Jan 18 2012
One of my favorite unexpected things about writing this blog is the connections I’ve made with other travelers, especially regarding little-known but beloved places.
In May of 2009, I took my children on a tour of North Dakota. At the last-minute, I decided to take the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway between Bismarck and Dickinson instead of the faster and mostly parallel Interstate 94. It’s one of the best travel decisions I’ve made.
Along the byway, we traveled through small towns, found a ghost town, and saw unique, beautiful old buildings, some of which are no longer standing.
The photos I shared of this day on the road visiting Sims and Curlew and Glen Ullin have been the starting point of several conversations with people who hold these nearly-forgotten North Dakota locations dear to their hearts. Weeks and even months after I wrote about these gems, readers wrote to tell me more of the story.
After I wrote about North Almont and its elevator which caught my eye and made me pause along the road to snap a photo, a reader responded with the news that the elevator had been demolished, just as many other landmarks of historical or sentimental value have disappeared over the years.
This week, I received a message from Rob Reeves of Denver, Colorado, who photographed the North Almont elevator before it was torn down. He shared this photo with me, and gave me permission to share it with others who may be interested. And so, I present Rob’s breathtaking photo of a piece of small-town North Dakota history that is now gone.
It’s delightful when a last-minute turn brings about so much conversation and kindred spirits are found in unexpected locales. It is satisfying to the writer who receives responses to her work from others who have visited, and loved, these little-known places. It is heartwarming to see people preserving the history and heritage of a state that is home to many, whether or not they still live within its borders.
You may recognize this post’s title as the last line of Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken. So often when I travel, I look for the lesser-traveled road, and it is the stories like this that spring from those backroads stories that are some of my favorites.