Three Cogswell Churches

Cogswell, North Dakota

We stopped in Cogswell specifically to photograph the beautiful United Methodist Church, and to see if a church shown on our postcard from 1918 was still standing. In the process, we ran across another boarded-up church we didn’t know was there.

Cogswell, North Dakota

Cogswell is in Sargent County, about 60 miles west of Wahpeton. According to the 2010 Census, Cogswell has a population of 99 residents.

Cogswell, North Dakota

Pastor Steve Olson left a comment on our Facebook page to say the church “is still active with worship services on Sunday Mornings at 10:00 AM.” That might be worth a roadtrip.

Cogswell, North Dakota
Cogswell, North Dakota

We ran across this former church on the way out of town… boarded-up and clearly no longer in use. Please leave a comment if you know any more about it.

Update: Tina Larson, a visitor to our Facebook page, says “The church that is boarded up was the Church of Christ. When I lived in Cogswell, the Pastor was Steve Smith.”

Cogswell, North Dakota

These Cogswell churches were featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Cogswell, North Dakota

The postcard below was mailed in 1918 to a recipient in Minnesota. We came by the card in an antique store some time ago and we stopped in to see if this place was still standing, but we didn’t see it anywhere. Interesting to note, the photography lab apparently mixed up the Dakotas (if you’re a Dakotan, you know how common that is) and labeled the church as Cogswell, South Dakota, and the printer of the postcard corrected the mistake with the caption in the upper left. The postmark on the back was also stamped Cogswell, N.Dak.

Cogswell. North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

25 Comments on “Three Cogswell Churches

  1. I’m thinking that was the Lutheran but it must have had remodeling before my time or when I was real young because it seems vaguely familiar. At first I thought the Catholic but the entry and steeple doesn’t look quite right and I believe there was four windows along the sides. I sent the link to my mom to see if she remembers it better. When I was in school the pastor of the Church of Christ was Pastor Norris (I’m a few years older than Tina) who had a daughter in my class.

    • That is the Lutheran Church in Cogswell. It still exists. The steeple was removed, a narthex added along with a fellowship hall.

      • The Cogswell Church of Christ was my home church my whole life. The church was started by my great-grandparents, Bert and Chettie Dietz, and their 11 children when they moved to North Dakota in the early 1900’s. The building was patterned after the church they had left in Nebraska. Makes me said to see it in such a state of disrepair.

        • Yes I agree Janine. Sally savey, Mildred McGraw, a bunch of Dietz’s, Milo Nafzigger, Rex and Lillian White, Randy, Vern, Carolyn, Jeanne, Linda, jimmy, Glenn White. Steve and Lorinda Smith and Jessica, Cathy and Rachel, Harriet Kadoun, Sharon Savey, Lonnie, Paul, Kim, Fawn, Barb Burley, Randy, Lori, Cory. Julie Kadoun, Todd Kadoun. There was another gentleman, single older but I can’t remember his name. A few people that I remember at the church.

        • I do agree with you Janine. Some of the members I remember from the Church of Christ are numerous Dietz families, milo Nafzigger, Harriet, Todd and Julie Kadoun, Sharon, Paul, Lonnie, Kim, Fawn Savey, Rex and Lillian White, Glenn, Vern, Randy, Carolyn, Jeannie, Linda, and Jimmy White, Steve and Lorinda, Jessica, Cathy, and Rachel Smith, Sally Savey, Mildred McGraw, Barb, Randy, Lori, and ? Cory.. There are more but that’s all I can think of. There was one older gentleman, really nice guy, but I cannot come up with his name. Wish I could think of his name.

          • The Church of Christ was my home church as a child. We were married there in 1967, Vernon Norris was the preacher at that time. I will be forever grateful for the leaders of that church as it blessed me with a good understanding of the scriptures, started me on pathway in life that will lead to heaven! So many good friends and memories,

        • Janine, Bert and Chettie were my great-great grandparents! I’d love to connect with you and share info, photographs, and any other family information you might have!

  2. I found the boarded up church for sale on Craigslist and in very interested in buying this church. Although the pictures on Craigslist show the boards removed and the windows broke up. Still seems like a very nice church to fix up. Does anyone have more information on the church?

    Is the above link what it looks like now on the outside? Because if so, it looks like someone cleaned it up a bit.

    Thank you for your feedback.

  3. Lot of my kin are from there. My Granpa and Gramma Schreiner lived in town. I think across the street, The blue house. My Uncle Johnny worked with his hands. Lots of wood projects. Across from Grammas house. My other Uncles Alfred and eugene still got the farm outside cogswell. Lost eugene a couple schreiner reunions ago. God bless him. My dad (Leo Schreiner) took me to Grammas house when I was a lilittle tyke. She would make these Big marbles with clotesline rope. and I would clack them together. Yep I irritatedher. Good woman. I went back with my kids and wife along with my sister Debbie and her kids. Everything looked the same since I was a little tyke, Thankyou for refreshing my memories. Dan Schreiner (now living in Arizona)

  4. My name is Ray Dietz and the picture of the boarded up Church of Christ brings back many happy memories and at the same time makes me sad to see it in that condition. The main part of the building was originally the school at Harlem The church bought the building and moved it in to Cogswell and the men of the Church repaired and remodeled the building

  5. I was baptized in a Methodist church in Cogswell along with my cousin, Glen Thompson in 1942. I a. Not sure if this is the same building or not.

    • I am Shirley Anders, my dad was Johnny Anders, we lived in the house across the street from the Oxleys, they lived in this old white rounded building that use to be a hospital, was interesting! I think Dan’s mom’s name was Julia, and a sister named Margie ( she was my country one room school house teacher for my first 5 grades), loved her so much, then there was another younger sister, Julie I think, can’t remember the rest except there was a handsome brother named Dan!! He was in the service! Margie married Howard Holmgren! I lived in that house across the street until 1958 and I know they moved out before that, not sure when! Awesome family! I think Margie and Howard lived in Cogswell the rest of their days and ran a little grocery store on Main Street!

    • Knew Dan very well, he married my father’s sister. He retired from the AF as a full Colonel. at the time of his death they were living in Issaquah, Washington and is in the veteran’s cemetery south of Mandan, ND.

  6. I’m from the Brampton/Cogswell area, both my parents born,lived, died and are buried there. I recall my mom saying the Church of Christ was sometimes called the “Dietz Church” because of all the Dietz members.

  7. How wonderful to see the pictures of the churches of my childhood. Nazareth Lutheran was the church of my childhood and the place where I returned when my father died, the door unlocked and still welcoming. It was my place of worship and the place where I was married.

    The Methodist church was the church of my Grandpa and Grandma Strouse, where my grandfather sang in the men’s quartet. I remember the Church of Christ where my friend, Janine’s family worshiped. I remember Rev. Norris. His daughter, Beverly was in my class and his son, a year or so older had a beautiful singing voice.

    Sad to see that the Catholic church is gone. We walked past it every day on the way to and from school and church. Thanks for the memories. How wonderful to return for a bit to a place so safe and so loved. So many good memories of a place I was a bit surprised to see categorized as a ghost town but . . . . no doubt the ghosts out number the living 100 to 1. Thank you for all you do to preserve our precious past.

  8. My mom married my stepdad in the Methodist Church in Oct of 1984. We lived in Brampton at the time and went to church and Sunday school also. A few later we moved to Britton SD. My stepdads parents were Deloris and Hank Hassebroek. My grandpa was in the men’s quartet and grandma played the piano. My uncle and aunt still attend that church I believe, David and Julie.

  9. The oxley house or the old hospital as it was I believe is torn down now I heard. I haven’t been there for year. But milbrants lived there then an Anderson. Across where Shirley Anders grew up was the old funeral parlor, which Danny’s son and my son are best friends and Danny’s kids all say they had real ghosts and so each time my son would stay he’d have another ghost story. To tell. They even went to the cemetery and then talked to a minister who verified everything.

  10. This is from Bonnie Huffman Knouse. I am trusting that the Ghost who is prompting me to write this is the Holy Ghost. The Cogswell Church of Christ building-Wow-so many thoughts. First: I thought how sad for Cogswell itself. When I was growing up there everyone I knew went to one of those buildings and Jesus was a common subject shared by us all. Second: It could have caused me sadness and defeat to see this building in disrepair. Then I remembered the good times and it was clear to me Jesus doesn’t live in buildings made with hands but in the hearts of believers. That building is what my life looks like without what Jesus did for me. The people who went forth from there, generations carried the Gospel story they learned there. Probably 1000’s have heard about Jesus from those little groups.

  11. I used to attend church at the Methodist church when my brother and I spent summers with our grandparents ( Fred and Della Dyke) Cogswell. Seeing the pictures certainly bring back fond memories.

  12. I’m not sure if this is the place to ask this, but my Great-Grandfather was in Cogswell at the turn of the century. He was Peter Patrick Murphy and he married Juliana Hegedus who settled there from Hungary. My great-grandfather came from Stormont County in Ontario Canada…had a farm out there from about 1890-1900 and then he and Juliana came back to Canada…he had four children born there and the rest of the family was born in Canada. Juliana was the daughter of Franz and Elisabetha Hegedus…do you have any back grounder information you could share.

    • Surprise, Surprise. My grandfather was that same Peter Murphy, who returned sometime later to Canada and settled with his wife, my grandmother, and family of twelve, at Dickinsons Landing, Ontario, where my mother was born.
      My daughter Margaret, has made quite a study of the family history and would be happy I’m sure to e change further information with you.
      Khalman J. McMahon

    • Jim,

      Hi! My great grandparents were also Peter and Julianna Murphy. My grandmother was Josephine Lauretta Murphy, she went by her middle name. She was born when they moved back to Canada. Would like to share information with you.

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