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Founded in January 1906, Arena, ND never had a population of more than 150. Located in Burleigh County, the town was named to note its location in a shallow valley surrounded by hills a "natural arena". The post office that also opened in 1906 was in operation until 1996. In the early 1920's Arena was home to several businesses: a hardware store, a farmer's store, a general store, a pool hall and five cream buying stations. A large public school was built in Arena but due to deteriorating conditions and vandalism the public school was demolished in the 90's. Today the only structures that stand are: St. John's Lutheran Church, a one room Schoolhouse, 2 homes and 2 large grain elevators. Arena, ND was lost to the Great Depression, many residents moved away to larger towns to seek employment. 


Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, ND was founded in 1879 in Oliver County. The town was originally named Bentley after the town doctor W. Bentley, who was also a member of the territorial legislature. It was the county seat until 1884 when the community was then renamed Sanger. The largest population on record for Sanger, ND was 100. The town declined during the 20th Century, and was fully abandoned by 1985.


In 1822 the Mandan Indians built a village of earth-covered homes on the bluffs of the west bank of the Missouri River at the location of Chardon Creek and Clark's Creek. They called their new home Mitu'tahakto's (pronounced me-toot-a-hank-tosh), meaning first village or east village. James Kipp, an employee of American Fur Company, built Fort Clark Trading Post south of the Mandan village in hopes of enhancing trade with the Indians. The rectangular fort measured 120 feet by 160 feet and was protected by a palisade. Inside the fort were a bourgeois house, where the head trader Francis A. Chardon lived, and other fur trade buildings. Between 1834 and 1839, Chardon kept a journal of his life at Fort Clark, which records the tragic history of the site. The first steamboat to journey to the Upper Missouri, the Yellow Stone, arrived at Fort Clark in 1832 and delivered 1,500 gallons of liquor and other trade goods. It returned to St. Louis carrying 100 packs of beaver pelts and bison robes from the fort. Important visitors to the site, such as artists Karl Bodmer and George Catlin and German scientist and explorer Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian of Weid-Neuweid, also recorded life and death at the site in vivid detail. Although steamboat traffic was important in transporting goods and visitors to the site, it also brought disease. On June 19, 1837, the steamboat St. Peters docked at Fort Clark carrying passengers infected with smallpox. Soon the disease swept through the Mandan village, killing about 90 percent of the inhabitants. Fort Clark and Indian Village DrawingIn mid-August, at the height of the smallpox epidemic, the survivors fled to join the Hidatsa near the mouth of the Knife River, abandoning the village at Fort Clark. Although also devastated by the 1837 epidemic, approximately 50 percent of the Mandans' neighbors, the Arikara, survived. In 1838 they moved into the abandoned Mandan village to trade at Fort Clark and to grow their crops. Tragically, an outbreak of cholera in 1851 and another of smallpox in 1856 further reduced their population. The Arikara used the village as their summer home until they moved to Star Village near Fort Berthold in 1862. Meanwhile, another fur trade post, Primeau's Post, had been constructed on the south side of the Arikara village in 1850 by a competitor, Harvey, Primeau, and Company of St. Louis. The fort was located between Fort Clark and the Arikara village. Charles Primeau, a former employee of the American Fur Company, started the competing company. After the south half of Fort Clark burned in 1860, the owners purchased Primeau's Post, which they operated until 1861. Later that year, Primeau's Post and the Arikara village were abandoned after an attack by the Dakota. Passing steamboats scavenged firewood from the abandoned fort until at least 1865. Today Fort Clark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been nominated as a National Historic Landmark. More than 2,200 surface features represent the ruins of houses, graves, storage pits, and other cultural remains. The location of houses in Mitu'tahakto's is indicated by a series of large, shallow, doughnut-shaped depressions. There are approximately 100 depressions marking the locations of Mandan and Arikara lodges. In the center of the village near the terrace edge is a flat, central plaza used by the Mandan for ceremonies. Later, the Arikara built a large, ceremonial lodge in the plaza. It is clearly visible as the largest earthlodge depression. Small depressions within the village mark subsurface storage pits, called cache pits, which were used for storing garden produce. Surrounding the village is a shallow fortification ditch which, combined with a palisade, protected the village from attack. Unlike palisades protecting prehistoric villages, the stockade at Mitu'tahakto's was outside the ditch. Beyond the fortification ditch are large, irregular pits from which soil was dug to cover earthlodges. Also visible are several small lodge depressions. Visitors, who often came to trade, camped outside the village. The long, low ridges shown on the map are difficult to see on the ground but are believed to outline horse corrals. At the southeastern edge of the village are the remains of Primeau's Post. Between the post and the remains of Fort Clark is a large earthlodge depression, the location of the home of Pierre Garreau. Garreau, the Arikara stepson of a French-Canadian trader, raised vegetables inside a picket fence beside his home to sell to Fort Clark personnel. The fence abuts the palisade that protected Fort Clark from atttack. Clusters of small, circular depressions and doughnut-shaped mounds near the railroad tracks mark graves. This unmarked cemetery, with approximately 800 graves, testifies to the tragedy of epidemics that nearly annihilated the occupants of the Mandan and Arikara villages.


North Almont, North Dakota

North Almont, ND is located in western North Dakota. North Almont served as a small stop along the Barren railway. As the land was sold and agriculture business moved elsewhere this town slowly faded, with most of its residents moving six miles south to Almont, ND and some moving on to Fargo, ND following employment opportunities. 


Gascoyne, North Dakota

Orginally known as Fischbein, this town was founded in 1907. The name was changed to Gascoyne on March 25, 1908. Gascoyne was the site of a coal mine for much of the 20th century. The most active period for the mine occurred between 1975 and 1995, when about 2.5 million tons of lignite were produced per year, primarily for the Big Stone Power Plant near Big Stone City, South Dakota. The mine began ceasing production in 1995, and was shut down completely in 1997. In 2001, Westmoreland Coal Company purchased the mine with an intent to resume mining and construct a 500 megawatt power plant on site. These plans were later suspended in 2008 due to environmental concerns. The largest population recorded for Gascoyne was 97 residents in 1930. The 2010 census shows a population of 16 in Gascoyne, ND. 


Haley, North Dakota

When Haley was founded in 1898, it was supposed to be named Galey, in honor of the miner who had found gold in the nearby river more than a decade previous. However, a clerical mistake made by postal official lead it to be named Haley, instead. The town was founded when the area was still part of Billings County, but would later become part of Bowman County, when it was organized in 1907. The first settler was Richard Ludlow Jackson, a Rancher who operated a post office out of his sod home. The town was established because the first settlers believed that the Milwaukee Railroad was going to follow the Grand River. In the end, the railroad line would bypass the town by about 15 miles to the north. Still, the town flourished with a number of homesteads in the area. Richard Jackson, the town's founder also built a hotel made of sod, which stood just across Scranton Road just west of Haley. The crumbled walls of the old hotel are still visible. The hotel was remembered as a popular stopping place on the road from Dickinson to Camp Crook and the Black Hills country. It was also a stop on the Dickinson-Belle Fourche stage line.

The Haley Store, built by John Currey in 1900, still stands today, though long closed. Other businesses included a hotel, a bank, a butcher, blacksmith, doctor, and barber. In 1910, the Haley Bridge was built just southwest of the Haley townsite spanning the Grand River. It was built by A.Y. Bayne of Minneapolis. Its iron frame rests on concrete footings and supports a double-planked roadway. The bridge, although no longer used for traffic, still stands. In 1911, a newspaper was established by a local pastor named E.A. Hobbs; Called the Haley Record, it began weekly publication on May 26, 1911. The town also had two churches - a Catholic and a Lutheran. It also had a daily stagecoach that ran to Gascoyne for a fare of $1.  The Haley Store was owned by a man named Oliver Ellingson. During the early years there was a popular spot called the Bores Head saloon. Local tales say that the local cowboys often frequented the saloon on Saturday nights, shooting it up, leaving numerous holes in the ceiling and sending residents for cover when the shootouts would move on to Main Street. Haley Store was not immune to the cowboys either. On one occasion, a cowboy strolled into the store and demanded that Ellingson "dance", while he shot holes into the floor. Afterwards, Ellingson was known to tell the story, often taking off his shoe and revealing a missing toe.  

In 1918, Haley, North Dakota was struck, like the most of the world, by the terrible Flu Pandemic, which killed somewhere between 20 and 40 million people world wide. Haley's town doctor, 35 year-old John Poppe frantically tended to the numerous patients during the outbreak, and, caught the deadly virus himself, dying on October 27, 1918.

In 1921, a fire raged through the village, destroying several buildings including the post office, which was then moved into the old hotel.

In the 1940's a Lutheran church was moved to Haley from South Dakota. It remains in Haley today, and even though the town boasts a population of only two people, it continues to have an active congregation today. Haley's post office closed in 1965, never to reopen again. Two years later, in 1967, the Haley Store, thought to be the oldest building in the county, also closed. Haley is the oldest town in the Bowman County, predating the railroad by seven or eight years. Today, most of the townsite is owned by a descendant of an early homesteader, and his wife. Haley once again has a full-time year round population of 2. 


Alkabo, North Dakota

Alkabo is located in the western part of the Divide County in Westby Township; it is no longer an incorporated community. The Alkabo School is on the National Register of Historic Places. The school was built in 1934 by by the William Nordman Company of Noonan and operated until 1963.


Ambrose, North Dakota

Ambrose was laid out in 1906 along the Soo Railway. The city was named in honor of a railroad employee. The Ambrose, ND post office has been in operation since 1906. The 2010 Census reported that there were 26 people living in Ambrose. Past census data shows the population at its highest in 1920 with 389 people.

The first sessions of school began in 1906 in a small sod shack. By 1912, at a cost of approximately $16,000 a new modern brick school with 2 stories and a basement were constructed. In 1927, a fire broke out in the office destroying all school records. In 1962, Ambrose school district became part of the Divide County School District.


Wheelock, North Dakota

Wheelock was founded in 1902 along the transcontinental rail line of the Great Northern Railway in Williams County, North Dakota. The name comes from Ralph W. Wheelock, an editorial writer with the Minneapolis Tribune who wrote favorably about the site. Unlike some ghost towns, Wheelock's homes, churches, and commercial buildings have the look of just recently being occupied. The paint is peeling, but it is still there. The grass is green, although it is not mowed. The town garage stands empty. A handful of commercial buildings and the church appear almost as if they could be occupied but are unoccupied and deteriorating. The railroad track, now owned by BNSF Railway, still runs through town. The grain elevator stands empty by the tracks. Wheelock’s highest population was 115 in 1930. From then it continued to decline until having just a population of 20 in 1990. 


Palermo, North Dakota

Palermo was founded in 1902, along the Great Northern Railway in Mountrail County, ND. Rumor has said that the Palermo Firehouse which also served as the jail was used as a resting place for transients but they were later run off by town officials in fear of crime and vandalism. Palermo does still have an active population to this day and was home to Miss North Dakota 2001. 


Hartland, North Dakota

Hartland was founded in 1907 in Carpio Township. A local resident, Martin D. Johnson is credited with naming the village for his birthplace, Hartland Township in Worth County, Iowa. Businesses in the Village of Hartland in 1912 included: Machinery & Implement Building, Blacksmith Shop, Pool Hall, General Store, Bank, Hardware Store, Lumber Yard, M.D. Livery & Feed Stable, Vedvig Garage, Grocery Store & Post Office, Hotel, An Office, Zion Lutheran Church, One-Room School house and several private homes. The post office of Hartland was established on March 23, 1908. Ward County folklore says that the name was meant to show the town as the heart of the area. The peak population of 150 was recorded in 1920, but by 1940 the population was less than 100 an eventually, and in 2000 a population of less than 10. The post office closed May 6, 1966. Zion Congregation of the Synod for Speaking Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of America was organized March 1, 1903 at a local homestead, the Church building  was constructed in 1910 last services held in 1969.


Gardena, North Dakota

Gardena was founded in 1905. As of the census of 2010, there were 29 people. There is not much recorded history for this location. 


San Haven Sanatorium - San Haven, North Dakota

Construction of The North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium began in 1909 to care for persons afflicted with tuberculosis. Originally known as the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium, the hospital was governed by a Board consisting of the Governor, the Superintendent of the State Board of Health, a member of the Public Health Laboratory, and two members appointed by the Governor. In 1911, the governing Board chose Dunseith in Rolette County as the home for this facility. The choice of Dunseith on the south slope of the Turtle Mountains was selected because of the higher altitude, less snowfall, drier atmosphere, and favorable conditions for patients with tuberculosis. The facility opened to patients in November of 1912.

In 1915, financial support of the Sanatorium came from the legislature, private paying patients, or from the patient’s local county funds. The administration of the Sanatorium was transferred in 1911 from the original Board to the Board of Control (S. L. 1911, Ch. 61) and then to the Board of Administration in 1919 (S. L. 1919, Ch. 71). In 1969 the Director of Institutions became the administrator (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440) and in 1973 it became a division of the Grafton State School (S. L. 1973, Ch. 227). Patients from Grafton and other institutions were transferred to the San Haven facility in the late 1950s, and in 1957 (S. L. 1957, Ch. 197) a building was remodeled to include the developmentally disabled and the elderly. Also in 1957 the State Legislature directed the State Department of Health and the State Health Planning Council to seek out federal funding for the construction of a tuberculosis sanitarium in Grand Forks with the cooperation of North Dakota State Medical Center at University of North Dakota (S. L. 1957, Ch. 197). Later legislation directed the State Medical Center to continue to work with the existing Sanatorium at San Haven (S. L. 1961, Ch. 209). A Mental Health Authority within the State Health Department was established (S. L. 1961, Ch. 208). The section of San Haven that housed the School for the Feeble Minded was under the authority of the Grafton State School. The 1961 legislature authorized the Board of Administration to transfer patients from Grafton State School to San Haven (S. L. 1961, Ch. 209). In the 1960s the Grafton State School like other U.S. facilities of developmentally disabled reached a peak population of 1,300 who were served daily at the facilities of Grafton and the School at San Haven. In 1971, the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium was referred to as San Haven State Hospital (S. L. 1971, Ch. 48). Several legislative changes took place in 1973. San Haven became a division of the Grafton State School (S. L. 1973, Ch. 227), however, San Haven continued to treat patients with tuberculosis. The superintendent at Grafton State School also served as the superintendent of the San Haven State Hospital and appointed an assistant superintendent to manage San Haven (S. L. 1973, Ch. 228). In 1973 the Director of Institutions was authorized to discontinue operations at the tuberculosis sanatorium and was to transfer responsibility for the care of patients with tuberculosis to the State Department of Health. Increasingly patients with tuberculosis were either inpatients or outpatients at general hospitals and were treated by physicians of their own choice (S. L. 1973, Ch. 229). Finally, the state leased a portion of the land at San Haven to the Dunseith Park Board to be used as a golf course or for other recreational purposes (S. L. 1973, Ch. 439). A new section of the Century Code related to new methods of care for persons with tuberculosis. The State Health Officer under the guidelines of the State Health Council was responsible for the care of the patients. The care of those with tuberculosis at San Haven was phased-out and the San Haven facility was to only provide custodial care for the developmentally disabled. Until 1979 the assistant superintendent acted as both the chief of staff and chief of the medical staff and this became two separate positions (S. L. 1979, Ch. 315). State resources did not cover the all of the costs for maintaining the facilities at San Haven and questions concerning adequate care of the developmentally disabled arose. This brought about a lawsuit in 1980 between the North Dakota Association for Retarded Citizens and the State of North Dakota. The court-ordered changes modernized the custodial system and gave the developmentally disabled residents an opportunity to live in their own communities. In December of 1987 San Haven State Hospital closed. The facility stood vacant in 1989 and the legislature in 1991 authorized the director of the Office of Management and Budget to sell, lease, exchange, or transfer the title of San Haven properties. Any funds realized from the transaction would be deposited in the general fund (S. L. 1991, Ch. 616). In 1992 the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribe purchased from the State of North Dakota the San Haven property. CHRONOLOGY 1904 The National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association was founded. 1909 Creation of the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium was governed by a five member Board (S. L. 1909, Ch.137). 1911 Dunseith was selected as the location and the Board of Control administered the Sanatorium (S. L. 1911, Ch. 61). 1912 The first patients arrived at the Sanatorium in November. 1915 Legislation determined how patient payments were met (S. L. 1915, Ch. 264). 1919 The Board of Administration assumed control and administration of the Sanatorium (S. L. 1919, Ch. 71). 1957 The Board of Administration was authorized to transfer patients from Grafton to San Haven to meet the ever growing need for space for the developmentally disabled. A section of the Sanatorium was remodeled and opened. It was called the San Haven State School for the Feeble Minded. The Legislature directed the State Department of Health seek out federal funds for the construction of a tuberculosis sanitarium to be located at the North Dakota State Medical Center at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks (S. L. 1957, Ch. 197). 1961 Legislation directed the North Dakota State Medical Center at the University of North Dakota to work cooperatively with the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium at San Haven (S. L. 1961, Ch. 209). A Mental Health Authority within the State Health Department was established (S. L. 1961, Ch. 208). The section of San Haven that housed the School for the Feeble Minded officially became a part of the Grafton State School. 1969 The Director of Institutions assumed control of the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440). 1971 The name of the institution was referred to as the San Haven State Hospital (S. L. 1971, Ch. 48). 1973 The San Haven State Hospital became a satellite facility of the Grafton State School. It continued to treat patients with tuberculosis and was used also for purposes consistent with the function of Grafton State School (S. L. 1973, Ch. 227). Legislation set the qualifications for a Superintendent at the Grafton State School. Also, the Superintendent at Grafton State School served as Superintendent at San Haven State Hospital. The Superintendent appointed an assistant superintendent at San Haven to manage the medical staff, and other employees (S. L. 1973, Ch. 228). The care of patients with tuberculosis became the responsibility of the State Department of Health and patients with tuberculosis were encouraged to select a physician and hospital (S. L. 1973, Ch. 229). If a resident was unable to pay for treatment, the state assumed the cost (S. L. 1973, Ch. 230). A thirty-five year lease was granted by the legislature to Dunseith Park Board on a parcel of land to be used as a golf course (S. L. 1973, Ch. 439). 1979 A new section of the Century Code related to new methods of care for persons with tuberculosis. The State Health Officer under the guidelines of the State Health Council was responsible for the inpatient and outpatient care for patients with tuberculosis (S. L. 1979, Ch. 315). The name of the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium was officially changed to San Haven State Hospital [NDCC 25-04-01]. 1987 San Haven State Hospital closed in December, when developmentally disabled residents either returned to their own community services area or the Grafton State School. 1989 The buildings at San Haven were vacated by the state. 1991 Legislation authorized the director of the Office of Management and Budget to sell, lease, exchange, or transfer title or use of the San Haven properties (S. L. 1991, Ch. 616). 1992 The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribe purchased from the State of North Dakota the San Haven properties.


Hamberg, North Dakota


Josephine, North Dakota

Josephine was originally named Genin; located in Benson County, about halfway between Maddock and Oberon, North Dakota. The highest population  recorded was 30. The remains of the town are no longer visable, only two grain elevators remain. Josephine, North Dakota did have a post office. The original post office closed in 1906, reopened months later, and stayed open until 1943.

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