At one time, there was a “town” near Hurricane Lake, in the northeast corner of Pierce County, about 7 miles northeast of York, North Dakota. It was a “town” because it had a post office, but in reality it never had a sizable population. Hurricane Lake was founded early in relation to many of the towns we visit — in the 1880s — and was a stage coach stop, never having had the benefit of a railroad line to boost development. There was a hotel at the north end of Hurricane Lake to serve travelers on the stage line, but the post office shut down in 1905 and today there is nothing left of the original Hurricane Lake. At present, the area is home to the Hurricane Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and this crumbling church and still-used cemetery are the only man-made signs of the settlers who once lived in the vicinity of Hurricane Lake.
The Hurricane Lake Church is rapidly approaching the end through a combination of weathering and salvage operations. The roof is open and the weather has obviously been intruding for quite some time. The bell was removed from the steeple some time ago, and the windows and planks along the sides of the church have been removed, presumably for some unknown reuse.
We would have liked to photograph the cemetery, but it was extremely wet. There is an entry for Hurricane Lake Cemetery at Find A Grave.
Inside, Hurricane Lake Church is naturally air-conditioned. It seems inevitable that Hurricane Lake Church will reach its end sometime in the near future.
In the lower right corner of the photo above, plywood that once covered the windows.
The basement of Hurricane Lake Church was full of water on the day we visited, likely from the snow melt of the early spring.
The whole time we were at Hurricane Lake Church, the birds in these trees were nearly deafening with bird song. They did not seem to like our presence. They would cackle together for minute after minute, then it would suddenly get quiet as they took flight together, only to land and begin their chorus again.
What do you know about Hurricane Lake Church? Please leave a comment.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © Sonic Tremor Media
9 thoughts on “Hurricane Lake Church Approaches the End”
I spent many fine days in North Dakota, specifically Dicky in Lamore County. Mother was born there, much family history there. Spent a lot of time wandering around The State and miss it. Took my wife there in 2015 just so she could see the Dakotas. Your project is a good one, keep it up.
It saddens my heart to see a church, which, I am sure at one time held much reverence and beauty for its time, along with possibly stained glass windows, but in order for the life of a church to go on, when there are no longer people or pastors to full fill the need of a church, it comes to this.. I too at one time attended a rural country church, but Pastors not wanting to travel, low attendance, not enough money to maintain the church, brought ours to be sold, and was turned into a machine shop for a local farmer.. many dear memories of that little church on the prairie, but still have a cemetery there, being maintained up to this point, but how long is always a question..
Vang Church in rural Adams, ND will be torn down June 2017. Its full of rich history and the sanctuary is beautiful. You should visit this month before it’s replaced with a small building for reflection while visiting the cemetery
Do you know if the church is being salvaged?
It is unfortunate that people/congregations don’t bring a solemn conclusion and slowly dismantle the churches, rather than ignoring and letting them crumble. Seems there is always use for wood and some of the materials. Thanks so much for sharing.
It’s quite sad to see another relic from North Dakota’s past passing on into history. I’ve seen some churches that were saved on Ghosts of North Dakota and in some cases, being used again but it’s unfortunate that all can’t be saved.
John from Massachusetts.
My 5 year old and I go on Dirt Road Adventures to see ND while are living here. This week, you inspired us to hit Hurricane Lake, and she LOVED it! Water is still in the basement, cemetery is dried out, and the land is lush green and freshly mowed. I love that the outhouses have vestibules! How uptown! 🙂 HUGE next in the tower instead of a bell now. And lots of ticks
We had a GREAT day there!
The bell from Hurricane Lutheran’s bell tower is on display at the Dale and Martha Hawk Museum near Wolford, ND. It is kept safe and dry, inside one of the bigger buildings.
Which of your books includes pictures of Merricourt in it? I’d love to purchase a copy.