Part Museum, Part Place of Worship, All Ghost Town
Sims, North Dakota
In Morton County, about 30 miles west of the of Bismarck sits what’s left of the town of Sims, North Dakota.
Founded in 1883 as a coal town, the area was settled by mostly Scandinavians as evident from the last original structure still in use, the Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church. The church still hosts a bi-weekly service on Sunday and the parsonage is the home of the Sims Historical Society. It was also a stopping point for First Lady Laura Bush on a 2008 tour of North Dakota.
Just up what would have been the block, is the other most obvious building in town. A brilliant red brick home that is still showing its original splendor despite what appears to be decades of being left abandoned.
Although a Wikipedia entry contends the town ballooned to just over 1,000 people at one point, the 1910 and 1940 US Census counted the population of the village both times at just under 100 people. Sims Township did list almost 300 people in 1910. With a coal mine and a brickyard, it’s very possible a boom town with many non-permanent residents, may have sprung up, especially on the outskirts of town. Something North Dakota has experienced recently with oil wells.
However the town’s post office closed in 1947 and a the population in the previous census recorded only 98 people.
Over a bridge that runs north along the former railroad right-of-way, sits two houses, what are most likely the only other remaining structures from Sims before it became a ghost town. They now are home for some rancher’s cows.
There are roughly three farms close enough to what would have been the town center to say Sims still has residents, but when your post office goes, so does your zip code and town. Any mail you would send today would be addressed with the nearby town name of Almont.