Ghosts of North Dakota


Devils Lake, North Dakota

The rise of Devils Lake has been a strong contributing factor to the abandonment happening in towns like Church’s Ferry and Minnewaukan, but also on hundreds of individual farms and properties all around the lake. We’ve shown you some views of the inundation in the past, including the Harmon home and a satellite view of the lake.

Devils Lake, North Dakota

There is a concentration of vanishing places in the lands surrounding Devils Lake — places like Hamar, Grand Harbor, and the remains of a ski jump.  In the last few decades, Devils Lake has risen steadily and has driven even more people from their homes and farms, and inundated numerous roads and highways.

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… Read More

Flora, North Dakota

Flora, North Dakota is in Benson County, about 40 miles southwest of Devils Lake. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, it’s an unincorporated community which had only 8 residents as of 1982. Former resident Kevin K. tells us there are now three remaining residents. Flora had a Post Office for 70 years, from 1901 to 1971, when it was closed and mail went to Maddock. Flora was originally… Read More


A half dozen structures or more have been lost to fires of questionable origin in Fillmore in recent years, a story which we addressed here.  As a result, we went back into our photo archive and chose to add to the site these photos, which we’ve never before posted. Most of what you see here is now gone.   This building is now gone. The rail line which once ran past Fillmore… Read More

Most North Dakotans know what has been going on in Devils Lake over the last few decades.  A steady rise of water levels on the lake has inundated towns like Church’s Ferry and Minnewaukan, plus numerous farms, homes, and businesses.  Without a natural outlet, the lake has continued to rise and has been the subject of contentious political battles.  One of Terry’s best photos features a home which was overtaken by the… Read More

Fillmore, North Dakota

We first visited Fillmore in 2006 and we were completely blown away. Fillmore was one of the most impressive near-ghost towns we had ever been to. At the time, there just a couple of part-time residents, and more than a dozen abandoned structures including a bar, a store, a community hall/gymnasium, an auto shop, and numerous homes. For some time, we had known the gymnasium had been listed for sale. In summer… Read More

Hesper, North Dakota

Hesper, North Dakota is a town that had been on our radar for some time but we never had an opportunity to check it out.  In the summer of 2012, Philip Tron emailed to tell us Hesper had officially become a ghost town and submitted a few photos.  After seeing them, we made it a priority to stop in and snap some shots. On arrival in Hesper, we were struck by the… Read More

Hesper, North Dakota is a true ghost town in Benson County, just west of Devils Lake — population zero.  Hesper is one of those towns that has been on our list for some time but we just never made it there due to time contraints.  We intend to make a visit soon. Philip Tron emailed to tell us that Hesper is officially uninhabited as of summer 2011, and sent along these photos…. Read More