A Look Back in Time in Berlin, North Dakota

We recently received an interesting batch of photos from Paul Ensign regarding Berlin, North Dakota. It’s a place we first became aware of when Sabrina Hornung sent us some photos back in 2011, and which we visited for ourselves in 2012.

Paul’s Great Grandfather was Wilhelm G. Lentz, proprietor of the Berlin Blacksmith & Wagon Shop around 1912, and the photos Paul sent along from his collection are very interesting.

Continue reading “A Look Back in Time in Berlin, North Dakota”

Defining what exactly constitutes a “ghost town” can sometimes be tricky.  In our years of exploring North Dakota’s abandoned places, we’ve often encountered former towns where the townsite itself is empty, but there’s a farm about half a mile down the road.  Sometimes a former town like Sims, North Dakota has an active church, but nobody actually lives on the town site.  And still other times, we will hear objections from people who feel as though we’ve misrepresented their town, or somehow labeled it a ghost town because it appears on this website, in which case we clarify that this site is about ghost towns and abandoned places, like the former First National Bank and Barber Auditorium in Marmarth, North Dakota, a town with a population numbering more than a hundred.

Continue reading “20 True Ghost Towns: Population Zero”

20 True Ghost Towns: Population Zero

Ten Lost North Dakota Places

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.

Continue reading “Ten Lost North Dakota Places”

This is a vintage post card view of LaMoure County Courthouse while it was still under construction in LaMoure, North Dakota.  The courthouse was constructed in 1907.  Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The wikipedia entry for this courthouse reads, in part: The structure includes a highly-detailed, metal-covered dome with bull’s eye windows topped by a ball finial. An octagonal tower with columns and arched windows supports the dome. The front facade features four large Corinithian columns.

LaMoure County Courthouse

Note the construction workers up on the dome.

Although it was built in 1907, this postcard was sent on December 11th, 1911.

LaMoure County Courthouse

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Building LaMoure County Courthouse

Berlin, North Dakota is a small town in Lamoure County in southeastern North Dakota. Although many of the structures which once existed in Berlin are now gone (the school for one), there are some impressive structures still standing. Sabrina Hornung contributed a few photos of Berlin in 2011. In the summer of 2012 we were able to get to Berlin and capture these photos for ourselves. Continue reading “Derelict Firehouse in Berlin, North Dakota”

Derelict Firehouse in Berlin, North Dakota

Alfred is a near-ghost town in Lamoure county, southwest of Jamestown.  Alfred is unincorporated, hence official population figures are hard to come by, but there appear to be perhaps ten permanent residents in the actual town site with more in the surrounding rural area.  Alfred’s reported peak population was 150 in 1930.

Alfred has a well-maintained cemetery and a Seventh Day Adventist Church which was in session the day of our visit.  There were approximately ten vehicles parked outside, so there is plenty of activity for such a small town.  As we’ve seen in other towns like Alfred, the church will quite likely survive long after the residents are gone.

The northeast portion of Alfred is largely abandoned structures, near the lake and the former rail line (now gone).  The rest of the town is quite nice.  Alfred was founded by Englishman Richard Sykes, who founded five towns in North Dakota — Sykeston, Bowdon, Edgeley, Chaseley, and Alfred.

There are actually three structures in this photograph. On the right is a garage, in the center is some kind of small, one-room structure, and hidden in the trees on the left is a full-size home. Interior shots are below.

This is the interior of the one-room structure shown above.

This is the entryway of the home hidden in the trees.

What would have been the living room at one time…

This is the former kitchen and dining room. There was a small hole in the floor, and the you could see through to the basement. The integrity of the floor is a little suspect.

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

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Alfred, ND