Churches of the High Plains

Churches of the High Plains

Churches of the High Plains is a 120 page, hardcover, coffee table book featuring photos of churches, both active and abandoned, across the High Plains of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Manitoba. Churches of the High Plains is part travelogue, part photo essay, and all history appreciation, and includes comments from the photographers, historical tidbits, stories from current and former church members and staff, and a lot more. A wide variety of faiths are represented in this volume, including Catholic, Lutheran,…

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Togo: Where the Pavement Ends and the North Begins

Togo: Where the Pavement Ends and the North Begins

Togo, Minnesota is a remote outpost in Itasca County, about thirty five miles northwest of Hibbing. Located in George Washington State Forest, a wilderness covering more than three hundred thousand acres, Togo is an outdoor paradise in warm and cold weather. This part of Minnesota is characterized by numerous marshes and bogs, punctuated with tamarack and black spruce trees, thousands of which are dead in the wet, low-lying areas. The result is acres of bare tree trunks, devoid of foliage —…

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Bagley Lost Highway

Bagley Lost Highway

There’s an abandoned stretch of road sandwiched between US Highway 2 and Airport Drive on the outskirts of Bagley, Minnesota. A visitor to this website suggested this place to us after seeing our post on the lost highway in what was once McHugh, Minnesota, near Detroit Lakes. Based on the map, it looks like US Highway 2 was realigned at some point, leaving this stretch of highway abandoned. If someone knows the details, please leave a comment. This abandoned road…

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St. Peter and St. Paul Russian Orthodox Church

St. Peter and St. Paul Russian Orthodox Church

St. Peter and St. Paul Russian Orthodox Church stands in the forest of the South Koochiching unorganized territory in Koochiching County, Minnesota, about 35 miles northwest of Hibbing. I made a five hour drive from the Red River Valley to photograph this place at peak fall color in October of 2015. An autumn drive through the Iron Range to reach this place is a treat like few others I’ve ever experienced. The small communities along the drive have a particular…

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Colors of Autumn in Tamarac

Colors of Autumn in Tamarac

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge lies just north of Rochert, Minnesota, about twenty minutes northeast of Detroit Lakes. The US Fish & Wildlife website describes Tamarac like this: “Tamarac lies in the heart of one of the most diverse transition zones in North America. Here Eastern deciduous hardwoods, Northern coniferous forests and Western tall grass prairie converge, creating a rich assemblage of both plants and animals. Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds…

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This Terrebonne Church is in Danger of Demolition

This Terrebonne Church is in Danger of Demolition

This is St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Terrebonne, Minnesota, and it is a place in danger of being demolished. Update: This church was demolished in a controlled burn on April 29th, 2016. Some of the photos on this page are featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains, which you can order in our store, or ask for it at your favorite local book store or gift shop. According to the Star Tribune, the Crookston Diocese sent…

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Caribou Church: Beautiful and Remote

Caribou Church: Beautiful and Remote

This is the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Caribou, in northwestern Minnesota just a little more than a mile from the Canadian border. Many of the parishioners at this church lived in Canada and crossed the border regularly without too much trouble, but US Customs began enforcing boundary laws in the thirties, and this church soon waned. When I arrived, I was blown away by the simple beauty of the site. The remote location, the huge white crosses in…

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Duluth’s Uncommon Aerial Bridge, 1908

Duluth’s Uncommon Aerial Bridge, 1908

A few years back my family vacationed in Duluth and we fell in love with the place. I took a ton of pictures while we were there, some of which you can see here. One of the highlights of the trip was sightseeing in Canal Park and enjoying the seaport ambience surrounding the Aerial Lift Bridge. It’s called the Aerial Lift Bridge today because the center span lifts to allow ships to pass underneath. In the down position, cars can…

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Phelps Mill

Phelps Mill

This is Phelps Mill, in Ottertail County, about fourteen miles northeast of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It was originally known as Maine Roller Mills. This mill began operations in 1889 and prospered as a flour mill in the age of hyrdopower that predated steam, gas, and electric mills. The plaque on-site says it closed for good in 1939. The sign shown below says 1931. Ottertail County bought the site in 1965, and ten years later it was placed on the National Register…

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Who Wants a Free Church?

Who Wants a Free Church?

I became aware of this church this morning when someone posted a photo of a newspaper ad which read, “For Give Away: A Rural Church near Moorhead, MN. Must be moved.” I called the number in the ad and talked to a gentleman named Alvin Swanson who gave me directions, and fifteen minutes later I was standing in front of this place — Oak Mound Congregational Church, just a few miles from Kragnes, Minnesota, a tiny town near the Red…

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