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Elbowoods landmark church escapes flood waters

A 30-year old Englishman, schooled in the U.S. moved to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in 1876. Before Harold Case finished his work this building was set up alongside the mission.  It became an important part of life in Elbowoods, North Dakota.  Elbowoods is now underwater.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooded the valley when it built Garrison Dam and formed Lake Sakakawea.  The Corps moved some of the towns of Elbowoods, Sanish and Van Hook to high ground.  

Volunteers move the building

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not move this building.  Local ranchers, farmers, and residents of Elbowoods picked up this building and moved it to high ground.

Throwback Thursday Elbowoods Memorial Congregational Church Elbowoods landmark church escapes flood waters

Ranchers, farmers, and residents of far western McLean County who are over 70 years old probably remember this scene from Elbowoods.  The photo was taken in 1926. It was moved up the hill in 1953.

The building is there, the people are not

Today, the abandoned building sits on the prairie south of Parshall, North Dakota.  Weather is leaving its mark, but the building is still strong.  A cemetery next door is the final resting place for many of the members of the Three Affiliated Tribes and others.  

Throwback Thursday Elbowoods Elbowoods landmark church escapes flood waters.The stucco is beginning to wear off, the wood is weathered, the doors open, but the Memorial Congregational Church still stands south of Parshall.

The stucco is beginning to wear off, the wood is weathered, the doors open, but the Memorial Congregational Church still stands south of Parshall.

 

Elbowoods landmark church escapes flood waters

From time to time, we stop by the church building and cemetery to pay our respects.  This is one of two important landmarks on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation we frequently visit to show honor and respect to those who have gone before. The other is the Old Scouts Society— but that’s another story.

 

Recommendation: 100 Years at Ft. Berthold, “the History of Fort Berthold Indian Mission 1876-1976” is compiled by Harold Case and is an excellent first-hand narrative of life on the reservation.

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