If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to look at these photos and assume this place was struck by a powerful prairie tornado. Grain bins are ripped open, the roof of the former bar has caved-in, and the building leans at a precarious angle. Pieces of several structures have blown down and lie decaying in the grass some distance away with their rusty nails pointed skyward, waiting for an unsuspecting explorer to test their tetanus shots with an errant step. Nobody would blame you for believing Dorothy and Toto just blew away minutes before, but the reality is, it’s been a slow-motion disaster in ghost town Aylmer, North Dakota.
The slow-motion disaster is the weather that comes with the passage of time. We first became aware of Aylmer when Sara Schindler sent us some photos in 2011, and when you compare her shots with ours, it’s apparent that even six years of weather can have a dramatic impact on an abandoned place.
Aylmer (we’re told it’s pronounced Elmer, like the glue) is in Pierce County, less than a quarter mile from the McHenry County line, about thirty miles southwest of Rugby. It was founded as a Great Northern Railroad town sometime around the turn of the century, and although it once had as many as 45 residents, it never incorporated or had a post office. Today, although the original townsite is empty, there is a nearby farm with a resident or two, so it’s technically not a true ghost town… yet.
A look inside
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Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © Sonic Tremor Media
13 thoughts on “A Slow-Motion Disaster in Ghost Town Aylmer, North Dakota”
I love seeing photos of old homes, If those walls could talk,, all that history behind those walls,, how sad that nothing was preserved, and no one to take those places over.. just to sad.. keep up the good work..
It surprising that no one came to get the grain for animal feed.
I look at every Email message sent about GND.
I have 3 of the original volumes. (I was stationed at both Fortuna & Finley AFS). I do ask: is your cap from Ohio State? It looks like their colors. Thanks.
It is, but I only wear it because I have a big head and when I find a cap that fits, I buy it. 🙂
My husband’s Grandfather owned the tavern and store years ago. He can identify the building in your pictures. My husband moved to Wisconsin about 60 years ago.
Hello Gents. I would like to ask a couple of questions. It says my email address is already subscribed for email notifications of anything new. I haven’t received an email notification from you folks in years.
Why is Facebook not showing your posts to us followers.
You have the nicest, best site of all states in the US.
Thanks so much for the Aylmer pictures. The nearby farm you may be referring to is our Family Farm where my grandparents homesteaded in 1907. On July 1, we are celebrating that event with a big reunion. My Cousin and his wife reside there. I understood that there was mail delivery there. My relatives got on the train there to come see us while my Family lived in Bremen. We called the train the “Dinky”.
They are referring to The Royce Ponzer farm
The farm they are referring to is the Ponzer farm.
Oh, yes, I remember the town of Alymer. It was the next railroad link once the “dinky” went through Clifton, ND and dropped off the mail to the local all around store owned be the Goerge Hager family. The mail was dropped off and also picked up by that little train. It seems to me there was even a day when Truman?? went through ? I can’t say that for sure. Just seems a memory. I was young at the time.
Your photo essays are always so inviting, avoiding, as you do — winter. Almost enough to make me want to venture back, with my metal detector and a ready-made list of towns on your site.
I have been following ghosts of North Dakota for quite awhile. I love these old ghosts towns and will
“trespass” whenever given the chance.
A number of years ago I wrote an article about Charbonneau for the Cowboy Chronicle the publication for the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame.
I am currently in the beginning stages of another story that would include a couple of towns you do not have a reference to, Little Missouri across the River from Medora and Nohly ( which is actually just over the state line in MT.)
I was wondering if you by any chance had information on these towns or if you knew of resources about them? Also, is there any additional information on Buford not included on your website?
Mary Pat Jones