Kongsberg, ND

Kongsberg, North Dakota is a tiny near-ghost town in McHenry County, just a few miles east of another near-ghost town, Ruso.  Originally dubbed Olivia, the name changed to Kongsberg in 1916.  The population of Kongsberg never exceeded 50.  Kongsberg’s church celebrated their 100th anniversary on July 1st, 2012.

This was actually the second town in North Dakota named Kongsberg.  The first Kongsberg was near Abercrombie, but their Post Office closed in 1905.

If you know anything about Kongsberg’s present status… number of full-time residents, the nature of the buildings shown etc… please comment below. Thanks to R. David Adams for contributing these photos.

The former Kongsberg State Bank

The former Kongsberg State Bank

Kongsberg, ND

Kongsberg, ND

Kongsberg, ND

Kongsberg, ND

Kongsberg, ND

St. John Lutheran Church

St. John Lutheran Church

St. John Lutheran Cemetery

St. John Lutheran Cemetery

43 Comments on “Kongsberg, ND

  1. I grew up two miles west of Kongsberg along the railroad that goes through Kongsberg. I was babtised and confirmed in the church in Kongsberg. That would be the brick building that is boarded up now. Prior to it being a church it was a bank. Next to it was the grocery store. In the late thirties and early forties it was owned by a relative of mine, Henry Raap. Fred Schmidt purchased it and ran it till it closed. Today I tell people it was the original Walmart. Fred sold everything from food to harnesses to drygoods to bolts and nuts and shovels etc. and also gas. It was a gas pump that you pumped by hand the up to 10 gallons and then it was put into the car through a hose as gravity as its source of power. Then the purchaser went in and told Fred how many gallons he pumped and and would pay Fred. People were honest then. Up the hill south of the bank/church there is an old foundation of a school the burned down. My Dad went to school there. Today the church is North of Kongsberg. It is a wooden church that was moved from rural Max. Ironically that was the church my mother was baptised and confirmed in and also the church my parents were married in when it was in Max. The small church in Kongsberg produced three Pastors. My brother Robert Koebernick, my cousin Larry Marschner and Gary Schmidt. I have many fond memories of Kongsberg. I will be interested in more comments from others. I plan to send this site to my relatives and friends. My Grandfather and later father was the treasurer of the church of over 40 years.

    • I grew up in Kief North Dakota and used to hunt the area in the Kongsberg town as a lot of upland game birds but only remember one resident that lived there. I remember the cemetery as mostly three to four family’s buried there. I drove through the area around 10 years ago and didn’t look like anybody lived there anymore.

      • Thanks for doing this. I have recieved many remarks already. Just recently the Pastor for Max, Garrison and Kongsberg retired. He lived in a church own parsonage in Garrison. He wanted to stay in the area and as far as I know the Kongsberg church cleaned up the old parsonage. It had been lived in by some of the Marschners until about 10 years ago. The Pastor will continue to serve Kongsberg. At least that was the plan when I was back there for the 100 church anniversary. I believe Virgil Dinga still lives there. Because you were from Kief I should tell you David Marschner married a girl from Kief. Betty but I do not recall her maiden name. The Marschers are my cousins. More later

  2. Hello.

    I married into a lovely, sweet family in 1986 that has a rich heritage that began in Kongsberg a few generations ago. You can read about Great-great, grandfather Schmidt here:

    If you are further interested I can put you in touch with my mother-in-law whom I believe still owns some of the land in Kongsberg. Thank you for the pictures, I will be sending her a link so that she may view them.

    • Thanks for your post I would love to hear more of this background information. My Grandfather purchased that original farm about 1924. Email me I would like to chat about this history

  3. I have numerous pictures of Kongsberg “back in the day”, and one describes the town’s status very well. The date would be in late 1920’s, showing the original bank building with a flat roof and ornamental brick treatment above the windows. On the right side of the building was a metal-clad lean-to that housed a 32 volt light plant that ran a few hours a day for several customers. The International harvester dealership sign shows very well on the front, and below that was a

  4. US POST OFFICE sign, this on the building immediately north of the bank which later became Henr Raap’s store. While the bank was operating the Post office rented space in a corner of that facility. Nick Krebsbach was the bank owner, and his nephew Rueben was assisting in the IHC dealership, and later became the IH dealer in Velva for many years. While the store operated Sunday sales after church services was probably the most profitable day of the week, even before Sunday sales were legal. I remember seeing a pool table in the rear of the store, but didn’t know what it was at age of 4 or 5. At about the same time I was with my father, Walter, at the Rogers Lumber Co. in east part of town and remember the proprietor saying to Dad “This is my last day here”, and it closed forever. At one time there were 3 elevators operating, one of which burned down the year after it was built. The remaining two were moved together, and about 1957 were moved away, one to Velva, and the other to a site near Carrington.
    At this time there are 4 residents of this un-incorporated village.

    • Thanks Don for that information. I love history and enjoyed reading what you had to share. Would love to have those pictures posted from the past. Terry

    • Don, Nick Krebsbach was my Grand Father who I never met and I had the chance to visit Kongsberg once probably 50 years ago with my dad, Daniel, Nick and Katherine’s only child. I would love to see the pictures you have. I’m working on getting a Krebsbach family tree together and it is daunting! I hope this comment finds you since it’s been over 6 years since your comment.

  5. I was Betty Martin, Gary!! Did not know you were around here!! I live with my family about 1 mile north of Kongsberg. There is nothing left of the town however there are to my knowledge 4 people for sure living there!!! The population grew by 50% this summer when a retired minister moved into the old pasrsonage which had not been lived in for 12 years!!! It was a parsonage and housed the last minister’s family in 1957!! It was bought and lived in by members of our extended family namely my husband David’s family for some years before being vacated some 12 yrs ago. After considerable effort was put into redoing it by church members and others, it was ready for occupancy in the fall of 2012 again. We now have afull time minister and our tiny church seems to have gotten a second wind of sorts. We now have 6 children in Sunday School! The attendence on a typical Sunday can range from 20-30 people.

    • Betty Martin, you used to live south of Kief as I remember 2 girls in the Martin family as you were both younger then me but I still remember. I saw a lot of the people at the reunion at Kief as the best trip for a visit I have ever been on in my life.

    • Just a quick correction to the date! We were the pastor family and we left in 1960. I just found this site and want to read more and contribute some memories. Have a few pictures if I can decide how to get them on.

      • Joanne, if you can scan the photos at 300 dpi or better, you can email them to troy(at symbol)sonictremormedia.com. Thanks!

      • Well it is a small world as I remember your Mother and Dad as well as your sister and remember where you used to live on the farm. So from one farm to another farm but west 20 miles. I don’t remember if I saw you at the Kief reunion as I met a lot of people that I used to know but so many that just can’t remember all but would remember the face. I’m retired now and enjoying most of the time as time for garden, flowers, lawn, and taking breaks when-ever possible even if nobody stops in to visit with. We bought a house with a little over a acre so a lot of room to play around in. We live in the west valley of Yakima, Washington and if ever in the area please call or stop as always welcome. My e-mail address is garyr.karpenko@gmail.com.

    • Terry, you can email your pictures to us, but I don’t want to put the email address in these comments due to spam concerns… contact us through the contact page on the website and I will email you back with the address.

  6. Richard Koebernick was raised on a farm near Parkers Prarie, Minnesota. This is where he met Adele Raap and they were married near Parkers Prarie. Adeles brother Henry at one time ran the store in Kongsberg.

    After a few years of farming in Minnesota he loaded his belongings and cattle on a train bound for North Dakota. He traveled with the cattle. Adele and the family family followed at a later date. xRichard settled on a homestead South of Butte, North Dakota. . I do know that my father, Walter, was born at this site.

    Richard then purchased a farm (the Old Schmidt place as it was commonly known) two miles west of Kongsberg, North Dakota along the Sooland Railroad Tracks. He became a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church and was for many years the treasurer of the church and was a very active member all the years he lived near Kongsberg.

    I understand that he had a thrashing machine and that he trashed grain for many farmers. When my father married Esther Hauf they moved onto the farm and Richard moved to a farm site North of Kongsberg. In 1941, on the west farm site, my grandfather was combining on the hills behind the farm site. He had stopped for lunch and when he got off the the tractor it started to roll and he was run over. It is my understanding that he spent at least 3 months in the hospital in Minot. He then purchased a home in Minot and did carpentry work.

    • Richard ran a threshing outfit for many years, had threshed for my Dad, also Frank Rock, Art Rygh. While threshing for Frank Rock I happened to be with Frank when he went to check with richard on some matter while the crew was winding up the last of his wheat. Sent to pick up something in Velva, and upon return, Richard came trotting up to the car, saying “did you get it?” Frank evidently did not hear him, so Richard repeated the question and Frank said “yes, it’s in the back seat.” The someting turned out to be a case of Schlitz beer !

      • Thanks Don I enjoyed reading that little note about my grandfather and I remember he liked his beer

  7. Thank you for the pictures, very nice site. I was wondering if anyone here has ever heard of my grandma, her name was Florence Buethe (Ronning). She was born in Kongsberg, in about 1920. Any info will be appreciated very much.

    • The Buethe homestead was about 6 miles from where I lived, but I never did see Florence, and was there only one time when the elder Buethe’s lived there with 2 sons, one of whom was Clarence. At that time the 2 sons played with a dance band. Florence had evidently moved away before then. However, i can email two pictures of Henry Buethe to you if you will furnish an email address. As I know it, Clarence lived in Velva in later years and one of his daughters was a friend of my daughter, Mary. So then Henry must have been your great grandfather. I can scan those pictures for you.
      Don Wunderlich

  8. Hi there
    My name is Magne i stumbled up on this site by a coincidence , i`m the leader of a Facebook group called “du veit du er fra Kongsberg når …” This translates into “you know you are from Kongsberg when …”
    I dont know if any of the readers of this site is awear of it but Kongsberg is actually a town in Norway 🙂
    Its a small town by american meassures i guess, we are about 25 thousand citicens now and still growing.
    Kongsberg was founded in 1624 by the king of Denmark (Norway was ruled by Denmark back then ) It was founded due to the rich occurences of silver in the hills around the city. Silver was the main resources for Kongsberg several houndred years until the late 1800 early 1900. The mining industry was still operating until about 1970`s, but in the period from late 1800 early 1900 and until the mines closed down in about 1970 the arms industry “kongsberg armsfactory” took more and more over as the cornerstone factory in Kongsberg.
    This Factory still exist today but is today split up into several companies working with everything from arms to ofshore equipment worldwide.
    As the leader of the Facebook groud i talked about earlier i`m werry curious of course of some of the history around this small place in your area.
    Like who founded this and so on, i would be werry happy for any infornation you could provide me with about the subject. Maybe some of the members on my facebook site even could track down some long lost relatives over in your area 🙂
    I`m looking forward to any replay to this and would gladly tell more about “my” Kongsberg if anyone is intrested
    Kindly regards: Magne Pedersen

    • Hello I am aware of the town named Kongsberg in Norway. I was in Norway about 10 years ago but did not get an opportunity to visit your city.

      I find it interesting that most of the people in the Kongsberg ND area were from Germany and Russia, My educated guess is that maybe the Germans named it after Konigsberg in Germany

      I will respond more soon I must go now for an appointment

      • Hello Terry
        You are probably on to something when you sugest it might have been named after Koningsberg in Germany , When they started up the mining industry in Kongsberg they brought in many Germans beacause they had the best mining eginers at the time. But Koningsberg is probably not the reason Kongsberg got its name, if you translate Kongsberg into English it means “kings hill” witch probably refer to the hillside the danish king stood and overlokked the area where Kongsberg is located before he decided where the city should be located.
        It would be fun tho if Kongsberg in both Norway and North Dakota had a link to each other, but still if thats not the case i`m still inrested in knowing more about this place

    • I have in my possesion a set of Norway coins minted in 1971, at the royal mint, Kongsberg, Norway. These are from the l ore to the 5 kroner, total of 8 coins.. words printed on the plastic case are “coined at den Kongelige Mynt Kongsberg.”
      Don Wunderlich

      • Hi Don
        How cool 🙂 all Norwegian coins is actually made in Kongsberg and has been since 1686 and still is.
        Earlier it was owned by the Norwegian goverment but some years ago it was sold to a Germany company.
        We also got and own coin museum showing alot of the history around the coin making in Kongsberg and lots of coins made there trhoughout the time it has existed. You could find out more about it here. http://www.norsk-bergverksmuseum.no/index.php?pageid=2577&title=Den%20Kongelige%20Mynts%20museum
        Sadly it looks like it isnt any english version of the site but you see the pictures at least 🙂

  9. You may know about the other kongsberg, ND, in Richmond County, Dwight Township (lower 1/4 of township). I know for a fact that the three sections right around the town in the early 1870s were owned by a cousin (H.C.N Myhra) of my relative from Kongsberg Norway Karl Mikkelson) who settled in Dwight 1891. It is reasonable to assume “that” kongsberg was named for the town in Norway.


  10. Hi Rick
    Yes i have heard about that place but i couldnt find much about it when i discovered this place for about two years ago.
    Both the names you menchen is well known last names from Kongsberg, i gone share this information on my facebook sight that cotaines about 7000 of Kongsberg;s cittisens. Who knows maybe it leads to the discovering of a whole new family 🙂

  11. I’m a little late to this conversation, but found this site by searching for the name Henry Raap. I had heard his name from my grandfather, who bought the store that used to stand just north of the church, and also from Don Wunderlich’s articles. My parents were married in the church in 1947 (my father was pastor) and a brother and I were baptized there, I presume. Mom was living with her father in the rooms behind the store 1945-47. She told us that whenever the young new pastor came to the store to buy cigarettes, that she’d be sure to be the one at the counter to wait on him. I stayed with my grandfather a couple of times when I was probably of pre-school age, and was always super-excited when we’d go back to visit. I can tell you just about where everything was in the store and in the living quarters behind, though a few points have started to get fuzzy with time. I hadn’t seen Kongsberg since 1987, but this September I rode my bicycle there from Park Rapids MN, where my parents lived until they both died this year, Dad in May at age 96 and Mom in July at age 91. So far I’ve posted one photo of Kongsberg in my blog at http://www.spokesrider.com/2015/11/12/park-rapids-mn-to-kongsberg-nd-september-2015/, and will probably post a few more there when I post more details of the last day’s ride. I have a nice photo of Kongsberg that Dad took in 1967. I just came across it recently, and will probably post it on my blog when I get to that part. It’s taken from the old school foundation up the hill. I don’t think it would be possible to take such a photo now, due to all the trees.

    • Hi John I was also baptized by your father. I remember times when your family came back to Kongsberg. I have, somewhere, a picture of your parents at the Henry Marshner farm Henry Marsher was married to my aunt, Vera Koebernick’. I knew your grandfather Fred very well. I also tell people that Fred had the original Walmart Store as he had a little of everything in that store. My dad was Walter Koebernick, son of Richard Koebernick.
      Henry Rapp was married to a relative of my grandfathers.

      I now live in Nebraska and am a retired teacher, coach and athletic director.

      Would love to have more contact with you. 402 987 3772

  12. By the way, the 1929 plat map directory for McHenry County has a little ad for the Kongsberg bank, giving the following as officers:

    N.J. Krebsbach, President.
    Henry Raap, Vice President
    Ole M. Olson, Vice President
    Carl Schmidt, Jr., Director

    It says it was capitalized at $15,000.00

    I don’t know which Carl Schmidt that would have been.

  13. Fun stuff! Just randomly came across this page and wondered if anyone knows if the founders had some connection to where I’m at, namely Kongsberg, Norway.

  14. I grew up on a farm near Fargo, ND. My dad, Emerson Harris, had an aunt and two uncles who lived on a farm west of Kongsberg. Their names were Art Estby, Norman Estby, and Vinnie Estby Halvorson. Vinnie’s husband was Annun Halvorson. The Estby’s parents (Ole and Beata) came from Norway in the mid 1800s. Art, Norman, and Vinnie were born in Fargo. I am not sure when they moved to the area around Kongsberg, but I remember going with my family to visit them in the 1950s. They raised sheep on their farm. There were two houses – one for Art and Norman and one for Vinnie and Annun. I do remember going into Kongsberg a couple of times while we were there, but I don’t remember much about it.

    • I grew up on a farm West of Kongsberg I do not remember anyone but those names so I assume they were closer to Ruso. I have many comments on the page with information about Kongsberg

  15. Hi Donald……is this you?- My kind, gentle and patient used-to-be ‘Step Grandfather’?- who’s wife was the lovely Ursula??-
    If you are, then let me give you a smiling warm embrace from Lorelie’s daughter Shannie(Shannon Sattler) and say “THANK YOU” for all your time, caring, patience and most of all your never-ending LOVE+ACCEPTANCE. Thank you.
    Shannon L Sattler

  16. Don Wunderlich passed away in 2020. He was a contributor in “Velva Voice” and wrote about families in Kongsberg, including my father’s family (William Pape family). William Pape, Jr continued to farm in Kongsberg area. My father was youngest son (Paul Pape). William Pape, Sr had about 12 children. William Pape, Sr and his son Jack are both buried in Velva Cemetery. William Pape, Jr. & family moved to Washington, Paul Pape and family to Bay Area in California. Widowed Wilhelmina Pape, daughters Marie and Lila, and Fred Pape all ended up in Los Angeles area. Rolland Loken (Velva) and Edgar Schmidt (Kongsberg and Bismarck) took me on a tour of Kongsberg area and showed me the various farms were Pape family lived and worked.

  17. It looks like this Kongsberg might not have connections to the one in Norway, but there was an earlier Kongsberg in eastern North Dakota that appears to have been started by Norwegians. If you scroll up through the comments, you can find out more about that.

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