Morning in Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota

I was on the road to deliver some books this morning and I decided to stop in Sheldon because I’d seen the old bank once before and I wanted to shoot it.  It’s not a ghost town, not even close, the population in 2010 was over 100, but I’m always on the lookout for good photo opportunities in small towns.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon, North Dakota is in Ransom County, about 33 miles southeast of Valley City.

Sheldon, North Dakota
Sheldon, North Dakota

I was ready to take off after I snapped a few shots but as I was driving away, I noticed a few other notable places and decided to shoot a little more in Sheldon.

Sheldon, North Dakota

This old depot caught my eye right away.  Sheldon was founded in 1881 and the Northern Pacific railroad arrived in 1882.  In your mind’s eye you can almost imagine travelers waiting here for their train.

Sheldon, North Dakota

The depot is locked up tight with shiny new locks, and the present owner is using it for storage.

Sheldon, North Dakota
Sheldon, North Dakota

Sheldon has an interesting story about the failed attempt to drill an artesian well to serve the local roller mill in 1906.  The foreman was too busy in a card game to oversee the final installation of the casing, so he gave an assistant instructions on how to finish the well without him, with catastrophic results.  When the valve was opened, water sprayed 200 feet in the air and all attempts to fix the well failed.  It was eventually abandoned.

Sheldon, North Dakota

You can almost imagine the old railroad agent arriving here before dawn under the light of the lamp over the door to prepare for the days’ travelers.

Sheldon, North Dakota

Former home of the Sheldon Shadows.  The mascot name was spelled out in colored shingles on the roof, but weathering has started to peel the roof resulting in the (perhaps apropos) blurring of the name on the roof.

Sheldon, North Dakota
Sheldon, North Dakota
Sheldon, North Dakota

A local told me they have pretty good food at D’s Dear Stand in Sheldon.

Sheldon, North Dakota
Sheldon, North Dakota
Sheldon, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

63 Comments on “Morning in Sheldon, North Dakota

  1. Great job on the pics, again, Troy!! You do have a good eye for some really interesting photos. It is so sad anytime that one sees an abandoned/closed up school. The rememberences of the kids playing so hard outside at recess only to go back in to learn all about what the rest of the world was/is like, and to think of the mark that THEY, themselves, would make upon it. As I went to school in Abercrombie, our two schools would play each other during the basketball season (although I never played BB). You can look at the inside of that old gym and can nearly still hear all the cheering going on for the various teams and then in about May, it would probably be all decorated up for Prom. Aahhh, memories!!
    Love your website! Keep up the great work!!

    Lynn Mickelson
    Colfax, ND

  2. This is my hometown. I started kindergarten and graduated high school from that very school!
    Your pictures are amazing. Thanks for the memories!!

  3. Oh boy what great memories these photos of Sheldon, ND evoke! I grew up in Chaffee, ND, just a few miles northeast of Sheldon. We played Sheldon in high school football and I dated a gal from there, We would usually swing in on our many trips to Enderlin on a Saturday night to check things out. GREAT WORK! Keep it coming. Paul Madsen Minneapolis, MN

    • I do not remember that you dated a girl from Sheldon. but then a lot of things from Chaffee are long lost memories. I only reminisce when I visit Stan and Bev.

  4. I made a mistake in my earlier comment: I meant to say we played Sheldon in highschool basketall, not football. Chaffee didn’t field a football team back in the early 60’s.

  5. Great pictures, tho sad. I went to prom & graduation exercises in the Sheldon gym. We were excited about our new gym (in the ’60’s), but it looks pretty bad now all these years later. We bought lots of candy bars at the little station across the street from the school, the little “peaked roof” building in your pictures. Good memories growing up on a farm near Sheldon, cheering for the Shadows!!

    • Hi Ann. I have only fond memories of Sheldon. Pat “Rengel” McLaughlin.

  6. I delivered to Mel’s Country Grocery when I worked for Henry’s foods out of Alexandria, MN. Alice Krueger was(is) such a wonderful person. I always enjoyed visiting with her.

    • Thanks, Jon, for those kind words. It was a pure joy to have you as deliveryman. Center Grocery became the Sheldon Grocery and then Mel’s Country Grocery and now it is the community center for the area. Interesting how things change.

  7. Went all through school in Sheldon. Lots of memories in that gym of games, plays, style shows, dances ( including prom and Snowball) and our graduation ceremony. We used to race over to the station across the street to buy a candy bar after school and get back in time to get on the school bus to go home.

  8. Loved this article. My hometown. The gym picture sure brought back memories: cheerleading basketball games, playingplaying girls basketball, Sadie Hawkins dances, proms, graduation, Sheldon Centennial celebration. My Dad helped build that addition to the old school. Remembering the depot being moved from its original location, my parents owning the a-frame for many years. My Mom worked in that bank building. The old grocery store where upstairs the Mason’s and the Evening Star ladies group met in secret meetings. Lots of great memories made in Sheldon, N.D.

  9. One of my grandmothers was from Sheldon. One of her classmates was a well-known American poet – Thomas McGrath. The cemetery there might be worth photographing – those country cemeteries are often interesting, too. Thanks for covering so many places from my childhood . . . . it is sad how some of it disappearing.

  10. I grew up in Sheldon. The year we moved away they were talking about closing the school. I remember the whole town showing up for the basketball games. I also remember the street dances. I miss those. I always talk about SHeldon to my boys. They think i lived a strange life.

  11. I, too, grew up in Sheldon, graduated from high school there. So many great memories and life-long friends. My parents owned Center Grocery (second building up from the bank). Great pictures.

  12. I lived in Sheldon from 6th grade through my Sophomore year. My Dad was the Superintendent and taught classes. Some of my fondest memories are from Sheldon. I, too, miss the street dances and Saturday night fun. I loved the pics.

  13. I grew up no more than a few blocks south from the train depot. I went to school there K-6th grade. My grand parents and father owned the once was gas station / car shop across the street from the school. I miss this little town of Sheldon and go home to visit every chance I get.

  14. Oh, some good memories there! I grew up on a farm outside of Sheldon. K-12 in that school. Great memories of playing basketball in the gym during girls’ season..and jumping down from the stage, as we were doing double duty as the pep band, to do the school song for boys’ basketball cheerleading. Wonderful people there still, including my brother’s family and long-time friends. I get there at least a few times a year. Nostalgia washes over me every time. It’s amazing the lucky happenstance that aligned the stars to provide the wonderful opportunity to learn from people who shape the rest of your life. Thank you George Bunn, Karen (Joyce) Kling, Jodie (Neevel) Froemke, and David Kaspari (dad)…and all the rest.

  15. Sheldon was the start of my teaching career in 1975, I was so excited to get my first job! I rented an upstairs room of Mrs. Lorrine Bjugstad. It was a great experience with some wonderful small town people! I recently retired (now in Minnesota) and much to my surprise my career went full circle when Jane Kaspari Schuh, from my 1st-2nd grade class in Sheldon made the trek to my retirement party! It sure showed me that one has very little inkling about the impact you make on those people that come in and out of your life!
    Thank you, Troy Larson, for the wonderful photos of Sheldon that took me down memory lane this morning!

  16. Wow! You have captured true beauty in this wonderful small town of my youth. I’m also a graduate of Sheldon High. Seeing your amazing photos certainly bring back a rush of great memories! As to the comment about the food at D’s Deer Stand… my son,Noah-19, says “they make the best burger ever!”

  17. Terrific photos brought back many wonderful memories. My parents both graduated from SHS and I started kindergarten in that school with the class of 1983 before we moved away. My grandparents owned the grocery store and my aunt and uncle owned that depot for many years (they may still do so). I don’t get back there very often – this was a fun trip down memory lane!

  18. Great pictures! For reasons I don’t actually remember, I’ve been to Sheldon twice, even though I live in Virginia. I always wondered what captivated me so about the town, and your photos explain it. There is this juxtaposition of the ordinary and the slightly-off, like Sheldon exists in a dimension at a slight angle to the rest of the world. That’s a compliment.

  19. The bank you have pictured was founded by my great grand uncle, Marshall Bey Greene. He and two of his brothers settled Sheldon. They were joined by my great grandfather, Peter Paul Goodman. At one time there were lots of Greenes, Goodmans and Mosiers in Sheldon. Today my first cousin, Janet Newton Lewis is the last of the Greenes in Sheldon.

    • Richard, did one of your Greene relatives marry a woman who went by the name Brownie? She (they) lived by the brick church on the road that leads to the cemetery (not the road from downtown tho). My brother has owned a house there for many years that Brownie Greene lived in many, many years ago (1960’s). Was just there this last weekend. It’s like going home. All the memories flood back and content sets in. Love it.

      • Debby, Brownie (Elizabeth) Greene never married. We were her neighbors for many years. She, too, worked in the bank.

        • Thanks, Bette. I couldn’t remember her life other than she lived in the house Rick bought.

          • Elizabeth Brownie Greene was my first cousin 2x removed. She was a dear member of my family. My grandfather was John Daniel Greene who lived in Sheldon for many years. He was Brownie’s first cousin.

            Brownie lived next door to the Methodist (EUB) church on the cemetery road. The house was built by her father, Marshall Bey Greene. She was the first female graduate of Fergus Falls College with a BA.

            My aunt, Harriet Greene Newton (Melvin) lived in Sheldon for many years. She and Uncle Melvin owned a hatchery on Main Street. Her daughter, Janet Newton Lewis is still living in Sheldon.

          • Elizabeth Brownie Greene was my great Aunt. Her brother, Hammond Bey Greene was my grandfather. My mother (b. 1915) was named Elizabeth Brownie Greene after Aunt Brownie. Aunt Brownie was one of my favorite relatives. I fondly remember playing many, many hours of bridge with Aunt Brownie. She was as sharp as a tack until she passed away in her late nineties. Grandpa Hamm and Grandma Nellie (née Austin) Greene moved to Winnett, Montana where they raised their 3 children. All three Greene children ended up in California.

  20. The old town does not look the same anymore. But I am not sure if the memory is the fault and does not reflect an accurate account of the town or if it has failed as much as it seems. I too have fond memories of growing up in Sheldon and hate to see it go by the wayside. Not sure what can be done to ensure the future of the town if anything is even possible. It seems like when the school leaves a town it dies. Or if the school leaving is the first symptom of a dying town. It is so sad to see. The pictures are beautiful though.

  21. Loved the pics and the comments. I just went through Sheldon this month. I think my favorite pic is the last one of Fern’s old house. It was a great place to grow up and a wonderful place to go back to.

    • The bank you mentioned was founded by my family. Three Greene brothers moved from Indiana to Sheldon in the 1880s. The last president of the bank was my second cousin, Brownie Greene. The Greene/Goodman families were a vital part of Sheldon for many years. There is only one Greene /Goodman left in Sheldon, my cousin , Janet Newton Lewis.

  22. My grandmother was born in Sheldon, N.D., in 1888. How can I get information about the town and its people back then? I did have the opportunity to visit Sheldon a few years ago but did not meet any people. I took many photos of the old railroad depot and wondered if it was the original depot.

    • There was a book published for the Sheldon Centennial, I believe in 1989. Not sure who you could contact, possibly Alice Krueger. You may be able to Google her and get a phone number.

      • Hi, this is Alice Krueger reporting in. Yes, we did publish a book in 1981 and I have the information in it, but there are no books left to purchase. If you would like any kind of information just let me know. My email I would be glad to help with anything I can.

        Thanks for all the shared memories of Sheldon, I, too, went through all my years in that school and am very sad about its deterioration, but can’t do anything about it. Too sad.


  23. My parents had the Trom Café in the late 30s and early 40s when I attended school in the Sheldon school when as a first and second grader I thought it was the most beautiful school ever. My four daughters , a granddaughter and I made the memory trip to Sheldon this past summer (2015). It brought many memories as I’m sure these great pictures have done for many who have lived in Sheldon. Thank you for the pictures and memories.

  24. Hi there everyone. I’m an amateurwriter from Venlo/Holland and I could use some help from anyone. I’m trying to write an article about Venlo/North Dakota for a cultural magazine in 2016. Venlo/North Dakota was a community nearby Sheldon.

    Can anybody help me please to get some (historical) information and/ore pics from the past ore nowe-a-days.

    Sheldon is the nearest place to Venlo/ND and there must be someone who can helpe me.

    Venlo/ND laid at 64th St. SE just at the crosse with the railraod.

    I would like to get in contact with somebody.

    • I lived near a town near Venlo named McLeod. When I ws young iVenlo was a popular place to go for dances. I remember the “hall” as having a balcony. A lot of plays done by local people was held there also. The Homemaker Club I belonged to put on a play there, I remember we had a big crowd there. This would of been in the early 50’s.

      • Dear Artis can you get in touch with me trough? The story continues with great info and I think maybey you can help me te become further.

  25. I just learned about this website from my sister, Margie and her husband Doug Weisgram. Sheldon doesn’t look like it did when I graduated from Sheldon High in 1966. It doesn’t take away from the education we received and the memories from Sheldon. It was great seeing comments from people I knew in Sheldon.

    • Jane, my Dad was Superintendent at Sheldon for 5 years. Do you remember Mr. Rengel? We left the year before you graduated.

  26. Just came across this website today. The great pictures brought back memories of the area. When I look back on the education I received in Sheldon it was pretty good. We had a lot of good teachers!

  27. Hi,

    My grandfather Frank Shaw owned the bank building at some point. He was an attorney in Sheldon. I’m planning to visit the town this summer and have a memoir of my mother’s (Lois Shaw) that would be good to have in a library there – or with some historical society or senior center? Let me know if there is such a thing and I’ll bring it along. Great photos!

    • The Enderlin Museum is run by a Sheldon gal who is willing to accept Sheldon mementos, but there is nothing in Sheldon that would work for keeping a special keepsake.

  28. My grandfather built a lot of Sheldon. In his later years he ran the Hatchery, before “Swed” Newton and Bill Newton took it over. Personally, I moved back to Sheldon following my birth in 1944. We lived in the house owned by Mary Arntson, and built by Charles David Newton. Some of my favorite memories are of Bill picking me up in the morning in his old pickup to go water and feed chickens on the edge of town. After that it was back to the Hatchery where I spent a lot of time just running around and checking out the new chicks coming out of the incubators.. Them smell of ground feed is a constant in my memory.

    Both my parents graduated from Sheldon High School.

    My mother taught in the HIgh School one or two years…. 1944 to 1946.

    Love the pictures. Especially the old railroad station. I’ve walked by it many times. Great memories. chuck

    • Never heard my Uncle Melvin called “Swede” before! He married my aunt Harriet Greene Newton. Good memories of Bill Newton. Cousin Janet still lives in Sheldon.

      • Everyone in the whole Sheldon area knew Melvin Newton as “Swede” so it was a very common thing to call him Swede Newton.

        • While I knew Bill in the 40’s and 50’s, I’m sorry to say I lost track of him after that. What became of Bill Newton??

          • Uncle Melvin died in 1981. I don’t know when Uncle Bill died.

          • Virgil aka Bill Newton was born in 1919 and passed away in 1982.

          • Thanks, Alice. Bill was actually my Aunt Harriet’s brother-in-law but we always called him Uncle Bill. Maybe because cousin Janet called him that.

  29. I grew up in Sheldon. Graduated from that school. I know a lot of the people mentioned in the article. Used to rake leaves in the fall for Brownie Green. Worked at Newtons hatchery after school while I was in high school. Lived in Venlo in 48-49. Went to the one room Venlo shool. My Dad and Mom owned the Venlo store until it burned down in December 1949. We moved to Sheldon at that time. Lots of old memories brought back by those pictures.

  30. I grew up in Sheldon. Graduated from that school. I know a lot of the people mentioned in the article. Used to rake leaves in the fall for Brownie Green. Worked at Newtons hatchery after school while I was in high school. Lived in Venlo in 48-49. My Dad and Mom owned the Venlo store until it burned down.

    • Lanny, how great to hear from you, would you be willing to contact me? I have an avid interest in history and I knew you and your family through all the years you lived here in Sheldon.

      You were thinking of sending me a military photo to be placed on our wall in the Sheldon Community Center. Do you still have my email address?

      Alice Marie Krueger

  31. My mom Olga Gustine Schultz Thompson Graham, was born in Sheldon in 1924, and has many relatives from her mom and dads side who used to live there. The Troms, Bjugstads, Schultz . She’s living in Florida now doing well! Good genes! She has really enjoyed seeing this and knows so many of the names mentioned. Her dad Herman Schultz used to haul the mail from the train depot to the post office. She graduated from that high school. This is wonderful! If you ever swing by Sheldon again, we’d also love to see more pictures, including the cemetery. Thanks for doing this!


    This page is about the owners who bought the Sheldon Public School property. Plans to tear down the old brick school building, but keep the sign and steps. Renovating the old gym into an event center. Also planning to put in a camping/RV park on the school site. Link above

  33. Does anyone know what ever became of the guy named E.E. Sheldon who named the town after himself???

  34. My grandparents were Olivia Leonor Arntson and Jacob Kaspari. Grandma graduated from Sheldon High in 1929. I have her graduation program, and some pics of her class. Both families were large and many moved out of state. I have an article written about the Kaspari’s in a local publication. We are putting together a family tree and would love any info locals may have! I’ve not yet been to Sheldon but hope to visit this summer. Email me if you’d like!
    LeAnn Pinniger, daughter of Janice Lee Kaspari Pinniger

    • The Greene’s and Goodman’s were among the first settlers. The bank you mention was a Greene bank. Only relatives left are my cousin Janet Newton and her families.

      • Richard,
        I am the son of Elizabeth Brownie Greene who was the daughter of Hammond Bey Greene and niece of Brownie Greene. Grandpa Ham moved from Sheldon to Winnett, Montana where my mother was born in 1915. Aunt Brownie, as you know stayed in Sheldon and ran the bank.

  35. My Grandfather Roger Lillicrop was from Sheldon, I’ve been there once as a kid in the 70s for a family reunion. Although my memories are dim, its saddening to see it in decline. I believe we stayed with some extended cousins the Kruegers. Alice Marie, you must be part of that clan?

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