The Quiet Beauty of Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating but remote towns we have ever visited. Roughly six miles from Montana and eight miles from Canada, it is the most northwestern settlement in North Dakota.

We drove north from Grenora to get to Alkabo and found the drive beautiful but distant from services and fuel. If you decide to visit Alkabo, you should plan accordingly.

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo is home to a handful of residents (there were only 19 remaining in 1976), and is situated on the side of a hill with the school at the top.

Alkabo, North Dakota

The former Alkabo School is now a museum and we’re told it’s open by appointment.

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

After the destruction of the structures in Fillmore, North Dakota, Alkabo’s Main Street remains as one of the most impressive examples of an abandoned business district, with old vacant buildings standing side-by-side. Most of the structures east of Main Street are now abandoned, while Alkabo’s remaining residents inhabit the west side of town.

Alkabo, North Dakota

The railroad that gave rise to Alkabo still passes through at the south end of town, but there is no depot and the trains no longer stop.

Alkabo, North Dakota

On the fair right, a common sight in towns like Alkabo — the bank vault still stands but the bank is gone.

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

This old structure stands on Stromstad Street, and looks like it might have been a school. If you know, please leave a comment.

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo, North Dakota

If you build it, they might come, but will they stay?

Alkabo, North Dakota

Open basements, structural ruins, and vacant buildings dot the townsite.

Alkabo, North Dakota

Know somebody who would enjoy a North Dakota-centric gift? Check out our hardcover coffee table books, coffee, and gift sets in the store.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Backoo’s Little Country School

Backoo, North Dakota was founded in 1887 along the Great Northern railroad line, about five miles northwest of Cavalier, however little development occurred and the population never exceeded fifty. The post office in Backoo operated from September 26th, 1887 until October 11th, 1988. Terry and I visited in 2009 and got these photos of one of the last remaining structures from the pioneer settlement that was Backoo, a little country school.  Continue reading “Backoo’s Little Country School”

Bucyrus, ND

Bucyrus, ND is along Highway 12 in southwestern North Dakota, east of Bowman. It was founded in 1907 as Wolf Butte, and was also known as Dolan for a time. Bucyrus is just down the road from some other places we’ve visited, like Gascoyne, Haley and Griffin.

US Census Data for Bucyrus
Total Population by Place

1920 – 113
1930 – 124
1940 – 117
1950 – 111
1960 – 60
1970 – 42
1980 – 32
1990 – 22
2000 – 26
2010 — 27

Bucyrus fell victim to a wildfire on October 17th, 2012.  The town’s residents were evacuated, but numerous homes were lost to fire.

 

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

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Hannah, ND

Cavalier County
Inhabited as of 8-06

Hannah, ND is a Canadian border town in Cavalier County, directly north of Devils Lake. Hannah’s reported peak population was 262 in 1930.

US Census Data for Hannah
Total Population by Place

1960 – 253
1970 – 145
1980 – 90
2000 – 20
2010 — 15

Pictured below is the site of the former Hannah High School, now just a sign and an empty flag pole. The playground still remains, but the school itself is gone.

Hannah was originally two settlements a couple of miles apart, founded separately as “Hanna” and “Hannah”. The two eventually combined at the railroad line and adopted the name of “Hannah” in honor of early resident (and Father-in-law to the postmaster) Frank Hannah. Hannah’s most prominent former residents woud be Russel Reid, one-time head of the North Dakota Historical Society, and Ethel Catherwood, who eventually adopted Canada as her home and won a Gold Medal for them in the 1928 Olympics.

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