11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Prairie Churches of North Dakota

Year Listed: 2001
Location: North Dakota
Threat: Deterioration, Natural Forces, Neglect

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Photo: Rick Craig

Significance

Were it not for the prairie church, the vast North Dakota landscape would stretch unbroken to the horizon. Often founded by first-generation settlers from Germany, Poland, Iceland, Russia, and Scandinavia, the simple prairie church was usually the first building to go up when a town was settled – and the last to close its doors if the community died out.

In 2001, nearly 400 of the state's 2,000 churches were vacant and threatened by inadequate maintenance and demolition.