It’s always a thrill to see enthusiastic residents get involved in saving historically and culturally significant places in their communities, but in North Dakota’s vanishing small towns, the losses frequently outnumber the wins by a significant margin. It’s something we’ve seen time and again in over ten years of photographing North Dakota.
What follows is our personal list, by no means exhaustive, of ten significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time.
These photos have been in our archive since we visited Hettinger County in 2007 and we are posting them here for the first time. The church shown below has since partially collapsed.
Bentley was founded by Arthur A. Bentley who, after moving from Eden Valley, Minnesota, started a photography business in Fargo in the 1890s. In 1907 he moved to Hettinger County and founded the town of Bentley. Someone has started a Bentley webpage where you can read more, and see the condition of the church now… see it here. See the rest of our Bentley galleries here.
There were vehicles parked in front of this old school and we were unable to get a good shot.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
The town of Bentley, ND was founded in 1906, fifteen miles south of its present location. In 1915 the town was rebuilt at the present location. Bentley should not be confused with Sanger in Oliver county, a town which was also named Bentley for a time.
At one time it may have been home to as many as 200 North Dakotans, but the 1960 census indicated a count of 51, and today it’s home to maybe twenty.
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Photos by Troy and Rat, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC