Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Griffin, North Dakota

Griffin is a true ghost town in Bowman County, along Highway 12, about halfway between Bowman and Rhame, North Dakota. Although there are some working farms and ranches in the area, there’s really no town any more, and no apparent residents in the actual townsite.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

A maximum population of 67 was reported in 1930, but the post office closed that same year and the town quickly vanished. This old schoolhouse is the most prominent remaining structure from Griffin.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota
Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota
Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota
Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Above: a look inside the old schoolhouse.

Griffin was once the home to some of the biggest stock yards in southwest North Dakota, and reportedly had a store and lumber yard.  It was also a stop on one of America’s first cross-country highways–a route from Massachusetts to Seattle, marked in places by three foot stone markers painted yellow, known as the Yellowstone Trail.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota
Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Griffin is just one of many true ghost towns we’ve visited in North Dakota, where the buildings still stand but the people are gone. See a list of true ghost towns, population zero.

Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

Griffin was a Milwaukee Road railroad town, and known as Atkinson until February 10, 1908, when the name was changed to Grifiin to honor H.T. Griffin, the Assistant General Passenger Agent for the railroad. What do you know about Griffin, North Dakota? Please leave a comment below.

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

13 Comments on “Ghost Town Griffin, North Dakota

  1. We drove past Griffin last fall on our way to Marmarth. We would have stopped to check it out, but since it’s not on the map and I wasn’t paying attention, I didn’t realize we missed it until we had long passed it. As of fall ’09 the elevators and schoolhouse (?) pictured above are still standing but I didn’t see anything else in the area other than a bunch of farm equipment.

  2. i wonder if Bowman County is named after my family from iowa from way back . it’s alway a pleasure to see my family name is out of the way places! great old buildings, but it’s sad to see them left alone like that. oh if those walls could talk!

  3. There’s several families of Bowmans and descendants, all related, in the area. One of the old timers was Charlie Bowman, long gone. Not so sure where they came from originally, but Iowa was a popular jumping off point for arrivals here.

    • My grandfather Maurice Griffin spoke of a small store where his family sold basic goods and dry foods when he was a boy. The store was called Griffin’s. My mom was later born in Grand Forks. I wonder if the store was here. Some day I hope to come to Bowman County from New York City with my kids to see these buildings if they’re still standing. Thank you so much for posting.


    • Do you have any photos of the railroad station/post office. Griffin, North Dakota was named after my great, great grandfather. Thanks.

  5. Surprised you didn’t see the cemetery at Griffin. Good story there

  6. Bowman, ND and Bowman County are named for Edward M. Bowman, a member of the territorial House of Representatives during the 1883 session.

  7. I live in Bowman and have driven by Griffin many times. One thing about Griffin that is interesting is that they had a rotary kiln for burning uranium back in the 40’s-70’s. You can’t stay there too long or you will get radiation poisoning.

    • Remember that well. Turned south on the Griffin Road to get to grandfather’s farm, and after his passing and not having been there in maybe 15 years missed the turn because was looking for the building it was in along the tracks. Even today I still am vigilant since I still picture the kiln there.

  8. My grandparents lived in Griffin and homesteaders in Griffin .

  9. Troy
    I have an article of my Grandpa Paul Westberg who went out to western ND and homesteaded in 1906. he had brothers and cousin who came out there and did the same. They were known as the “swede boys”. Just wondering if you heard or knew of them. They mention towns like Rhame, Haynes and Dickinson. There is a claim file number but I have no way of figuring where to look.

  10. my mother was born in griffin on sept. 20 1921,later moved to minot and over to st. paul. i would like to visit someday,but live in p.a. and probably will not get to.

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