Olga, ND

Olga, North Dakota

This is Olga, North Dakota, a near-ghost town in northern North Dakota — the oldest settlement in Cavalier County having been established in 1882 as St. Pierre.  Olga once had nearly 100 residents but underwent a slow decline over several decades.  Today, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church is the most impressive local landmark.  These shots were captured by Terry in 2006.

Olga, North Dakota

Olga, North Dakota

Olga, North Dakota

Olga, North Dakota

Olga, North Dakota

Olga, North Dakota

Olga, North Dakota

Olga, North Dakota

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

82 Comments on “Olga, ND

    • Wonderful photos…especially the sunflowers.

      Where do live now?

    • Why didn’t you show some of the “alive pictures”
      THERE ARE 22 people living in this “Ghost town”

      • We said it’s a “near-ghost town,” Leo. If you’re offended that we generally post photos of abandoned structures, then this site probably isn’t for you.

      • I appoligize to the author. I missed 99 percent of this site. It is great. Thanks Troy for the work

        • I was born in 1932 on the East end of town. Since retiring I have done family history along with oil painting. Several of my paintings of Olga may be seen on Facebook under the Olga site. It was quite a town in its day over 100 population, in !945 when I was in the 8th grade there were 60+ kids in school and 3 nuns as teachers students came for many miles around. It was a public school taught by Catholic nuns from 1918 until 1947. As of 2015 there are 17 living there. Leo

          • Leo: My grandmother, Zenaide Côté was born and raised in Olga. She married Cleophas ‘Clifford’ Gendreau. She was born in 1885 to the Lazare Côté family — who’s Family Reunion will be held in Lampman, SK this August. I hope to attend — and to visit Olga at that time as well. Any chance you can suggest resources in or around Olga that would hep me with my genealogy pursuit? Ray

          • Responding to Ray Gendreau. Not sure if anyone is still checking this comment thread, but I’m sure we are relatives of some sort. My late grandfather Donald Gendreau moved with his family to Long Beach, CA and there are still quite a few Gendreaus around southern California. I believe his father’s name was Pierre Gendreau. I have an old picture of the family farm (that I’ve been told burned down in the 50s, not sure how accurate that is) in my house in Oregon. I want to go by and visit some day since no one from my generation has. If any Gendreaus or Chaputs want to connect, my email is josephgendreau123@gmail.com. Would be fun to hear from some relatives still around that area.

  1. I grew up near Olga North Dakota, and my family and many generations….grew up in Olga…we went to church in Olga , it is one of the most beautiful Churches, inside, i have many many memories there, and is so sad to see that Olga is nearly a Ghost Town, have many relatives burried in the cemetery behind the church and my father-in-law made the sign ….do you have a book of North Dakota Ghost Towns that Olga would be in?

    thanks for sharing

  2. So nice to see, my home town. Unfortunately the poor old barn has fallen down. So glad you included Olga.

  3. There’s not meany of us left that can say that we live in Olga but I’m proud to be one of them

    • craig are you related to Mark,I used to work with him and his younger brother for Mayo’s also?

    • We used to snowmobile thru Olga in the mid 90’s,there was a lil’ hole in the wall bar that was hit and miss on being open…I also used to work with a Mudgie Kuff (not sure of the spelling,but that is how it sounded )…Also worked with his son in 1970 for Joe Mayo and Son construction…plus his daughter Carole was married at one time to very good friend of mine with Mayo’s,Vernie…Ithink the one house pictured may be their old house,tell me if that is true,anyone..I grew up in Adams ,N.D,,A lil’ town about 40 miles to soth and a bit west of Olga…Mudgie’s brother Bob worked for Mayo in 1965 as my foreman….long time ago

  4. Clif Nelson, it’s not there house. Mudgie Cuffe was my grandpa. The white house was Annie cuffe’s house.

  5. I have a photo of my mom and her three sisters standing in front of what might have been Lister’s or Sisters Boarding House taken about 1940; my grandmother wrote “Caffe” in the margin under a woman standing behind my mom. I found an Anne Caffe then Cuffe on 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses for Olga, ND. Would you be willing to look at the photo and see if you could identify the woman named Caffe or recognize the lovely old house they are in front of? Please send your email address to me. Thank you.



    • I’m sorry I did not see this earlier Bonnie. Annie Cuffe was my great grandmother. I would love to see the photo. I have a page on facebook, Olga North Dakota. You could share the photo on it if you don’t mind.

  6. I visited Olga one time. Back in 1975 on a very hot July day my cousin married Art Brusseau at the big Catholic church in the tiny town with a couple houses and two bars. I remember the day well. I recently saw my cousin at our grandmothers funeral. i reminded her of the names of all five songs that were sung at the really long mass on that HOT day in Olga. 🙂

  7. I grew up in Olga. My dad still lives there. It was the best place to hang out with friends. We use to climb on the church steps and jump off the highest one. We walked throughout the cemetery in the evening and would scare each other. Bike riding, getting treats at the Olga bar, hide and seek, kickball, baseball, volleyball, horseback riding, dances, church celebrations…..we did it all. My parents were married there. I had my first communion, confirmation, wedding, my sons baptism and my moms funeral there. I wish my kids would have experienced Olga like I did. I believe Olga and the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church helped to make me the person I am today. Love my hometown!!!,

  8. I also grew up in Olga with my 4 sisters and brother. I have to agree with my sister Michele on growing up here. Lots of memories with the Beauchamps and Benoits. Would not trade it for anything

    • Hello Mike,
      I have recently been researching your family. I belong to the Brousseau-Brosseau association and we try to connect families to the information we have already, but we are at a roadblock. Would you know where and when Olivier(Levi) Brousseau and Caroline Laporte were married? And we need to know the names of his parents?
      Can you help us.?
      Elemee Royer

      • Hello Elemee,
        I saw your comment above, My Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother were Olivier and Caroline(Laporte) Brousseau. I live at Olga. Please contact me by e-mail artdebbr@utma.com . I have some information to share with you about them.


      • Hello Elemee,

        Saw your comment above. My great grandfather and great grandmother were Olivier and Caroline (Laporte) Brousseau. Please contact me by email artdebbr@utma.com. I have some information to share. Thanks.

        • Why did I call You Mike. ????
          Okay, sent you a note.
          Elemee Royer

  9. Thanks for the photos. My mother grew up in nearby Langdon, and her father was Henri (Henry) Pelletier, who was raised on a farm near Olga (his mother was a Beauchamp). We lived on the East Coast, but I remember coming back to Olga in the early 80s (I would have been in Middle School at the time) for a big family reunion with the Beauchamps and Pelletiers – I wonder if that coincided with the Centennial and the burial of the time capsule.

  10. A interesting website. I was pleased to see some pictures of Olga. My family were early settlers in the area. My grandparents are buried in the cemetery. I believe that my grandfather, John Lucy, purchased the bell for the church. I’m interested in getting some of the church records death records. Is the church still active?

    • Hi Kat…. I learned that it officially closed as a parish as of 26Jun 2005

    • Sorry I missed this Kat. Not sure about records, there is a listing in the church of everyone in the cemetery. There is an Olga church website. Our lady of the Sacred Heart. Olga.utma.com with some info on it. I also have an Olga facebook page with a lot of photos. they do still have mass for the hunters a the church, weddings, funerals.

  11. My father, Theodore E. (Ted) Didier was born in Olga Aug 3, 1893. There were 6 boys in this family, and he was ‘farmed out’ at about 8 years old to help earn money for his widowed mother. She later married Emil Florentin and had 2 more boys, and died in child birth. My grandmother’s maiden name was Laderoute. I visited the cemetery briefly in 1955 looking for their graves at the church, but couldn’t find them. wish I could go back again. My father moved to Saco, Montana in 1916 and homesteaded, then joined WWI with the group from Olga in ’17. After the war he came back to Mt. and lived here. He died in 1985 at 93 years old. I would love to hear from anyone who might have known of my family. I am 78 yrs. young, and not able to travel anymore due to a disability. thank you for your time. Diane F. Smith

    • Hello Diane F. Smith,
      The Didiers, Florentines and Laderoutes are all my relatives. My Great Grandmother was Marguerite St. Arnaud Laderoute, sister of your great grandmother.

      It was nice to read your post.

      Thanks for writing!

      • Hi all. I too am a relation of yours! Exerine was my great grandmother, daughter of Jean Baptiste Laderoute and sister to the amazing great great aunties you’ve named. In fact, my name is Alexina, named for the sister Alexine. I have been learning more and more about my family history the past couple years as my grandmother, daughter of Exerine has passed away (at 97). I live in St Norbert Manitoba where Jean Baptiste lived and built the first Catholic Church before they left for Olga.

        • I too am a relative. I am the great granddaughter of Alexina Laderoute. She was a teacher in a one room school house in Olga. She married Jean Marion of St. Boniface. She had many sisters who were teachers too? My granny was Marguarite Marion. I would love to know more about my family history.

  12. Just down the road a few miles to the north and east was a town/village called Beaulieu. I don’t know if any buildings are still standing but at one, it had a store and a school.

  13. My grandfather was born here. His name was Edward LaRiviere. I believe L Lariviere and I are related. Does anyone else know this family name?

    • in the desktop published book “history of Olga ND & our lady of sacred heart church 1882-1982″ 2nd printing, there are 3 LaRiviere references :
      pg 23 LaRIviere, Antoine …donated $10 in 1922-23 towards construction of l’Eglise N.D. du Sacre Coeur
      pg 24 LaRiviere, Elie …donated $5.00 in 1922-23 towards construction of l’Eglise N.D. du Sacre Coeur
      pg 198-200 : an account originally written 04March1910 in the Walhalla Mountaineer…”Olga Celebrates Louis LarIviere (of Olga) celebrates his 100th birthday 06March1910” and it mentions that he was born 06Mar1810 in St.Philippe MB, moved to Quebec 1818, 1831 came back west hired by Hudson Bay Co. worked for 23yrs.
      Louis and his wife Mrie Lampert (m.1835) had nine children, six of which were named as Bessie, Louis,Francis,Marguerite,John and Paul, and from grandpa Louis LaRiviere down, over 100 children to the fourth generation. And there is an awesome photo of old Louis with a huge beard!

  14. Hi Diane …. i did not know your family, but if this info is helpful to you…
    In 2009, I went to Olga to look in the cemetery for clues to my family (Senecal), found the grave marker but no one available to answer my questions. Same day, by divine intervention, I was using the washroom at Icelandic state park, when VOILA there by the cashier, on the wall, was a large desktop published book “history of olga ND & our lady sacred heart church 1882-1982”, thick with dust. I immediately bought it.
    What a treasure, my grandmother, and my great grand pere et great grand mere were in there!
    IN THE BOOK there is a large write up (page 154-155) on Jean Baptiste Laderoute Family.
    Do you have this info already?
    “Jean Baptiste and Marguerite St. Arnault Laderoute married at St.Norbert MB Feb 4 1862.
    Lived in St.Boniface MB with their many children , until arrived in Olga in 1885 from St.Norbert MB.
    with their 11 children…. one of them is Minnie, who married Antoine Didier,and hey had several children.
    1903 she was widowed, later married Emil Florentin. Minnie died 1915.
    It mentions Jean Baptiste died 1915 and Marguerite in 1922, and that all are buried in Olga Cemetary.
    There is a photo in the book of Jean Baptiste and Marguerite St.Arnault Laderoute.
    There are no biographies on Didier.
    Hope this helps

    • Thank you for answering. And Yes, I do have the book you mention. One of my uncles had bought the book for all the family members, when it was first published. It is a very nice book. There is mention of the Antione Didier family in it also. Thank you again for your reply.

  15. Thank you, Mikaila for the information about the desktop book. That is my great grandfather who turned 100 as I do have a type written paper on that.

  16. my mother–colleen joy self was from olga–we visited there almost every year from ohio— some time takin a long bus ride—or the train–and even by car—I do remember the brusseau name as my grand mother was annie cuffe–I remember the town was crowded when they had a dance in the hall right next to gramma’s—still have a lot of pictures from those good times– and that last picture I am sure is my grandmothers

  17. I found a article in Bismarck Daily Tribune of a unburied infant by a building in Beaulieu, date Of July, 07′ 1897. Dr. Cuffe was charged in the justice court of Cavalier. He was held to the District Court in bond of $700. His wife Annie was a Ashley from England also. The newspaper Bathgate Pink newspaper also ran a article on this. The family had three children buried in the cemetery in Beaulieu. Any info on those?

    • Dr. Cuffe was my Great great Grandfather. Never heard that story before.

  18. My father was stationed at the AFB in the late 1980’s and we rented a home in Olga for two years. My younger sister (Pamela) and I went to school in Walhalla. We relocated to Denver, CO and then onto Orlando, FL, where I still live with my family. I have some of the best memories from our years in ND. In fact, I will be making the trip this summer to visit a lifelong friend I made while living there (leeora Carpenter). I can’t wait to see Olga with grown up eyes and take my girls to this place that brought me hours of exploration as a child. The church was gorgeous on the inside and the people there were so kind.

    • Hi Anna, Your dad John and I carpooled to work at the AFB. If you come to Olga look us up, I still live there.

  19. W tym kościele (parafii), jak dowiedziałem się ostatnio, pracował jako wikariusz mój krewny ksiądz Witalis Banasiewicz. On był więźniem obozu w Dachau. Przeżył i wyjechał do USA Zmarł w Esmond w 1990 r.

    • Hello Jozef,
      I hope we can overcome the language difference so you can contact me. Witalis Banasiewicz was our parish priest in Olga from 1964 to 1968. I still live in Olga. I served Mass as an alter boy for Father Banasiewicz, I know he wrote a book of his experiences in Dachau consentration camp. Was it ever published. Hope to hear from you.

  20. What a great website! When I was in college in the early 1990s, I worked for a crop consultant based outside of Gardar and we had growers that we checked fields for throughout central and northern Pembina and Cavalier County. I remember checking fields just to the west of Orr. I especially remember the church, and maybe a bar that was close by? I loved working in this area as the drive up and down the plateau on highway 5 was always spectacular. You don’t get that kind of view everywhere.

    I can also remember the missile silo sites that were near fields I scouted and watching the missile convoys that were traveling at the time.

    Again, great job on the website!

    • My grandparents Perron and LaCaille were married and started their family in Olga. My father Joe Perron was born there in 1899. Any copies of the Sacred heart book available

      • Hi Carol,
        Nice to see your comment. Were your grandparents Charles and Rosanna (LaCaille)? The Perron family has entries in the Olga/Sacred Heart book. The books are very rare and hard to find as they sold out very fast when they were published in 1982. I was born and raised in Olga and still live here. I am always looking for these books at auctions or estate sales etc… I resell them to people that are interested. I do have two for sale now if your interested. Contact me at email artdebbr@utma.com for more details.

  21. This was very interesting to find, my great-grandfather was born in Olga, ND in 1889, he lived to be 102 years old when he passed away in 1991. I was doing family research and that is how I came across this, I would love to see Olga in person and reading some of these stories absolutely amazes me. My great-great grandparents were Joseph LaLibrete and Marie LaFleur (married in Munich, ND) and my great-grandparents were John LaLibrete (Liberty) and Rose Liberty – not sure yet of why the last name change on the part of my great-grandfather John other than my great-grandmother Rose was full Indian and during the era could possibly explain the name change. They moved from Olga to Montana and then settled in Stockton, CA. If anyone can share any further information I would love to know more!

  22. Love Your site, am researching Olivier Brousseau-Brusseau and Caroline Laporte who settled, with their family in Olga
    Elemee Royer

  23. My ancestors Alexander and Jean Baptiste Wilke are buried in Olga. John Baptiste was a Metis Chief? Does any one have more info or are perhaps descended from them as well.

    Thank you.

      • Excellent book from this site is ” Veterans and Families of the Northwest Resistance” by Lawrence J. Barkwell. Biographies of Gabriel Dumont, m. to Madeleine Wilkie. and Agathe Wilkie ( her sister)’

    • Hi Dianne,
      You and I are likely related. Alexander is my Gr-Gr Grandpa. His son Napoleon is my Dad’s Dad.
      My Dad was also named Napoleon.
      My Dad told me that Jean Baptiste was a Chief also.
      I would love to chat with and or meet you sometime.
      My name is Chris Wilkie and I currently live in Puyallup, WA.
      My cell # 253-318-3976

  24. Hello my name is Bob Chaput in the early 1950s at the age 7 I accompanied my mother and dad and younger brother to visit a great parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I guess my question is are there any Chaput still living in Olga or neuter by

    • Here is the person best able to answer your questions: Art Brusseau, Wahalla or Langdon, not sure 701 549 3648, genealogy, member for preservation of our Our Lady.

    • Bob, yes, there are still several Chaput families living in the Olga, Langdon and Walhalla area. Who were your great grandparents? Maybe I can direct you so some of their descendants.

        • The book History of Olga, ND is now available online. Your Grandparents are pictured in the book, as well as your Great Grandparents and Great Great Grandparents. Email me at artdebbr@utma.com and I will send you the link for the book. Your uncle Alphonse and Leo are also in the book.

    • My mother-inlaw, Delores (Lepire) Frome’s, mother was Alexina (Chaput) Lepire. Bob, do you know of Delores Frome?

  25. My great-great-grandparents, Alexandre Charette and Brigitte Cardinal, both died in Olga, North Dakota — my gr-gr-grandfather died on October 25, 1930 (born Oct 4 1841 , St. Norbert, Red River Settlement) and my gr-gr-grandmother died March 28, 1922 (born May 20, 1839, St. Francois Xavier, Red River Settlement).

    I checked the web page for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and saw the grave listings for the East side of the cemetary. Can anyone tell me if there are listings for the rest of the cemetary? Or if there is another cemetary in Olga that I should be checking for that 1922 -1930 time period?

    I’m also looking for the grave of my great-grandmother, Elmire Charette who records say returned to Turtle Mountain and died there. This would have been after 1916 as she was listed in the Saskatchewan census for that year. She could be listed under Elmire Charette (maiden name), Elmire Mueller (first family, my grandmother was the youngest of 4 children) or Elmire Morin (a second family started around 1907). I haven’t been able to find a death record for her anywhere.

    Any information or help anyone can provide would be so very much appreciated.


    • Hi Linda, my 2nd great grandmother was Adelaide Charette, (1852-1932), a sister to your Alexander Charette.I can tell you a great deal about this family, as I have been researching for nearly forty years.Please feel free to contact me at ayerbury3@comcast.net

  26. Working on family history for my grand-daughter’s future husband. He is connected to a Jean Baptiste Wilkie. I keep seeing postings at Ancestry.com that Jean Baptiste Wilkie and his wife Amable Elise (Isabella) Azure died in Olga, Jean in 1884 and Amable in 1889. Their death location does not seem quite right to me. Can anyone confirm the above information? Thank you.

    • HI Rebel
      I have access to the church records from 1882 to 1919. In my search of the records. I can confirm from those records that Jean Baptiste Wilkie is buried in the Olga cemetery. Amable Elise Azure is also buried in the Olga cemetery. See the text below, this is how the records read:

      Wilkie, Jean Baptiste: S-21, Jean Baptiste Wilky, buried 6 November 1884, died yesterday, age 86 years, husband of Marie Amable [Azure], Present: Jean Baptiste Wilky and Augustin Wilky, Cyrille St.Pierre priest. (page 56)


      Azure, Elise: S-20, Elise [Amable ?] Azur, buried 10 December 1888, age 82 years, widow of J. Bte. Wilky, Witnesses: Charles Meunier and J. Bte. Beauchamp, L. Alph Ricklin priest. (page 155)

      Note that Amable died in December 1888 not 1889.

      Hope this helps you in your research.

      Art Brusseau

        • Thank you, Art. That is a real find and clears up a lot of misinformation. I had noted that someone had posted on Ancestry.com that Jean Baptiste Wilkie had died and was buried in Olga, Lee County, Florida. And, of course then a lot of people just kept copying the erroneous fact. So it appears that both Jean Baptiste Wilkie and his wife lived in or around your Olga at the end of their lives. Can I assume there are no headstones for either of the two?

          • I have never seen markers for them in the cemetery. Unfortunately there are many unmarked graves in the old part of the cemetery. The maps for the old part of the cemetery don’t exist.


      • Hi Art,
        – which section of the cemetery is the old part? Me and my son ran up to Olga about a month ago to walk through the yard and weren’t sure if it’s the southern end, or to the east of the church. Also, with the “S-21, and S-20” for Jean Baptiste Wilkie and his wife does it correspond with a grid system? They are my 5x Great Grandparents.

  27. Mr. Brusseau, could you tell me where I might access the burial records for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church for 1922 and 1930? It’s my understanding that met great-great-grandparents, Alexandre Charette and Brigitte Cardinal, died in Olga in October 25, 1930 and March 28, 1922, respectively. I will be travelling to Olga and area in July and would very much like to visit their gravesides. I did write to Mr Leo Beauchamp whose name is attached to the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church website a couple of weeks ago but have not heard back from him. Thank you so very much for any help you can give me.

    • Hi Linda,
      The cemetery records are archived at St, Boniface Catholic Church at Walhalla, ND. If you contact the office there they will help you. I wish I had a copy of the later years but I don’t. I only have until 1919. The St Boniface parish office phone number is 701-549-3256, ask for Kathy. In my wonderings of the Olga cemetery the only Charette marker that I recall is a wrought iron cross in the south eastern corner of the cemetery. I think this marker is for a younger person but don’t recall the name but it isn’t Alexandre or Brigitte. Unfortunately there are many, many unmarked graves in the oldest part of the cemetery. I do remember my dad talking of a Peter Charette that lived in the Little Pembina River valley north of Olga. The area is known by everyone in the area as the Charette coulee. So the name has lived on in the area. Let me know when you come to Olga in July, maybe I can find more information for you before then. Email is artdebbr@utma.com.

  28. My father brought me to Olga when I was very young. He told me that my Grandpa was born there. His name is Napoleon Anthony Wilkie Sr. of course my father was Jr.
    My father passed away on December 23, 2014 and ever since then, I have been researching our family.
    He knew so much about our history and now I feel compelled to rediscover things.
    My Grandpa moved to St. John, ND where he married Clemence LaViolet.
    Can anyone confirm and or share some of my family history in so far as my Grandpa’s family is concerned?
    Also I would be interested if anyone knows anything about my Grandma’s family.
    Is there any chance that one of the previously mentioned history books about Olga and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church is available anywhere?
    I am open to sharing anything I know about my family as well. So anyone is invited to ask me questions.
    I have closed this message with my name, current location and email address.
    Thanks to all that have posted entries here.

    Chris Wilkie
    Puyallup, WA
    email: chris.wilkie@omax.com

  29. My Dad grew up in the Olga hills “Gerard Genndreau” Father was Wilfred and Mother Eva Benoit. He has told me many stories of the area. My Mother and I plus my wife just signed the guest book at our Lady of the sacred heart. We view my great grand for her Phillip Gendreau and Azline Thebideau. We view the old homestead by the Swenson and Sherick hills excuse my spelling. Also stopped one person on the gravel road and no doubt a cousin Loraine “ney” Beauchamp, go figure. I grew up in Grand Forks and made frequent trips there and Langdon.

  30. Once knew a man named Dick Brusseau. Said he was from Olga. Nice fellow. Lost track of him in the 70s. Would like to see him once again.

  31. Love this place as a kid in the 70’s and 80’s really great people. I’m a Benoit offspring. Living is so. Cal.

  32. Does anyone know of the Laura Schultz Ertman family. Laura was born in Olga in 1905 and died in Neche ND in 1987. Trying to track her family roots.

  33. There is an article from 1919 in the Courier Democrat Newspaper that W.E. DeLong “passed through an old graveyard at Rosa Lake, where there used to be a church, the first church west of Olga and there’s two old soldiers graves still there unmarked and almost forgotten. One that of Charles La Fever and the other Harrison Putnam”. Does anyone know where this is located?

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