As we drove north along County Road 19 about four miles south of Cooperstown, I was blabbing on about something when Terry suddenly pointed. “What’s that?”
We had just passed the junction of 19 and 22, and atop a small hill on the east side of the road, a large brick structure was barely visible through the trees. I pulled the car into the driveway, and we found ourselves thirty feet from the highway but almost completely shielded from view by the shelter belt that runs the perimeter of the property. If we had been driving this same stretch of road in the summer, with the leaves on the trees, we might not have seen this place at all.
This structure is less than a mile east from the rural settlement of Shepard, North Dakota. The size of the building and the larger estate (the barn you’ll see below), plus the fact that it has a name — “Shepard View” — made us wonder whether this had once been a boarding house or an institution of some kind.
Update: Visitor Dustin tells us this home is likely the former estate of David Marson. The Marsons arrived in Griggs County from Derby, England in 1889.
We know of one photographer who visited this place and fell through the floor, breaking an arm (above the elbow–ouch!) It’s just a reminder that rural exploration (#rurex) is a dangerous hobby, and that one takes substantial risk visiting decaying places like this. Be careful, and if possible, take photos of interiors from outside, through the windows, like we did with the photos shown here.
A look inside the barn.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp
11 thoughts on “Shepard View, 1905”
How interesting! I hope someone can provide the missing story on this!
A family member shared this on Facebook, and I thought I’d share some info on this house. This house was built by the Marson family, who immigrated from Derby, England to Griggs County, ND in 1889. Below are some excerpts from the Griggs County history book which mentions that family and the two brick houses they built between 1904-1906 in that area of Ball Hill Township:
It was very common to give houses a name in England, especially around those times (http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/housenames.htm) which explains the name plaque on the side. As you pointed out, this house is near Shepard, ND, hence the name Shepard’s View.
I’m a direct descendant (great great grandchild) of Charles C. Marson who built one of the brick houses mentioned in the article above, and his son David Henry Marson was a brother to my great grandfather and he built the other brick house. If I have my story straight which is mostly from stories overheard when I was very young, your photos are of the house David built. I lived on the farm about a mile from this brick house until I was about 5 or 6 years old, that farm was sold over 2 decades ago but I’m not sure who owns the land the brick house is on and how long ago it was sold by the Marsons.
As you can tell, it has been vacant for quite a few decades, probably since around or before that generation of Marsons passed away in the 60s. I’ve been inside it quite a few times, there used to be a couch in there which was either originally there from the family or put there for kids to have secret parties, which as you know is commonplace in rural ND. It looks like the couch must be gone, last I saw it over a decade ago, it was just springs. I’d like to get in there and get a few pieces of that wallpaper before the whole place falls down some day.
Here’s my genealogy page for Charles C which contains a path to David Marson: http://www.dustinmarson.com/familytree/persons/person108.html
Got a little more info… I guess this house is technically in Sverdrup Township, Ball Hill is the other side of the road, I guess the GC history book didn’t have it straight… you can see “Shepard View Farm” written and David Marson at the location where this brick house sits on this old microfilm map of the township from 1910:
Great info, Dustin. Thank you.
??? I always thought it was Bald Hill….not Ball Hill. Does anyone know.
Every county document and history book I have seen says Ball Hill
There was a grain elevator in the town of Shepard. My husband worked there in 1961. He fell off a ladder and broke his back on the same day and same time as Alan Sheperd went into space and came back down.
I can just picture it back in the day! Really a beautiful place!!! Would love to be able to bring it back to life!!
My parents told me that my mother lived in this house with her parents & siblings while mom was being courted by dad. I think mom’s family moved there after their Binford area farm was lost during the great depression. My parents were married in 1936. Dad said one day while he was visiting there his future mother-in-law asked him to go out into the trees and bring in a little firewood. He could not find even one stick of wood lying on the ground! I guess that’s how things were during the depression, everything useful had been used up.
This hose belonged to my great grand parents my grand ma was Lilly Marison shroyer
I am searching for information about my great-grandmother, Jessica Spencer Beaumont. She came from Derby, England as an infant with the Marsons (the family that built those two beautiful matching brick homes) back in the 1890s. It is thrilling to me to see these photos! Thanks for any info.