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Pioneer Remains in Strand Township

Pioneer Remains in Strand Township

In Strand Township, Norman County, not far from Gary, Minnesota and about twelve miles west of Mahnomen stand the remains of a pioneer community. I ran across this church and school by accident as I was returning from a trip to northeast Minnesota to photograph some spots in the forest, including Togo.

strand township church

This was Immanuel Lutheran Church, possibly built as early as 1910. If anyone knows the history of this church, please leave a comment. I poked my camera through a window to get a photo of the inside, disturbing the pigeons in the process. You can see them in flight near the ceiling.

strand township church

strand township church

We featured dozens of country churches like this in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains, available now.

strand township church

strand township church

Just three miles west, this abandoned one room school stands crumbling at the intersection of Highways 200 and 32. This school predates the church by roughly thirty years, dating to the 1880s. This school and the church down the road are just a few miles from Gary, Minnesota, and not far from a few other places we’ve photographed, like Sundal and Lockhart, Minnesota.

strand township school

strand township school

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

Timber Town: Hines, Minnesota

Timber Town: Hines, Minnesota

Just down the road from Blackduck, in Beltrami County, I found Hines, Minnesota, totally by accident. I glanced over my shoulder as I passed through a highway intersection and caught a glimpse of the weathered wood facade of the Pioneer Store, so I turned around and went back to snap a few photos.

Hines, Minnesota

Hines, Minnesota dates back to the 1890s and is named for William Hines, a lumberman. It was originally founded a short distance to the north, on the south shore of Blackduck lake, but moved to this location when the allure of the railroad and logging job opportunities offered by the old growth forest brought settlers and homesteaders to the area. The post office opened in 1904.

Hines, Minnesota



Hines, Minnesota

The sign on the door reads: Open by appointment or chance.

Hines, Minnesota

Hines, Minnesota

The sign in the window of the Studebaker asks $1000.00

Hines, Minnesota

If you enjoy photos of old buildings, abandoned places, and small, rural communities, check out our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains.

Hines, Minnesota

I found this old service station to be very photogenic. There was once a lot more of Hines. There are detailed histories here and here where you can read a lot more, and see photos of buildings which no longer exist.

Hines, Minnesota

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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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.

Bagley Lost Highway
Image/Google Earth

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.

Bagley Lost Highway



Bagley, Minnesota Lost Highway

Bagley Lost Highway

This abandoned road stretches about six-tenths of a mile and parallels the railroad line.

Bagley Lost Highway

In North Dakota, we photographed another lost highway, created by a man-made flood.

Bagley Lost Highway

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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Demolished: Abandoned I94 Speedway

Demolished: Abandoned I94 Speedway

This is the former I94 Speedway, also known as the I94 Raceway for a time.  It was right off Interstate 94, in Stearns County, about 40 miles northwest of St. Cloud, right outside of Sauk Centre.

There was some question as to whether this track might re-open after the final race on Sept 4, 2009, but the track has now fallen into such disrepair, it seems clear the track will never reopen.  It was a dirt track for four years, asphalt for about twelve years, and operated with a clay surface for the final season in 2009.

Update: This place has been demolished. I94 Speedway is no more.

I actually raced here once in a media race, in the summer of 1999.  I raced against five other media personalities from the region, and placed third out of six.  You can see some pictures of the track in it’s heyday here, and read the obit for the track here.

The track was wide open on the day I visited in 2012 — no gates or no trespassing signs.

speedway3

During construction of the CapX2020 transmission line, the land next to this track was temporarily used as storage for the power poles.

speedway4

speedway5



speedway6

speedway7

speedway8

speedway9

What do you know about the former I94 Speedway? Please leave a comment below.

speedway10

Photos by Troy Larson, Copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media



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Abandoned 1911 School in Louisburg, Minnesota

Abandoned 1911 School in Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg is a small town in Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota, about 55 miles west of Willmar, or 50 miles northeast of Watertown, South Dakota.

We visited on a Saturday afternoon and it was very quiet.  We saw two or three vehicles drive through while we were there, and there were some kids playing too, but just a little activity from what we saw.  We visited with the intention of getting photos of the historic 1911 Public School.

Louisburg, Minnesota

The Louisburg School is on the National Register of Historic Places due to its significance as one of Minnesota’s best examples of Victorian Public School Design. It was built in 1911 to replace a smaller school, and was originally intended to house two grade school classes on the main floor and two high school classes on the upper floor.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg Public School was shuttered in a consolidation wave in the 1960s and has since fallen into disrepair. The roof of this school is open to the elements and you can see through it from the right angle.  As a result, the floors are all rotted and crumbling.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

A peek through the basement window.

Louisburg, Minnesota

These are the footings from the playground equipment which was removed sometime in the last few years.  There’s another blogger who photographed Louisburg when the playground equipment was still in place.  See it here.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg was platted in 1887 and a Post Office opened in 1888. It was decommissioned in 1992.

If the census records for Louisburg are accurate, this town has gone through somewhat of an influx of residents recently.  According to the 2000 census, Louisburg had 26 residents, but as of 2010, the census tallied 47.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Emmerich’s, built in 1906, was a grocery store for a time.

Louisburg, Minnesota

A peek around the back.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota



Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

A sleepy Saturday in Louisburg.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

The Louisburg Fire Station sometimes serves as a gathering place and/or picnic spot for the remaining residents.

Louisburg, Minnesota

This monument commemorating the Louisburg Centennial is right in front of the fire station.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

The former home of the Allen family.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

Homeplate on the seldom used baseball diamond.

Louisburg, Minnesota

Louisburg, Minnesota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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Return to Tenney: A Town No More

Return to Tenney: A Town No More

Tenney was featured in several regional newspapers in summer of 2011, when the town’s residents voted to dissolve and shed their status as an incorporated town.  Although the sign at the edge of town read “Population 6,” by the time the vote was taken, there were only three residents left, and they voted 2 to 1 to dissolve.  We visited the town to take photographs shortly thereafter.

We returned to Tenney exactly 364 days later and it was immediately apparent that Tenney had not only dissolved its legal status as a town, it was quickly losing its physical status as a town.

Tenney, Minnesota

Tenney, Minnesota

The former school and church, which both stood onsite in 2011, were both gone, leaving only one large building onsite (above), and several vacant houses and trailer homes. There appeared to be perhaps one or two inhabited homes, and the grain business in Tenney was still quite active.

Tenney, Minnesota

Even the sign declaring Tenney a town with a population of 6 had been removed from the roadside.

Tenney, Minnesota

A story like Tenney’s happens on occasion. A shrinking town votes to dissolve for any number of reasons… taxes, practical matters and whatnot. Fifty years from now, who will remember the town called Tenney, Minnesota?

Tenney, Minnesota



Tenney, Minnesota

Tenney, Minnesota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2012 Sonic Tremor Media

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Last Days in Tenney

Last Days in Tenney

Tenney, in southern Wilkin county near the tri-state North Dakota/South Dakota/Minnesota junction, came to my attention when I saw a story on the news about how they had voted to dissolve, officially shedding the “town” designation.  I took a short trip one day to catch a few photos and see this vanishing place for myself.

Tenney, Minnesota



Tenney, Minnesota

These photos were taken in 2011. Purely by coincidence, we found ourselves in Tenney again 364 days later and the buildings shown directly above and below were both gone. No idea what happened to them. Even the highway sign “Tenney Pop 6” had been taken down.

Tenney, Minnesota

Tenney, Minnesota

The sign said population 6, but it was soon to be zero.

Tenney, Minnesota

Read more on Tenney in the Star Tribune.

Photos by Troy Larson, Copyright © Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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