Ghosts of North Dakota

Archives

North Dakota Cyclone, 1895

I ran across this photo while I was perusing the photos at the Library of Congress and I was totally blown away.  Clinton Johnson took this photo, captioned “North Dakota Cyclone,” in an unknown North Dakota town in 1895, just six years after North Dakota statehood.  It appears to depict a menacing tornado bearing down on a North Dakota town.  If you look closely, you can see some people standing around, watching,… Read More

Christmas in Sanish

These photos of Christmas in Sanish, North Dakota come from Staci Roe, who came upon them in a hospital rummage sale and saved them from the trash. They are from the estate of Marvin L Knapp and the photographer is unknown.  Photos of the construction of the footings for Four Bears Bridge were in the same collection. These photos were taken almost seven decades ago, which means all but the youngest of… Read More

Mighty rivers require mighty bridges and several impressive examples have spanned the North Dakota stretch of the Missouri River.  The river valley near the former town of Sanish has been home to several.  First, the Verendrye Bridge, a steel truss bridge completed in 1927, crossed the Missouri at Sanish.  In 1934, the first bridge to be known as Four Bears Bridge was built downstream near the town of Elbowoods.  They served North… Read More

Sanish, North Dakota, 1926

Old Sanish, North Dakota came to an end in 1953, when the river valley it occupied for over half a century became the bottom of North Dakota’s newest reservoir, Lake Sakakawea. Sanish’s residents left for higher ground, as did the residents of other low-lying towns like Van Hook and Elbowoods.

Straubville, North Dakota

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… Read More

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

One of the worst crimes in state history occurred April 22, 1920 on a farm just north of Turtle Lake. It was a gray, overcast day and light rain had been falling. Local resident John Kraft noticed the neighbors, the Jacob Wolf family, had left their laundry on the clothesline overnight and their horses untended. He went to investigate and stumbled into what might be the most horrific crime scene in North… Read More

Fargo Fire 1893

June 7th, 1893 was a typical Wednesday in Fargo, sunny but windy.  Fargo’s six thousand residents were going about their lives, carrying out their business from mostly wooden storefronts and traveling from place to place in horse drawn carriages and wagons.

Blanchard is a small town in Traill county about a half hour north of Fargo.  Our Facebook fans warned us that there wasn’t much of a historic nature left to photograph, and they were right.  Linda Grotberg commented: “Blanchard, is another reason why your “ghost project” is so important! The two churches, Seim’s Store, Wally’s garage, Blanchard #1 (although the school bld is still there used as a house) Grandma Hazel’s house,… Read More