Ghosts of North Dakota

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Heil is in close proximity to Leith, ND and a site visitor pointed out that we had mistakenly included these photos in the Leith Gallery. So, these photos are officially identified now — Heil, ND. Heil is listed as a CDP (Census Designated Place) since it is not an officially incorporated town and as of 2010 had a population of 15. We returned to Heil eight years later, during a crazy thunderstorm… Read More

Backoo, North Dakota

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. 

Hamberg, North Dakota

Hamberg is a central North Dakota near-ghost town, in Wells County, about eighteen miles east of Harvey. It was founded as a Great Northern Railroad town (Heidi Ermer contributed a photo of the old depot) and was originally called Viking. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick, the name was changed to Hamburg by German residents, but later the Hamberg spelling was adopted as a compromise with the Scandinavian settlers… Read More

Haley, North Dakota

Haley, North Dakota is a near-ghost town in Bowman County, southwest of Bismarck. We first visited Haley in 2007 after we talked to some locals at an area gas station. We told them we were photographing ghost towns and abandoned places and someone said, “You guys need to go see Haley.” Earlier in the day, we had struggled through a vehicle breakdown, and when we got our Jeep back from a repair… Read More

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… Read More

Slope County Inhabited as of 5-07 Marmarth, ND is a Badlands town in Slope County in the extreme southwest corner of the state. Marmarth is one of the more populous towns we’ve photographed with 130 people according to the 2010 Census, but minimum conveniences. Marmarth has lost 190 residents since 1960. There’s an exhilarating old west ambience in this part of the state… Montana is only five miles west and it’s just… Read More

Webster, North Dakota

Webster is in Ramsey County, just north of Devils Lake. Someone has done a fantastic job of preserving the former Webster School. We couldn’t tell what it’s used for today, but someone told us it’s occasionally used as a hunting lodge, and it looks fantastic. We’ve taken the liberty of removing the power lines which ran through the foreground of this picture so you can appreciate the structure more fully. Photos by… Read More

Chaseley, North Dakota

Chaseley was a NPRR railroad town founded in 1902. It was named by Richard Sykes for the estate of an associate in England. It’s peak population was said to be around 125 in 1920.

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