A house can tell a lot of things about itself – what area it’s in, what life was like for the owners past and present, how old it is, and what scenes may have unfolded within its walls. These photographs of houses from the 1930s can do just that and transport you into a whole different time. All different houses from all different walks of life. Take a look at what it was like back then through the homes of those who lived here in the state of North Dakota.
1. "Children in front of Olaf Fugelberg's farmhouse. Williams County, North Dakota"
This small and modest farmhouse appeared to have housed a large family despite its size.
2. "Starkweather, North Dakota"
A more upscale and very cute house...with a cow in the yard! Not your typical sight these days, but maybe not too unusual back then.
3. "Dugout inhabited by farmers who have abandoned their farms and moved to town. Grassy Butte, North Dakota"
As the Great Depression hit North Dakotan farmers, many abandoned their farms and moved into these dugouts built partially underground.
4. "Typical miner's home. Burlington, North Dakota"
This small house looks more like a yard shed than something someone lives in, but miners in the area usually had more temporary housing not much unlike oil workers in North Dakota today.
5. "Sod homestead near Bowman, North Dakota"
This was a common house in rural areas, North Dakota - houses made of packed sod from the land. Many new homesteaders made houses similar to this.
6. "Mrs. Sauer waving goodbye to children who are going to school. Cavalier County, North Dakota"
Now this just feels like a classic home scene. It makes you wish this sort of thing was more common to see in houses these days.
7. "Farmhouse. Burlington project, North Dakota"
A very cute, small house, not much unlike many houses today - taken in October of 1940.
8. "Bismarck, North Dakota"
These neighborhood houses in Bismarck show a normal suburban life in North Dakota, contrasting the usual rural homes that were more common back then.
9. "Abandoned farmhouse. Ward County, North Dakota"
A lonely, empty home - this was taken in 1940, just as we were pulling out of the Great Depression. Unfortunately, many farmers had packed up and left during that time in hopes of better chances elsewhere, leaving nice homes like this one to rot.
10. "Adams County, North Dakota. Mrs. Lee Johnson bringing in a pair of overalls which had been drying on the line and have been frozen stiff"
This is something we can all still relate to - it was still very cold in the winter back then. Of course, we can easily just toss a blanket into the dryer to warm it up if we feel like getting cozy instead of having to dry our pants out on the line in freezing temperatures until they are stiff as a board!
11. "Sodhouse. Williams County, North Dakota"
Another shot of a sodhouse in North Dakota, complete with windows and a roof. The insides usually looked very similar to any other house.
12. "Shack occupied by single man. McKenzie County, North Dakota"
This shack was thrown together with various objects and materials, and was noted for being occupied by a single man. People did what they could do to get by in the hard times.
We can still visit some houses built back then today – some of us may even live in them. It’s very interesting to see which houses remained and which houses just disappeared over time. Do you live in an older house? I love hearing everyones stories and family history in North Dakota, so please share away!