Ghost Town Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota is in Sheridan County, about 8 miles NE of McClusky. Lincoln Valley was a primarily German/Russian settlement when it was founded in 1900 by George and Conrad C. Reiswig as Lincoln. In 1912 the name was changed to Lincoln Valley. There were hopes that the railroad would come through Lincoln Valley and spur a boom, but the tracks never came and Lincoln Valley slowly withered.

We first visited Lincoln Valley in 2004 and took these photos. Before we even made it into town, we ran into an intriguing home on the northeast edge of town. It was in the middle of a field with no driveway or outbuildings… just a lonely home, all alone and decaying.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

The home is the former home of the Opp family, who according to a site visitor, just packed up and left one day, leaving most of their possessions behind. For many years, this place was (and continues to be) an icon of our website and our passion. So with sadness we say, when we returned in 2010 we found this house was no longer standing. It was razed due to safety concerns in 2009.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

More views of the Opp house

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Above: We drove into Lincoln Valley and we were struck by the appearance of the former Bar and Ice Cream Parlor and the town’s former gas station crumbling in the overgrowth. I said “Wow, look at this place,” as we shut off the car and got out, and we were greeted with the sound of crickets and prairie grasses swishing in the wind.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

The building pictured above is the former bar and ice cream parlor for Lincoln Valley. Note the gas pumps of the town’s gas station next door. A huge thank you to Dale Hinsverk of Wahpeton for sending us a newspaper clipping from The Minot Daily News, August 22nd, 1970. The clipping is what allowed us to do these “Then and Now” animations.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Above: One block to the west of the former bar, there was a church. Only the open basement remains today.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Above: the home Terry affectionately dubbed the Hobbit House, because it looks like something out of the Lord of the Rings.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Joe Leintz was the final resident of Lincoln Valley. He left in 1972.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Lincoln Valley should be considered a dangerous town to explore. There are open basements and wells everywhere, and very tall grass which makes it easy to tumble right into one. Above: only the rear shed remains from a structure that once stood here. Below: a tree grows out of what was once a basement.

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

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

43 Comments on “Ghost Town Lincoln Valley, North Dakota

  1. I ‘m pleased that someone is interested in this old town, my father grew up here. His father owned and operated the poolhall and Barber shop.I now own a few lots, my cousin owns one of the still standing houses in your photos, the pool hall is owned by someone from New York, at least that is the way it was a few years ago, when I tried to buy it. I didn’t know they were having a reunion last summer, my family would have enjoyed being there. Thanks,

  2. Hello, Your new web site is awesome! I grew up in the Lincoln Valley area. I remember going to Lincoln valley on Wed. evenings . It was a night of shopping, selling cream, and visting at the local pub!
    Lincoln Valley may have ghosts but they are friendly.
    My neice from Washington DC did a picture study of ND and took many great pictures of ND and Lincoln Valley.Thank you for all your hard work. This is a great web site!

  3. Hi,

    I grew up about 2 miles north of Lincoln Valley. Last year I was at the reunion they had there. Everything was set up on the old Luthren Church grounds of which my father owns. Saw the photos above of the house out in the field which orginally housed an Opp family. As to if it housed any other family I am uncertain. My father would know as he owns that land as well. Sorry to say though that the house is no longer standing as age and dematerialization took hold and it had to come down. From what my father said it was 2 summers ago when it was taken down. Kind of sad though, because it was sort of a land mark.

    Great work on the site.

  4. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy this website. My girlfriend came upon it recently and when she was telling me about it, the first town that came to mind was Lincoln Valley. I was very pleased to see it on the map. I’m from Goodrich, not far to the southeast, but I’ve stopped through Lincoln Valley on several occasions. Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to visit when residents still called it home, but I always found the town interesting. There’s still a newspaper article about the last Lincoln Valley resident on display in the Goodrich museum. I always heard the rumors about ghost sightings in the town as well, so of course, being teenagers, it always intrigued us. If I’m not mistaken, I think the town was even featured in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Long story short, I appreciate your work in putting this site together, and I’ll definitely be spreading the word about it to my family back home!

  5. Hey all, this is great. I think one of those pics may be of my Great Gramma Helm’s house. And there was one tagged on face-book that was south of where I grew up on Hwy. 14.

    Thanks GND!

  6. All these pics look great. Remind me of home. I grew up 1/2 mile Southwest of Lincoln Valley. The old Opp house was in my dad’s field. As kids, we always enjoyed searching for old artifacts left in the town. I do agree, that it is very dangerous to walk around in if you are not familiar with the layout of the town, lots of open basements. Be careful if you do go visit Lincoln Valley, and please be respectufl to the history that remains of the abandoned town.

  7. Me my dad and a couple of his friends visited Lincoln valley in 1994 after growing bored of a graduation party. There was a grand old white house near the town center with a smashed out television and decades of wallpaper peeling off. The best was when a car of older folks pulled up and a gentleman in the group told us all we needed to know. His grandmother had lived there until she died in 1953 and her house still stood. I returned in 2000 on my way back from Minneapolis and the whole town was roped off with trespassers will be shot signs. U have to love how some translate a constitutional right in to a right to murder someone who steps on your grass!

    • Possibly the property ‘belongs’ to someone…or not, but if it did, they could shoot you. I can tell you, though, that it is more likely a good-hearted attempt to keep people out of the locale due to some dangerous old wells and/or house foundations and debris that could cause injury. As for myself, I hope the sign keeps pillagers and delinquents out so as to preserve a part of my family history. It’s a great place, even if you can only drive by it.

      • No actually they cannot shoot you for being on property OUTDOORS. You actually have to be inside their dwelling for that and in most cases break and enter. That law goes for every state some stricter than others but you cannot use a deadly weapon on anyone for “trespassing” on land. How ignorant you are stop making people from ND look like gun toting freaks

      • My goodness Crystal! I was their to view your “family history” only to someone as good hearted as you had plowed it to the ground!! I was there as a kid and it stood open and you think it’s better roped off with signs that threaten to break a major law (that means felony) if you are break a minor law (trespassing that’s a misdemeanor)

      • Their, there, they’re CP….sorry I ruffled your feathers. Not sure why so defensive, and not certain which one of us is correct on the felony’s or misdemeanors, but then, I don’t really care since the comment was made in jest. We come to this site to reminisce and enjoy each others comments. If you can’t take it, there’s plenty of other web-sites to go to.

        I’m proudly from ND and had no intention of making us look like freaks; gun-toting maybe, but not freaks. I don’t know who you are but I bet I could guess what profession you’re in.

        Have a nice day.

      • Wrong “there” sweet cheeks. Was I not coming to the site to reminisce? And you chose to inform me that I could be shot when you’re completely wrong? And yes trespassing is a misdemeanor, while murdering a trespasser is a felony. I am also proud to be from ND and prouder than you because I am embarassed of those who assume its ok to tell someone “they could shoot you” regardless of the reason to shoot (I love your remark that perhaps it’s my own safety). Anyway tell me, what is my profession? I bet I can guess yours: none

  8. We have been to Lincoln Valley on roughly five occasions and we have never seen any trespassing signs or encountered anyone hostile. The only thing to fear is wood ticks.

  9. I hear rumors of a Lincoln Valley reunion on June 3,4, and 5 of 2011. Any news on this?

  10. Not sure what the plans are for LV…but Anamoose is having thier all school reunion on July 1, 2 and 3! Should be a great place to be, usually is!

    • First weekend in June will be the 2nd Lincoln Valley Ralley. Should look like a RV Park once again. Anamoose All School Reunion is July 4 weekend. That should be an incredible time as well. 🙂

    • Crystal – you went to school? Or just going to a reunion of folks who do get their (note the form of their) schoolin’ ? Just curious. You still never advised me of my profession, as you indicated you would be able to guess. Please do so

      • Honestly I’m surprised to find a comment fight on such a wonderful and peaceful site, but I guess you’re going to get people like that anywhere, anytime.
        Good work, guys

        • This was in response to someone who told me that i can be shot for standing on dirt the someone else owns. It’s a ludicrous statement and more ludicrous are those who think that the law would afford them such a right.

  11. Has anyone visited the Lincoln Valley cemetery? What is its condition and location? My father Ed C. Wagner was buried there in 1947.

  12. Yes, they just had visitors…I think it’s north of town. My great grandparents are buried there and I can’t wait to go find the cemetery next time I’m in that area.

  13. I, too, have memories of Lincoln Valley. I remember going to the Implement shop to get parts for my Dad. I don’t remember the name of the man who ran the shop. He might have been the last person to live there. We lived 7 miles east of McClusky. My Grandpa, Sam Triebwasser was born in Lincoln Valley.

  14. I happened to be exploring around there a little bit Saturday evening. Was just wondering if there are still several open wells in the area. I noticed that there are several bldgs hidden by trees and vegetation, would like to explore some more and take some photos safely. What a great little hidden town that is. I never knew it existed until recently. It would be nice if ghostowns like these could be preserved somehow. With all the litle ghostowns ND has we have something that no other state has.

  15. I grew up in McClusky and was living in NJ when the last resident moved away, Joe Lientz or something like that. My mother in law ran the Gazette, Christine Moore, and was extensively interviewed along with Mr. Wentz, Tom’s dad. What a surprise to see anything like that in the NY Times. One of my sisters was in McClusky this fall and said how sad it was to see how that town looks today. I doubt I was ever in Lincoln Valley, but a retired physician here in Denver grew up on a farm somewhere around Lincoln Valley, his name John Faul, MD. He told me they came to McClusky once a year.

    Jan Berg Moore

  16. my father leonard jans was born in lincoln valley in 1926 he’s the son of john & katie more info on the region would be greatly appreciated. vicki massey ripley wv

  17. I love reading these comments and seeing the pictures…my great grandpa ray Roberts was the postmaster and my great grandma Lydia ran the creamery…my mom also lived there for a while in the 50’s and 60’s 🙂 if anybody remembers them selling cream or getting mail from them, I’d love to hear from you!

  18. Looking for land /home for sale, south/north Dakota. Is there a web cite for sale like the one you sent us. Like 2 large lots & old house $2,800. full price.Lester Larson,Jr. @ p.o. box1152 Sioux falls,sd. 57101

  19. I was doing some family history research and came across this site and that wonderful photo at the top of the page. That is indeed the Opp home. They packed up and left the house, going westward into Montana looking for work; finally finding a living in Anaconda/Butte, MT where much of the family still lives today. I shared the picture with my mother who grew up in the house, and this is what she had to say…

    The 2-story house brought instant tears, my oh my what a photograph! It reminded me how years take their toll… This house is the one I grew up in, I was a baby when my parents purchased this big house from another small town and it was moved to our farm [1945-1947?]. [My little brother] was brought home from the hospital, he was the only one born in a hospital, and grew up in that house as well. I don’t know if [my oldest sibling] would have pictures of that house, I’m not sure I have any. We were the last family that lived in that house that is why it is still referred to as “the Opp house.” …The farm brings back tons of memories we were all so happy there, best years of our lives, but then too there were sad times like when we had to leave Lassie behind when we left the farm, life was never the same again.

  20. Joe Leintz, the IH dealer, was my maternal grandfather. In 1971, the Minneapolis Tribune did a spread on Grandpa Joe entitled “Meet the last man in this town” for its Sunday “Picture Magazine.” I have a copy of the article framed and hanging in my office. Jake Opp worked as Joe’s mechanic. My family lived on a farmstead 5 mi’s SE of Lincoln Valley until 1959, when we bought paternal grandpa Jake Miller’s second farmstead on the NW edge of Goodrich. Eleanor Helm was my 1st & 2d grade teacher in a 1 room schoolhouse E of LV. I played with Doug & Daryl Roberts.

    • Hi Keith its Beth Leintz, Galens daughter, grandpa Joe Leintz Grandaughter I hope all is well with your family, I visit with Joyce when I go to Colorado for work. It’s nice having a family connection since its been lost over the years

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  23. We visited Lincoln Valley a couple months ago. The home you refer to as a hobbit house was Rose Opp’s home — she was the grandmother to the children who lived in the (Albert & Luella) Opp family home at the top of the page (and 2nd photo from the bottom). The big red barn just to the east of where the Opp home once stood was built by my grandfather (Albert Opp) and his father (Simon Opp). And the homestead just to the south (maybe a little southeast) of the barn was the home of Jacob “Jake” Opp (Albert’s brother), the mechanic for the last man who lived in Lincoln Valley (as stated by the last poster).

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    • My grandfather lived in Lincoln Valley in the early 1900,s he had a mercantile and grocery store they lived upstairs until he built a new house he bought new furniture for my grandmother Louise. I still have he rocking chair my brands name is Edward Wagner my dad was born there in 1914 my grandfather died from the Spanish flu my dad’s older sister died 4 months later both her name was Adeline both are buried in Lincoln Valley seven day Adventist cemetery. My dad and mom went back about 40 years ago he said the old store had a sing on it Helens football I live in corning Calif I really enjoyed all your input

  25. My parents Adam and Freda Goetz, owned the general store in Lincoln Valley. In 1912 my father was hired as the manager of a farmer’s co-op store and later my parents bought the business. Joe Leintz began to work on the implement side when he was very young as did most of his many brothers and sisters – Margaret and Nickie and more. I remember the Delco plant in the attic of the store producing electricity, the kerosene refrigerator, the gas powered washing machine, the outhouse, the well.
    Because of my father’s illness, we moved to Harvey before I started school. My older sisters all went to a Catholic boarding school in New Rockford.
    Until her death in 1988 my mother had close ties to the Lincoln Valley community. Many people visited her in Harvey, including Joe Leintz who was taken aback by the proposals he received after the publicity about his being the last man in Lincoln Valley.
    My mother, who worked every day behind the counter, frequently said, “The people around Lincoln Valley were a fine class of people.”
    I’ve lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin and., mostly, Eastern Montana,; wherever I go I meet someone who remembers the little sack of free candy my Dad put in with the gioceries.

    • Aw Aunt Rosa glad to see Your story on here the Goetz Family has a big part of The Lincoln Valley especially Your sister Marian Maguire and Her Husband John Maguire and 6 kids lived right across from it. Great place to explore. ❤️

  26. My grandpa Joe Leintz was the last man living in Lincoln Valley, they had a big parade celebration I attended as a child and did a huge write up on him in the local paper.
    My Grandpa Joe passed away of cancer, he was the salt of the earth type guy and it touches my heart that this piece of history contains my family where my dad grew up, where I would take my $.25 and lad up on candy from the local store.

  27. My maternal grandfather, Lawrence Reiswig, who turns 98 soon, lived most of his life in McClusky. I believe the Reiswig brothers who founded the town were his uncles. He still has a fond place in his heart for the town and always took part in the town celebrations and reunions. I always think about going out to see what is left but don’t like to trespass on private land.

  28. Love the sounds of the swishing grass and saddened by the ghost towns left behind.I like to think of the lives that loved their towns and how sad for the last resindents.There is still beauty in the remains of the towns.

  29. My father, Royce Leer, was born in Lincoln Valley in 1917. His parents, Abraham Leer and Mary Black Leer, lived there for years before moving to Harvey and then to Detroit during the Depression. He remembered the one room schoolhouse in town. He and his younger sister visited Lincoln Valley in the late 1970’s and he was sad looking at the state of the town.

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