Wellsburg, ND

Wellsburg is a small town in Wells County, both of which are named for the Edward P. Wells, a former legislator.  It was founded in 1910 and harbored a population of 150 in 1920.  According to Douglas Wick’s North Dakota Place Names, the population had dropped to 14 by by 1981.  Scenic Dakotas has a Wellsburg gallery too.

These photos were contributed by R. David Adams.  His captions are included below.

Only a few abandoned houses, most were lived in however many lots with no house left at all.

School now a house with a garage. nice!

Classic early turn of the century building in great shape due in part to occasional painting and fixing and TIN! I would have so much fun with this building were it mine!

Photos by R. David Adams
Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

28 Comments on “Wellsburg, ND

  1. Have you ever noticed that garages and or machine shops always seem to last the longest or as the author points out,buildings with tin………interesting,eh?

  2. looks like a nice lil’ town if you really wanted to get away from it all,right?

  3. My grandmother Agnes Lee, grew up on the Hovland farm just on the east side of Wellsburg. The Hovlands donated the land for the church and cemetery. The church has since burned down. My great grandparents, John and Bertha Hovand are buried at the cemetery as are my grandparents, Severt and Agnes Lee.

    • Neat. My great grandmother was Minnie (Hovland) Anderson. Also grew up there and from that clan. Minnie Mitchell was her nick name when young. Apparently she was the only girl in the family who could drive their Mitchell touring car.

      • I remember Minnie. She was my grandmother, Agnes’s, sister. They lived in Maddock, correct? Edwin was Minnies husband?

  4. my great-grandfather, Hans Vorland, had his farmstead just on the other side of the railroad tracks (south side). Hans had a couple of brothers and a sister who had land near him as well. One of the streets in Wellsburg was called Vorland Street. It might be the photo above with the abandoned house in the trees. it’s hard to know exactly what street it is now with no street signs.

  5. Does anyone know of a Christian Johnson who lived in Wellburg in the 1930-1940. He was 81 when he died in 1940. He was from Norway

  6. I found a flat steel wrench that appears to be the type to take off a hub cap and wheel nuts. It is stamped with “Meland Bros Garage Overland and Ford Service Wellsburg No Dak”.
    I have some relatives in North Dakota with the last name of Norman. That was my Grandmother’s madden name. Her first name was Anna, and she had a sister Gina. The family has lost all connections with them. They or their relatives may have lived in the Wellsburg area. Any feedback on this from your readers?
    Could this wrench have been an advertising “give away” from the tin building in your pictures?

    • Hi Roger
      Some 30 years ago I was told by a farm customer of mine (Lyle Meland) that was living in wellsburg at the time that that building was his Dad Fred and Uncles building and that they were a Ford Dealer and a Case farm equipment dealer years back. At that time Lyle owned the building.

      Lyle was a Prince of a guy

      Lyle L. Meland, 84, Wellsburg, ND died Tuesday, May 26, 2009
      His son Fred lives in Harvey and Is farming the land I believe.

      Hope this helps

      • Thanks for the info. I believe it is very important to remember our history and share it with each other and with future generations.

        • Fred and Gilbert Meland married my aunts Mable and Selma Lillemoen.

  7. Roger, In answer to your question on the wrench you found. There were a couple of generations of Melands living in Wellsburg and Lyle passed away just a few years ago. His son Fred who I think may have been named after his Grandfather, who I also knew, still lived in the area the last I heard.

  8. I love the big water hand pump sitting next to the tin garage building.

  9. My great grandmother, Martha Erfjord, died in 1920. Her death certificate says she is buried in Wellsburg. The family was from Manford. I would like to locate her grave. Would you be able to tell me where the cemetery is located and would the graves be marked?

    • Nancy my mom was a Pfiefer, she was born and raised two miles N of wellsburg on farm,I dont know of a cemetery in wellsburg.if you go 2 M N of wellsburg to selz rd trn Left or west go 2 M west ,1 1/2 mile N on 36 Ave Ne if you use google and stay on map setting you will see a green square there,the cemetery on the R or east side of Rd there is like 100 + graves there,I have a great uncle buried there,it is a butifull place with castiron and white marble head stones,the church burned down late 40s early 50s, the town of selz was growing so they rebuilt the new church there and there is a cemetery there,like 3/4 of a mile east of selz, the other green square further west ,now if you click on the earth setting in lower left and zoom in you will be able to see all the graves in both cemeterys.I hope you find the graves you are looking for. Harold M

      • There is a Casper Raymond Pfeifer that has a WWII registration card stating he was born in Wellsburg, Benson Co., ND, May 18, 1920. Have the county boarders since changed?

    • nancy i had talked to my mom since last post there is a cemetery on the east end of wellsburgh on s side of road it may be overgrown with trees.

  10. Born and grew up in Harvey also in Wells County. Mother still has a farm near Heimdahl. Fessenden is also close by. Loved living there in the late forties and early fifties. Real people and real storms.

  11. WOW ! Wellsburg I use to go there as a little girl which was in 1948 to 1950 which I Remember going to my aunt and uncle Conrad and Johanna Heilman who owned the grocery store and implement shop. My mom Mary Wack Volk went to school there in 1929. It was a great little town also were dances in the bar that was there. Heilman’s son Franice’s manage the bar.

    • Mainly grew up in Harvey with best friend Tom Roble whose dad owned the Chevy dealership. Pete Barstad was another good friend. Grandfather worked for the Soo Line and still remember the round house in downtown Harvey. Have to make a visit to see if anything has changed in the almost 50 years since moving to Los Angeles.

  12. Sadly the old elevator is now torn down. I don’t get there often but the landscape just isn’t the same without it.

  13. My grandparents Steen and Aletta Lillemoen lived in Wellsburg and my mom was born here in 1915. She was the youngest of 7 children. Steen was a farmer and owed a store in Wellsburg.

  14. Hi Diane, I was looking through my step-dad’s family history with him today and he told me his grandmother Ida Lillemon Skinnemoen had homesteaded near Wellsburg with her sister. The family later sold the land, but he does remember traveling to Wellsburg to make that sale decades ago. We can see Steen in the family genealogy.. Nice to see family connections. ~Twyla

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