Bergen, North Dakota: Population 7

Bergen, North Dakota

Bergen is a near-ghost town in McHenry county, just off Highway 52, about 30 miles southeast of Minot. The town was founded with a post office in 1905, and the railroad arrived in 1907. Bergen’s peak population was reportedly 98 residents.

Bergen, North Dakota

Like most of the little railroad towns we’ve photographed, the population began to dwindle during the Depression and Dust Bowl years, partly due to hardship, and partly due to changing transportation and agricultural practices. According to the 2010 Census, only 7 remain. These photos were taken that same year.

US Census Data for Bergen
Total Population by Place

1960 – 52
1970 – 24
1980 – 24
2000 – 11
2010 – 7

Bergen, North Dakota

Bergen is near Balfour, Kief, and several other towns we’ve photographed.

Bergen, North Dakota

A site visitor has asked about a murder/suicide that reportedly happened in the farm house where she lives in the Bergen area (see comments below). Do you know anything about it?

Bergen, North Dakota
Bergen, North Dakota

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Bergen, North Dakota
Bergen, North Dakota
Bergen, North Dakota

Above: The former Bergen Public School, home of the Bergen Vikings. This school was only used for a little more than a decade–built in the 50s and closed in the 60s.

Bergen, North Dakota
Bergen, North Dakota

What do you know about Bergen, North Dakota? Please leave a comment below.

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © Sonic Tremor Media

39 Comments on “Bergen, North Dakota: Population 7

  1. Is that one picture of an old school somebody turned into a shop/house or is it some type of old factory? I’ve always wondered when driving by on the highway.

    • The school was built in the 50’s and closed in the 60’s. It was used as a hog barn-I think in the late 60’s-70’s. I think it’s basically used as a storage/garage type building now. The owner has opened it up for Bergen reuinions in the past.

    • this is the old schoolhouse where my uncle went to school.dont know when it was closed but was in very bad shape when he started repairing.

  2. Not sure what it is now,but believe it was first used to house pigs.

    • Excuse me, but this building was the “new school” built in the mid-1950s until consolidation came through in 1965. I went to school there for 9 years. This was the home of the Bergen Vikings, there was a fierce basketball rivalry between Bergen and Balfour, the next burg going east on Highway 52 and the Soo-Line. We were all two-leggeds who went to school there, so this building was definitely not “first used to house pigs”. After the consolidation, most of us were bussed to Velva and, in hindsight, I think it was the Velva School Board that unloaded the property quickly. Sadly, it was adaptively reused as a hog farm.

      • My dad was stationed at Minot AFB from 1961-1965. Does anyone remember the Schatz family, they had a farm in Bergen and I used to go stay with them sometimes during summer vacation. I was friends with Colleen and had a huge crush on Danny. We met at a trail ride in Harvey and would then see each other on and off at weekend horse shows and rodeos all over ND. Their parents were so nice, I haven’t been able to find them, Colleen, or Danny’s brother Greg anywhere online, but Danny is now living in Fargo with his family.
        Fond memories!

  3. As a child I used to roam all over Bergen seen all the old building and remember the school just closed and full of books like they were coming back!The old store was open and grampa taking me there in his old car for candy bar.Great memories of Bergen.
    Thanks Mark V. Haga

    • Mark, I spent two summers back in 1962 & 1963 at my uncle’s farm, Lawrence Flatla. I remember the Haga farm very well.

    • I was wondering if anyone knew of any Moxness’s that lived in the area. Trying to locate lost family. Ole John Moxness was my grandfather.

      • Lottie Moxness was my grandmother. Her father was Gunder. She married Bill Hill and they lived in Velva for years. There’s a post on here from David Moxness, my dad’s cousin, about living in Bergen.

    • Do you have property or know someone who does? Would like an old house to fix up if possible.

  4. I lived on Second ave does anyone rember the Johnsons Paul was his first name!

  5. I graduated from BHS in ’57; classes moved into the new building in Jan. ’55. ( The 1917 building burned on New Years Day, ’54. ) School closed in spring, ’65. Have a brick salvaged from the pile of debris from the old building, by a classmate from ’57.

    • Dave,
      I am Bill and Lottie Hill’s granddaughter, Alzada is my Mom. I just came across this site and was looking around and saw your name. You are Bill and Luella’s son and Marilyn’s brother, right? Hope all is well with you. Would love to hear some about your family and where you live now. I have lost touch with Marilyn too. I remember you quite well from when I was little! Hope to hear from you even though you posted this in 2012!

    • Dave, I am curious if you may know anything of the Ole John Moxness family. My father Frank Moxness is from Devils Lake area, thought I would try to find anyone related to me there.

  6. the white house in the top of the page is not abandoned, there’s and older man who lives there in the summer and goes to florida for the rest of the year. And the white garage is also owned by him, I have always called him Olley

  7. Interesting site. My grandfather Knute Berg homesteaded about 4 miles south of Bergen in 1904. My father, Stanley Berg was born there in 1911. The family moved back to Wisconsin about 1913-14. I visited Bergen in 1992 while doing some family research. One of my dad’s cousins was Kenneth Stevens. I believe his wife was names “Alma”. Made contact with Oscar Bergstad a very nice man who filled me in on some local history. Oscar painted a picture of the Lutheran church my grandparents helped found along with a picture as he remembered it of my grandfathers homestead. We did find the old homestead as I had the approximate location. House was still standing but abandoned. My grandmother was Anna (Stevens) Berg thus all the Stevens relatives around the Bergen area. Mike Berg

  8. Does anyone know about a murder suicide that happened in Bergen Nd in the 1900s. I live in an old farm house and a lady said there was a murder suicide in this house. The wife apparently lived.

  9. Megan, I would imagine that news of this sort would make the front page of a local paper; it still does. Have you considered going to a library and asking the librarian to help you access the archives? I bet s/she would help you gladly. (All of the librarians I know love to do this kind of stuff.). It may help to answer your questions. I hope for your sake that it’s not true. Even for as old as it is, that would kind of creep me out.

  10. Bergen is where my dad, Wayne Bergstad, went to school and played on the basketball team. My Grandmother Ebba Bergstad was the Postmaster at one time. And my mom, Lucy Bergstad is currently the Mayor. My parents would be 2 of the 7 🙂

  11. Member of Haga and Helstedt family, Have very fond memories,, of Bergan

  12. I remember when the Bergen kids came to our school in Velva. One ended up as my brother-in-law, Vince Flatla:)

  13. Wish I could have been there for the Haga Family reunion this last summer. I Love this little town and the memories of my childhood!

  14. My Dad Everett “Peanut” Olson graduated from Bergen HS in or around 1959. He played basketball with a man named Jimmy Waggle. I believe they lived in a small house in town in the winter some years because transportation into town from their farm was nearly impossible. He said that their basketball team was very successful vying for many district championships. I loved going to that area as a child. My grandmother was originally Lydia Haga and she had a brother Ernest who lived very close as well. Magical memories of this place.

    • That Jimmy Weigel is my grandpa and he was a stud on the court.

  15. My name is Steve Stromme I live in Juneau Alaska my dad went to high school in Bergen till his senior year , my grand parents and my great grandparents are buried at the Bergen cemetery so many names I recognize on the comments last time I spent a large amount of time in no dak was 1967 no w it seems like I go for funerals

    • I from Butte now in Juneau i knew a lot of people from bergan dated a guy from bergan klnew the Zabach klepper

  16. I live in Albany, New York. Born, raised and never escaped. For some unexplainable reason I’ve become fascinated with North Dakota. As I am getting near retirement age, my new dream is to find a piece of property in ND, possibly with a house that isn’t too far gone, where I could live the rest of my life. No more city noise and neighbors from hell, just peace and quiet with gorgeous scenery all around. Maybe farm a little just to live off the land. Go to the nearest town maybe every other month for staples. I don’t know but it just seems like a great way to spend the remainder of my years.

  17. I am Gary Nehrenberg. My father was Delmar Nehrenberg of Balfour and my mother was Florence Helstedt Nehrenberg. She grew up on a farm about two miles north of Bergen. We lived in several parts of North Dakota but moved back to Bergen in the late 1940s when I was in second grade. My dad was the high school teacher and basketball coach for a couple of years before moving on to Minot and then the Grand Forks area. Mom and Dad are buried in the Helstedt plot are at the Bergen cemetery. My family has lived in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years. I have many great memories of my years growing up in Bergen. We rented a house from my uncle Rudy at the southwest corner of 5th and Main. I believe the house is still there.

  18. My grandfather Martin Apland came to Bergen around 1910, and raised three children there: Naomi, Anna and Howard born between 1912 and 1917. The first picture of the brick building was the bank, which Martin was involved in, along with (family stories go) a Ford dealership and the power company. Wiped out in the 20’s. I have pictures Naomi took of the area, school chums, and the basketball team in the 20’s.

    Martin raised prize winning steers there (I still have pictures and the blue ribbons).

    I think the family sold off the last bit of land they owned in the Bergen area in the early ’70s.

  19. I drove through what is left of Bergen 30 years ago, so when I saw my aunt’s pictures of the basketball team from the ’20s, with uniforms with a “B” on them, I assumed it was for Balfour. I had a hard time picturing Bergen being big enough for it’s own school.
    Thank you all for the posts that cleared that up.

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