Passing Through Merricourt
Merricourt is a very remote town in Dickey County, about fifty miles south of Jamestown. There are fewer than a handful of residents in Merricourt — just one family remains in this near-ghost town. We didn’t intend to visit Merricourt when we went on an adventure in October of 2014, but some last minute route changes took us right through town, so we stopped to snap a few shots, nine years after our first visit.
Our first visit to Merricourt was in 2005, we visited again in 2011, and these photos were taken in 2014.
Judging by the number of emails we get about this place, Merricourt is one of the more popular places we’ve visited.
The former First State Bank of Merricourt was also a bar later in its life. When we first visited in 2005, the glass was still in the panes and the door on the hinges. By 2011, it appeared to have deteriorated considerably. Below: the bank as it appeared in 2014.
We’ve occasionally encountered a bank vault standing alone in a vacant lot, like the one in Silva, North Dakota, and it’s usually a dead giveaway that you’re standing where the bank once stood. In this case, you can see the vault in its original context, at the back of the building. The floor has sunken considerably since 2011, and the roof gets worse by the day. Absent heroic intervention, that vault will be the last thing standing one day.
Author Keith Norman contributed a story about a robbery in Merricourt.
Merricourt originally stood as a farm post office a few miles away, but was relocated here when the Soo Line railroad came through. The name “Merricourt” was an English name that the first postmaster found in a novel.
We’ve yet to see another brick elevator, but we’re told there’s one in Beach, ND.
We’ve enjoyed our visits to Merricourt immensely over the years. It’s very quiet and peaceful, and so picturesque.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © Sonic Tremor Media