Thelen is a true ghost town in Golden Valley County, about eight miles south of Beach. We previously posted a gallery of Thelen photos sent in by Dave Thorson, but this was our first time visiting in person.
We discovered some of the things Dave photographed are now gone, leaving this complex of buildings near the elevator as the primary remnants of Thelen.
We were hiking out to this elevator, and just when we were in thigh-deep grass, we got a little paranoid about rattlesnakes. We heard a few of ’em during our travels on this particular weekend.
There’s more historical information on Thelen in the original post.
Our visit to Thelen was notable for a strange calm that fell across the landscape as we arrived. It had been windy all weekend, but as we started to explore this place, the wind calmed and the sssshhhhhhh sound from the blowing prairie grasses quieted in a strange contradiction. Coupled with the strange, smoke-filled skies, I found myself looking through the viewfinder longer than I normally would, searching for something in this kind of shadowy, illusory atmosphere where shadows weren’t crisp and sunlight was veiled… and it was quiet.
The stillness was contagious. Even after we left, when we were in the car, Terry and I were kind of quiet for awhile. It’s clear, Thelen doesn’t have many more years as a place you can visit.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp