Lundsvalley was originally written as one word when it was established in 1909 in a grassy, bowl-like valley north of Stanley, North Dakota. It began with a rural post office on this date in 1909. Jens Madson Lund was the first postmaster and the first settler in the valley. A railroad townsite was laid out just northwest of the post office, but it later moved to the site of the small village. No more than one hundred people ever lived in Lundsvalley, which eventually split its name into two words.
The post office closed in 1957 after Clemmen Christianson, the last postmaster, retired. The mail delivery shifted to Lostwood, a nearby town on the treeless prairie. Lunds Valley dwindled away, and today there’s only a grain elevator, a couple abandoned buildings, and a few foundations to recall what was. The Lunds Valley cemetery is still maintained, and a handful of residents can still be found … living in campers.
Like Lunds Valley, nearby Lostwood thinned out. Its two-room schoolhouse, a church and one home still stand there, just south of Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a protected region of the Missouri Coteau where waterfowl and other birds find safe haven.
The towns lie near State Highway 50, a road running along many other empty towns. Only a few people remain along that stretch of northwestern North Dakota. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to pick up a Canadian radio station.
Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura
Wick, D.A. (1988). North Dakota place names. Prairie House: Bismarck, ND.
Personal visit to Lunds Valley, April 3, 2016.