North Dakota - Minnewaukan


Minnewaukan is both the most important and most vulnerable city in Benson County. It's important as the county seat, but it's located along the ever-shifting shores of Devils Lake, which over the last couple of decades has been steadily flooding its way westward. The northerly extents of town have already been abandoned to the lake, which has already swallowed the former routing of US Route 281 through downtown and farms to the north and east. The problem is that Devils Lake is endorheic, so if its tributaries are seeing steadier rainfall, its levels will keep rising. From its low point in 1940, it rose 45 feet until 2000, with half of that coming in just the few prior years. At that point, it connected to Stump Lake and North Dakota then constructed an outlet into the Sheyenne River, so hopefully the level has permanently stabilized and the remainder of Minnewaukan will be able to thrive.

A pair of Farmers Union elevators greet visitors entering town along Main Street from US Route 281.

The city's emergency bell is on its west end, the safest from the lake.

The 1909 Wm Plummer Co. building is next on the left.

On the right, we have the 1951 American Legion building and the newer-looking but older commercial building that is definitely crumbling - look at the misaligned center window. That's why I'm including the fragment of the Gilt Edge Paints ad that made it into my photo, because it may be gone soon.

This old garage on the north side of Main Street is somehow an inn. I'm finding that it is only the front office.

Various views from 3rd Street of the 1900 Benson Count Courthouse, apparently notable for its Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The name "Richardson" doesn't sound very Romanesque to me.

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