Abandoned Hunting – The Abandoned

Cyn and I had some time last weekend to do some abandoned hunting.  We drove through West Central MN (212), NE South Dakota and SE North Dakota.  We were amazed at the number of abandoned farms and homes still standing.  The first two images are two of many that “got away.”  The snow was somewhat of a hindrance.  Minimum Maintenance roads are nothing to mess around with this time of year.  The roads to several properties where minimum maintenance or simply were just not plowed.  GPS coordinates will come in handy for a return trip 🙂

The next few images are of an almost abandoned town in SD called Hammer.  There was one home there still occupied – not quite a complete ghost town yet.  Further along you will see that we did find a couple of abandoned homes that we could get to and explore (Montevideo and Big Stone City).  We both would have liked to get inside the 1911 brick schoolhouse in Louisburg, MN, but that just wasn’t possible.

It was a great few days to get away and capture rural decay and commit historic visions to pixels.  The post to follow will include all of the photos of all points in between the abandoned places.

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North Dakota Safari

There wasn’t any “dune bashing” or any sort of off-roading at all on our trip to North Dakota.  There were roads everywhere.  We roamed about freely; pretty much uninhibited by obstacles with the exception of the “bridge out” signs in the middle of nowhere and the occasional pond/lake right in the middle of a road.  The GPS was rather amusing with its informative display of where we were driving.  Often it stated unpaved road or simply – Driving on Road.  You can truly find the middle of nowhere in ND.  I love it.

When traveling through the middle of nowhere don’t be surprised if you encounter a train of machinery blocking your way.  You can see the dust cloud miles away.  That is your hint to pull off and get out of their way.  Harvest time was in full gear when we were there.  The dust from the roads and the picking of corn and beans made for some interesting photos.  You can see the dust in the first of five panos I did on this trip.

Tatanka Wind Farm
Tatanka Wind Farm
Merricourt Wind Farm

I know I have used the term “dirt road” rather loosely; to include gravel roads, etc. – anything not paved.  We were actually on dirt roads in ND – black fertile dirt very compacted from grain trucks and other farming machinery.  These field roads were smooth.  In fact, they were often smoother-riding than some of the black top roads.  The weeds on these dirt roads were a bit tall in spots though.  There were several times that we stopped to shoot some wildlife and all you could smell was simmering grasshopper guts and burnt weeds.

Sunset South of Jamestown

There was plenty of wildlife between each town and abandoned place we happened upon.  I very much enjoyed my close encounter with a hawk and just the sheer numbers of them that we saw.  We chased around egrets for a while as well and stumbled upon some baby turkeys.  They are not cute at all – as most baby animals usually are.  Everyone of those puddles held an abundance of waterfowl with no shortage of goose poop.

This was two of the better days we have enjoyed out shooting in a while.  Great locations, weather and of course my company is always wonderful.

Binford, ND (Area) Abandoned Farmstead

After some much-needed rest in Jamestown, we set out on day two of our North Dakota abandoned hunt.  The Jamestown Reservoir provided for some lovely early a.m. scenery as we meandered away from the populated city and into the vast and open country of North Dakota.

There were numerous wetlands as we made our way west of the reservoir.  Some of which were not so wet, but extremely or completely dry altogether.  There wasn’t a shortage of wildlife despite these dry conditions.  There were still plenty of areas that still held water along with your typical fowl for this time of year.  Although this isn’t consider prime pheasant country, I was a bit disappointing that I only saw one the whole time.

With this type of scenery between abandoned farmsteads the miles just fly by.  I have several photos of all the points between here and there of this trip that will soon become our North Dakota Safari post.

We stumbled on this farmstead out in the middle of nowhere near Binford.  This must have been a musical household as there were sheet music strewn about the place.  There was also remnants of a piano at the bottom of a heap of yesteryear.  There was also a skeleton of an acoustic guitar on the second level surround by more sheet music.

Troy Larson and Terry Hinnekamp  of Ghost of North Dakota have a book project; if you are interested in abandoned buildings, history and photography please consider contributing to their effort.

Ellendale, ND (Area) Abandoned Farmstead

The last farmstead of the day was near Ellendale and the Tatanka Wind Farm.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  The light cast out by the setting sun was fantastic.  All the dust in the air for harvesting corn added a nice effect across the landscape.

This place had some real character; more so around the grounds than in the tiny house.  The tulip wall paper that covered the pink walls wasn’t much of an improvement 🙂  The little Allis Chalmers in between the house and a shed made for an interesting subject to photography as well.  This was a great spot to finish out our day.

Merricourt, ND (Area) Abandoned Farmstead

After we explored the Forbes area we headed North towards Merricourt.  This was another location that we found through the GhostsOfNorthDakota.com website.  Merricourt was completely uninhabited.  The only sign of life was the local farmer harvesting corn on the North side of town.  There were several buildings and homes in town – all of which we would have loved to shoot inside and out, if not for the NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere :-/  I can’t blame the owners though, I wouldn’t want my property vandalized.  Seeing very little opportunity here, we moved on.

It wasn’t long until we found another abandoned farmstead West of town.  This farmstead had some really amazing texture in the flaky, pealing paint of the two-story house.  The crown moldings and trim where in surprisingly great condition.  This little gem is in its prime.  A finite moment; a balance between what was and the inevitable decay to come.

Troy Larson and Terry Hinnekamp  of Ghost of North Dakota have a book project; if you are interested in abandoned buildings, history and photography please consider contributing to their effort.