Knox, ND

Knox is a rarity as near-ghost towns go — it is located right off a major highway — US 2, between Rugby and Devils Lake.  According to the 2010 census, Knox is home to 25 residents, has 13 occupied households and 13 vacant households.  Knox was founded in 1883 and reportedly had a peak population of 330 in 1910.

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

We drove into Knox and realized there are a lot of impressive vacant structures, not the least of which is the grain elevator.  It was very quiet in Knox, with very little activity for a Saturday afternoon.  A local resident told us the predominantly elderly population of Knox was temporarily relocated several winters ago due to heavy snowfall and the inability to find anyone who would clear snow from the town’s roads.

We ran into a gentleman who had an interesting story to tell while we were photographing Knox.  He was a traveling gospel singer who had arrived in Knox three days earlier.  He was a soft-spoken man with a noticeable southern drawl due to his Texas heritage, and he told us he didn’t have a home — he spent his days traveling the country in a minivan, stopping at little towns, bartering his gospel performances for food and lodging.  He’d been traveling for eight years.  Imagine the things he’s seen and the places he’s been.


The former Knox Post Office

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

A resident told us his stepson is in the process of dismantling this home.

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

There were a few homes like this one where it wasn’t totally clear whether anyone was still inhabiting them.

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

Knox, North Dakota

This flyer was hanging in the display case in front of the now abandoned Post Office.

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

105 Comments on “Knox, ND

  1. Wow….I had forgotten about this little town. I remember when my father, Jerome Morin used to come to Knox and work here. Thank you for the rekindled memories!

  2. My mother was born in Knox in 1923. She is Elizabeth Fay Jones. Is the Knox history book still available? Maybe I’ll try the phone number tomorrow and see if it still works.

      • Am sure she would have known my great grandmother Inga Salvog

    • Sorry about the misinformation, but my mom was born in York, ND. My grandfather, Francis John Fay, was born in Knox, as well as his brother Leo Fay. My grandfather was the first white child born in the State of North Dakota, being the first recorded birth on the day North Dakota became a State.

      • How very interesting,,, what a family history to preserve.. I really can see why they call theses Ghost towns,, but there surely are lots of stories to be told from behind those empty walls,, I so enjoy reading about these little towns,, love this site…

      • Aloha Karen

        In talking to my mom, then Eileen Follman, the Fay family was next door neighbors on the farm, about a 1/4 mile away. She remembers all of the Fay family.

        Mahalo Boyd Olson

      • I grew up near York and knew John and Gunda well. I think Gunda
        may have even taught a class I attended at Rugby High School.

    • My great grandmother lived in Knots all her life. She passed in the early 60s. Just remember her by grandma Knox. She had an outhouse and pump in her kitchen. Think her last name was Christianson. We used to visit her every time we were in North Dakota. Remember the how small the town was and the store we used to buy candy at when we were young. . Any information on my great grandmother would be appreciated. She was from Norway and talked with the accent.

    • Am sure she would have remembered by Great Grandmother. She lived in Knox until she passed in the early 60s. Believe her last name was christianson. Remember she had a outhouse and pump in her kitchen. Had to pull a rope in the kitched for stair to come down so we could get up the bedroom. PS. Would love one of the history books if still available

        • I purchased mine on Amazon, it was used but complete.
          Somewhere I read the author still had a few copies remaining

      • Hi Tom, I hope you are doing well. It’s been a long time. Still have your book you did.
        May God Bless you and your family.

  3. Very aswesome article. Next time you are wondering around North Dakota you should check out Hansboro. That was once a bombing town and as close as it is to the border you would think it still could be but not anymore.

  4. I grew up in Knox. I can’t believe that it is becomeing so run down. I still have family living there. I have lots of good memories…

    • Jennifer, do you know if either Tom Newland (Know History author) or Donna Lennon (the seller of the book) are still alive. Secondly, do you know where the book can be found?

      • Trina, thanks for the area code. I did call and had a long chat with Donna Lennon. Turns out she knows my Aunt Pat and Uncle Don Monger and Aunt Helen Drege in Rugby, and my cousin, Donita Monger Hagen (Stan) in Fargo. All except 1 of her boys still live in ND and her sister is the postmistress for Leeds. She is sending me a copy of the Knox History Book. It was fascinating to talk with her and more people should try. She’s a walking encyclopedia of the area. Jennifer, she wants to know if you are a Vogle or Vogel, not sure of the spelling. She knows lots of people in Rugby, too, so give her a call.

  5. My family used to attend church in Knox when we lived in Wolford, ND. I remember drinking from the pump during vaction bible school in the summers. Thanks for posting this!

    • Marie, Donna Lennon grew up in Wolford and I believe her dad ran the grainery. something like that. Ask your mom or grandmother if they know Donna.

  6. Lots of fond Memories of Growing up in the Community of Knox

  7. That house with the fence in front where you were not sure if it is still lived in is my old home. I lived in there from 1968-1978. I believe my parents bought it around 1961 after living in the country outside of Knox. I believe the lady still lives there. She is the retired Post Master.

    • Kristi – I’m fuzzy on who your folks were. Also your older brothers and sisters. I’m thinking you were one of the youngest in your family.?.
      Is that Maggie Miller you are refering to that may still be living there? If so she would have to be up in years by now.

      • Kristi is the Baby of the family, Our Parrents were John & Rosemary Brossart, they are buired in the Knox Cath. cemetary

        • My great grand mother lived in Knox. We only knew her as Grandma Knox. Believe her last name was Christianson. We used to visit her every time we went to North Dakota. I loved that small town. Would love any information on my great grandmother. She passed in the early 60s. Had a house with an outhouse and pump in her kitchen. Remember chickens in her yard. Used to go to the little store and by candy.

          • I remember her in the late 1950’s. I believe she moved to Washington State. She was a Christisnson from Pleasant Lake. She married Magnus Selvog how worked on the GNRailroad Tom Newgard 1404 N 13 St. Moorhead, MN phone 1-218-236-8056

          • Yes she moved to Bremerton Washington. I was hoping there would be someone that remembered her. I am interested in the book on Knox.

          • Hi, I believe your are talking about Evelyn Christiansen. She did live in Bremerton and was my moms, Ella Weaver best friend. Evelyn passed away in 2007 or 08, my mom Ella Weaver passed away in 2008 as well. I was in Knox in 1977 when my Aunt Edna still was living in the house my mom was born in. Fascinating little town.

            Jill Jones Donovan .

      • Maggie Miller Passed away in Long term care in Rugby years ago. I loved that little Lady

  8. Knox Lutheran Church still has services every Sunday with Pastor Brenda Burns.

  9. I am Donna Lennon. I have a few Knox History books to sell. I live here yet and do have people passing through that are so glad to get the book. The author [Tom Newgard] lives at Moorhead, Mn.

    • Aloha Donna
      A lot of my family history is in Knox. My grandfather Andrew Olson, owned a farm just a 1/4 mile to the west of town, and he is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery. My Mom lived across the street from the Lutheran Church but moved in 1949 when she married my dad Lloyd Olson. I would love to buy a Knox History book. I hope to return in a few years to visit when I retire. I was last there in 1967.

      • A relative by the name Boehm from west coast ordered a Knox History Book and I mislaid her address so could someone tell her so I can sendit. She has a relative in Fargo too. Let me know, Boyd , if you can. I am Donna Lennon 701 583 2340.

        • Aloha Donna

          I have not been back to this website for a while. Yes, Boehm is my cousin. I will send her an email athough this is probably taken care of.

          Mahalo Boyd

      • boyd my grand father was ernest sigfred olson son of jon eric olson and albertina olson he was born in knox in 1899. he had six other kids in the family five were born in knox , wilhemina, alfred erik, gottfred o, jon enfred, harold victor, carl lewis . chances are we could be related . i have to get a copy of the book on knox if any of these folks are your kin please contact me as we dont have a lot of history from the olson clan. all we know is most of those folks ended up in and around eugene oregon. thanks casey wells

      • I have some knox History books left. They are $10.00 plus Postage. Tom Newgard 1404 N 13 St Mooread, MN. phone 1-218-236-8056. I rember your grand father

  10. Hello Donna,
    Would you by chance have any of those Knox History books left yet? If not, do you think the author you mentioned would? I am Jane (nee Burkhartsmeier) and living in the Twin Cities. We lived a mile or so south of Knox until 1969. I attended first and second grade at Knox school – 2nd grade I remember Dale being in the classroom with our teacher, Mrs. Olson. Great memories of that old building. I remember you lived next door to the school. Also can’t forget Harry Hildstedt (sp?) who rang the bell every day and was the janitor, Merlin N. the mailman (who used to tease me about getting letters from “my boyfriend” as I waited by the mailbox for him to come in the summers) and Rosie and of course Maggie Miller at the Post Office. You all were such a fun bunch! Are any of them still living?

    Let me know if you have any books left, and I will send you my address and $. Thanks Donna for posting. Good to see your picture. You look just as I remember you. 🙂
    -Jane K………….651-653-3892

    • It was Harry Hillestad. I am his grandson. His wife Olivia was the cook at the school. I remember playing all around that town and old schoolyard without a care in the world. Harry and Olivia had nine kids and each of them had big families as well so when family reunions came around that town was hopping 😉
      Oilivia’s brother Walt Mears lived right next door with his wife Ida. Great people. I have one of the Knox books on CD and it is a great history of the city and its people.

      • One of the reasons I’m at this site is that I ran across a reference to a WWII Army Air Force B-24 bomber crewmember named William J. Mears, a Technical Sergeant (flight engineer/gunner) from Knox, ND, who was killed in action (KIA) in 1943. When I surfed the comments and ran across the name Mears I figured it must be the same family. Many men in WWII were from what are now ND ghost towns, but probably bustling communities then.

        • Hi Chris,
          My mom was from Knox and I believe her and Billy Mears where an item. I remember looking through the Knox History book and when we came across the picture of Billy she would always say, her class ring was somewhere in Germany now. She gave it to him when he left for war.

          • my entire family…Mears is from Knox. We owned a farm right on Pleasant Lake. Most of the inhabitants of St. Mary’s Cemetery are our family. Great Grandfather was John Mears, Grandfather Simon Mears…my Dad was the oldest…Thomas Leonard Mears…siblings were Jim, John, Alex, Harland, Luella (she married an Avens) and Betty (she became a Halvorson)

        • He was my Uncle Donald Mears who was married to my Aunt Eva Sattler brother. I remember them talking about this.

      • Hi Marc, Your grandfather was the custodian of the school when I was there. I went all of my grades through school. I loved your grandmother, she would always give me extra food.

        • Hello,
          My name is Ron Massine and My Uncle and Aunt were Don Mears and Eva Sattler. My Mother RoseMarie is the youngest of the 12 Sattler kids to Sylvester and Katherine Sattler who moved into Knox when Grampa retired from Farming. I was looking at these pics and I remember things about living in Rugby as My Dad was Joe Massine and his brother Fred. All gone now but I remember as a boy going to See Grampa and Granma in Knox and going out to Don and Eva’s farm and Uncle Andy’s and Aunt Mary’s farm as the boys played guitars. My older brother is Robert Massine (Bob)

          • Hi Ronald, I am Larry Sattler and Chuck was my brother who passed away four years ago. We are Andrew and Mary’s children who played guitars and sang. Do you still live in Montana and where is Robert now? I would love to hear from you and answer all the questions you might have about what is happening now with your relatives. May God Bless you,
            Larry Sattler

    • I knew Gerald Burkhartsmeier, one of the nicest farmers. Took me for a ride on his combine., use to meet him and Joe Black another farmer down at the post office in Knox. I lived on North Morgan Street in the old Schumacher house for 4 years.

    • Jane, was your sister Patty? I was her class mate. I often wondered what happened to her. She was such a sweet young lady.

  11. Yes I have books here again. Call me and I will mail it to youi. You would pay $ 18 for the book plus postage and for the envelope to mail it in. OK? Donna 701 583 2340
    421 Morgan St. Knox, N. Dak.

    • Hello, Donna ~
      My dad (DJ “Bud” Holter) managed the Knox elevator from about 1956 until 1963, and I have many fond memories of living in the “elevator house”. Knox was a wonderful little “Mayberry” kind of town to grow up in. My brother Buck and I rode our bikes all over town and knew everyone who lived there. I remember buying groceries at John’s Red Owl, having a pop at Mary’s cafe, picking up mail at the little post office, and of course the wonderful school house where I attended all 8 years of elementary. The memorial hall is where we had a lot of events, including our Christmas programs, wedding dances, graduations, etc. Mom & Dad had a band with Arland & Vivian Borgen, so they played for many dances in the area. I remember Harry Hillestad who took such good care of the school and I played dolls with his daughters. Mrs. Whalen was the school cook and made the absolute best meals for the kids. Those were the days!
      I’ve driven through town a few times through the years. I was sad to see the school torn down, but very happy to see the “elevator house” is still there. I’d love to have a copy of the book and will call you to order it. Are you still living in Knox? I would enjoy seeing the old house sometime if we could arrange a visit. Mom and Dad and Buck are gone now, but what wonderful memories I have of our 8 years in Knox.

      • Hello Carol I remember your whole fam, we lived just down the street from you

  12. The History Books of Knox are Ten Dollars , not eighteen as printed. Would the one from Grafton call me as I lost your address.. she ordered four books and I can’t mail them until I get her address.
    Donnaa Lennon

    • Hi Donna,

      I am the great grandson of Mike Miller, great nephew of Maggie and Rosie Miller, and the rest of the Miller clan from Knox. Do you still have any of the books left? I will be traveling through the area this week heading up to Knox to see the family farm again, and could stop by and pick some of from you if possible?

      It will be fun to see the town again, have not been there since I was 8 or so back in 1976.


  13. What incredible pictures of a beautiful old town. I sang at Arlene Borgen’s wedding in the Lutheran Church there many years ago. have many good memories of eating and playing at her grandparents Elmer and Hazel Borgen’s home. Hazel was my Grandma Ada Drege’s sister.

    • And Sandi Drege Harper is my cousin. Our mothers are sisters, so all of my previous comments about our Grandpa Fay and Uncle Leo apply to Sandi also. What a wonderful site this is!

    • Dennis was my first cousin. His mom was my grandma Sattler’s sister Eva, I see he just died a few years ago in Esmond.

  14. Wow! This is the town my family lived in near the turn of the century (1910). Is there anyway I can get information about the town or would you know where I could go to find it? Thanks!

  15. About four years ago, I delivered some furniture to an elderly man in Knox. I don’t remember his name, or where exactly he lived there, but because of him, I’ll never forget this little town. I drove by it a billion times, never thinking twice to stop. When I did for work that one day, myself and my delivery partner were having a pretty rough morning. This guy in Knox sounded not very nice on the phone, so we were expecting the worst. We got to his house (a very nice house btw), delivered his beds, set them up, and tried to be on our way. This guy was so proud of his house though, and all of his hunting trophies, that he insisted on us taking the grand tour. Heard some cool stories, saw some cool things. Prior to the tour, while we were setting up his beds, he was cooking. Never thought twice of it, until he presented us each with a foil wrapped cheeseburger as a tip. Best tip I’ve ever received, and that guy made damn sure we’d never forget that place.

  16. Aloha Gene

    Talking to my mom on the webcam tonight, then she was Eileen Follman, she had Dennis Goetz in her classroom at Knox School.

    Mahalo Boyd

  17. Hello Everyone!

    I am Donna Lennon’s Grandson. Donna has moved to Rugby, ND (Just a few miles west of Knox). The number on the picture is still available to call but she will not be checking the messages as often as normal. If you wish to contact her for books her phone number is 701-771-0077.

  18. I remember also the great wedding dances in Knox. Those were great times. The best dances were always in the small towns, York, Knox, Harlow, Penn.

  19. My grandparents Andrew and Angelina Mitzel lived in Knox. i have many fond memories of Knox. Every summer myself along with the rest of my family would go there and spend some time. I remember my grandfather giving us kids a nickel to go to the candy store and by a candybar. I remember my grandmother drying chamomile on the back porch. To this day I love the smell of chamomile for that reason. I try to get back there from Michigan as much as I can. Love the pictures.

    • My great grandmother lived in Knox. We used to visit her and go to the same store to buy candy. I remember she had a pump in her kitchen and an outhouse. Even though it was a small town we used to really enjoy visiting. All the local kids always came by when we would visit, there were 8 of us children in our family.

  20. Does anyone know who now owns the property where the grain elevator sits? I am interested in buying some of the old equipment inside, if there is still anything left. If anyone has any information, you can reach me at (262) 313-8864. Thanks!

  21. Does anyone recall the Larson family or the Reister family?

    • It was closed in 1970 Loretta, I remember seeing your name with my aunt Katerine or Rose Marie Sattler in the school books. They were my aunts.

  22. I attended school in Knox for 12 years and graduated in 1956. Loretta Larson and I went through all 12 grades together. Only know of Francis Wolfe living around there now and we went to school with him also throughout the years. It is interesting to read all of the comments.

    • I remember Mr. Wurgler, I believe he made violins, and had a little piece of tape on one of his eyes to hold up some wrinkles so he could see. Not sure if your any relation to him.

      • I remember you John, you were a wild man and my sisters age Cathy Sattler.

  23. My Godmother, Helen Olson, was very close friends of Merlin and Rosie Norby. I remember their son, Kenny.
    I also remember Stanis Buckmeier and Leonard Brossart from some of the wedding dances.
    Have you ever done any photographs of Pleasant Lake, just west of Knox?

  24. I am a niece of Rosie and Merlyn Norby and Maggie Miller who lived on the farm just east of Knox. Thousands of memories of Knox – visiting relatives, wedding dances, picnics at the Knox park and going to St. Mary’s church where my parents, Ned & Eva (Miller) Voeller and Ron and I were married. Driving down the streets of towns like Knox is like stepping back in time. Great memories!

    • I am the grandson of Mike Miller (his wife was Hazel). I stopped by the Miller farm on the East end of town in Aug 2014, and it was just as I remembered from my only other visit back in 1976. Amazing how little activity there is in town now, sort of sad. I remember meeting most of the family back there, Maggie, Rosie, Gus, Eva and all their children and grandchildren. A special place for sure!

  25. I grew up in Knox. A few miles out of town. My dad Duane Heidlebaugh still lives there!!

    • I ran your dad’s milking parlor in 1963. I loved working for him. He was such a great man.

  26. My sister Margy married a Francis Stone, and still lives on a Farm about a mile west of Knox. Her Father-in-law ran the poste office in Knox. We lived in Fillmore. I was born a few miles South of Knox.

  27. I remember working for my uncle Galen Engstrom for three years. We would go to wedding dances in Knox. The bar would fill while the kids were at the dance. Then the adults would leave the bar and the dance floor would be full. Back then the cafe was a busy place. This was the early 60’s.

  28. Shirley It will be 60 years in May 2016 that our class of 1956 were all together . It would be fun to get together again this next summer. I still keep in contact with Bertha and Beatty, Bertha lives in Minot and Beatty is in FL. My address is 54247 Gallagher RD Moiese, MT 59824


    • Hi Loretta, I’m John Keller I graduated the year before you, Best class ever, lol, Nancy and I live in Hudson, Florida

  29. Looking for someone who would have known or known of my great grandmother Inga Salvog. Used to visit her in Knox when we were children in the late 50s. Probably played with some of the people posting when we were there. Remember she had an outhouse and pump in her kitchen. Wish I could post a picture.

    • I am Tom Newgard and I used to see Enga Selvog in my younger days. She grew up at Pleasant Lake and married into the Selvog clan

      • Am excited to finally find someone that knew my great grandmother. I am interested in one of the books about Knox.

  30. TSGT William J. Mears, Knox, ND, WWII, ASN 37282895, 44th Bomb Group, 506th Bomb Squadron, Shipdham AB, England who was engineer and top turret gunner on the B-24 bomber, Swanson Crew, “Wicked Witch” that was shot down on 14 May 1943, on a mission to Kiel, Germany. Sgt. Mears was KIA, but apparently was not wounded when he bailed out of his aircraft. The 44th lost 5 out of 21 aircraft on the mission. I am a great-grandson of another squadron member.

  31. I am the great grandson of John Stewart, who owned a shoe repair shop in Knox, ND–He is mentioned in the “History of Knox,ND”, along with his brother Hamilton Stewart(he had a farm north of town). John & Hamilton came from Donghadee, Northern Ireland, and they were willing Scottish immigrants from Eaglesham, Scotland, not a part of the British resettlement of Scot Protestants. John is buried in the Knox cemetery, but there is no marker. I would like to find someone who knows if a plot map of the cemetery exists. I bought a Knox history book from Donna when I visited Knox. John Stewart’s shoe shop was located in the photo in “the Ghosts of ND “for Knox, ND. I knew nothing of my ND connection until my wife started on my genealogy. I now live in Grand Forks, ND.

    • Hi, If you contact the Funeral Home in Rugby they should have a plot map. I have lots of family buried there as well.

  32. I believe it was summer, 1953, a young man named Carl Long pitched American Legion baseball for York. I think he was from Knox. York and Hebron played in the state Legion tourney in New Rockford that summer. Carl pitched a one-hitter and our pitcher pitched a no- hitter. Hebron won 2-1. It was a great game. Just wondering what ever happened to Carl. He could have pitched professional ball as far as I was concerned. Maybe he did. Anyone remember Carl?

    John Funk
    53 Hebron Legion player

  33. My grandfather Olaf Selvog grew up in Knox and was the son of Christ Selvog who at one time had a restaurant in Knox around the early 1900’s.
    I am planning a visit in Aug 2017 sometime between the around the 3rd

  34. Wondering if the Ugland family is included in the book. I’m currently trying to get information about David Ugland who was born in 1880

  35. My grandmother, Carmen Kingsley, was from Knox and both parents were teachers at the Clay Center? Anyone ever heard of them? She had wonderful things to say about her childhood and I have lots of photos of the town and its people.

  36. My grandfather Emil Richard Fenger-Krog and grandmother Elise Petrine Fenger-Krog lived in Knox from early 1900 up to 1913. My father Kenneth Fenger-Krog was borned in Knox on March 3, 1913. Is there any notices to be found about their time in Knox, like what did my grandparents do for their living? In my childhood I heard something about “Rodger’s Lumber Yard” (Or “Roger’s ….”). Should also be intersting to know if there are some document/notices about my fathers Birth Certificate/Baptism to be found in Knox Church Book
    Should appreciate very much to be contacted with comments if anyone in the Forum happens to know something.

    Direct e-mail address:

    With kind regards
    Rodger Fenger-Krog

  37. To moderator

    Please correct my previous e-mail recently sent as having a typing error.

    My father Kenneth Fenger-Krog was borned March 4, 1913. Not March 3

    Kind regards
    Rodger Fenger-Krog

  38. My great-grandfather Jonathan Stephens and grandfather Frank Stephens were both farmers in the early 1900s in Knox…maybe even earlier. My mother was born in Knox in 1920, her name was Helen Stephens. My grandmother was named Ellen. If anyone knows of any histories of the town, it would be fun to read about.

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