Grand Rapids, North Dakota is a town in Lamoure County that owes its existence to a lie. Captain Homer T. Elliot built the first homestead between Jamestown and Huron, Dakota Territory here in 1879. Not wanting to travel many miles to get his mail every day, Elliot reported to the government that a town called Grand Rapids had sprung up, and appointed himself Postmaster.
It was a self-serving lie. A town named Grand Rapids did not yet exist. Nevertheless, a stagecoach line arrived soon after, and then another. If it weren’t for Elliot’s little white lie, Grand Rapids, North Dakota would not exist today.
We visited Grand Rapids specifically to photograph this school which, according to a fading plaque on the site, was built in 1916 but hasn’t been used since 1962.
A small one-room school stands in the weeds just down the road.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp copyright © 2014 Sonic Tremor Media