Two Views of Blabon, 97 Years Apart

These two dramatically different views of Blabon, North Dakota vividly depict how quickly things changed for some small North Dakota railroad communities in the twentieth century.

The postcard above was sent to Olaf Andersen in Detroit on October 4th, 1916 with a message written in a foreign language. The photo by C.A. Sund reveals an entire townscape which has virtually vanished from the prairie with the exception of the two homes on the left.

In 2013, the two homes above were the only two remaining structures shown in the postcard.  The church, the grain elevator, and all the other structures (with perhaps the exception of the homes on the extreme left edge of the postcard) are gone today.

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp except where noted.
Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

11 thoughts on “Two Views of Blabon, 97 Years Apart

  1. My Mother, Esther Olivia (Norberg) LaFrance was born in Blabon, North Dakota on April 24, 1926. I visited the town with her and her Mother (my Grandmother) — Olga (Amendson) Norberg sometime in the late 1950’s. The bed my Mother was born in, was still in the run down abandon house they had lived in. These wonderful photos mean more to me than words can say. Thank you


  2. Do you have any plans to include Blabon in a future book? My dad and his twin brother were born in Blabon in 1932. Thanks. Love your website.


  3. My family and I took a road trip from Vancouver WA to Wadena MN and we visited “Blabon” in August 2013. It was difficult to locate. Thank goodness for GPS. I was very interested in researching my family history last year. My great grandfather John Becker ran a store there and one of his son’s named Harold Becker was born there in the early 1900’s. John and his wife Ada only lived there for a few years before moving to Bena MN.
    While we were there we saw the old run down houses that are shown on your website. Also we visited a small cemetery seemingly in the middle of nowhere, among the miles of farmland. We walked through the cemetery and did not see any “Becker’s” there. I would be very curious to see old pictures of the town when it was prosperous…


  4. I attended grammar school in Blabon from 1942 – 1950. The school was in a 2-story brick building and the Lutheran Church was across the road from it. Carl Monson had a grocery store downtown and Ed Tranby had a shop with car and machine parts in it, and the Post Office was at the front, and in front of of the shop was a gas pump where we always bought our gas for the car. There were grain elevators and a Depot. Several years before that there were more stores and a hotel. The hotel building was still there in the ’50’s. I have good memories about this town. When we were in grammar school we would walk downtown at noon and get ice cream cones at Monson’s store. I can remember about 12 families living in the town at that time.


  5. My great-grandfather, H.A. Borstad, lived with his family in Blabon, North Dakota. He received his citizenship while living there in 1916. We have photos of him working in a blacksmith shop there around that time.
    I just found this website tonight. Very interesting info.


  6. The White House in the picture was the home of my grandparents, Gilbert and Annie Sund Johnson. I used to go there every summer in 1950’s. Gilbert was the great northern rr station master in blazon – the train tracks are basically across the street. My dad and his brother and sister grew up in blazon when it was a thriving community.


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