A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Rud Anderson Memorial Park


Ambrose, North Dakota

It was here that the free camping app stated that one could stay for free.

It was heavily wooded so only a car or tent could actually camp in the park on the grass.
An RV would have to park along the road which was suggested.
An electric plug-in was behind the sign.

They had a covered area for gatherings...

...and such that the townsfolk may want to have.

There was a restroom.

An old fashioned style of outhouse.
This was the ladies.
Made you think of spiders didn’t it?

The mens didn’t get a seat for they can’t remember to put the seat down when finished.

The next block over had a prehistoric children's playground.
I had been wondering if there were any kids in Ambrose for I never heard or saw any.  One day the Sheriff came by.  Yep, someone called the Sheriff on us.  I think it was more of a welfare check to see if we were okay.  No one has ever stayed in Ambrose as long as we have I guess.  Someone got to wondering.  Anyway, after I checked out for not being a wanted fugitive we had a nice visit.  I asked and he said there are a couple kids still living here.  

This was setting next to the park sign attached to a large boulder.  I hope you can read it.  I want to touch on a couple points she wrote about back in 1969.  Evidently the school was still standing at that time.  Where I don’t know.  She also writes about the Main Street stores, an old Hotel and lumberyard that had previously burned and fell.  And Ambrose did have a general store.  There is no trace of any of these buildings or the rubble left behind.  This leads me to believe the residents clean up after these disasters then allow the prairie grass move in and restore the site, covering up the sad memories.  

The Sheriff who lived in Noonan (remember that town with the titled sign) said back in 1910 they held that vote I mentioned as to divide the existing county into a north and south half.  The measure passed.  Now they had to establish a town as the county seat for the newly formed Divide County.  Ambrose and Crosby both were vying for the honor.  On the day of the vote a blizzard swept in.  The snows were so heavy that the residents of Ambrose were unable to make the trip to cast their vote.  
Crosby won the count.

So you may be wondering why we didn’t stay at the park.  Right across the street lived two BIG dogs.  Bark, bark, bark when we first drove by to check out the park.  Days later I walked by there on one of my walks. Bark, bark, bark.  It wasn’t until my third try to get to the park to take pictures that I was successful in doing so without them knowing I was there.  I snuck in from the east side walking softly on the grass instead of the crunching dirt road.
The local who came by early on to tell me about the park agreed with me after my telling him why were didn’t stay there.  “Yeah, they are a nuisance.  They’re moving away pretty soon but that’s not going to do you any good.” 

Guess the population in Ambrose will soon be down to fifteen.

- comment replies -

Barbara you can send Mr. Strolies’ photo to hwyfly@gmail.com and I will put it on a blog post so everyone can see Arthur.

And Ellen, you are right the hospital wasn’t all misery, pain and death.  Babies were born (well there’s a boatload of pain for you) people healed and lives saved for sure.  That was just my first impression seeing it in its present condition in a very moody and depressing setting.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Hospital


Ambrose, North Dakota

When I first looked upon this brick building all I could think of was all the misery, pain and death that took place within these walls.

One article online that listed the eight most “terrifying” places in North Dakota the hospital in Ambrose sat in the number one spot on the list.
The author wrote:

Now, that looks like something straight from a horror film, luring people inside only for them to find out it is haunted beyond their worst nightmares.  This old building in Ambrose, a ghost town in North Dakota, is one of only a few that still stand in the town.  Nature is certainly taking its toll on it, and it has turned into a spooky and disturbing spot that most people probably wouldn’t last for too long, especially after dark.

I wanted in.

I made two separate trips to the hospital and there just wasn’t any way I could get inside unless I wanted to crawl down into the access hole to the basement and try getting in that way.

Nope, that wasn’t gonna happen.

This is the back side.  On the other side of what appears to be a later addition to the building the vegetation was so dense that it was nearly impossible to get through let alone take a photo.

I found out a little bit about the hospital from a local who came by.  He told me the hospital shut down in the late 40’s and was turned into an “old folks home”.  It remained as such into the 70’s. 

After that a woman who once was a stripper in Montana lived in the building.  She evidently was a cantankerous character always carrying a gun around town.  She eventually left.  I don’t know if on her own accord or was asked to leave.

Notice those two openings to the basement most likely.  I could smell burned something and you can see the blackened opening.  That was another possibility to get inside but best not.
That is a DISH TV satellite receiver lying in the grass. 

Next came a white suprematist after the stripper moved away.
The townsfolk did in fact run him off at some point.  
Its been vacant ever since.

Some improvements against the elements made by the previous inhabitants.

Just pack some stuffing in between the cracks.

I still want inside!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Returning to Mr. Strolie’s Cabin


Ambrose, North Dakota

I had been thinking about my leaving out those letters and the pamphlet out for anyone else who may come by can see them.  No one was going to come by.  I was bothered by this and went back to put them back the way I found them.  This time I took a flashlight with me so I could better see in the cabin.

Meanwhile Barbara did some sleuthing and found out this:  “I’ve found an Arthur Strolie who lived most of his life Ambrose, and is buried there somewhere (there is a large cemetery outside of town but I have no plan to go there.  I don’t like going to cemeteries.  I get to looking at dates, doing the math and the results scare me).  He lived until July 16, 1999, but died in Crosby, ND.  Full name Arthur O’Connel Strolie, parents from Norway.  His sister and father also lived in Crosby ND where he died.  His occupation was farm laborer, but he also worked on the railroad, so an application for RR Pension is among the documents.  For his WW II draft card he gave an uncle’s name for next of kin.  He had been baptized, but never married.” (well I guessed that one wrong).

I wondered about heat in the shack during the winter.  This time I noticed the hole in the suspended chimney so there must have been like a pot belly wood stove sitting next to his kerosene cook stove and someone has taken it away.

The single hanging light bulb socket, not blurry this time.

There were two electrical outlets on the wall.  He could have had a electric heater also.

This little can by the doorway has matches in it still.

I hung his broom back up next to the match can.

On the shelf above I found this old lock which I suspect he used on the outside door into his entry porch.
That door lies firmly embedded in the grass outside now acting as a walkway.
I tried to pull it free to prop back into place.  It wouldn’t budge.

His straw hat had fallen behind the stove.  Two others lay on the floor elsewhere flatten and in tatters.

His last roll of toilet paper?

This is the inside of the door into the cabin.  Arthur could triple locked himself inside.
Only the door knob lock had a keyhole on the other side.

I totally missed this coat on my first visit.  It was hung up behind the door.  It is a heavy full length woolen coat.  Arthur must have been a small guy, smaller than me.  I am 5’8” and 143 pounds.  I am sure that coat would not fit me.

I put the Christmas cards back where I found them.  Having the flashlight I could read the faint penciled messages on the back.  One was from a brother or sister asking Arthur how he was, how was mom and if he was going to make the trip for visit.  I now know it must have been a sister based on what Barbara found.  Only thing was she lived in Iowa at the time, 1955.

Finally I found this Sears catalog I had missed before.  You see it was dated November 1955.  By now I had myself convinced that 1955 was his last winter then he died.  Well, I had that one wrong too.  Also since I had the flashlight I could read the envelopes better coming away thinking there was no ‘R’ in his last name, but it seems there is thanks to Barbara’s findings. I just had it placed wrong.  Boy, some people’s handwriting can be tough to decipher..

I also had been wondering where was his privy.  I found this hidden in the bushes across the way at his neighbors.  I thought I had found it.  The neighbors let Arthur use their outhouse.  Wrong.  It was a shed.
So that mystery remains unsolved. 

On the way back home I wanted to stop by this corner lot down the street from us.

One day Beans and I had walked down there.  I saw this memorial.  I couldn’t get Beans to walk over to it.  She had other interests.  Today I could see what it was about.

There is no house on the lot, just a shed.  Was Markus living in this van and they found him dead in there? See the barbecue.  

Back home I looked him up.  Wrong again.  He moved to Washington in 1966 and lived out his life there.  He was a star basketball player in high school.  Someone in town made the memorial to him upon hearing of his death.
My imagination needs to be kept in check sometimes.

- comment reply -

The Hospital will be on tomorrow.  Thank you Debby for recruiting a new follower.  
Spread the word friends.  Beans and I like new followers. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Upper Downtown

(I got confused and posted twice yesterday so if you missed A Walk Around Town scroll past this one) 

Ambrose, North Dakota

Continuing on our walk around town we pass by the Ambrose Lutheran Church.

I went by on a Sunday around noon and saw no activity.
 A local told me though they still hold services.  
Either I was too early or too late.

Hmm, where there is a church there surely must be a bar somewhere.
Let’s see if we can find it.

This is the Ambrose public school bell setting by the side of the church. 

 Dates on it were 1912 - 1971.

We are back at Main Street now, lets turn north and see if a bar is at that end of town.

Well what do you know, there is one.

Hmm...looks to be for sale.


Around back I found the door unlocked.  
Let’s go in.

By the looks of things lying about on the tables and counter they held a garage sale in here trying to get rid  of things before closing up.

Across the street from the bar was this new building.
I thought maybe it was a community center what with the benches, shade and patio area.

Looking through the window it looked like someone’s tiny home.

Around the side guess what?
The door was unlocked.

What do you make of it?

On back down Main Street on the corner 2nd Avenue was this little place,
Just the right size for Beans and I.

Someone was fixing it up (new front window, table saw sitting out front) but it seems they have quit with the project.  Interesting point is I brought up the Google satellite view to get the name of this corner street and I noticed that the bar and the tiny house across from it are not in the satellite image.  The image was taken in May of 2016.  The bar had a short life.

Let’s stop in at the Post Office on our way home.

Only seven boxes had mail in them.
Seems about right if the population is 20 or the estimate of 17.
The post office was established in 1906 the same year as the town itself.  In 1910 the population was 320 peaking at 389 in 1920.  So all those boxes at one time were in use.

Turn the corner and we go by the Fire Station.
Notice the two sirens.

Does that knob on the right open the box so I can see inside or does it activate the siren?  I was tempted.  Then I remembered back at that park somewhere where I went and pushed the button that started up the entire apparatus for the baseball pitching machines and I didn’t know how to stop it.
Leave things alone John!  
And so I did.

Tomorrow we return to Mr. Strolie’s cabin to clear up some information plus find more.