Back in Mondak: A Montana Booze Town Turned Ghost Town

Back in Mondak: A Montana Booze Town Turned Ghost Town

Mondak, Montana was a place built for drinkin’. When the state of North Dakota became one of the first to enact prohibition, this tiny spot on the dry, chalky prairie, near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, but just over the border in still-wet Montana, began to boom. It was little more than twenty years later when Mondak’s last real business, the bank, closed in 1925. A combination of factors–changes to prohibition laws, fires, and at least one lynching–led to the demise of Mondak, and in one final insult, the ghost town fell victim to another fire that consumed most of the remaining structures in 1928.

Mondak, Montana

We visited Mondak once before, and you can read a lot more about the history of the town in that post, and here, and here.

Mondak, Montana

Mondak is sometimes found listed as Mondak, North Dakota, because, although most of Mondak was on the Montana side of the state line, there were structures in town which straddled the line, even a bar built across the line, so thirsty North Dakotans could order a beer in Montana, where it was legal to sell alchohol, then carry it to the other end of the bar and drink it in North Dakota, where it was illegal to sell alcohol, but perfectly legal to drink it.

Mondak, Montana

The two structures shown at the top of the page, together with the structure shown directly above, are the last three standing structures in Mondak. Who knows what the structure shown above was? It’s divided into three “cells” with doors for the end cells on one side and a door for the center cell on the other side.

Mondak, Montana

Write an album called “Garret’s Place.” The album cover is already done.

Mondak, Montana

Above: Looking out from one of the “cells.”

Mondak, Montana

Decades ago, perhaps even a century ago, there were buildings here, but now their basements have filled with earth until they resemble the collapsed graves of the homes and businesses that stood here.

Mondak, Montana



Mondak, Montana

photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2017 Sonic Tremor Media

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3 thoughts on “Back in Mondak: A Montana Booze Town Turned Ghost Town

  1. Great documentary and excellent photos. Thanks for giving these structures one last “hurrah” before they are lost forever. What a fascinating story of days gone by.

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