Alfred, ND

Alfred is a near-ghost town in Lamoure county, southwest of Jamestown.  Alfred is unincorporated, hence official population figures are hard to come by, but there appear to be perhaps ten permanent residents in the actual town site with more in the surrounding rural area.  Alfred’s reported peak population was 150 in 1930.

Alfred has a well-maintained cemetery and a Seventh Day Adventist Church which was in session the day of our visit.  There were approximately ten vehicles parked outside, so there is plenty of activity for such a small town.  As we’ve seen in other towns like Alfred, the church will quite likely survive long after the residents are gone.

The northeast portion of Alfred is largely abandoned structures, near the lake and the former rail line (now gone).  The rest of the town is quite nice.  Alfred was founded by Englishman Richard Sykes, who founded five towns in North Dakota — Sykeston, Bowdon, Edgeley, Chaseley, and Alfred.

There are actually three structures in this photograph. On the right is a garage, in the center is some kind of small, one-room structure, and hidden in the trees on the left is a full-size home. Interior shots are below.

This is the interior of the one-room structure shown above.

This is the entryway of the home hidden in the trees.

What would have been the living room at one time…

This is the former kitchen and dining room. There was a small hole in the floor, and the you could see through to the basement. The integrity of the floor is a little suspect.

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

88 Comments on “Alfred, ND

  1. Lived in Alfred as a child and my dad delivered gas — probably for the Farmer’s Union. ‘Janke’ is a name I remember; I believe he was a station master or perhaps had something to do with the elevator. Also, Renschler (spelling?) – they were neighbors. Thanks for sharing the photos even tho I was still very young when we moved from Alfred.

    • Janke was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. I don’t know if she had any family in the Alfred area though. She was from Hillsboro.

    • Did your dad haul gas for Elmer Henke. Elmer was the manager there in the late fiftys and the early 60s.

  2. Looks like the Farmer’s Union movement was strong there.

    As to the statement about the church surviving long after the residents leave, one extreme example of this of which I am aware is the case of St. John Lutheran Church of Deep, ND. The church is still used to this day and even boasts pretty strong membership for a country church. Deep, on the other hand, has been completely obliterated from the landscape. The old townsite, a couple hundred yards from the church, is now quite literally a farmer’s field. There are no traces of the townsite to be found at all.

    Deep lives on only in the memories of those who knew it…and on a page of my North Dakota gazetteer map.

    • Matt,
      Read your comment on Deep, ND. Could you give me a better description on the location? I did a search for the church and it appears it is in or near Newberg. Is there any kind of marker showing the location? Do you live in the area. Feel free to call me if you want. 701-527-0889.

  3. My husband, father-in-law and I pass through Alfred every year when we go deer hunting.

  4. All of these ghost vignettes are terrific…and invaluable. GoND is my favorite blog. Please keep documenting the state of the past and the past of the State

  5. Yeah, my home town! Many, many fond memories of my town when we were growing up. What a great time we all had at the Alfred Centennial a few years back.

  6. Hi Carolyn… Had to reply after reading your post. Renschler… They had to be my aunt and uncle and their children. Janke (pronunciation john ke) was the depot agent for many years in Alfred. Oh those good old times. 🙂 Taking the caboose on trips 🙂

    • Hi Gloria… I well remember the Renschlers… Donnie was about my age and we played together. I used to love to visit the Depot (I was only about 4) and loved Janice (I believe that was her name) Janke. Ah, the memories!!

      • I just love this site! Great work.. Referring to a comment made by Cathy Schlenker about the renovated home in Alfred which was recently purchased and will be a leadership retreat center – This home was my grandparents home. Oh such great memories of that house my children and my sister’s children spent many days/nights staying with “great grandma & Mary.” Of course it is now renovated, but it was a great place, my sister & I spent many, many hours there and the big garden, flowers and strawberry patch. We ate more strawberries than picking, I believe. Alfred, a lively community in the 50’s & 60’s, no grass was growing on those streets when all the kids that lived in town and farms outside of Alfred would gather on “main street” – MEMORIES! @ Carolyn.. Don and his wife visited my sister & I a few weeks ago. Had not seen him in years…Too bad we can’t connect with e-mail, would like to hear all about your years in Alfred.

      • My cousin married a Renschler from Mandan. I believe his dad ran a barbershop. Don’t know if they’d be related to the ones in Alfred.5105

  7. Love the pictures. I grew up in Alfred. Many many fond memories. My husband and still own buildings and empty lots there. Some of the pictures are of properties that we own. Would really love to move back there someday – God willing. I will always think of Alfred as home!!!

    • Hi Kristee,
      My Great Grandfather, Jacob Nitschke lived in Alfred as did my grandparents and mother until they moved to Jamestown. Jacob and his wife lived in a train cabbose. I was there a few years ago and the saw it. Do you know who owns it now or how I can find out who owns it? Thanks

      • Dennis, Jacob Nitschke was my great grandfather too. Olga Madche was my grandmother. How are we related?

        • Ervin, your grandmother was my grandfather, Otto Nitschke’s sister. So Otto would have been your uncle. Otto is my mother’s father. Small world. If you want to talk more, you can e-mail me at

  8. A correction to the statement about the church mentioned….it isn’t a “Seventh day Adventist” church but the denomination who meets there are “Church of God, Seventh Day”. Both faiths are similar, yet there are differences but they each worship on Saturday. This church is quite active– too bad there wasn’t a picture of it included.

  9. I just received an email from Gloria about this site and in looking at the pictures of my home town of Alfred that takes me back many years to when we lived there. One of the responses was from someone named Carolyn and she mentioned our family name of Renschler. My father also delivered Gas in Alfred for many years until we moved to Jamestown. I like to make the comment that when our family moved to Jamestown the population in Alfred was cut in half but that was probably not true. At that time there were still people living there although it was not a vibrant town that it once was. I visit the town once a year to place flowers on the graves of relatives and in driving thru the town we meet very few people so if there are 10 there at this time we don’t see them.

    • Small world after all. As I stated in my reply to Gloria (above), I do remember spending time playing with Donnie (I expect his name was really Donald) Renschler. I was only about 4 but we played and wandered freely about the town. I remember getting into trouble with my mom one day as Donnie and I were out and he had to show me a snake in a mud puddle…. got mud on my new coat….. OH MY!

  10. Looks like the 2nd pillar was put up to justify adding the turnsty. Love it. We held 4-H meetings there in the 1990s.

      • Thanks for posting the pictures of our beloved, Alfred. My mother-in-law lived & attended school in Alfred, as a child (when her father pastored our church). Our large family still attends church in this beautiful & peaceful little town which overlooks the lakes. It is a tranquil place of peace w/a hint of paradise!.

        You must have been here before the worship service started because the Church of God (Seventh Day) has an average attendance of about 60+ people [many young families] . Even more attend each fourth Saturday (when we have a fellowship meal and afternoon music program). This past Saturday [fourth Saturday in September, annually] was our yearly, Harvest of Thanks celebration. We had about 200 people in attendance for church. We serve a delicious meal which is followed by numerous talented people who participate in the vibrant musical afternoon program. The evening was a great time of visiting, games, food, a hayride & bonfire.

        I understand that you were trying to capture the “ghost town” image, but it is too bad that you didn’t take any pictures of the nicer homes, the renovated school building and our very nice church with its new fellowship hall. Alfred is far from dead!

        One of the older & beautifully renovated homes has recently been purchased for the purpose of having a Pastoral/Ministry Leadership Retreat Center, called Still Waters Prairie Retreat. It, in conjunction with the school house, will also be available for weddings, family reunions, retreats, etc… We have exciting plans for the future of Still Waters Prairie Retreat.

        I invite some of you that used to live in or near Alfred to come back to see the town now. Alfred may be small and somewhat isolated from the stresses of the world, but that is what makes it such a wonderful place to visit and relax!

        • I had 2nd cousins that went to that church. they were David Schlenkers children Gordon , Shirley, Darlene. My grandmother was Idas sister.

  11. I am fairly new to Alfred. I moved here 13 yrs ago from St. Paul, Mn. I live in the old post office. We have the official Alfred Zoo.

    • My grandfather was Milo Doolittle, he ran the post office and general store I think in the early ’30s. He passed away in 33, I have some photos from that era in black & white.

    • Lucille, I grew up in Gackle and went to school with the Metz’s which live just north of Alfred. My father said we had relatives that lived near Alfred, not sure of the names but was a cousin to my grandpa Alvin Henne. The Metz family ownes land south of Alfred with an old abandoned house they called it the Henne House and I played around that house as a kid.Brings back memories.

      • I met Bernett Henne in 1952. Played guitar with him many times! Met his sister Vivian Kraemer in 2001. She has since passed away. She was a wonderful person.

  12. The town of Alfred does not belong to the Church of God, 7th Day. I have nothing against the church, but they don’t make the rules that I choose to live by. Live and let live

  13. I met a very nice girl from there, L. Podahl (spelling?). Dated a few times then lost touch during my days in Vietnam. One of the nicest girls you could ever meet. Was down in the area just yesterday hunting and saw the sign on Hwy46 but was in too much of a hurry to drive through. After finding this site, I wish I would have.

    • I think your talking about my cousin linda podoll her dad name was Harold her sister name was connie . and yes she was a very nice person im sorry to say but she passed away almost 3 years ago her sister is still in the area.

      • So sorry to hear that. She was quite special and very fun to be around. Our band was playing in Streeter one night and she wanted to break up with her then boyfriend. She ask if I would pretend to be her date for the night and ended up dating for a short time before I had to leave for Nam. I remember selling my car to one of her friends from Streeter before I left for Nam.

  14. Her name was Linda. She told me that she had a sister. Maybe her name was Mary.

    • Was she HArolds daughter, or Blackies daughter? Harold was a farmer and Blackie had a bar, I think.

      • Linda was Harold,s daughter. She was my cousin. I haven’t keep up with Alfred much but sure injoyed the pictures. my grandparents were the janitors at the Alfred school for many years. we drove through Alfred 2years ago. we just might go there this summer.

  15. My Father who is now 97 hauled grain to this elevator using a team of horses. Cant wait to show him these pictures and hear his comments.

    • Jerry what was your fathers name. there was a Suko in Alfred but I don’t remember what his first name was. they lived across the street from the 2 churches on the hill.

  16. Was her dad Blacky or Harold? I think Blacky had a bar there back in the early 1950’s.

    • Not too sure. She lived, or at least stayed in town. I believe her mother worked for a butcher shop but not real sure.

    • Her dad was Harold. They lived in Alfred, and then later, north of Jud on a farm. Her sister is Connie. I believe she’s married to a Suko and living in the area. They also had an older brother, Dwight.

      • I visited them once on their farm. Her mom was Anetta. Were there only 3 kids in that family? For some reason I thought there were 4.

  17. I have great memories of visiting my grandparents, Fred and Bertha Lehr, in Alfred. They lived in a neat little house that is still occupied today, at least it was about 4 years ago. Every summer I would spend a week or more with them and rode the tractor with him to the pasture on the outskirts of town where he kept a few head of cattle. He supplied milk and eggs to the grocery store, which was run by Ed and Martha Brenneise. As I recall, they had a freight elevator in the store. I also walked ‘downtown’ with him everyday to get the mail from Mrs. Donovon at the Post Office. On Sundays we went to the Baptist Church. I had cousins who lived out in the country, but eventually they moved to Jamestown, Fargo and Lodi. It was a neat little town, very friendly and clean. I hope it doesn’t completely disappear.

  18. Lost of great memories growing up in Alfred in the 1950-1960’s. Lots of kids in those days to babysit. I remember we would keep score for about a week, and play softball until it was dark and then everyone walked or rode their bikes home. My mom still lives in Alfred. My dad, Joe or Burnett, who past away several years ago, delivered gas and oil to the local farmers and ranchers and managed The North Dakota Oil Company, previously Skelly Oil Company for many years. He was actually born in Alfred, his dad was Gust Lang who had a general store on main street many years prior.

    • Hello, Nona–I’m one of the kids who lived in Alfred in the 50s Really missed it when we moved to Oklahoma. Went through Alfred in summer of 2014. Wish I had stopped to visit your mom, but I figured she wouldn’t know who I was.

  19. While driving back from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, my wife and I purposely took a side trip to visit Alfred, ND where my dad, C. Francis Clark (Stub) lived from his birth in 1907 until the family moved to Benedict, MN some time in the early to mid 1920s. On August 14th, 2014 we drove around town, taking some photos and looking for someone to talk to. We were fortunate to see a woman on her front step. I asked her if I might speak to her. After a few words of explanation why we were there, she sat down on a bench by the door. We then had a short but delightful visit. She told us where,in town, Mary Klundt and her mother had lived and what happened to the old school. We had just met Dorothy Lang. What a friendly and kind woman!

  20. My mother is fixing up an old house here, so I get to live here! My mother owns that pink garage and my grandmother (Lucille Gould) owns the property with the “Chicken Xing” sign! We have horses, ponies, ducks, and chickens. We are the Alfred zoo haha. I don’t see a lot of people here other than on Saturdays. I enjoy spending my time out here by riding horse or 4-wheeler in the Summer, and I hook up my husky-german shepard to a sled in the Winter! It’s a nice little town. It even has a geocasche! I recommend coming here, it’s very quiet and peaceful.

    • Thanks to my family, Alfred has become a very diverse place to live. Diversity is good. That’s the real American way.

  21. My uncle, Frank Boldt and his wife, Emma were some of the first settlers in Alfred , coming there in about 1905. Uncle Frank was manager of one of the grain elevators in Alfred ( the one that looked like 4 grain tanks. My father ran a small meat market in Alfred in about 1917. Living in Jamestown during the 30’s and 40’s, our family made many trips down there to visit, It was quite a town with two elevators, a bar, grocery store; bank etc .There were some very nice homes that were later moved to Edgley or Jamestown. I remember hunting pheasants and ducks near Alfred many times.


  22. Actually, Lucille, The Great Melting Pot was the real American way. Multiculturalism and Diversity not so much. In practice those have shown to tend towards Balkanization.

    When our family lived in La Moure in the 1953-55 period, my Dad and his hunting buddies there often went to a duck slough in the Alfred-Jud area. As a 4th grader or so I tagged along. I’ve often though about looking for that slough. It was fair sized with lots of reeds along the edges, and a bit of a hill rising up on the north end. The access road, as I remember all these years later, went west towards the slough and ended there.

    We later lived at Berlin a short time, but not positive if he hunted over there that fall of 1955. I tend to think not. Then we moved to Jessie, NW of Jamestown. Dad was a Depot Agent for the NP.

  23. Gail, are you the daughter of Alvina Henne Fouts? I am an old friend of your uncle Bernett. Played guitar with him and the Holweg boys back in the early ’50’s

    • Yes, I am Alvina’s daughter. She died in 2014. Uncle Bernett died in February, 2016. His ashes were scattered in the desert he loved in Arizona. Where are you now?

      • I am in MN year round now, but used to winter in Mesa, AZ and tried to get to Bernetts at least once a year, but the last 2 or 3 years I was there I never got there. I know he died in Feb. I was the one that told the Holwegs about it. Are you in Facebook?

  24. Good Day,

    Does anyone know of the Fidge and/or Flaig families who live in Alfred, North Dakota. John Neil Fidge (son of Nelson Fidge) who served during WWII is noted, but not buried at the Alfred Cemetary. My great grandparents Nels and Salvine Fidge lived in Alfred and raised a family there along with my father’s mother’s side whose last name was Flaig.

    • Also, besides the Fidge and Flaig families, Adam and Hulda Holweg are also my great grandparents and someone earlier asked about the last name of Holweg of which Elsie Holweg became Elsie Flaig (daughter of Adam and Hulda Holweg) who married John Flaig. If anyone has anyone family history on the Fidge, Flaig, and/or Holweg family surnames, the information would be appreciated in which all lived in or around Alfred, North Dakota.

      • I know the Holwegs who moved to Steele. Their mother’s name was Helen. The children Leon, Anetta, Amanda and Everett All are gone now except Everett who lives in Hazelton Helen married Fred (Fritz) Hendrickson after her husband died. There was a Lloyd Flaig who taught my brother to play guitar. I never met him but my brother talked about him a lot. He was quite a picker, I heard.

        • Thanks for the update. Lloyd Flaig is my great Uncle who was my grandmother Deloris Walsh (Fidge-Flaig) who now lives in Jamestown, ND. I believe by great Uncle Flaig passed away after 2010 and of course he was my grandmother’s brother. Awesome!

          • Lloyd Flaig (my great Uncle) was my grandmother Deloris Walsh’s brother. Apologies for the verbiage. Also, from Adam and Hulda (Helen?) Holweg my great great grandparents, I am only aware of Elsie Holweg-Flaig (Great Grandmother) who married John Flaig (Great Grandfather) who are the parents of my grandmother Deloris Walsh (Flaig-Fidge). The other children of Adam and Hulda (Helen?) that I am aware of are Emma Dewey Holweg and Conrad Holweg. I am not aware the other children if of the same Holweg family of Leon, Anetta, Amanda, and Everett? Please advise if all are brothers and sisters? Thanks!

          • It appears that there were 2 Adam Holwegs, probably father and son. I asked Everett and he didn’t know what his grandpa’s name was, but his dad was Adam. That Adam died when Everett was very young. Adam and Helen were the parents of Leon, Anetta, Amanda and Everett in that order. Everett is the only one left and he’s 81 now.

          • I remember the name Lloyd. Did he have a son named David?

          • yes I new of Lloyd flag. If I remember right they had quite a few children. But don’t remember there names.

  25. Hello Ervin, Just ran across this website, I saw you had posted some stuff, and was wondering how you and June were doing. Those were the good old days in Alfred.

    • just saw you had a message . we are doing just fine . good to here from you. I still work part time .

  26. Hi Lucy B. and Ervin D.,

    Lloyd Flaig (my Great Uncle) was married to Ida Flaig, but I do not know who there children are such as if they had a son named David? Ida Flaig is still living as far as I am aware.

    Interesting that there are (2) Adam Holwegs who may have been father and son? The elder Adam Holwey married to Hulda (Helen) Holwey had 3 children that I am aware of named Conrad, Elsie, and Emma. They did not have a son name Adam that I am aware of. Elsie Holweg (Flaig) (My great grandmother) was born in 1901 and Adam Holweg was born in 1870 who is my great grandmother’s father or my great great grandfather from around Alfred, ND. Interesting if there are two Adam Holwegs or if they are one and the same with more children than either of us are aware?

  27. Also, I have other family history with either the last names of Fidge (Fidje), Flaig, Job (Jopp), and Geigner to name a few. If anyone knows any family member with these last names, please advise and I can be contacted at

    • Just found out about the Flaig family there was a ralph Flaig and he had a son named David and he had a sister but don’t know what her name is. will know more tomorrow.

      • Thanks for the update! I look forward to any family details.

  28. Dennis I remember who your parents are from when lived in North Dakota. I remember when I went to grade school Otto was the Santa Clause at the school Christmas party. Me and Emmett worked at the lumber yard for 2 years before I went to Mn.

  29. Lloyd Flaig’s oldest daughter was Gail, and then they had Shelby, John, Joe, and Trudy. Our farm was sort of in the middle of the triangle formed by Jud, Gackle, and Alfred, so I had friends in all three.

  30. Thanks for the update Dale and glad that a memory of who lived there still exists in the area thru existing residents and those that lived in the area.

      • Yes my dad had A garage and helped John Henne build A rock picker there. I think the rock picker is still there in Alfred. I would like to talk to you if you want to call me sometime My # is 541-405-6869 leave A message so I know its you.

        • Got your message. Yes I remember that rock picker. will call you soon.

  31. Enjoyed the photos of the elevator where I was employed from 1975 to 1976. I also belonged to the Alfred American Legion at that time. I recognize many of the names and have talked to several people mentioned here. Many great memories from my high school days in that area as well.

  32. My father, Orville larson, would go to Memorial Day events in Alfred when I was a child. He was a member of the American legion and they would meet there for Memorial Day. Fond memories of running around that little town with friends.

  33. I don’t know if you still see this, but Linda Podoll was my mother. She was very special indeed, and I just love hearing any stories about her and what she was like growing up. She did pass away, and of course didn’t share too many stories of what she was like when she was younger. If you’d like to share anymore stories of her I’d love to hear them. I still miss her dearly.

  34. My grandparents Gottfried and Pauline Wegner arrived in Alfred in 1909. They had Amelia, Charlotte, Mathilda, Gottfried Jr, Emanuel, Pauline; Theodore, Hulda, Christ, Anna, Arthur, Raymond and Melvin. Arthur is my father. We have a heritage booklet that we put together filled with pictures and great stories. They wrote of coming from Russia and taking a covered wagon to Alfred. My name is Robert Wagner. Last name spelling changed late 40’s. I live in Missouri but still have family near Jamestown.

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