Hammer, South Dakota

Hammer, South Dakota

This is Hammer, South Dakota, on the Lake Traverse Reservation in Roberts County, South Dakota.  In my best estimation, the actual townsite now consists of one inhabited home, and a number of abandoned structures.

Hammer, South Dakota

After a wet spring, the overgrowth made it hard to get a good shot of any of the structures that remain.

Hammer, South Dakota

Hammer, South Dakota

It’s a little tough to see at this resolution, but someone spraypainted the sign with pink paint — right below the word STOP, someone painted “Hammer Time,” a witticism that works on both geographic and pop culture levels.

Hammer, South Dakota

A former store or filling station.  Nothing left inside but debris.

Hammer, South Dakota

Hammer, South Dakota

Our friend and fellow photographer Dan Traun from Wisconsin got some photos of Hammer in winter which you can see here.

Hammer, South Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

26 thoughts on “Hammer, South Dakota

  1. Hi.
    Lars and Nellie [Nille] Larson had a farm in Hammer, South Dakota. It would have been in the 1920s onwards to the 1940-50s?? Are any of these photos from that farm? Thanks, Sue

    1. My mother’s maiden name was Hammer. I grew up on a farm across the field from Hammer. The Hammer name is of Norwegian descent.

  2. The brief entry for Hammer in my copy of “South Dakota Geographic Names” (edited by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve and published by Brevet Press in Sioux Falls, SD, in 1973) says that Hammer “was named for Gunder and Ivor Hammer, on whose land the town was built.” The Find A Grave website says that Gunder was born in Norway, July 28, 1864, married Christie Aas (1883-1955) & died in Hammer, July 7, 1946. The post office at Hammer was established February 23, 1915 & was discontinued September 15, 1973. At least one member of the Hammer family was postmaster: I have in my worldwide collection of postmarks a postal card on which the four-bar postal datestamp (May 31, 1957) incorporates, on the right, a hammer. On the left it shows “S.B. [+ a hammer]” and, below that “[a hammer +] , S.D.” I visited Hammer during a vacation in June 2014. The cemetery of the Nidaros Lutheran Church, on the southern edge of the ghost town, at the junction of routes 106 & 127, includes several gravestones marking burials of the Hammer family, including those of Gunder & Christie Hammer.

    1. A beautiful couple, Selmar and Sylvia (Dybdahl ?) Hammer ran the post office along with a creamery (in the same building) at one time; perhaps in the 40’s and 50’s.

  3. My grandparents were Gunder and Christie Hammer. My grandfather Gunder died when I was a baby so I never met him. My dad (Olbert) took us to visit my grandma Christie when I was a young boy. The general store in Hammer was still open then. I remember walking from my grandma’s house and buying candy at the store. On the way back my dad showed me where an old Indian burial site was and told me how as a boy he used to find arrowheads and other artifacts in the area. There was railroad tracks nearby and I remember watching the train pass with an old steam engine pulling the cars.

    1. My great grandparents were Gunder and Christie Hammer! My grandparent’s names are Ludvig and Mable Hammer. My sister was names after Grandma Christie…Lea Ann Christie Bredvik. I grew up on a farm across the field from Hammer. I would love to know more family history if you have any to share!

    2. Hi, I am very interested in Hammer, SD as an abandoned town. I would love to get some history of this place and why it became abandoned. There is one family that lives there, however, they do not own the town. I am attempting to get permission to take photos there for a photography class I teach. Do you to whom I would write or call for this permission, or, to the best of your knowledge, is this an officially abandoned town, aside from the one family? Thank you so much for any help you can provide me.
      605-290-1119

    3. My sister and her family live in Hammer right now . . Have for years and we are natives and are from Veblen. And she would like to know where the Indian burial site is…would mean a lot to us

  4. I grew up on a farm not even a mile away from Hammer. I would say it is a creepy place to be in at night, I’ve been in just about every building in that town. There is a mysterious vibe about this place.

    1. This is not abandoned. The majority of town is owned by one family. Please do not go in any of the buildings on the west side of the road, it is all about the private property.

  5. Growing up, my best friend and her family occupied the town making pop 5. Not far away was the Harrington family farmstead where they raised 14 children. I agree Hammer SD has an earyness upon it. And many untold stories I am certain.

  6. My grandparents Arnold Jr Bredvik and Doris Hammer Bredvik lives and live on a farm right next to Hammer. I remember as a kid going trick or treating in Hammer. When I was growing up my cousins and I would go exploring in that great town and walk the train tracks. Lots of great memories. My great grandfathers farm is just to the north Ludvig Hammer.

  7. We lived about two miles north of Hammer close enough to walk or take my bike. This was in the late 50s when the town had a hardware,blacksmith shop,grocery store,and the Hammer creamery where we sold cream and fresh eggs,also a good size grain elevator. I also went to a one room K to 12 school until the 7th grade when it was closed. The cement block building on the corner was my uncle Jakes freezer,meat locker until a fire destroyed most of the interior,it was a small Fiberglas boat place for a while too.amazing it still stands. With all the characters that roamed the streets in its day and often died there, I’m sure a few return to look the treasures they left..

  8. I found this site while looking up disc jockey Lance “Tac” Hammer. What a surprise to find “Hammer Village” in the 1940 census! So many Hammers! Fascinating ghost town! Lance was a very prominent DJ in the Twin Cities. He died young at age 53.

  9. Yeah. When were these photos taken? I live in that one house still there.. I own that land, and pretty sure I didn’t give consent for you to take pictures????

      1. Thank you for taking the pictures! I see my dad (James Hammer) posted here too. I was looking up Hammer because my middle school aged son is interested in learning about it. I have never been able to go there.

  10. Just drove thru the once upon a time town of Hammer, SD. Such a shame it has gone to hell. Apparently the owners of the property have no pride in the old place. Such a shame…

  11. Came upon this by accident. Tac Hammer is my brother. My grandfather, Iver, owned much of the farm land and land in and around Hammer early and middle part of last century. He and his wife Ingaborg raised nine children there. Oldest daughter,Sophie Berit, died at young age and is buried in cemetery as you turn down road towards Hammer. As above post states it was once a busy town but the story past down in family is that the railroad stop going past as much or at all. Farming changed and the businesses could not survive. My uncle,Selmer, ran the grocery ,creamer, post office and I spent summers there as the town was waning. But it was a great place for a kids imagination. Anyway, Iver and his sons owned and worked there including my dad Hardy who owned the gas station for a bit. World War II marked the beginning of the end for Hammer. Iver Hammer died in 1951 I believe

    1. Mary! I was led to this site when I was doing some research on your brother! I have a website on the history of music in the Twin Cities: jeanneandersen.net I would love to talk to you! Could you please contact me? jeanneandersen@comcast.net 612-396-6292 Thanks!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eighteen + 2 =