Ghosts of North Dakota

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Norway Lutheran Church

We visited this beautiful place, Norway Lutheran Church, in April of 2017. It’s in McHenry County, about 15 miles southwest of Towner, North Dakota, and it is perched on the hill above the Souris River Valley. The Souris, known to locals as the “Mouse River”, has flooded many times, particularly in 1969 and 2011 (a 1976 flood was serious, but not as severe as ’69 or ’11), and 6 years later, the… Read More

Bergen, North Dakota

Bergen is a near-ghost town in McHenry county, just off Highway 52, about 30 miles southeast of Minot. The town was founded with a post office in 1905, and the railroad arrived in 1907. Bergen’s peak population was reportedly 98 residents.

Kief, North Dakota

Kief is a near-ghost town in McHenry county, and is home to the first Russian Baptist Church ever established in the United States. Although only listed as having a population of 13 in the 2010 census, the amount of activity we saw on our visit to Kief seemed to suggest a larger population, perhaps twenty?  Kief has a bar which was open for business on the day we visited. Update: we’ve been told… Read More

Balfour, North Dakota

We visited Balfour in November of 2014, nine years after our first visit, to get some photos of all the things we missed the first time. We actually tried to revisit Balfour in 2012, but a road construction crew had traffic at a complete stop on Highway 52, complicating our travel schedule, and we decided to wait until another time, so it was nice to finally get back there.

Verendrye, North Dakota

Yesterday, Steve Lee sent us some photos of flooding in Verendrye, North Dakota. They were taken by his father during the Mouse (Souris) River floods “sometime in the mid to late forties.” My father, Howard Lee, took these photos.  He grew up on his grandfather’s (Herbrand Lee) farm, 2 or 3 miles northeast of Verendrye. Herbrand Lee homesteaded in the area.

Verendrye, North Dakota

Steven Lee sent in these photos of Verendrye, North Dakota with the following comments: My father, Howard Lee, took these photos. They were taken during the flooding of the Mouse River sometime in the mid to late forties. He grew up on his grandfather’s (Herbrand Lee) farm, 2 or 3 miles northeast of Verendrye. Herbrand Lee homesteaded in the area.

Verendrye, North Dakota

We’ve long hoped to run across some photos of the town that was once Verendrye, North Dakota. We drove by the crumbling facade of the school a few years ago and snapped a photo, but we hadn’t yet seen any photos of Verendrye when it still looked like a town.  So, we were thrilled when we got an email from Kathy Haynes with some photos and a drawing attached.  She was very… Read More

This is the former Balfour Public School.  It was built sometime between 1899 and 1910.  Other than that, we know very little about this school, or what happened to it.  If you know more about this school, we would invite you to click on the photo below and add your comments on the ensuing page.  Note the former Balfour church in the background. We found this postcard going through some old files… Read More

Falsen School

We visited Falsen School in Verendrye, North Dakota in 2010 and discovered it was all that was all left of the town that once stood here. Just a lonely, crumbling facade of the school remains. It was on clearly posted private land, so we weren’t able to get closer on this visit.

Balfour, ND

Balfour was founded in in 1898 about 35 miles southeast of Minot. It was named for Arthur, Lord Balfour, a British statesman and essayist. Population is said to have peaked at 390, but it now holds less than thirty. US Census Data for Balfour Total Population by Place 1940 – 193 1950 – 162 1960 – 159 1970 – 93 1980 – 51 2000 – 20 2010 – 26 Balfour is home… Read More