Ghosts of North Dakota

Archives

Hurricane Lake Church

At one time, there was a “town” near Hurricane Lake, in the northeast corner of Pierce County, about 7 miles northeast of York, North Dakota. It was a “town” because it had a post office, but in reality it never had a sizable population. Hurricane Lake was founded early in relation to many of the towns we visit — in the 1880s — and was a stage coach stop, never having had… Read More

Aylmer, North Dakota

If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to look at these photos and assume this place was struck by a powerful prairie tornado. Grain bins are ripped open, the roof of the former bar has caved-in, and the building leans at a precarious angle. Pieces of several structures have blown down and lie decaying in the grass some distance away with their rusty nails pointed skyward, waiting for an unsuspecting… Read More

Tunbridge Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Tunbridge Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church is in Pierce County, about five miles west of Rugby, North Dakota, or ten miles west of another place we recently visited, Meyer Township School #1. This church is particularly beautiful, and you can see it from US Highway 2 if you find yourself traveling in the area. I’ve driven by it a dozen times and always said “I’ll stop next time.” This time, I finally did.

Meyer Township School Number 1

It’s been closed since 1959, but Meyer Township School Number 1 still stands, right off US Highway 2, just a couple miles east of Rugby, North Dakota. It’s a frequently photographed place due to its highly visible location right next to the highway–just as I was leaving, someone else was pulling in to get some photos of their own.

Barton, North Dakota

Originally called Denney, this unincorporated community was founded along the Great Northern Railroad in 1887.  The name was changed to Barton in 1893. Barton is in Pierce County, about twelve miles northwest of Rugby.  In the 2010 Census, it was listed as having 20 residents.

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… Read More

Silva, North Dakota

These photos of Silva, in Pierce County west of Devils Lake, were taken in April of 2006. In 2014, a site visitor reported the population of Silva had sunk to 3 residents. This church is Silva Lutheran. We’re told the first wedding conducted in this church was the ceremony of Oliver and Elaine (Dokken) Solheim, December 29th, 1941. These photos are extras which have been in our archive and are being posted here… Read More

R. David Adams contributed these photos of Orrin, ND, a near ghost town in Pierce county, west of Fillmore.  We checked census records going back to 1920 and found no listing for Orrin.  As we’ve seen time and time again, Orrin began it’s final decline with the closure of the elevator, which happened in 1965.  The school shown below, and the last store, closed in 1972. According to North Dakota Place Names… Read More

Aylmer, North Dakota

Sara Schindler of Harvey contributed these photos of Aylmer with the following comments: Aylmer sits about 40 miles south/southwest of Rugby ND (or just northeast of Anamoose ND) along the Burlington Northern Railroad.  It is currently home to two residents.  Aside from the residence, there sits a former general store (the larger building), a garage or storage shed, an abandoned home, and another building that was possibly some kind of blacksmith or… Read More