Western North Dakota History Loop


  • Gizmo
    started a blog post Western North Dakota History Loop

    Western North Dakota History Loop

    Virtually every area has history going back thousands of years. Sadly, much of that history was never recorded and only handed down tales and incomplete archaeological evidence exist to tell those stories. The long-abandoned farms and settlements of the plains, which were so commonplace after the Depression and Dust Bowl years, seem to have often been intentionally forgotten by local residents. Perhaps bad times and bad memories are best left in the past.

    Trotters, North Dakota was one of those places. Settled in 1903 and located 30 miles north of Beach, ND along the ND16 highway, Trotters has always been one of most remote places in the northern plains. The "town" of Trotters is now just a ghost town with an abandoned post office/gas station and church standing guard over the windswept prairie. The gas pump is still standing and it will forever have gas for sale at $1.25/gallon. If you pay attention to the land as you pass through the area you will notice that much of it was in fields at one time. Those misinformed settlers of the early 1900's eventually found out that the thin topsoil of the area coupled with brutally cold winters and blazing hot summers made it impossible to farm there. Today, sprawling cattle ranches dominate the area. If you google Trotters you can find a brief history online.

    Traffic on ND16 today is probably the heaviest it has ever been due to oil activity nearby....about 3 vehicles per hour. During "green" times, ND16 is one of the prettier rides in North Dakota but be sure about your bike's gas range.

    Another stop today was at the Hutmacher Farm Historical Site which is north of South Heart, ND along a paved county road. This road is a fun riding road and actually has some curves...a rarity in North Dakota! It is easy to ride past the Hutmacher site so pay attention. This site gives a true depiction of how early settlers lived and worked on the northern plains. It was a hard life and people had to be frugal and innovative to make a go of it.

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