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Fly Over Country – The Dakotas


Fly Over Country – The Dakotas

With almost 40% of Americans living on either the west, or east coast, the middle of the country, or more rural areas, often get jokingly referred to as “Fly Over Country”. Many people I’ve shown my photos to have said “oh that’s what it looks like from on the ground?”

So with that in mind I titled this video “A Fly Over” so all of those people who travel above 30,000 feet could get a little more detailed view of the places I normally travel to document.

A list of what’ sin the “Fly Over”

  • Danzig, ND – Located in McIntosh County, in the south central part of the state, Danzig was settled mostly by immigrants from Southern Russia and Black Sea German towns around 1906, but started to fade away just forty years later.  Oddly enough you can find the streets on Google Maps, but traveling into what was once the town of Danzig is really just a gravel driveway to someone’s home & farm. There is supposedly a bank building that was still standing 4 years ago, but the grain elevators along what use to be train tracks is all that appears to remain of this town now. Here is a link to see photos of Danzig in it’s heyday.
  • McIntosh County, ND – Not far north of Danzig was this farmstead that looks to have endured many winters empty and alone.
  • Kintyre, ND – Just south of town is the old homestead of Louis Levine, which now sits right on the property line of two farms, quite some distance off of a paved road. It was a little bit of an adventure getting out there and I have to say thank you to Mark, who’s land it was on for giving me a tour.
  • Freda, ND – Another ghost town that has streets listed on Google Maps, but is just two building and a few foundations surrounded by grass. The tire tracks you see are all that’s left of Main Street and the larger of the two buildings is the former train depot. A part of me pictures someone the likes of Thomas Durant laying the track through this town back in the early 20th century.
  • Logan County, ND – Found this homestead just west of Napoleon. There is a great looking old truck just on the other side of the house that you can barely see from the fly-by. While I don’t have confirmation on this, the building on the far edge of the property looks like a one room school house. There are several left in the part of the state.
  • Maple Leaf, SD – I made a brief trip into South Dakota, just to see this place. You can still see the raised embankment from the old railway that went through here. The trip here wasn’t really easy and I was panicked that I would miss my chance to photograph it as the sun was setting fast. It’s a place I plan on writing more about soon. because it’s up for sale on Oct. 17th, 2015.


A note to my West & East Coast viewers:

While I couldn’t, with a straight face, tell someone going from New York, or Los Angeles to drive across country instead of flying. I absolutely try to advocate getting in the car and driving as much as you can across this great country. From New York to Chicago, or a St. Louis to Denver, get out there and see this great place we call America. Make the drive part of your trip. Or heck, make the drive your trip. Get off the major highways into some small towns. Eat at places that aren’t a chain restaurant. Pull over for historical markers. Visit the world’s largest ball of twine. You just might see some stuff future generations will only read about, or your patronage could be the reason it’s still there in 20 years.


Lastly, I can’t say enough good things about the people I met and the places I visited while in North Dakota. I’ll write about them in the future. I also have to give a big thank you to Ryan, my teammate at the Chicago Blaze Rugby Club. If he didn’t have faith in me that I’d bring his drone back in one piece, none of this footage would have been possible.


If you like the idea behind this project, please help support it by purchasing a photo. You’ll get some cool art to hang in your place that is a great conversation piece and I get one step closer to publishing a book and making the film.

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Hope you enjoyed this post.



Vincent Johnson


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