Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Small North Dakota towns

I drove a truck while up in North Dakota.  I drove all over the Northwest corner of the state. On my first day driving around I saw an old school house and I wanted to take a picture of it. I saw something inside the door of this school house and was surprised when I stopped the next day to take a picture what it was in the door.
It was sad to look at but,
I could see a teacher sitting at this old piano singing to the kids. When I took this picture it reminded me of the last time I saw an old torn up piano...except this one played. My Piano Story.
I was unsure how far I could enter the school house this being my second day driving around, but for a while I would look at this place as I passed it and wonder what it was like back when this place was built.

I later discovered that Schools like this one were part of what in North Dakota is called a township. A 5 or 6 square mile area that served the farms and any communities that sprang up in that township. In these townships was also a church, most likely a Lutheran Church, and sometimes they sat side by side.

I started taking pictures of any cool looking school or church, and finally any abandoned farms with cool houses or barns.

Several months later just before my first winter there in North Dakota I was much more brave and I took a look inside this school house. Oh how all the ACLU, Atheist, god haters would go apoplectic  if they saw this stuff on the walls of a school today.
 Gasp! they taught about G-O-D in this school!
Atheist reading this blog are now looking at Google Earth to find this place and burn it

I really got into taking these picture. When I got my smart phone I found out it took great pics and had a Black and White effect and a Sepia effect. It was fun to discover new roads and see all these hundred year old buildings.
Some of the schools where just one room  places, but there was a few two room schools around. One side of the school was usually a blank wall and the other all windows.
I bet when it is -30 outside any sun coming in those windows is a good thing.  I found a few of my favorite houses up there.
This fine Craftsman farm house was moved not long after this picture, this house was moved and fix up on someone's new farm.
This house was one of my favorites, it had an awesome view of a low valley and the prairie. I could see fixing this one and putting a nice drive that goes around the house and garage/barn down the hill behind the house.

I'm kind of a nostalgic guy and feel bad that these old homes, and churches, and schools are now decaying out here on the prairie.  It shows what once was, out here in this desolate land, people scratching an existence out of the soil.  Raising and schooling their families.  Simple church going folks that found happiness even out here on this rolling prairie. Little did they know that there was billions of dollars, five miles under their feet.

I got kind of artsy with some of my pictures.
I loved it when these places were more intact. Bell Tower and all.
This Church is my favorite. I have taken pictures almost every time I passed this beauty. I will Blog about this church and it's little community later.

Here is the first school I took a picture of, in black and white.
 The Black and White gives it a different feel. I'm sorry I never took a picture of this one in the Sepia. I wish I was a better photographer. The settings on my phone let me adjust the light settings, but I never think of those things when I take a picture.

The country was full of treasures if you kept your eyes open.
This barn is almost 100 years old. This one is very well kept and still in use.
There are plenty of abandoned farm out here.
This old farm house is a few miles south of the barn above.  This must have been a productive farm at one time.  Large house, large shelter belt, but now decay.  There are not many trees out there on the prairie, you have to plant them if you want them, all the farms have layers of trees and shrubs to block out the hard winds and cold that come from the north, but unattended these shelter belts eventually die off.

I love any school that still has the belfry attached, and the bell still there. That is what caught my eye on this little school house.

This next one sat next to a Canola field.
The Canola was so yellow that it changed the green in the foreground some.
I will have to do a short post on the crops I saw growing up there.

Holy Mackerel there is a whole gang of Lutherans up in North Dakota. After the turn of the last Century Scandinavians and Germans Immigrated to this part of the country and set up to growing wheat
This Cemetery and Church was started in 1905 as the Iron sign says. Between 1900 and around 1915 ish people where coming to this part of the country to have new lives in this country.  Sad if you walk through some of these cemeteries, you see all these family names and the short life spans, and then there is the small marker in the family plot that just say "Baby Olson".  A baby that didn't make it in this hash land, very sad.
This church is still in use today and well kept.
They have plexiglass over the windows now to keep some heat in and probably to keep drunken country hoods from breaking the stained glass windows.  I was told that the Iron Sign work is a German thing, although most of the names are are Scandinavian in these places.  I started taking pictures in Sepia and this church turned out pretty good.
I took this next photo up at a little border town called Northgate ND.

  We were only 50 miles from the Canadian Border and one day my kids and I drove up there and found this church.  I liked the front entrance to this one. It was nice of my kids to drive up to see me, I'll post about their visit up there.
This Church is in a little town called White Earth ND.  This church was probably very nice when those pine trees were smaller.  Behind them is a large stained glass window.  I think it was minus 20 when I took this picture.
This church is just south of a town called Columbus. I took another picture of this church straight at the front doors.
Just after I took this picture a huge badger ran out from the twin pine trees to the left of the church. Me and my large clunky work boots were not fast enough to run and get a picture of him.  I'm glad nobody got any Youtube video of me running to try and get the picture of the varmint, I probably looked very funny.
Another well kept and still in use church north of the town of Tioga ND. I will end this with an old school I found.
It was dusk when I took this picture. This school in Ryder ND is still in use today and has had a Gym built on to it. This was a nice little town, with a nice center town park and lots of nicely kept old houses.
The poor towns that have died and some that are still doing a slow death are still are a sad reminder that this area is still very rural and hard to reach area.  If you keep a minds eye open though you can kind of see the way it use to be. There is a part two about North Dakota's small old towns. I'm going to work on that next.

1 comment:

  1. These are great, nice job, i love seeing old buildings, especially churches, makes me think of a simpler time in our country'