We had so much fun there, and Manfred has always remained very vivid in my memories. There was a little general store across from the post office. I remember going in there. As I recall, the brick building on the corner was the post office.