Boom and Bust in Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth is a near-ghost town in Williams County, about thirty-four miles northeast of Williston. Although one of the residents has taken over a portion of the town, Corinth is still fairly intact with lots of original buildings in time-worn condition.

Corinth was founded in 1916 and reportedly had a peak population of 108 around 1920, and although that figure began to dwindle almost immediately, the Post Office stayed open until 1969. Corinth was an unincorporated town and as a result, there are no reliable census figures to be found.

Corinth, North Dakota

We visited Corinth in 2010 and found there were no businesses or services in operation, and a visitor to our Facebook page recently reported the population of Corinth at three.

Corinth, North Dakota

We don’t know the story of this particular building. Perhaps after some disaster tragically took the grand sanctuary that once stood here, the congregation rebuilt this makeshift church on the same foundation, steadfastly holding on to faith and family for as long as it would last.

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota was founded as a Great Northern Railroad town but the tracks were torn up long ago. It has gone through a cycle of boom and bust. Richard Rubin wrote a story for the New York Times in 2006 highlighting the rural desolation of the area, but just a few years later, the oil boom brought new residents to the county. Today, with the drop in oil prices, the region is again cycling down.

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth is not far from several other places we’ve visited, including Appam and McGregor, North Dakota, and Bethel Lutheran Church.

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

Corinth, North Dakota

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

39 Comments on “Boom and Bust in Corinth, North Dakota

  1. Awesome!! Corinth isn’t terribly far from where I live, but I’ve never been through there. Simply amazing pictures!

    • So enjoyed this article and all of the pictures. It is quite amazing the school still stands, pretty much intact. All of the playground equipment too. Cool. My mom was born in Ambrose, but was raised southwest of Wildrose. I had a lot of fun with family in Wildrose through the years. How many of you remember what fun we had going to see the “Country Cousins” (Mavericks) there years ago? I was especially sad when Wildrose closed its stores on Main St. Sure had a lot of fun in the park there. I hear they have a new Fire Hall. That is AWESOME.
      Greetings to everyone. Yes, we all have a lot of precious memories of Corinth, Wildrose, Hamlet, etc. P.S. Thanks again for sharing this beautiful rural photography.

      • Went to a wedding many years ago in Wildrose. Bride’s name was Kathy but don’t recall her last name, married Jerry Maley from Fargo (originally Verona). Last I knew before they got divorced Kathy was teaching in Flasher.

  2. Beautiful, Sad, Photos. The North Dakota sky still is as beautiful as ever.

  3. we would ride with my uncle to take grain to Corinth to the elevater 🙂

  4. My parents still live there, counting them there are 6 people still living in town. The house my great grandparents built is still standing, but I fear not for very much longer. We were just out there tonight to visit. Can’t imagine living there anymore, but It’s great to bring my kids out there and let them run around. Thanks so much for the great pictures!

  5. These pictures are so amazing – they could have been taken at Gardena, ND, 20 years ago. This is a small town 10 miles south of Bottineau. The schools are almost identical with the same playground equipment, although it was torn down years ago.

          • I got discharged from the Air Force in Fortuna in June 61,when I headed home to CT. I drove Linda,her Mom and Dad (Tilford) to there daughters home in Ames,Iowa. They were the nicest people,I have since lost contact.

        • If you still read this, I recently found out that my Great Grand Father and others lived in Corinth abut the early 1900. Kornelius Peterson Kvalvik.
          Buried in the Alamo Cemetery. I have to visit.

  6. I grew up around towns like this (Orleans and Northcote, Minnesota, to mention two…) My own hometown is slowly becoming like this. So many memories, so many stories….

  7. Great pictures,

    I intend to go out there at some point this summer and do a photo shoot of just the town and with a model as well. Keep an eye out and I’ll post a new folder of pictures at some point on my creative capture imaging place!!!

  8. I talked to the only couple that lives there now so there is only tw0 people that live there

    • I was in Cornnith last summer and met the people that live there. A friend from Almo knows the family there and took me over to see the town, meet his friends and see what the days gone by were like. The family numbers is three way in the back in the old house, and another family of four just as you drive in. You could spend days and just sit a look and wonder………………… The Ghost of the Past and how many still walk the streets of their former home…………..

  9. I still live here, great place, quiet, great place for my husband, cats, grandkids and me!!!!

    • Wow that is just amazing. How do you survive and where is the closest place to buy food and things> How about health services should there be an emergency?

    • Hi, My wife an I were just in Corinth taking photographs. Two questions. First, the boarded up structure across the street from the newer occupied house, was it the post office??? The second question. The remains of the old vehicle beside the “make shift church” What kind of vehicle was it?
      Thanks, Pete

  10. I grew up on a farm near Corinth, knew kids from there and went to high school with them in Wildrose. (The school in Corinth was closed by then, but the folks in town used to sponsor parties for the high school kids in the old schoolhouse there on Friday or Saturday nights. Great times!)

  11. I went thru Corinth on the bus daily to get to school in Wildrose. Used to stop at the grocery store and buy fudge bars when we could talk Alfred ( our bus driver) into stopping! Went to church in the church pictured. Sad how it’s become so abandoned but time marches on I guess.

    • Kathy Gunderson…you were my dear friend back in the day. Ring.

  12. My dad, ken Anderson,grew up in Corinth,and tells me stories but never seen pics til now.definetly need to visit soon, well when the weathers nice.great pics.

      • Brad, to continue — your grandpa Erling and my mother were brother and sister. We used to go to Corinth a lot to visit your grandparents. We went to school in Wildrose, as did some of your family, Evelyn Fox having graduated from Wildrose High School. I just talked to her on Christmas Day.

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  14. I grew up in Wildrose. I was badly cut and would of bled to death with the damn road blockers that are on our roads these days. I miss the farm life. The life I wanted and was planing with my finally sober dad when he ended up in a coma for over 20 years and was unable to do want I wanted with out his help.

    And to those thief’s going out and stealing window and other things off these farms and out of the buildings of these ghost towns, your a no good low down thief. For the land and any thing standing on it, is still owned by someone. Just like any city person who has a lake cabin. Just because no one lives there does not mean it does not belong to someone.

  15. I think my mom was born in Corinth in 1920.
    Her last name was Ulshafer.
    Would anyone remember Edwin & Lora Ulshafer?
    If so I’m wondering where they might have lived?
    Grateful for any information.

    • Hi Becky,
      You didn’t mention your mother’s name, but I was able to locate the following information:

      What I can tell you is that in in 1920 the Ulshafer’s are listed as living in Rainbow, Williams Co., ND
      Edwin Ulshafer 44 (Farmer)
      Lora A[lice] Ulshafer 39
      Russel E Ulshafer 21
      Paul E Ulshafer 15
      Frances L Ulshafer 14
      Velma Ulshafer 9
      Doras C Ulshafer 7
      Robert M Ulshafer 3
      Elden Ulshafer 2
      Violet Ulshafer 3

      I also located Edwin’s WWI Draft registration card, which lists him being born Dec 9, 1875 and living in Almo, ND. It also includes his signature.

      Finally I located his grave in Sedro Wolley, WA (which is near where I live).

      Hope this is useful information.

  16. Wow, I love these articles! And I love how many folks with connections to the ghost towns find the articles and tell us their memories and thoughts, it adds so much! Thank you!

  17. I have a connection to Corinth that I’d like to share. Two newspaper articles that appeared in 1921; one humorous and one sad. They both have to do with my family, the Heggs that lived in Wildrose vacinity from 1908-1922. The child in the second article is my Aunt Lucile, for whom I’m named after. I never knew her, but I have a picture of her. You can see that picture and one of her headstone here at Grace Cemetery in Wildrose: .

    Wildrose County Mixer
    21 January 1921

    Page 4, col. 3 Locals
    Rev. Hegg and Rev Berge, both of Wildrose, both driving Ford cars, collided on the Jacobson-Sateren corner north of Corinth Sunday. Rev. Berge was going east and Rev. Hegg was driving south. The going was rough and both were watching the road and not looking ahead, and they reached the corner at the same time. Rev. Hegg’s car struck the other in the side near the rear with some force, but without hurting anyone. Both cars were damaged somewhat but are now running as good ever.

    Six months later the following appeared in the same newspaper:

    30 June 1921 • p. 1, col 3
    Obituary: Helen Margaret Lucile Hegg was born at Wildrose April 5, 1915 and died June 22, 1921.

    “She had been sickly for about two weeks but not until the last few days was it thought that her condition was serious; diabetes and complications were the direct cause of her death.

    “The funeral was held Friday afternoon at the church. The church was beautifully decorated with flowers and was packed to the door by people from the vicinity, Alamo, Corinth and Hamlet. The services were conducted by Rev. Berge and Ulkus of Wildrose, Strandjord of Grenora and Rosholt of Crosby. Interment was made in the cemetery west of town.

    “Lucile was six years of age and had not yet attended school but was a regular attendant at Sunday school. She was a bright, happy little girl and will be greatly missed by the neighbors as well as her relatives. Rev. and Mrs. Hegg and family have the sincere sympathy of their friends in the bereavement.”

  18. Some may find this to be an interesting tidbit about Corinth. The following appears in The Bismarck Tribune on July 17, 1920.

    Articles of incorporation have been filed for the Corinth Grain company, Corinth, Williams county, capital stock $16,000; incorporators: T. G. Winter, L.G. Truesdell, Minneapolis, and O. B. Askelson, Corinth.

    I believe this to be Oscar Askelson (born in Norway who is listed in the 1920 Federal Census for Big Stone, Williams Co., ND. He is listed as working as a Manager of a Grain Elevator.
    Oscar Askelson 35
    Olga Askelson 20
    George Askelson 1
    Opel Askelson 2

  19. My grandmothers brother Hans Hegseth farmed there from ca 1900. I wisit the old farm in 2007 and the houses was falling down. It was sad, thinking about how he struggle to build everything. I wisit his grave on Corint semetary. Someone who knew the family? I live in Norway.

  20. Hi I am one of the people who get requests from asking for photos to be taken of graves and gravestones if possible in different areas. After I saw the wonderful pictures of Corinth, that evening in checking my emails I had a request from findagrave to photograph Opal Dolores Sundsrud Lerbakken grave in the Corinth Cemetery. The request was from David Johns. Is there anyone who belongs to who would be able to claim that request and take the photo and post it back to findagrave. I personally will not be able to travel to Corinth and do it. It was so odd to get that request it was almost an eerie feeling. I have no personal ties to that area. Thanks if anyone can.

  21. My great great uncle was born in Corinth. In 1913. Clarence Peterson.

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