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Ghosts of North Dakota North Dakota’s Ghost Towns and Abandoned Places Volume Two Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp


The photos assembled here mark a tenth anniversary collection for the Ghosts of North Dakota project -- a photographic journey through North Dakota ghost towns and abandoned places. We’ve learned many lessons on this decade long trek... about history, family and sense of place. Lessons about gas mileage, wood tick repellent and delicous smalltown cafeteria cheeseburgers, too. The most constant theme of our journey so far however has been the neverending tick of the clock. We’ve been subject to harsh reminders over time as seasonal adventures into North Dakota’s sparsely populated places persistently reveal the demise of yet one more place -- a home, a school, a church. Time marches on. Let’s hope when we look back a century from now, we can say we saved the places we could, and remembered the places we couldn’t. Please enjoy a look at some of the places we’ve explored, big and small.

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Manfred, North Dakota Driving US HIghway 52 -- the shortcut that stretches northwest between Jamestown and Minot -- you travel through a number of really beautiful near-ghost towns like Balfour, and you pass not far from a few others like Heaton and Lincoln Valley. On the right evening, when the sky is painted shades of orange and purple, it can be a captivating trip. Manfred is perhaps the most impressive of these places, and it was on one of those drives that we first caught a glimpse of the Hotel Johnson from the highway. It was 2006, and the hotel looked as you see it on the facing page. We would return years later and find that things had changed for the better. The hotel got an upgrade, the school was cleaned out, and multiple structures underwent improvements. Manfred had a population of 432 in 1920, but only five residents remain today. However, several of Manfred’s remaining residents have an enthusiasm for historic preservation and rehabilitating what they can. There’s a beautiful museum in town, and some potential plans for more development as a tourist stop, including a possible campground nearby. There’s a quite thorough website dedicated to Manfred at ManfredND.org , tasked with coordinating the preservation of the town. It’s fascinating reading.

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Manfred Heritage Museum, 2013

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Manfred Heritage Museum, 2006, before removal of tree.


Over several visits to Manfred, we’ve seen their progress firsthand. The school shown top left has been cleaned out and the portico over the door is to be rebuilt. The Standard station shown bottom left has been fixed up nicely, and the Hotel Johnson shown above has been cleaned, painted, and secured. They also added a nice pioneer touch -- the wood plank sidewalk out front.

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Barton, North Dakota

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Barton, North Dakota is in Pierce County, northwest of Rugby. In the 2010 Census, it was listed as having 20 residents. A local family held reunions in the city park every year for a time, and there are benches in the park to mark each of them.

The keeper of the outhouse had a great sense of humor.

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Sims, North Dakota


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Sims, North Dakota is a

ghost town in Morton County, about 35 miles west of Mandan, just a few miles south of Interstate 94. Three structures remain standing in Sims — the old house you see here, plus the still-active Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church and parsonage. There are two more structures just to the north of Sims, but they’re on the other side of a now closed bridge, and posted “No Trespassing.”

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Sims dates back to 1880, when it was founded at the site of a Northern Pacific Railroad Siding. For three years it was known as Bly’s Mine, but in 1883, it was renamed Sims. The lone remaining home on the Sims townsite is the Anderson home, also sometimes known as the Gray house. There is a comprehensive and very informative website dedicated to Sims and neighboring Almont at: www.Sims-Almont.us It’s somewhat shocking to see how much of Sims is now gone.

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Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 2  

This is a 20 page sample from Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 2, a photographic look at North Dakota's ghost towns and abandoned places.

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