This last week, the popular(-ish) blog Ghosts of North Dakota has announced a Kickstarter to fund a book based on their photographs of abandoned and declining towns in North Dakota. Here’s a link to their Kickstarter page. They’re looking to raise $12,175 and are about halfway there with over 60 backers. The deadline is October 10th.
The book’s authors Troy Larson and Terry Hinnekamp have worked to document photographically the abandoned landscapes of North Dakota since 2003. Their blog has collected their photographs and the photographs of others from various rural sites across North Dakota which they have indexed by place name. The tone of the site is Romantic and the photos often contrast the declining state of buildings with the stark blue of the North Dakota sky.
For many small towns in North Dakota, Ghosts of North Dakota becomes a useful reference page including census data and whatever bits of documentary knowledge exist for these towns. We used Ghosts of North Dakota during trips to Wheelock and Appam.
In fact, the photo of the Wheelock school on the Ghosts of North Dakota page dedicated to the town here. Gave us an idea of what the building once looked like. Presently, the building looks like this:
Often residents of these towns or people with memories of them leave comments or contribute their own photographs or identifications to the pages dedicated to towns. In effect, what started may have started as a place to document declining communities and abandoned towns has become a place where communities can reconnect, share memories, and write their own history.
It will be instructive to understand whether the book will capture this aspect of the Ghosts of North Dakota.