Ghosts of North Dakota

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Hamlet, North Dakota

John Piepkorn contributed these photos of the Hamlet School, in Williams County, in 2010 with the following comments: I have attached some images of the Hamlet, ND school. The “town” has approximately 5 houses that look to be inhabited and about 1/4 mile down a dirt road from the houses, the school sits decaying. There is no roof and much of the brick wall in the back is gone. The inside was inhabited… Read More

John Piepkorn contributed this photo of a farmhouse near Appam.

Backoo, North Dakota

Backoo, North Dakota was founded in 1887 along the Great Northern railroad line, about five miles northwest of Cavalier, however little development occurred and the population never exceeded fifty. The post office in Backoo operated from September 26th, 1887 until October 11th, 1988. Terry and I visited in 2009 and got these photos of one of the last remaining structures from the pioneer settlement that was Backoo, a little country school. 

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg is a central North Dakota near-ghost town, in Wells County, about eighteen miles east of Harvey. It was founded as a Great Northern Railroad town (Heidi Ermer contributed a photo of the old depot) and was originally called Viking. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick, the name was changed to Hamburg by German residents, but later the Hamberg spelling was adopted as a compromise with the Scandinavian settlers… Read More

Haley, North Dakota

Haley, North Dakota is a near-ghost town in Bowman County, southwest of Bismarck. We first visited Haley in 2007 after we talked to some locals at an area gas station. We told them we were photographing ghost towns and abandoned places and someone said, “You guys need to go see Haley.” Earlier in the day, we had struggled through a vehicle breakdown, and when we got our Jeep back from a repair… Read More

Fillmore, ND is in Benson County, about 20 miles SE of Rugby, the geographical center of North America. Fillmore reportedly had 150 citizens in 1920, but that declined to 74 by 1960 and today Fillmore is home to only two part-time residents.  When we arrived, we were surprised to find Fillmore was one fo the best North Dakota ghost towns we’d run across so far. There is a defined Main Street in… Read More

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota is in Wells County, about 30 miles south of Rugby, near the geographical center of North America. Manfred reportedly had 439 citizens in 1920, but that declined to 70 by 1960, and about a dozen when we took these photos in 2006. We actually hadn’t planned on stopping in Manfred, but we drove right by it on the way to Silva and Fillmore, and when we saw the hotel… Read More

Webster, North Dakota

Webster is in Ramsey County, just north of Devils Lake. Someone has done a fantastic job of preserving the former Webster School. We couldn’t tell what it’s used for today, but someone told us it’s occasionally used as a hunting lodge, and it looks fantastic. We’ve taken the liberty of removing the power lines which ran through the foreground of this picture so you can appreciate the structure more fully. Photos by… Read More

Devils Lake house

Our trip to Devil’s Lake in early winter 2005 proved disastrous when our vehicle broke down on the highway. However, we did get some great pictures of this house on the outskirts of Devils Lake. The lake has been growing in size due to a cycle of wet weather for the last few decades, which, coupled with Devils Lake’s lack of a natural outlet, has caused surrounding areas to suffer from inundation. The… Read More