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Alkabo, N.D.

12/19/2016:

Far away in North Dakota’s extreme northwest corner is the town of Alkabo. The state’s northwestern-most town has never been very big, though it was built along the Soo Line Railroad. On this date in 1913, its post office opened, with more development to come, but it would later wither away.

Alkabo’s name was inspired by the alkali and gumbo soil in the region. Its population reached 100 by 1920, but today, between seven and nine people live there, depending on the time of year. A handful of grain elevators came and went. A line of businesses marked Main Street, but today most of the buildings are graying relics along a crumbling sidewalk.

On the north end of town, however, is a jewel of town history: the Alkabo School, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can walk through the split-level schoolhouse to see its classrooms, kitchen, gym and theater. Books and maps from the school’s heyday still rest on the shelves and walls.

Other local history sits not too far away. Writing Rock State Historic Site sits on a hill just south of town, where visitors can see two boulders with petroglyphs of thunderbirds.

There’s also the abandoned Fortuna Air Force Station just northeast of Alkabo, where a four-story, concrete tower is the only prominent structure remaining – a relic of the Cold War.

Today, Alkabo’s children attend school in Westby, Montana. And one Alkabo man has to haul water to supply his family and the church. For perspective on Alkabo’s isolation, it’s nine miles from Saskatchewan, seven miles from Montana and 30 miles from Crosby, North Dakota, where you find the closest hospital.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura

Sources

://ndsuspectrum.com/no-place-like-home/

"http://digitalhorizonsonline.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/uw/id/2799/rec/8" http://digitalhorizonsonline.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/uw/id/2799/rec/8

Wick, D.A. (1988). North Dakota place names. Prairie House: Bismarck, ND.