Nebo School on Borrowed Time

Nebo School

In Bowman County, about eleven miles south of Rhame, North Dakota, this place remains, if only on borrowed time. Known simply as Nebo School, this little structure is the ruin of a North Dakota country school. There is very little information on the web about this particular school, so if you have a connection to this little school, please post a comment below and maybe we can remedy that.

Nebo School

The topographic setting of this little school is right on the western edge of the North Dakota prairie. A few more miles to the west, the landscape turns rugged as you approach the Montana border.

Nebo School

Nebo School

We stopped to photograph this place as we were headed to South Dakota, which we would pass through on our way to photograph a few places in Wyoming. It is just down the road from the Adelaide School. This was our first time in this extreme southwest part of North Dakota and we were somewhat surprised at how remote this area is as you travel south. Gas and food stops have to be well-planned because restaurants and gas stations are few and far between in the region.

Nebo School

Nebo School

Nebo School

Nebo School

Imagine the day — attending school in a prairie setting like this, having that view just outside the window all day.

Nebo School

Chalk drawings that look as though they could have been done yesterday are actually three decades old.

Nebo School

Note the ladder in the corner of the room. Someone has been salvaging materials from inside this old school, although it is admittedly hard to tell the difference between salvage work and vandalism at times. Based on the water damaged ceilings and the encroachment of nature, this school is on its last leg.

Nebo School

Update: According to site visitor Marion Miller, Nebo school has been demolished (see comments below).

Nebo School

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media


18 Comments on “Nebo School on Borrowed Time

  1. I always look forward to your new posts and return visits, by email.

    Thank you. It helps us all to keep in touch.


  2. Your photos are gorgeous, and always make me homesick for the wide open spaces.

  3. those old country schools have so much history, and children who remember the days of learning there, should all write about those memories, so this part of History isn’t forgotten.

  4. Thanking you once again for the great posting. Miss my North Dakota roots often. God’s country to be sure.

  5. I have no knowledge or information on this particular school. However, I am so proud to have been one of the last few to go the a one room country school. To see any country school in ruins breaks my heart. Memories..memories of us all being in our desks..the murmur of a class going on in the front t of the room..and the excitement of all being together again for the day. I could not wait to leave and go to high school in a big town (class of 18..whoo whoo)….then and now realizing how much I truly miss that time in my life. In doing my part to save these country husband and I moved into the one-room school I attended as a youngster. Did a little remodeling and call it our HOME…where I truly am a “home”.

  6. I went to Langberg, a country school a few miles south of Nebo. Lots of good memories of those schools!

  7. The Giant strides made me smile. I have not seen seen them still standing on any vacant country school lot. Great photography!

    • WHAT ARE Giant Strides? what picture shows them? I did not go to country school but at my 8th Grade graduation, some unknown kids showed up. The kids from nearby country schools participated in graduation with us and then joined us for high school.

      • Giant strides are swings connected to a very tall pole. Each swing has a “handle bar” that you hold on to as you run around the pole to gain momentum. Once you feel you are going fast enough you pick your feet off the ground and circle the pole as the momentum is sustained. If you are really brave, you let loose of the bar while swinging and see ho we far you can fly (jump).

  8. Love this. I too went to a one room school for 8 years I and another girl was the 8th graders befor they closed it it was in Webster ND Cato #3. Such wonderful years and memories

  9. I attended Langberg school which is on the Rhame farm to market road south of Nebo school about 6 miles. It is also on its last leg and is built and looks like an old church with a church steeple where we actually had a bell that we rang by pulling a rope to ring it, Langberg school closed about 1972 and the teacher that taught there whose name was Margie Schaaf, went to Nebo to teach until it closed. Margie was my teaher all 8 years of country school. I was the only one in my class all 8 years. The most kids in the school was 10 one year, other then that, there were 6 kids that Margie taught. The kids at Nebo would visit us once in a while and one of the boys there was in the same grade as me so once in awhile I would have a “class mate”. I spent time at Nebo school one week every summer when we had bible school. Many of my friends came from Nebo School. Growing up in a country school was one of the highlights of my childhood.

  10. What is that decorative metal cylinder next to the old stove? (I have to chuckle as my very first apartmet had an identical stove just green, was so tiny I had to make my own baking sheets so I could use it.)

    • That is a shroud that went around the stove that heated the schoolhouse to avoid anyone getting burned. Looks just like the one in the old school we used for 4-H meetings where my dad went to school.

  11. I attended New Home #4 south of Turtle Lake in McLean country from 1955 to 1960 (grades 1 thru 5).

    In McLean country, as probably for the state, Townships schools were shut down over a period of three years (ASFAIK). 59, 60 and 61.

    My father and uncles also attended the school. 15-17 was probably the largest number of students. During my Dad’s time as farms in those parts starting declining after the first wave of homesteaders.

    At one time, there was a horse barn for students that rode to school. And, of course an outhouse. There were four rooms: An “arctic entry, a “coat room” where (if I remember correctly) there was a basketball hoop, the main classroom and a coal room that was converted to a bedroom (if needed) for the teacher — after an oil stove replaced the coal stove.

    After classes were discontinued, the school continued as a meeting place. Farmer’s Union meetings were held there, as well as card parties.

  12. Thanks Troy and company! Great images! So sad to see the ruins of what was once a vibrant culture. There are still a whole bunch of really nice people in ND, some of whom are my relatives – just not as many as there used to be. My mom and dad were “Dokies” as they called them back in the thirties, from small towns in ND. My mother would often talk about living on the prairie – the hardships and difficulties, but also the feeling of freedom, spaciousness and the immensity of the SKY! The Great Depression caused them to migrate seeking better opportunities and to leave it all behind…

  13. Sadly, Nebo School is now totally gone. I drove by last September and it had been demolished. My father and his siblings attended Nebo in the early 1900s, and my siblings and I attended in the 1950s. Many wonderful memories of that old one room school house. Excellent learning occurred there.

Leave a Reply