Abandoned in the Sheyenne River Valley

abandoned farm

This is an abandoned farmstead right along the Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway, just a few minutes south of Valley City, North Dakota.

People have occasionally asked us, “What’s the fascination with abandoned places like this?” and it’s a hard question to answer, but there’s a hint in places like this. When you see it for the first time, you’re struck by the contradiction of a beautiful setting in a rolling river valley marked by an abandoned home like this. Your mind conjures the questions soon after… “What was life like when a family called this home? Why did they leave?” Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour pondering it in your mind’s eye. 

abandoned farm
abandoned farm

We passed this farm once before and we couldn’t get close due to a wet field.

abandoned farm

This farm is often visited by photographers. We’ve seen photos from lots of other people who have visited this place, likely due to it’s incredibly beautiful location nestled in the rolling hills of the Sheyenne River Valley, just off the scenic byway which is one of the state’s most beautiful drives.

abandoned farm
abandoned farm

The driveway which once led to this farm no longer exists, making this an isolated outpost on what was once a wild prairie.

abandoned farm

There was at least one collapsed structure on-site, and a small house, separate from the main home.

abandoned farm

abandoned farm
abandoned farm

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

12 Comments on “Abandoned in the Sheyenne River Valley

  1. This wasOlstad’s house, later owned by Cliff Sorenson, now it belongs to my cousin. It isn’t lived in but it is not abandoned exactly.

    • Gloria

      It sure would be nice if your cousin could see his/her way clear to restoring this place. The view is stunningly beautiful and you can see what that house once was. Of course, it would take more money than one could shake sticks at. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an endless supply of ready cash? Still, it makes me sad to see these houses, so beautiful at their peak, fall like this.

  2. adjective: abandoned

    1. having been deserted or cast off.

    verb: abandon

    1. cease to support or look after; desert.

    2. leave (a place or vehicle) empty or uninhabited, without intending to return.

    3. condemn someone or something to (a specified fate) by ceasing to take an interest in or look after them.

    Looks abandoned to me, Gloria. Just because a place is owned doesn’t mean it’s not abandoned.

  3. I just think about how the home looked back 50 years ago.
    When it was someones home. Great pics.

  4. Well the world turns, and the living go on, and if no one wants to live there, or can make a reasonable living there, well then it goes the way of all things mortal – which I suppose buildings are, mortal, just like the people who once lived there, which I suppose is why these images evoke a certain fascination for us…

  5. I travel from farm to farm in my business and it is interesting to see how different farmers can be in the way they keep up their homes. There is the perfectionist that paves his driveway and everything is in it’s place. There are relatively few of those. And there are the ones that maintain their home and they look like an average home in an average town. Then there are the ones that just live in their home and do not maintain it. Cobwebs in the eaves, many times holes in the doors and shingles long past time to replace. I don’t know how many times I go to a home that looks like it should be condemned and someone lives there.

  6. When I see houses like this, I wonder about the people that used to live there. Sometimes you can stand in the house, and if you listen carefully, you can hear the laughter, sometimes crying!. Ever wonder what conversations took place, what trying times the people had, the happy times? “Well, said Pa, I think the crops are good enough this year that we can get that new linoleum you’ve been wanting for the kitchen Ma”. Did they sing Christmas Carols, with Mom playing the piano? Where there lots of family together for holidays and good food on the table. Please pass the biscuits! Probably slept three or four to a bed in the winter to keep warm. Mostly they were good hard working people. The house may be “abandoned”, if you will, but the memories of the souls that lived there will be forever etched in someone’s memory.

  7. In my part of the world…a rich farmer bought my husband’s grandmother’s well kept home and land…from the old maid daughter…with the promise to keep the home up to snuff. It was a lie of course. Once he had completed the purchase he never did a thing. Would not even mow the grass……would not let anyone live in the house. Two years later he had the home and farm buildings bulldozed down as was his plan all along.

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