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August 22: Lincoln Valley, Population 1

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Can you imagine being the only person living in town? No traffic on your way to work or loud neighbors late at night? On this date in 1970, the readers of the Minot Daily News read a story of one such man in Lincoln Valley in Sheridan County.

Located 12 miles north of Denhoff and 18 miles northeast from McClusky, Lincoln Valley was established in 1900 by George and Conrad Reiswig. A railway extension by the Great Northern Railroad from New Rockford to Lincoln Valley was proposed, but never materialized. As a result, the highest population was around 100 people. The post office ceased operations in 1961.

Joseph Leintz, the last resident of Lincoln Township moved there in October 1920 and began working for H. A. Goetz at the Our Family Foods store, which provided dry goods, ready to wear items, and machinery. The store also did repair work on farm equipment.

In 1942, Joseph took over the Lincoln Valley International Harvester franchise and ran it as the Leintz Implement Co.

At the time of the 1970 story appearing in the Minot Daily News, Leintz had been living alone in Lincoln Valley for 4 years. There had been three for a time, but Mrs. Christina Hoffman had died in 1966, and Mrs. Lydia Peda, had remarried and moved to Minnesota. And, five years earlier, the only other business, a bar run by Otto Bonnet, had closed.

It seems that Leintz didn’t mind being the only resident – at least he had no plans to move away. He said in 1970, “I still like it in Lincoln Valley. That’s home. I’ve been here more than half a century and I have no plans to retire and move away” He reported that he kept busy and didn’t get lonesome. His daughter would visit often, and he was known to go to Harvey on Saturday evenings to play bingo.

In December 1972 Joseph Leintz finally closed his shop and moved to New Rockford for retirement. With that, Lincoln Valley’s population went to zero, becoming one of North Dakota’s ghost towns.

Dakota Datebook by Ashley Thronson


Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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