Argusville High School

Argusville is located right off I29 about fifteen minutes north of Fargo. It was founded in 1880 and dwindled to around 100 residents by the 1980’s, but experienced a population boom after the turn of the millennium. Argusville now has a population of 475. So this abandoned high school is a rare spot in an otherwise budding town.

Argusville, North Dakota

The last class graduated from this school in 1997 when it was known as Cass Valley North High School.

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If you’re fascinated by history, you know postcards are really a simple pleasure. You can tease so many stories out of a few fine details when you look close.

This intersection in Fargo is significant in the history of our state as the place where Fargo literally rose from the ground after the NP Avenue Railroad Bridge was completed in 1872, less than a mile to the east.  It was the first railroad bridge across the Red River at a time when this was still the Dakota Territory. The Northern Pacific stopped at the depot just out of frame on the right and thus, this city block became the first stop in Dakota for the majority of travelers from the east and was frequently the first time many had experienced what they perceived as “the west.”

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Fargo’s Front Street, 1909

Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Sometimes we photograph a place and find out years later that it’s gone, sometimes the place is gone by the time we get there.  But the one constant is that the list of places is growing all the time.

Here’s another list of ten more significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time. When you’re done with this one, check out 10 Lost North Dakota Places, and 8 More Lost North Dakota Places.

Continue reading “Ten More Lost North Dakota Places”

We paid a brief visit to Argusville High School today and found things have changed quite a bit since our last visit in 2011.  The school was in a terrible state of disrepair and had been thoroughly vandalized when we last saw it, but it has since been boarded-up.

Argusville High School

The rusting twin fire escapes have been torn down, leaving the front of the school as it originally looked before they were erected.  Every door and window has now been boarded-up tight by the owner.  We spoke with him briefly during our visit and he told us the combination of vandalism and some questionable modifications by a previous owner contributed to some terrible water damage inside the school.

See what it looked like in 2011 here.

Argusville High School

UPDATE:  A visitor tells us the last class graduated from this school in 1997 when it was known as Cass Valley North High School. This school is featured in our hardcover book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1.

Argusville High School

Photos by Troy, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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Argusville: School’s Out

This is the long gone Fargo College in Fargo, North Dakota.  The building shown in this postcard, Jones Hall, was completed in 1890.  By 1915, there were two more buildings flanking this one, Dill Hall, and the Fargo College Library, a Carnegie Library which was dedicated by former President Theodore Roosevelt.  The school shown here was located on the hill just south of Island Park in Fargo.  All the open space you see in this postcard is now filled with homes and apartments.

The college, Fargo’s first, closed it’s doors in 1922 due to financial problems.  There were plans to re-open the college, but the stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression ended those plans.  In 1940, Jones Hall and Dill Hall were demolished, and the Carnegie library was torn down in 1964.  The cornerstone is now at Bonanzaville in West Fargo.  The only remaining structure from Fargo College is the former Watson Hall Conservatory of Music at 601 Fourth Street South, which is now the home of the Fargo Fine Arts Club.

Today, it is hard to imagine razing buildings of this size and historical/architectural significance.  This is one more example of why we feel as passionately as we do about preserving our historic structures whenever and however we can.

fargo college

The postcard below shows Fargo College after Dill Hall had been constructed right next to Jones Hall.  Thanks to Jordan Doerr for the postcard.

Fargo College, Jones and Dill

Original Content copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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Fargo College

I was rummaging through a box of old postcards at an antique store some time ago and I found this old damaged postcard of the Fargo Waldorf Hotel in 1911.  I did a restoration job on the postcard and came up with this.

The Waldorf in Fargo was built in 1899, right across the street from the depot.  For immigrants from the east, this was frequently the first stop in North Dakota for a lot of travelers fresh off the train.  The Waldorf went through several owners over the years, and was also known as the Milner Hotel and the Earle Hotel.  It was destroyed in a fire on December 13th, 1951.

This postcard was mailed on July 6th, 1911 to Miss Bess McCullough in Milton, North Dakota with the following message:

This is a view of the hotel in which I work.  My room is five blocks away — Hal

Waldorf Postcard Restoration

This postcard was a fold-out card, and had the menu from the Waldorf kitchen on the inside.  You can’t get a meal like this at a hotel these days without breaking the bank.

waldorf site today

On the site of the former Waldorf Hotel today — a bank which was later converted to an architectural firm’s office.

Original copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Waldorf Hotel 1911

Erie is a small near-ghost town in Cass County, about 45 minutes northwest of Fargo.  We visited Erie during a trip to nearby Brewer Lake, also known as Erie Dam State Recreation area due to the small earthen dam which created Brewer Lake.  It’s a very nice, out-of-the-way campground that gets little traffic if you’re looking for a nice little spot to relax.

This is the now-vacant Erie State Bank building.

This is the earthen dam at Brewer Lake, about three minutes drive from Erie.

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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Erie, ND

Absaraka Church

This church has an urban legend attached to it which we have heard referred to as the Absaraka Lights (strange description) but more commonly as the Glowing Cross. Visitors have reported a Glowing Cross above the altar.  If you have a story about the Glowing Cross, please feel free to comment below.  Make sure you check out the comments anyway, because that’s where the really good stories are.

There are several other “lights” urban legends in North Dakota, including the Kindred Lights, the Horace Lights, and the Mooreton Spook Lights, and we’re not too clear on whether Absaraka has a “lights” phenomenon as well, or if someone is confusing it with Absaraka’s Glowing Cross.

This church was once in worse condition, but the owner has done a great job of cleaning it up. It was also the subject of a lot of vandalism back in the day, so it is now boarded up tight and locked.   Trespassers beware, Absaraka’s residents are now quite vigilant with regard to this church and unannounced visitors.

Absaraka, North Dakota