Bethesda Lutheran Church- Abandoned North Dakota

Given up the Ghost
Rural Decay and Abandonment in Western North Dakota

They once had congregations, families, children, weddings, baptisms and funerals. Now, they have nothing but memories. They are out there, still standing as a testament to faith in the Great Plains. The Great Plains didn’t hold up their part of the bargain however. Dry land farming on 160 acres may have worked when the rains appeared, but when the hard years hit, and they did, the bank ended up owning the land. Modern farming methods made the small farm, and as a result, the small farmer obsolete. I’ve heard it said that the church anchored people to the land. The people shared a common heritage, Scandinavians, Germans, Germans from Russia, Poles, all looking for a better life, some found it, others did not. These churches are still out there, all you have to do is drive down a gravel road and sooner or later you will be rewarded with a ghost on the prairie just like this one. The Bethesda Lutheran Church is NE of Williston, North Dakota.


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