Whitman, North Dakota: Population 2

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota is in Nelson County, about thirty minutes east of Devils Lake. We had Whitman on our list when we visited neighboring Bartlett in 2011, but we had to cut it from our list that day due to time constraints. 

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman got some national press for their centennial celebration in 2012. The population was reported as two. Judging by the lack of activity we saw the day we visited, that seemed accurate, and it put Whitman in a small club of places, just hanging on to their last few residents… places like Merricourt, Sanger, Hanks, and Heaton.  All have populations of two or fewer.

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota

Whitman, North Dakota

Looks like we were a few years too late to photograph whatever was once here.

Whitman, North Dakota

The banner on the garage is from the centennial in 2012 and it reads: “Dahlen on the Soo, Whitman in the Slough.  See you in two zero one two.”

Whitman, North Dakota

Despite the lack of residents, Whitman has an active, very well-kept Lutheran church in the center of town.

Whitman, North Dakota

Sarnia United Lutheran Church

Whitman, North Dakota
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2014 Sonic Tremor Media

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17 Comments on “Whitman, North Dakota: Population 2

  1. My family was from North of Whitman,my father Clifford Nelson grew up there and is buried in the West Sarnia cemetery after living in Adams,N.D. most of his adult life…My Uncle Lionel Nelson and his family lived there in the late 40’s and early 50’s where my Aunt Hilda Nelson taught school in Whitman…We as a family visited many relatives and friends in and nearby Whitman when we were children………Iworked on the Whitman Dam in the 60’s and drank beer in Rysavy’s bar and my friend Wayne dated their daughter a few times,Elaine,I think it was…..Many memories of Whitman,I lived 23 miles north of Whitman on Hwy.#35 for 32 years,leaving in 2011.

  2. I couldn’t even tell you how many elevaters my dad made in North Dakota they are so beautiful and just remembering bringing him lunches and going up and down the elevater and watching the grain trucks get weighed…good ole times!

  3. Hello clif
    I think you or you father bought a 70 dodge charger from me severa years back ??
    The house by the church in this picture was where my grand parents lived.
    And the garage in the pics is Earl Johnson’s where my father worked in the early 60’s .

  4. My grandfather Peter Aardahl was the manager of the Equity Elevator and Trading co. In Whitman. My mother Margaret, and siblings Norman, Henry, Leslie,Clay, Maynard and Joyce Lived there I believe from 1916 to 1936.
    margaret, Clay, and Joyce are still living as of December 1914.

  5. My dad used to get bulk fuel from Peachy in Whitman….

    Question:…. what was the name of the “ghostown” between Whitman and Dahlen… something like Torville?

    • Norval, named after Torval Northagen. This according to my dad, Ron Dahlen 🙂

  6. When I first started following you, Kuroki was a town you had on your list. Now I can’t find it anymore. What happened to Kuroki? Joni

    • Not sure where you saw those photos, Joni. We have never photographed Kuroki, and it has never been on this website. Sorry.

    • Joni:

      I wondered the same thing about Kuroki not being on the list. I just sent an e-mail yesterday 5/26/16) about Kuroki to Ghosts of North Dakota (GND). I took some pictures of one of the last houses when there in 2008. My parents come from Antler, ND and around there. I was offering to let GND use my pictures if they want to. Did you live around that area? My maiden name is Hill and my grandparents Bill and Fern Hill lived in Westhope. My mother’s parents: Fred and Ruth Fox ran the meat market in Antler, ND.

      Jean Mikesell

  7. I am the great grandson of Edward Whitman whom I believe the town was named after. Ed worked for the Soo Line RR and was a surveyor that layers out the tracks for the rail line across ND. These photos capture the scene of the town very well as I recall from our trip I’m the fall of 2013; I would enjoy connecting with anyone who can share some of the history of this old town.

  8. I can almost smell the “egg coffee” cooking in the church basement there…..YUM!

  9. My mother, Margaret Zahradka and my father, Leon Kemmet were married in the church shown in June of 1956. My mother grew up north of Whitman. Her father was William Zahradka. My cousin Dale Zahradka still farms north of Whitman. As a child (around 1964) my grandparents would take me shopping to Whitman to the general store. My father and uncles used to support the local tavern.

  10. Whitman was selected as the headquarters of an REA project (Five Star Rural Electric Cooperative) in the late 1930s, but because of issues getting a source of electricity, it merged with three other projects to form Nodak (Rural) Electric Cooperative in 1940.

  11. My grandmother Corrine Economon lived in Whitman for most of her life. She worked at the cafe that served the railroad workers. Her home was also the former bank. I spent every summer in Whitman as a child exploring the abandoned buildings. I experienced the school & fire house. It is one of my fondest memories of childhood. My grandmother’s boyfriend was my Grampa Jack who owned the only store in town. I remember eating all the candy I could and sitting in the front window swatting flies. My grandmother had no running water and no bathroom or shower. If you had to “go” it was the outhouse or a bucket behind the bar. We went down to shower at Jack’s. It’s absolutely one of my best childhood memories 💕

  12. Our family spent many Sundays with my Grandparents at Sarina Lutheran Church. Whitman, ND was home to my dad, Laddie Adamson. 💕🙏🏻

  13. Some additional information on the Sarnia United Lutheran Church in Whitman, ND. My grandmother was born and raised just north of Whitman near the West Forest Cemetery (3/8 mile west of the corner of ND 35 & Cty 2). Land for the church was donated by my great-great grandparents Sander and Margit Lofthus (both buried at West Forest). Per my grandmother, West Forest Church and the original Sarnia Church (3.5 miles east of the corner of ND 35 & Cty 2) were merged in the mid-1920’s by moving both churches into Whitman and physically merging the churches into the existing building. It is my understanding that the merger created some discontent in the “new” congregation that it made enough of an impression for my grandmother and her childhood friend to reminisce about it 60 years later.

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