Monango, ND

Monango is a small town in Dickey County, not far from Merricourt.

Monango was founded in 1886 as a Milwaukee Road Railroad settlement, and the post office was established that same year.  According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, Monango peaked in population with 238 residents in 1910.  According to the 2010 Census, Monango has 36 residents today.

Monango is situated right along Highway 281, the most prominent north-south highway between US 83 and I29, but this area of the state is very spartan and quiet.  During our visit to Monango, we saw no fewer than six dogs and two goats, but not a single person.

Someone has turned this old building into a nice residence.

St. Pauls Lutheran Church.

Check out the tree. Monango survived a tornado in 2011.

That spot of dirt on the right is where a very large tree stood until the storm of 2011.

Photos by Troy and Rat, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

121 Comments on “Monango, ND

  1. Your coming up with names of towns I have never heard of before! What was the big white building?

    • it is the community Center….still used to this day….they just had their 125th and that building was hopping

    • It was the school gym for many years, I remember watching my cousins play ball in there before the school closed for good.

      • that was the gymnasium..ican’t believe they pulled down the high school. i left there in 1975 and it was still a thriving town.. wow.

  2. Big white building:

    Based on what I’ve seen in other abandoned towns, it was probably an all-purpose type of building that housed a basketball arena, an opera house, and a theater.

  3. The big white building housed auction sales periodically (at least up until a few years ago). It looks like it may have also been the school gym. There were school trophies and such on display here and there in the buidling.

  4. My mom taught at the school there…the big white building was their gym where she taught the girls basketball team..saw many games played..:D There use to be an underground tunnel that went from the school to gym.

    • oh yeah~! the underground tunnelto the lunch room!
      Darlene somebody was the cook..
      my mom taught music briefly at the school..

  5. the white buidling is the gymnasium. The high school was attached and has been torn down. I taught there until 1990. Many a basketball game was played in that gym.

  6. I forgot to mention that it was known as Dickey Central and was the combined towns of Fulllerton and Monango

  7. I think the red building is, or was, a bar. There is a business on the other side of 281 (West) from the red building that’s a fertilizer business or something. Someone correct me if I’m wrong on the type of business. You might have found 2-4 people in there. I drove through town last year and didn’t see any people either. I think they had a big celebration last summer like a centenial celebration with a parade. Well… “big” might not have been the right word to describe it.

    • The red building used to be a bar owned by Skinnay Connely and his sister Cora Askew. It was known as Skinnay’s Bar and The Bowery.

    • West of US 81, was the Farmers Coop Filling Station and behind it, was the Milwaukee Deport, where I grew up, as a child, and play around the switch tracks of the local Farmers Coop Grain elevator. There was a Standard Oil Station, on the East side of US 281, owned by Lawrence Baer and behind it, on Main Street was the local Bank. Yes, a that time a bloom town.

  8. Went to HS in Montpelier (class of 68)… miss the small town atmosphere a lot…In the 50’s it seemed that all these small towns had a hussel and bussel to them… full of businesses…local schools and churches…
    Wish that kind of life could come back to these towns.

    • My Dad was the Superintedent of the Montpelier Schools in 66-69. I loved going to Stotts grocery store for a Sunrise Creams Soda and Milkshake candy bar. I miss those days.

  9. The red brick used to be a business and now is a house building is an inspired use. Great idea. The goats are a hoot.

  10. I’ve lived here for almost three years! It’s a great place to live. But nobody to good pictures so it makes it look like a dump..

    • I think is beautiful much history, I remember growing up in appam,ND and it was wonderful.

    • I grew up 5 miles North East of Monango, and went to church in the church pictured. I remember going trick or treating and many church picnics. I went to grade school and it was called Monango publuic school and in 1978 the school so Monango and Fullerton combined into Dickey Central. the Last graduating class I believe was 1984 or 1985.

  11. The big white building was part of the school. It has a gym in it that has been used for auctions and other social gatherings.


      • I will forward your website to the Fiechtners( spelled wrong) I think they have the book and such for the Monango area. I know my family was up in that area to. they had a little farm North of Monango. My aunt actually lived in the red building until a few years ago.

      • call the Ellendale Library if you are still looking for information. They have the monango history books.
        75 1st Ave S, Ellendale, ND 58436
        (701) 349-3852
        Sorry it took me longer to get back to you. Hope this helps. I know I would want information.

    • When I was young I was told a similar story about the fate of the first family who homesteaded on what is now our farm. In a rock pile in the field there are still some artifacts from the home/sod house that once stood near that rock pile. There is the wire frame and wheels of an old baby stroller/bassinet sticking out of the rock pile that you can see from the road. Our farm is approximately 15 miles northeast of Monango and about 10 miles northeast of Fullerton. Could our farm possibly be the place?

    • Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I had a chance to ask my grandma about this and it sounds like the story of the homesteaders on our farm was much earlier than 1913. By that time it had been bought by another family and was part of one of the large bonanza farms of that era. Sorry to disappoint you. Unfortunately stories like your family’s were an all too common reality for homesteaders out here.

      • Thanks for letting me know this. If you come across anything about mine would you please let me know. I live in Mn . and it is just by using computer I am  trying to find out things. Thanks again, and GOD BLESS. Gloria


  13. My Grandmother spent part of her youth in Monango. I think through her first year of high school. All my life I have heard stories of the town although I’ve never been there. Her Grandparents had a restaurant in town and also a hotel there for a short time. Her mother played the piano or organ for the movie theater in town. One of the most amazing stories that still floors me when I hear it is how the KKK burned a cross in front of their house because they were Catholic. She said there were men outside with white sheets over their heads. Luckily we have quite a bit of this information written down as sadly my Grandmother passed away in the fall of 2011 just 6 weeks shy of her 99th birthday. Would be pretty neat if anyone had any corresponding stories. some of the names she has written here are Thorn, McDonald and Magoffin. My family names there were Moe and Wyckoff.

    • My grandparents farmed there, leaving around 1950. They were Richie and Anna Newton. I knew quite a lot about the Magiffins.
      I would love to know more stories.

  14. My dad, his brothers and sisters all grew up on a farm 10 miles from Monango. The white building was the school gym built in the 1930’s. In 1986 we went back for the town’s centennial. The high school was still standing then, and I think that was the last graduating class. The school consisted of grade school on the lower floor, and high school on the upper floor. My dad and his sister rode to school in a horse drawn buggy or in the winter on a sleigh. When it was really bad, he would stay in town and board at a local family’s home. There were 9 in his graduating class, I believe the year was 1937.

    • So visiting today with my almost 94 year old dad, and asking him for memories. The white gym building was constructed after he graduated in 1937. The school gym was in the basement of the high school. There were girls and boys basketball teams. The high school had a library. In the 1930’s, there were 2 grocery stores, McLaughlin’s and O’Neills, and a pool hall in the town. Dad says you could purchase an ice cream cone in the pool hall. I will try to add more memories as he tells me. He is in a nursing home, but still quite sharp.

  15. I was wrong on the name of the grocery calling it McLaughlin’s as it actually is Magoffin as Cari Guy inquired about. There is a good picture of the store on the NDSU Institute for Regional Studies.

    • I looked for that picture and didn’t see it. Can you be more specific?

      • Also, what was your father’s name? He must be about the same as my mother would be if she were living.

  16. My dad did his vicarage at St. Paul’s in ’72. Victor Meyr. I don’t know if the Missouri Synod office in St. Louis does anything with records when churches close or not but it might be worth checking. I remember it being a great place for a kid. I believe the white building was a small store when we were there. Might have had a soda fountain. Mrs. Buck was my teacher. In winter there was a big frozen puddle in the playground across from the school that we’d all slide on. I fell and split my lip but it was so cold I couldn’t feel it. It was a big deal to get to hold the big wooden school doors open when everyone else lined up to go in and I happened to be a door holder that day so I stood there with my bloody split lip while everyone filed past me and nobody said anything. Finally, Debby Feichner (spelling?), on whom I had a giant crush, looked up and me and said. “What happened to your lip?”. Not the best impression I could have made, I suppose.

    We kids would go out to their farm to play now and again. Her brother’s name was Jerome. I’ll never forget the time they were butchering chickens. It was a whole assembly line with various friends and family chopping and defeathering and gutting and so on. One of the younger girls was just reaching in and pulling out the innards. Quite a sight. When we got home, my mom had made Chicken Pot Pie which nobody could stomach. Took a while before we could eat chicken again.

      • Angie
        I graduated from Monango in 1973, so you know who was in charge, so to speak, of the last class reunion there, seems like it was within last 10-15 years maybe? also where did wayne fiechtner end up?

  17. we grew up on a farm west and south of MOnango. my brothers graduated from there in 71 and 73. there was a reunion a couple of years ago for my class of 78 but i wasn’t able to get intouch of anyone.
    the 2 story building at the end was the bar.. i remember the mend playing pinochle inthe back and us school kids in the front waiting…
    it still had life in 1975 when i left.i am totally grateful for these pictures!
    miscliz on Facebook

  18. My grandparents, Hugh Helferty and Margaret Coulter, began their married life in Monango in 1905. My dad, John Kenneth Helferty, was born August 11, 1906 in the hospital in Aberdeen, and spent his early growing years in Monango. Hugh, his father, died in 1911, and Margaret soonafter sold her husband’s livery stable business and enrolled as a student at Valley City State Teachers College – now VCSU. Hugh Helferty’s sister was Fannie, who married Ebenezer Magoffin – co-owner of a general store with Hugh. Fannie died giving birth to her and Eb’s daughter, Fannie, in 1898. Eb remarried, a woman named Amy, and they had a daughter, Lois, born in 1904. I attended Eb and Amy’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1954 – which was held in the old school gym – now the community center. I have several good photos of the Helferty house, but am not sure on which corner it was located. If anyone reading this knows the location, please let me know. Thanks, Scott Helferty – Salt Lake City, UT

    • My Grandmother , Mary Moe used to talk about Fannie Magoffin all of the time. I really wish she was still here as she would be able to easily answer these questions for you.

      • Hello Cari, Thanks for your kind post on this site. In several months I will be at the State Archives in Bismark, going through the Monango newspaper – which fortunately covers the years my grandparents lived in Monango. Fannie was one of my closest relatives – 1st cousin once-removed. Her mother, who died when Fannie was born, was my dad’s aunt. Fannie had a fine-tuned gift for conversation, a natural benefit she acquired from living in a time and in places where conversation was a primary diversion and enjoyment shared among gentle folk. She had a genuine interest and curiosity in people and had a memory that was a treasure trove of stories. She took light pleasure in peoples’ foibles without being gossipy or rude. She regarded all people, whether sophisticated or modest in background, in the same way – appreciating that every person had a story worth hearing. People seemed to sense that quality in her. She enjoyed a wide circle of friends – all of whom knew that her respect and affection was real. You could tell that people felt that quality of acceptance when in her presence. What a treat it was to have her in our circle of relatives. Over and out, Scott Helferty

        • Hi Scott – I took the time to show my mother some of what you have written here. We had a good conversation about Fannie and my great, great aunts Jessie and Dodie Wyckoff and my Great Grandmother Vivian Wyckoff Moe. Jessie and Dodie were also school teachers and taught in Fargo and Okinowa, Japan among other places. You spoke of attending Eb and Amy’s 50th Wedding anniversary back in 1952 and I am sure they were all there as well as my mother and Grandmother. My mother and I are going to make a quick trek down to Monango this weekend so she can show me the cemetary where my Great-great Grandparents James and Katherine Wyckoff are buried along with my Great Grandfather Arthur Moe. I have heard so many stories about the area and am excited at the prospect. Good luck with your research when you come this way in October. My mother has several photos of Monango scanned in to her computer that if you are interested she would be willing to share. I can have her email you if you would like.

          • Hello Cari, Many thanks for you recent post. I remember well hearing my Grandmother Margaret speaking fondly of Jessie Wyckoff. Margaret stayed in contact with Monango and Valley City friends for decades. I am looking forward to stopping in Oakes at the Dickey County Historical Museum to look through the History of Monango volume issued in 1986 for the town’s centennial observance. I am also visiting the cemetery just west of town to look at the Magoffin grave sites. I am double-checking to verify that Fannie’s ashes were in fact scattered on the family site in 1990. I was doing reserve duty as a chaplain at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD when Fan’s funeral was held at Gethsemane Cathedral in Fargo, so I sat in the Academy Chapel at the hour the service was being held – until the state trumpets blasted off from the organ and I levitated out of my seat from my seated silence as the organist began a fanfare during his practice. It was a nice thought to be there in silence anyway – but silence was not to be had. I have not figured out yet how to locate the exact corner on which the Helferty house stood. My grandparents and young dad lived there before telephones – until 1911, so looking in an old telephone book is not an option. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks again, Scott

        • I knew Fan Magoffin very well. She was very close to my family in Fargo.
          I remember the name Helferty from conversations.

      • My grandmother or mother must have known yours. My grandparents were Richie (Richard/R.G.) and Anna Newton. My mother was Bette (pronounced like Betty) Newton.

        • My Mom was Gwyneth Luther, sister to Blanche Raveling and Eddie Luther. My grandparents were Frank and Josie Luther. Josie and Amy Magoffin were sisters. They lived in Monango most of their lives and are buried in the Monango cemetery. Josie was postmistress of Monango at one time. My mom was great friends with her cousins Fannie and Lois. She also talked about Bim Newton, a relative of yours?

          • Yes, Bim was my mother’s cousin. I believe I met your mother once, but if not, I heard about her from Bud/Blanche. Your grandparents and the Magoffins were probably my grandparents’ closest friends. When I was little, I made Valentines for “Aunt Jo” and “Aunt Amy. ” My mother was very fond of them.

          • The reply I just made must not have posted. I hope I’m not going to be posting the same thing twice!
            Yes, Bim Newton was my mother’s first cousin.
            My grandparents’ closest friends were your grandparents and the Magoffins. My mother was very fond of them. Did Amy and Jo have a brother with the last name of Streeter?

  19. My great-grandfather was Dr. Herman Gundermann who was hired as a doctor for the City of Monango in 1915. He served the area until his death in 1933. He set up his practice on the second floor of the Magoffin store. When the store burned down in 1916 he lost most of his possessions and had to supplement his income with farming. Dr. G. was born in Germany and spoke fluent German He is buried in the Monango Cemetery and I am trying to locate that on the map.

    Doing a google search I come up with no results. Does anyone know about the cemetery and if there is a different name other than Monango Cemetery?

    Thanks Carol Costello – Hermosa Beach CA

    • I just did a search for a cemetery in/near Monango, and found an answer on a site called Podunk – which listed three apparently outside of town: one called the Finnish Cemetery, another is St. Paul’s Cemetery, and the third is called Peace Cemetery. The symbols indicating the locations were on a pretty general and empty map – but the basic coordinates are shown – so perhaps on a Dickey County map these would be easily identified. Perhaps someone at the courthouse in Ellendale could assist in acquiring a map of the county. Hope this helps. Scott

      • Thank you. I will try contacting the courthouse as suggested.

      • As I recall, St Paul’s Cemetery is 1 mile south and 2 miles west of Monango. I haven’t been there for 9 years, but (after reportedly falling into disrepair for awhile) it was nicely kept at that time. My maternal grandparents homesteaded 3 miles NW of Monango in 1903, and were among the co-founders of St Paul’s Lutheran church. Mom and her 5 siblings all went through school in Monango; most are gone now, but what’s left of the old homestead remains in our extended family. Although we don’t reside in Dickey County anymore, our ties to the area run deep.

    • Dr. Gundermann delivered my aunt on the farm, and came out when the kids were sick. My dad said he always spoke very slowly. Perhaps this was because English was not his first language?

  20. I am planning to drive through Monango sometime around the second week of October, 2013, driving to/from Salt Lake City and the Twin Cities for an annual meeting. I plan to stop at the Dickey County Courthouse and whatever historical museum that might be there, to enquire about the location of the Helferty house in Monango. My grandfather, Hugh Helferty, died in 1911, and his widow, Margaret Coulter Helferty, sold Hugh’s livery stable business, and part ownership of the Magoffin General Store, and left for Valley City with her young son, John Kenneth, my dad, age 5, to attend the Teacher’s College. Eb and Amy Magoffin’s daughters, Louis Mount and Fan Magoffin, were just about my closest relatives, along with some second cousins. Lois went to Chicago in the 1930’s, and Fan taught in several towns in ND, and Tracy, MN, moving to Fargo in 1939. Fan and Lois lived their last years in care facility in Fargo, Lois dying in the mid 1980’s, and Fan in the summer of 1990. One of their cloest friends was Bud Raveling, who lived for many years in Minneapolis; and Fan and Lois visited the Ravelings many times over the years. Mrs. Raveling (Bud) had a “Monango museum”, with a number of family artifacts and photographs, including one large “almost” aerial view that must have been taken from a water tower, showing much of the town. I have a similar photo, perhaps the same one, but not as large – but very clear in detail. Regarding the query about St. Paul’s Church records, perhaps the Missouri Synod district office, wherever that is, would have those materials. And, it is possible that a neighboring Lutheran Church of the same synod would have some of the liturgical items from the Monango congregation.

    • In 1986 a book was put together on the town of Monango, to celebrate the centennial.(440 pags bound) The front page inside has a picture of the townspeople in 1908 included in the photo are Amy Magoffin, Fannie Magoffin and Eb Magoffin . There is also stories of families, of churches and life in general of the “Banner City” throughout the book. There are listed specifically 5 separate cemeteries, 1) Monango Cemetery with a list of about 150 names and the year they were buried there. my g-grandfather H Gunderman was 1933, and of your related names, Emma E Magoffin 1892, Beriah Magoffin was 1924, Manluis Magoffin was 1925, Ebenezer Magoffin was 1953, and Amy Magoffin was 1957. There is also 2) St. Pauls Cemetery including all names and dates of which no names are familiar, 3) Peace Lutheran Cemetery with 28 names, 4) First Congregational Church Cemetery with 37 names and 5) Finnish Lutheran Cemetery with another 20 names. In 1916 when the Magoffin store burned down records of prior year transactions and burials were lost,( the same time my g-grandfather lost all his possessions in that fire, as he rented upstairs of the store.) If you do not have a copy of the book – it is very interesting, Fannie Magoffin has a bio and pic in the book as well. My Mother went to Teacher’s College at Valley City as well in 1929-31, Louise Kenyon, and would visit Dr. Gunderman in Monango on special occasions, and he in turn would visit her when he could.
      My brother and I plan to visit in late September on a drive back from New York to California. We are hoping to find where granddad is buried.

      • We took my dad back for the centennial in 1986. There was a big parade, dinner in the school gym, and a crafts fair. I wonder if I can find the book we received, as I do remember that now that you mention it. I’m going to ask my dad more about his life there. He is currently age 94, class of 1937, as the town celebration was also his 49th high school graduation reunion, all graduates were invited since it was such a tiny school. He got out of PE due to some condition, and walked each school day to the post office to collect the school mail. I remember some stories about the dr. as well, visiting on their farm, delivering his little sister, and treating the family.

        • I do not know whether Fan Magoffin had or saw the centennial book of Monango, publishedin 1986, as she was in a care facility with her sister, Lois Magoffin Mount in Fargo that year. The mention of the death of their father, Eb, dying in 1953 makes me rethink the year of Eb and Amy’s 50th wedding anniversary. I had typed on this site that I thought it was 1954, but we also visited the Midwest in 1952, driving from Boise, Idaho to Fargo and Minneapolis, and stopping in Valley City and Monango on that trip. We had just moved to Boise in February, 1951, and my dad, Joihn Kenneth, was on his way to New York City to become a member of the American College of Surgeons. Mom and Dad took the train to NYC from Minneapolis. My memory of Eb and Amy’s anniversary was that it was held at the school gym and then back at their house, which, to a five-year-old, seemed very old. Eb’s first wife, Fannie Helferty Magoffin, Hugh Helferty’s sister, died in childbirth, or soonafter, when daughter Fannie (Fan) was born in 1898. She is buried next to Hugh Helferty in Picton, Ontario. Lois Magoffin Mount was born in 1904, and so Fan and Lois were half sisters. My grandmother, Margaret Coulter Helferty, married to Hugh from 1905-11, spoke often and fondly of Monango. Several times, I heard her mention to Fan how wonderful it would be if they could move back to Monango. This comment would have been made in the 1960’s, and Fan just howled with laughter – and Fan’s laugh would bring conversations in restaurants to a halt. She always addressed my grandmother as Auint Margaret. Fan attended Jamestown College (I am not sure exactly what it was called when she attended) and taught school in ND for several years before moving to Tracy, MN for a teaching position. It was there my parents, John Kenneth and Iryne Hanson met. Fan suggested my dad’s name to Dr. Walter Valentine in Tracy and Dad was hired as his assistant. So, I credit Fan with my existence. Fan moved to Fargo in 1939 and worked for the IRS until her retirement in the 1970’s. I can tell you that IRS staff had a lot of fun with Fan there, as I would drop in for their coffee breaks when visiting on vacation. The office was in the Pioneer Building in Fargo, and the coffee shop on the first floor had some of the best cinnamon rolls in ND.

    • I believe you and I probably met. I was also at the 50th wedding celebration of the Magoffins. I also knew the Ravelings.

      • Good Morning Nancy – Thank you for your comment – and very nice to hear from you. I would have been five years old at the Magoffin 50th wedding anniversary. We indeed may have met because I had an over-eagerness to meet and talk with everybody at that age. Folks back then enjoyed nothing more than conversation and just being with each other – and that is my primary image of that event. I continued an active contact/relationship/friendship with the Magoffin daughtes – Fannie and Lois – until their deaths – and their enjoyment of people was hugely evident. Bud Raveling had a “Monango Museum” in her house in Minneapolis – with many photos of people and the town. I always wondered what happened to all of that collection…….

        • Hello Scott,
          Thanks for your message this morning. My mother was Bette Newton Cowles. She was younger than Fan by quite a bit, but they enjoyed a great friendship, both having grown up in or near Monango. We saw Fan frequently when my family lived in Fargo, less so when we moved to the Twin Cities. That is when I got to know Doc and Bud. Do you happen to know the address of their Minneapolis house? I was there a couple of times.

          I do remember hearing Fan talk about Scott, but I never knew who he was until now. I also knew Lois Mount a little. Our family had a time or two at the Battle Lake cabin.

          My grandmother, Anna Newton, was a prodigious scrap booker, so I have a box of her scrapbooks, filled with clippings from the Dickey County Leader. I have read, copied, and sorted them, and now I’m not exactly sure what to do with them! At any rate, there are many mentions of the Magoffins. They and the Luthers were my grandparents’ closest friends, I believe. When I was very young, I made valentines for “Aunt Amy” and “Aunt Jo.”

          I, too, would like pictures of Monango. I am new to this site, so I don’t know if there is a way of sharing pictures.

          Nancy Cowles Colby

          • Hello Nancy, Indeed, Fan Magoffin mentioned your mother many times – with fond affection and respect. I looked in my deceased mother’s old address book to see if the Raveling house in Mpls was listed, but it was not. I remember that it was off the Minnehaha/Hiawatha Aves corridor in south Mpls. If you call a librarian at a branch library in that part of the city, he/she could look in one of the Polk city directories for Mpls from the ’60’s-70’s – and the Raveling address would be there. And, in reference to all the materials you have collected and been given, the Dickey County Historical Museum/Society in Oakes is a place where they would be gratefully received, cataloged, and stored. The museum is closed in the winter months, so now is a good time to make contact there. Oakes is a thriving little community, and the museum seems to have a good base of volunteers. I certainly found them cordial and welcoming when I visited there last year. I hope this helps. And, good to hear from you. Scott

          • The Ravelings address in Minneapolis was 3555 27th Ave. South, I remember it well because my brother lived there when he went to the University. At that time we wrote letters to stay in touch! I think their house has been torn down.

          • Hello Lee – Thanks for the Raveling address. I just Google Earth’d it and the house appears still to be there – a one and a half storey house on the northeast corner of 27th Ave. S and 36th St.

  21. A remark about the Monango cemetery of which someone ask a question. Tne cemetery is located just west of Moango.

    • Corrine
      greetings, wondering if you are related to Coach Haussler? I went to high school there from ’69-’73 and he was our history teacher and coach. also what happened to Chuck, Jim, David Haussler?
      also, do you know who organized the last class reunion?

  22. My Grandfather, Sylvester Radermacher, who died when I was just a toddler (I have no real memories of him), farmed and operated a Dairy not too far north of here after coming from the Melrose, Minnesota area in the first half of the 20th century. My parents, David and Sandy (Ziegler) Radermacher, still live at the farm in the house my Grandmother Marie resided in until her death a few years ago, the house she raised my father and his 13 siblings in.

    Starting out, my parents had a trailer house inside town. My only brother, 3.5 years my senior, was nearly killed as a child when a wheel came off of a semi and through the wall of the trailer house, stopping just short of his crib/bed.

    I still remember Sunday School at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and one walk through the school before it was torn down when I couldn’t have been older than four or five. Never forget who you are and where you came from…

    God’s blessings to everyone!

    • Hey Jon
      thanks for your comments, I went to Monango High school from 1969-1973, and I remember Radermacher kids in my grade, but can’t remember names, could you say who of the 13 might have been in high school at that time? I went thru Monango yesterday, 3-25-20, it looks a bit forlorn these days unfortunately.

  23. My dad graduated high school from Monango and we used to live on farm near the town. The white one story building with the white pickup outside of it used to be a bar and café. I spent a lot of time hanging out in there and playing with the pool tables when I was a kid (late 80’s/early 90’s). Someone has turned the building into their house now. If I remember right across the street used to be a bank. The large white building was the school gymnasium and it is still used for various functions today. I spent many hours playing in the city park as a child.

  24. There is a really cool house (or at least there was 10 years ago when I was last visiting Monango), at the SW (I believe) corner about a block away from the school and downtown area. It has a turret, and I think 10 years ago was painted yellow. My dad would stay there and board with the family for a few months in the harshest part of winter in order to attend high school. His parents’ farm was 10 miles out of Monango. My dad isn’t too impressed with the turret, calling it a “silo”. I’ll find out the name of the family who lived there during the 1930’s.

  25. in monango there is 26 people living here. I am 1 of them. there is 5 goats, 5 chickens and at I time 1 cow.

  26. I Just HAVE to tell ya’ll about Monango … some of these posts r untrue , and THis town IS NOT a gost town! this town , MONANGO , is a VERY BEAUTIFUL PLACE!! There r a few familys living here and my Family is 1ne of the few… ALL the pics posted here r the ugly 1nes … they left out all the beauty of this town… I am writing this here in Monango RIGHT NOW!! so there u have it .. THE TRUTH!!! whoever created this blog doesn’t know what they r talking about~!!!!!!!!

    • Uh, that is unkind to state that the creators of this site don’t know what they are talking about. I appreciate all that they do. Perhaps instead of ranting in broken English, you could add some of the beautiful pictures? I am sure all of us would love to learn more about Monango today. You sound young, are you a student? Where do you go to school now that the school is now longer in town? I know I would love to learn more about present Monango, please do share, (and please do use spell check, and fewer exclamation points!) Thanks!

      • Fairly common occurrence around here these days, Carol. There’s always a contingent of people who hear something about this site — like that we photograph ghost towns — then come look at the photos and comment without actually reading anything that’s written here. I’m not even sure what we supposedly wrote that she’s refuting… nobody said it wasn’t beautiful and nobody said that nobody lives there. All we said was we didn’t SEE anybody. We even gave updated population figures for pete’s sake.

        • Sorry to hear that, Troy. Just know that I really appreciate your work, as I am sure hundreds of others do, and my 94 year old dad, who was raised in Monango, was very pleased to get your book as a Father’s Day present. Thanks!

  27. that building used to be the school gym my dad went to school there I currently live in Ellendale and my grandfather went to church in fact baptized in st. pauls

    • Oh my dad went to Ellendale Normal and Industrial, which later became a branch of the University of North Dakota, and is now Trinity Bible College. When did your parents and grandparents live in Monango?

  28. My Grandparents were Claire and Katherine Johnson. They gave birth to my mom, Loretta Ann Johnson back in August of 1932. Unfortunatetly she passed at a young age of 81 on January 25th 2014. She was born and raised in Monango, ND. Then the folks moved to Oakes, ND. My mom nicknamed me on account of the police series of the 60’s called, Hawaii 5-0. Dano(Bookem Dano). I still go by Dano. I guess I always will. If there is any info you could shed light on about my mom or her parents would be heavenly sent appreciated. Thankyou and God Bless All. Dano:)

  29. My Great-grandma was just born when her parents took her there to help her Uncle (Jim Shippee) get settled. I found a post card my Great-great Grandma sent home to her mother Harriet Woodhams in Michigan:
    Friday 12 1886 November.
    We are well. I have been quite busy and can’t write much this time.
    Jim is home and has got the sellar dug. We are having good weather.
    It is 11 and 12 above zero but it does not feel cold. Jim will go to Ellendale tomorrow.
    The name of the new town is Monango. I see the bears go past and hear them miles
    away when the weather is good. The sellar is about 7 feet deep and got a big flat
    stone in the bottom. Covers some of it. It is nice. Well I shall send another card soon,
    Laura Gregory

  30. My mother’s family lived in Monango. Their names are Frank and Josephine Luther, their children are Blanche, Geyneth (my Mom) and Edward. Gwyneth was born in 1910 and graduated from high school there along with two other people. Josephine was Amy McGoffins sister who was Eb’s second wife. Frank and Josie had a house on the corner that is now gone. Josephine was the postmistress in Monango and Frank worked for Eb in his store. We were in Monango and Ellendale yesterday visiting graves. Frank and Josephine are buried in the Monango cemetery. My Mom died in 2005 and is buried in the Ellendale cemetery by my Dad, E.F. Crandall. Edward is also buried in the Ellendale cemetery. Blanche is also deceased and is buried in Minneapolis.

    • Hello Lee, Fan Magoffin was my dad’s first cousin. Her mother, Fannie Helferty, my dad’s aunt, died when Fannie M was born in 1898. During the 50’s and 60’s, I would accompany Fan and her half-sister, Lois Magoffin Mount – Eb and Amy’s daughter – to visit Bud Luther Raveling in Minneapolis. Bud lived in south Minneapolis, near Minnehaha and Hiawatha Avenues. Upstairs in her house was a display of Monango and ND memorabilia which Bud referred to as her Monango museum. I have wondered where all that material went, and hope it landed in a museum somewhere. Bud was always a warm and welcoming hostess. When Fan, Lois and Bud started telling stories about their early years, the conversation got so energized with laughter and fun that you would have thought that Monango was the epicenter of the universe. Maybe it is.

  31. My parents, Sam and Alvina Otterstetter lived on a farm about three miles west of Monango during 1952 when I was born. The farm no longer exists. I do remember when I was knee high to a grasshopper being in the bar with my dad. I remember there being some kind of fancy design in the floor near the entrance of the bar.

  32. I lived in Monango for a few years in about 1993 or so. I hated it at the time. There weren’t any kids my age or my brothers age in the town. The closest was the Schlossers and Petersons across the highway and a mile or more down the road. And all of our friends were in Ellendale where we went to school. I used to play in the big tree that was in front of the high school gym. I remember one time, they had done something in the gym and my brother and I went in there. The basement was flooded but it still smelled like gym socks 🙂 Or there was a small park across from our house that had an open sided pole barn type of building. I would roller skate in there for hours. My first “job” was helping my mom serve meals to the senior citizens inside the bar. I remember the day that Curt Cobain (the singer) died, the house on the south east corner of 281 burst into flames and our house shook. Rumor was that he had explosives inside. I remember joking that highway 281 ran straight thru Monango and Ellendale, but the speed dropped to 55 and 25 respectively for both times. It was as if time slowed down there. At that age, I thought that it was a bad thing. Nothing truly exciting ever happened. Now I would love to have at least a summer like that for my kids. Time slowed down, but it didn’t stop. We were able to slow down and take time to make the most of life, rather than run from one place to the other.

    • I drove through Monango early in October (2014) and stopped to see the cemetery just west of town and the city park in town. Both are well maintained. I wanted to commend whoever is responsible for the care and maintenance of these areas. It is good to see public pride expressed in this way – showing respect for the dead and providing a welcoming green and shady place for those of us who are still living. Many thanks. Scott Helferty

  33. I was with my mother Mary (Moe) Bergman for 6 weeks before she passed away. In that time, as her mind was very sharp, we decided to write down all the people and where they lived in Monango. My mother was just shy of her 99th birthday when she passed away in 2011. I’m Cari Guy’s uncle. Cari has posted some comments prior to this. If anyone would like to know the layout of homes and who lived in those homes, along with some comments of the people there, please let me know. The history of these towns should not be forgotten.

    • Hello Bob, Good thoughts for you in this time of loss and reflection. This e mail is being written to you, as well as any others who may have records of who lived where in Monango. My grandfather, Hugh Helferty, died in 1911, leaving a widow, my grandmother, Margaret Jane, and a son, my dad, John Kenneth. Grandmother Margaret sold Hugh’s livery stable business, and moved with Kenneth to Valley City. I have a photo of the house where they lived in Monango, a picture taken in the early 1950’s – from the vintage of the car parked in front. This past October, I stopped at the court house in Ellendale to inquire about property/owner locations in Monango; but there were apparently no records from the time my grandparents lived in Monango. So, do you or anyone reading this inquiry have any information where the Hugh Helferty house might have been located? For some reason I have a faint recollection of that it might have been located on the southwest corner of 2nd and 2nd. I would appreciate any information that might help me know the location. Many thanks, Scott Helferty

      • Hi Scott, So nice to hear from you!! I’d be glad to provide all the information I wrote down with my mother telling me where the houses were and who lived in them! I am retired and wintering in Mesa AZ, with all the information I need at our lake cabin in Minnesota!!! We go back around the middle of May. I made a map to show locations of the homes and businesses and the people involved. Your last name sure sounds familiar as one that I wrote down. I’ll stay in touch with you when we get back to the lake. Thanks for the inquiry and will be fun to relay the information. Bob

        • Hello Bob, Thanks for your very prompt reply. My grandfather Hugh was a partner with Eb Magoffin at their general store. Apparently Hugh sold his portion of the ownership to Eb around 1906, when my dad was born, and bought a livery stable. When Hugh died, Margaret had seen autos drive by/through Monango and no doubt felt her inheritance was not a business of the future. She lived in Valley City from 1911-28 and in Fargo from 1929-65 – these latter years as head of the English Department at Fargo Central High School. She lived her final years in Boise, Idaho, to be near my dad and mother. However, she would have preferred to live in Monago during the last chapter of her life. She remained in contact with a number of Monango friends, many of whom had moved elsewhere. Every January she would spend most of the month with friends in Pasadena, CA and would attend the North Dakota picnic, where she reconnected with old acquaintances, friends, and former students. And, I have retired in Salt Lake City – as I am a train traveler – and am able to take Amtrak from here for leisurely trips around the U.S. Over and out, Scott

    • I’m also very interested in the information regarding homes and lives in early Monago. I was just visiting my dad today (he is 95) and he said he remembered so many things about his life on the farm. It was 10 miles out from Monago, and he graduated Monago high school in 1937. He is part of the Olson family, siblings Harry, Ernie, Elsie and Lorraine.

    • Rob and Lucy Hafey lived across the street from the school in a wonderful four square and their garden was across from the gym. They were in town, yet early on I remember there being a cow, a couple of pigs and chickens. They had for children, Marjorie, Helen, Robert(Bob), Tom.

  34. My father was born in Monango in 1915. His name was Gordon Greene. His father was John D. Greene who was a pharmacist who ran a drug store in Monango. I have a photo somewhere of the store. His cousin was Dr. Lee B. Greene who practiced in Monango in the early part of the century. John and Lee moved to Edgeley in about 1920 where they both were in practice. Uncle Lee was the commander of the ND National Guard Medical Detachment in Edgeley until his death in 1936. John moved to Sheldon in the late thrities until died in 1954.

    I’ll do some more digging around and send any more information I can find. I will find the photo of the drug store.

  35. I am seeking information about a pool hall in Monango in 1909. I have a photograph of the inside of the building along with postcards addressed to my grandfather who was living in Monango at that time. I believe he was part owner or manager and I’m looking for additional information. Thanks!

    • Marilyn, A little late in answering, but all I know about the pool hall is it’s location. The map my mother and I set up shows the pool hall east of the highway and just west of the tracks. The harness shop was west of the hall and my great grampa’s cafe was just east of it!!

  36. Rosemarie Otterstetter-Allen My grandparents Mr. and Mrs. L.F. Knox’s lived in Monango, North Dakota for some time before they died. My mom Delores Knox also went to school in town, but lived on a farm outside of town for many years.

  37. Hi to all, I’m Bob Bergman and am back home with the map of homes my mother dictated to me in 2011. My mother was born in 1912 in Monango, so her recollection I assume is from about 1920 or so. Scott Helferty was wondering about a home where his grandparents lived. Is it possible that another family bought the house after your grandmother moved to Valley City? I don’t see the name Helferty as one of the owners. I see Hafey and Hagerty, but not your name Scott. If you have any information about your grandparents and if they sold to another family, hopefully that name would appear. Waiting to hear!! I’d be glad to correspond with anyone with questions. Bob

    • Hello Bob, Thanks for your message and information. My grandfather, Hugh Helferty, died in the latter part of 1911 – in September, if I recall correctly. My hunch is that his wife, my grandmother, Margaret Jane Coulter Helferty, sold the Monango house within a year. I do know she received a degree from Valley City State Teachers College in 1915 – because I still have the document. She continued teaching after that, and was also headmistress of the Episcopal Girl’s Hall in Valley City; which was located where the later WPA city auditorium was built – just across the river footbridge on the northeast corner. She worked there until 1928, when she went to the Univeristy of Chicago for graduate studies. After that, she became Head of the English Department at Fargo High School – working there until the early 1950’s – way past the normal/required retirement age. When the principal asked her about her real age she replied that it was none of his business. My dad, John Kenneth Helferty, was just six years old when his father died. He was raised with his mother’s college friends and the girls at the Episcopal Hall. A family friend, Guy Reams, stepped in and functioned as a surrogate dad figure/friend – allowing dad to enjoy life and work on a farm while growing up. Dad always visited Guy in his later years when Guy was living in a retirement home in Eatonville, WA. I do have a photo of the Helferty house in Monango, taken in the late ’40’s or early ’50’s – judging from the car parked adjacent – but I have no further information on the exact location of the house. I did stop by the courthouse in Ellendale and there was no available information on the house there either. I wish I had more to offer here. Over and out, Scott

  38. Great photos. My great-great-grandparents, the Newtons, moved to the area in 1882 and their descendants stayed there until the 1970s, I believe. For those who are looking for information on family, check out my post on Ancestry’s forums ( I have an index of names related to hundreds of old newspaper articles from the early 1900s to the 1950’s). I don’t check this site often, so if you have an inquiry, my email is

  39. My great aunt Maude Oleson was married to Dell B. Piper. and they lived in Monango from 1914 to 1919, He was the owner of the general store and served as Postmaster. Maude continued to live in Monango until 1935, when she moved to Ellendale. She d. in Oakes Hosp. in 1944.

  40. Hi Ed, I saw your comment about your great aunt Maude. I looked on the map my mother dictated to me and found the house where she lived. You probably already know, but it was a block north of main street, and across the street from the power plant that Elmer Dilly apparently ran. Any questions, I’d see if the map would inform us!!!

    • Thank you. I was only 2 when Aunt Maude moved to Ellendale and I have only a faint memory of her. My father Julius Johnson (Nygaard) was the CEO/CFO of the Midland Continental R.R. and we often went to Edgeley – southern end of the line then. (Now defunct). He died in 1953. I do remember passing through Monango several times. My wife is from Ashley, ND. In the ’50’s it had about 1,500 inhabitants. Today around 500 only. I believe Millarton and Nortonville, on the Midland route, have disappeared. My hometown, Jamestown, is actually bigger than when I lived there.

  41. My Dad was Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church from 1942 to 1953. While he was Pastor he changed services from German to English and moved the church to town. We had a very active youth group. I graduated from Monango High School in 1948. I had 4 brothers, Henry, Fritz and Paul (twins) and Don. My wife and i attended the 100th anniversary of the town in 1986. There were about 50 people living there at the time of the celebration. It was a very large celebration including a parade and dinner, etc. Basketball was the most important sport with the girls becoming Class C State Champions in 1945. I left Monango in 1949 but have many fond memories of my time and the people there.

    • Hi Roland, my dad grew up in Monango. He was not there by the time you arrived. He graduated high school in 1937, I believe, and then went on to college in Ellendale, what was then known as Ellendale Normal and Industrial, or N & I. He had a little sister 5 years younger, but even she would still be about 5 or 6 years older than you. They were the Olsons and farmed 10 miles outside Monango. They attended the church on occasion when in town. I didn’t realize the service was in German, as they spoke Norwegian in the home.

      We also took dad, (who will be 97 in two months) to the 100th anniversary. That was quite a celebration. I remember the parade, the big dinner in the school gym, and especially my dad flirting with one little white haired, pink cheeked lady after another. He would go up to one and say, “Mildred, I just want you to know I always thought you were the prettiest girl in school.” After she would preen and blush and gush her thanks, he would head across the field to tell another, “Helen, I just want you to know I always thought you were the prettiest girl in school.”

  42. Photo No. 1. Lutheran Church, I did many of a Christmas shows there as a kid! Always got a bag of candy to go home with.
    Photo No. 2. This was the Post Office at one time, after that left, we used it as a 4H meeting center.
    Photo No. 3. This was the “Beer Joint” owned by a man named Skinea, who used of have big dances and all outside on a deck/ dance floor on the RH side of the building.
    Photo No. 4. Lutheran Church, I was married in that church in 1968.
    Photo No. 5. Main Street, North Side looking North East.
    Photo No. 6. The Church through the trees and flowers, the memories as a kid here are many.
    Photo No. 7. The old 4H building again, when it was the old post office we used to go as First Graders on field trips from the old school to see the baby chicks shipped in to the farmers, as a first grader I was impressed with the totally flattened baby chickens in the bottom of the boxes, we got to hold the baby chicks. (1 block walk).
    Photo No. 8. (Check out the tree photo) I am not sure where the house is, but the garage almost looks like the one on Dad’s house after he moved into town from the farm.
    Photo No. 9. ?? Not sure of this building.
    Photo No. 10. ?? Not sure of this old building.
    Photo No. 11. The old Gym, I got my first Basket Ball point there. (A free throw!) This is the North end of the Gym and to the RH side of the photo used to be an old Merry-go-round, I was a first grader and it was winter and a upper class kid told me to put my tongue on it, he showed me it would not stick (faked it) so I did and it stuck, and just like Flick’s tongue in “A Christmas Story” it stuck, and then the bell rang, everybody ran, and I was stuck, I had to get to class, so I pulled my tong off the metal bar and it tore the skin off my tongue, crying I went into class, and Miss Feichtner ask what happened, I told her Johnny Warhank told me to do it….. (he got his ass paddled by the principal for doing that!!)

    (More Gym Photos)
    Photo No. 12. The old store,(White Pickup) where as a 3rd grader I bought candy bars for .05 cents, being the edimacated country boy I studied the weight of each candy bar and settled on the “Big Time” 1/5 of an oz, the others were 1/3 or 1/4 of an oz, and since 5 was bigger than 3 or 4 I bought it! (Lol)
    Photo No. 13. The blue building is the old car shed from our farm that my sister Patty and her husband moved into town when they lived there, They own and live on the farm we all grew up on.

    I hope some of the memories make you smile, as looking back at these photos brought back smiles for me!
    Dean Zinter

    • My dad, Bennie Olson, graduated from Monango high school in 1937. He had a classmate named Dorothy Zinter that he often speaks of. He was quite find of her and apparently her parents were fond of him as they used to call out, “Here comes our future son in law”. I understand she married a minister. He’ll be 97 in a month and still asks me if I could find out if she’s still living. You must be related in some way. She may have had a sister named Harriet and at least one brother. Would you be able to tell me about her? He just asked again about a week ago. Many thanks, Carol

      • Yes, she is alive and still lives in Fargo area, married for many years, she is my Aunt.

        • I’m so happy you responded! My dad will be thrilled! I wondered if you a were a nephew or great nephew and was trying to figure out by the time frame. You mentioned getting married in ’68. I’m pretty sure we visited Dorothy and her husband when I was little. Would she remember my dad? Would it be possible for you to ask her permission for my dad to contact her? I didn’t know her married last name so had no way to trace her. He asks about her often. My dad and his family lived 10 miles out of Monango on their farm. I believe west. They were actually only 4 miles from Merricourt but had the Monango address. I just want you to know how happy this news will make a very old man. Thank you sincerely.

  43. My Father LeVerne James Wolff had a small farm just west of Monango, ND on the right side. My name is Lisa I had a brother named David. I was just wondering but after my Dad rolled a tractor on himself and we moved away. What happened to our farm? Does anyone know? I’d love a picture of my Dad in the old days maybe driving a tractor or driving his cars racing.

    Please if you knew my dad email me at:

  44. I recently drove through Manango, ND and visit both cemeteries. I am researching and looking for information on any of the Rittmiller’s that would have lived around there in the early 1900’s.

  45. I have no info on the Rittmillers, but they were good friends with my dad’s family, the Ensmingers, who lived in the barn-roofed house on the far edge of town. My grandfather Gottfried built that house and possibly others. I see pictures here of a couple more of similar design, which makes me wonder if he built those, too. My dad, Walt, died last year at 100.

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