Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Small Town North Dakota, the Ghost Towns

I have posted on this blog many times about adventures in Ghost Towns. We love Bodie Ca and want to return there every once in a while. While in North Dakota I almost never had time to do any exploring or ghost towning. I worked 6 Days a week and was only at home to sleep. The one day off we had was usually laundry and rest day.  Although we did have a large American Four Square to fix up that took up a lot of spare time. I will blog about that soon.

As it happened I drove through several old towns and ghost towns as part of my driving around and took pictures when I could. Many of the small towns revolve around agriculture, so there is a grain elevator that is the center of town. From high points you can see where all the grain elevators are and with that the towns.

Most of the small old towns in North Dakota might best be called Semi-Ghost Towns. Maybe just one family living in an old house in a run down dirt road settlement with all the buildings around them about to fall down. There was a push by some of these towns and the county that they were in to give away land to people that would move there and stay.  Those didn't turn out so well.

Along comes the new Oil Boom. Tons of oil workers looking for places to stay or park their RV start moving into these old towns and with in a matter of days some small town has now doubled it's population.  Hopefully this current boom will last a few decades and not peter out and make these towns die out completely.

The first I heard of the Bakken Oil Boom was from my friend Kevin calling me and texting me that I need to get my ever widening butt up there because there is tons of money to be had.  Before I went on my cross country truck driving thing, Kevin had called me and told me how they couldn't find a real place to park their RV and had it in a make shift trailer park that would close before the first freeze.

I opened Google Earth and started poking around and looking up all these little towns and clicking on the posted pictures It was amazing to see these old towns in the picture.  You could see they were just a shadow of what they once were.  I saw little towns that were next to rail road tracks  Like, Epping, Wheelock, Temple, White Earth, Ross, Palermo ND.  Towns out in the middle of nowhere like McGregor, Wild Rose, Battle Field, Larson, and my favorite name Flickertail.  Actually Flickertail is one of the States Nicknames, but in Stanley ND is a small town Museum named Flickertail.  I guess flicker tail is the name for those abundant ground squirrels that are all over North Dakota.

Kevin told me that all these towns were full up or uninhabitable, and the day I rolled into North Dakota it was evident by all the RV's lined up in the first town I rolled up on as I left Montana.

In my searches I kind of locked in on this town called Temple ND.  On Google Earth there are little blue squares that show pictures that have been linked to an area you are looking at.  I clicked on one of those and up popped an old church. It was several months after arriving that my driving path finally lead me through Temple ND.
The Church was there and what was left of some old homes.  The Church was almost an obsession with me.  I took pictures of it every time I went by it.  I stopped and took naps and ate lunch behind that church.
I think it is the tower that I like best.

I would sit and eat my lunch and look at the blown out window and open front door and it's dangerously sagging floor, and wonder how many weddings happened there, funerals, Baptism.  I could see people walking out its doors and heading for buggies and old model T's after a service.  If there was a chance I would be near Temple I would intentionally drive by to see if I could take a better picture of it.
 I could see the old rusting boiler down in the basement, all the planks popping off, windows missing and saw something that need to be imaged.
I took pictures from all sides.

It was always fun to stop.
I regret never getting a sunrise or sunset picture with my church.

When I found the Sepia setting on my phone I ran out to my Temple Church and snapped a picture.
A guy in Oil Field Garb down in the grass to get a pic like this must have been a funny site.
I was getting more artsy as I took more of these pictures.
The Tower always reminds me of a Rook from a chess set.

I wonder what kind of clock was in the tower, I'm assuming that is what was in the round
I will probably stop by one more time when I travel back up to North Dakota to get a car and some things I left up there.  The Cute Girlfriend and I are taking the train out to Minot and driving back.

Temple ND wasn't just this church. It was a small community next to the Burlington Northern Tracks.  According to Wikipedia, the definitive source for all suspect information, says that Temple was originally called  Haarstad, after the original land owner and post master.

That reminds me of another town up there, actually two, that were named after the town postmaster. Up near the Canadian border is a couple of towns, Columbus, which is still alive and kicking, and the Town of Larson, which is all but a ghost town now, sorry no pictures. I read that these two towns that are about three miles apart are named after the same guy, postmaster for both towns. Columbus Larson, I read it on the internet so it has to be true!

Back to Temple North Dakota I found a picture of the towns old school house on a forum credit for the picture is to the poster Edsel. Great pic.

When I first drove through this town this school house was not there. I read it had been moved somewhere and the rumor was that it was converted into a house. The steeple is still laying behind the foundation.  Nice school I probably would have taken lots of pics of this one
There is the top of the school house.
Whats left of one of the houses of Temple. I took a picture of the Temple Cemetery but I can not find it sadly. Temple is like so many towns in that part of the country. A forgotten dot on a map.  I can see how the rising cost of farming finally ate these towns and small farms became large farms. Children move off the farm and don't continue with the family farming and it just goes to seed.  Change is all there is in the universe I better get use to it. Nostalgia is nice but you can't let it get you down that places like this wither away. I just memorialized it a while longer here on the  Change will make the internet obsolete soon enough.

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