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17 Ghost Towns In North Dakota [MAP]

    ghost towns in North Dakota

    If you’re searching for ghost towns in North Dakota, we’ve got you covered! Below are 17 different ghost towns you can explore across the great state of North Dakota along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.

    We rate ghost towns in North Dakota based on their status. Here’s how our system works:

    • Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers.
    • Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone.
    • Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
    • Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families.
    • Semi-Abandoned: Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
    • Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.


    1. Alkabo

    48.86368, -103.88817
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Kicking off our list of ghost towns in North Dakota is the quaint town of Alkabo. Alkabo is home to numerous abandoned buildings, shattered glass floors, and gaping windows. Its eerie, yet imposing main street is lined with old derelict buildings.

    What’s Left?

    The town is now home to just a few residents, and a small museum and gift shop have been opened there. One of the more notable buildings in town is the Alkabo School. The school is a National Register of Historic Places site, featuring a split-level schoolhouse, classrooms, kitchen, gym, and theater.

    Many of the school’s old textbooks are preserved and can be read. To the south of Alkabo, visitors can tour the Writing Rock State Historic Site, where petroglyphs of thunderbirds can be found. You can also visit the Fortuna Air Force Station, which has a four-story concrete tower. This relic of the Cold War is an interesting piece of local history.


    2. Ambrose

    48.95392, -103.48269
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Ambrose was built in 1906 right on the Soo Railway. The town was named in honor of one of the railway’ workers. However, as people relied less on the railroad, the town declined.

    What’s Left?

    The Ambrose building is one of the few buildings in town left standing. Due to neglect and time, it has turned into a spooky and abandoned place. Ambrose is located about 3 miles north of the Canadian border. The town is a well-known ghost town and has been the subject of several news stories making it one of the more popular ghost towns in North Dakota.


    3. Temple

    48.38891, -103.05601
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Temple is a ghost town that was first settled in 1906. Not much is known about the town other than that the post office opened in 1908, and closed in 1965.

    What’s Left?

    Temple is among one of my favorite ghost towns in North Dakota with tons to explore. There are various collapsing homes, multiple storefronts, and even an old church that eerily towers over the surrounding plains.


    4. Hartland

    48.39946, -101.82044
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Andrew Filer – flickr.com

    History:

    Hartland is a small community that was settled in 1907. Like many ghost towns in North Dakota, when the railroad closed, it’s population rapidly declined.

    What’s Left?

    If you’re a history buff, a trip to Hartland is a great way to learn about the past. There are old grain elevators where railroads once passed. The town has a cemetery and a broken schoolhouse. Originally known as Haarstad, the town was renamed by the Great Northern Railroad. The name came from the first postmaster who founded the town in 1906. It’s a common theme in North Dakota, as many towns are named after their postmasters.


    5. Griffin

    46.21583, -103.54074
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Andrew Filer – flickr.com

    History:

    Before industry came to the area, Griffin was known as Atkinson, but the name was changed on February 10, 1908. It was named after Henry T. Griffin, the railroad’s Assistant General Passenger Agent. He later went on to become the company’s General Passenger Agent. The Girard family was prominent in the town, and many of the town’s photos are from this period.

    What’s Left?

    This small town is located in Bowman County, about seven miles from Bowman and six miles from Rhame. Although this town is no longer inhabited, some of its buildings still remain, including the Griffin Tannery. Old pipes still run through the foundation of the tannery. The town also has a small cemetery, although few graves remain today.


    6. Arena

    47.12721, -100.16233
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Arena is located about halfway between Bowman and Rhame, and was once the largest stockyard in the southwest region of North Dakota. It was once connected to the Yellowstone Trail, the first road from Boston to Seattle. While it’s hard to believe, this tiny town was once profitable. The population reached a peak of 150 people, but it eventually died out in the Great Depression. 

    What’s Left?

    This eerie town is made up of an old church, a school, and a few houses. There is also a grain elevator, which is now in ruins. Of all the ghost towns in North Dakota, Arena has some of the most beautiful structures still standing.


    7. Merricourt

    46.20777, -98.76214
    Status:
    Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Andrew Filer – flickr.com

    History:

    Merricourt is one of the more popular ghost towns in North Dakota with locals in the area. The town was originally a farm post office but grew into a vital town along the Soo Railline. The town was named after the first postmaster, as many ghost towns are.

    What’s Left?

    Today there’s plenty to explore in town. Visitors can check out the old overgrown bank building, collapsing homes, brick elevator, and various other ruins in the area.


    8. Tagus

    41.09776, -105.35081
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Andrew Filer – flickr.com

    History:

    The town was founded in 1900 and peaked in population at 140 people in 1940, but has since declined significantly. In 2001, something destroyed Tagus’ last church, leaving it with only a stone marker. Residents of the town believe that the fire was caused by vandals, but aren’t completely sure.

    What’s Left?

    There are no active businesses, and the only church burned down in 2001 due to vandalism. The only thing that remains is a small plaque marking the site of the town’s former church. Although the town is not home to any actual ghosts, it is worth visiting to explore some of the local history.


    9. Carbury

    48.89084, -100.54459
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Carbury was founded in 1901 as a stop along the Great Nothern Railway. The town was initially named Roth, but due to a mistake with signage Carbury stuck and was never corrected. The town’s population capped out at 50 and was only five before the post office closed in 1984.

    What’s Left?

    Carbury is one of the lesser-known ghost towns in North Dakota. The area has a few homes still standing and is located right off Route 14, making it a quick stop during your travels.


    10. Sherbrooke

    47.461, -97.72069
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town was first settled in 1881, and it became the county seat in 1885. It had a stage line and a blacksmith shop. It also had a courthouse, and in 1886 it was expanded to add a second floor. By 1887, it was a vibrant community, and it was soon a hub for the local community.

    What’s Left?

    Despite its decline, Sherbrooke is still a beautiful town that has many things to offer urban explorers. The town is surrounded by beautiful farmland, making it a perfect spot for hiking, fishing, or just relaxing. There are various abandoned houses tucked away in the trees so keep your eyes peeled and your camera handy.


    11. Wheelock

    48.29667, -103.25284
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    While it’s true that the city of Wheelock is still a small town, the history of the town goes much further. This bustling community was home to many businesses, including a hotel, lumber yard, general merchandise store, pool hall, drug store, and bank.

    The town was so thriving that it attracted settlers from as far away as Minnesota and South Dakota. Eventually, however, the town would become a ghost town when the economy declined.

    What’s Left?

    Despite its demise, the town still retains its cemetery. Kane is one of the luckier flooded ghost towns in Wyoming to have some remnants left above the water, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.


    12. Charbonneau

    47.85335, -103.76325
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town had a post office until the late 1950s, but by then most businesses had ceased to exist. By the mid-1950s, there were only a handful of residents. The only businesses that were left were grain elevators. The last resident died in the mid-eighties.

    What’s Left?

    Sadly, the town suffered from declining population, with only a few people left to maintain the old buildings. Meanwhile, the town’s post office, grain elevators, and two houses remained untouched. Whether you’re interested in history or simply want to learn about the local culture, Charbonneau is well worth a visit.


    13. Freda

    46.34722, -101.17374
    Status
    : Abandoned

    History:

    It is located in Grant County and was founded in 1910. Freda was a town that was once a hub for business in Grant County. At one time, it had a population of 50 people, and even had its own bank.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the town’s depot is crumbling in the elements, and is all that’s left of the town. Originally, Freda’s post office was located in Pearce, which was a half-mile south. The post office moved to Freda in 1975, but was eventually closed down. There are a few abandoned homes and the Freda Depot that still survive to this day.


    14. Omemee

    48.70639, -100.35513
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town began as a service town to railroads and farms. In the early 1900s, the town had a population of 650. The Great Northern railroad came through Omemee in 1893 and the Soo Line railroad arrived in 1905. The town’s inhabitants thought it would rival Bismarck and Fargo but were sadly mistaken.

    The small town’s population declined over time. By 1965, the town had just ten residents. The town’s post office and grade school had been closed leaving residents with little to do or see in town.

    What’s Left?

    While the town’s buildings are now mostly in ruins, you can still see small signs that something great once stood in this plot of barren land.


    15. Verendrye

    48.12111, -100.73903
    Status: Barren

    History:

    The city was founded in 1912, and was named after the Norwegian statesman Christian Magnus Falsen. It was later renamed Verendrye, after the explorer Pierre de la Verendrye. In 1913, the population was about 75, but by 1928, the population was 100. The Verendrye post office closed in 1965 leaving almost nothing behind.

    What’s Left?

    Visitors can still see various ruins and remnants of the past, but little remains of the original town.


    16. Knife River Indian Villages

    47.33152, -101.38583
    Status: Historic

    History:

    Established in 1974, this site preserves the ruins of three Hidatsa villages that were once a major trading and agricultural area. Of all the ghost towns in North Dakota, this is one of the few towns preserved from Native Americans.

    What’s Left?

     The site contains a reconstructed earth lodge, located behind the visitor center. It is open to the public daily during the warmer months, but it is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can view the ancient earth lodges and travois trails at the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The site also features a movie and bookstore. During the summer, you can see replica artifacts and enter the reconstructed earth lodge.

    17. Crystal Springs

    46.87842, -99.4757
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    Photo Credit: edsel12 – flickr.com

    History:

    The area was settled in the 1870s, and was named for the Crystal Springs Lakes. When the town was first established, there were about 100 Polish families living in the area. There were also banks, two grain elevators, a depot, a grocery store, two churches, a pool hall, a barbershop, and a pharmacy.

    The town had two terrible fires, the first in 1916 and the second in the 1920s. While the first fire was a devastating loss, the second one never recovered from the damage. In the late 1950s, when Interstate 94 passed through the area, few stopped and visited the town. The post office eventually closed in 1993.

    What’s Left?

    Today only a few people live in the area. The most notable structure left standing is the Crystal Springs School, which is quietly decaying on the outskirts of town.


    Go out and explore!

    That concludes our list of ghost towns in North Dakota, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.

    If you’re having trouble finding ghost towns be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding Abandoned Places, or explore other ghost towns across the country.

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