Midwest Living Review
There's something downright charming about Fort Ransom. Nestled in the pretty Sheyenne River Valley and surrounded by rolling hills (uncharacteristic of southeast North Dakota), the town (population: 105) resembles a quaint New England hamlet. On the south side sits a quirky statue atop Pyramid Hill, which is more of a large mound than a proper pyramid. This 14-foot-tall Viking has held his position since the early 1970s, when a helicopter lowered the landmark into place. Both the hill and Viking's origins are detailed on an informational sign. Be sure to arrive with a full tank and plenty of snacks because the availability of basic services (gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores) is limited. The town's lone general store-combination-diner shut its doors -- at least temporarily -- in early September 2011. "It will reopen soon Date to be determined" was the message on a chalkboard outside this Main Street establishment. Not far from Main Street sits the T.J. Walker Historic District, which includes a cluster of old buildings, Kvalnes School (a one-room schoolhouse with displays inside) and the Ransom County Historical Museum, in what was once a general store. It is open daily from 1 to 5 p.m. late May to mid-September with other hours and times by appointment only (a list of phone numbers is posted in a museum window). Admission costs are $1 per adult and 50 cents per child. Farther down a two-lane road stands the Standing Rock Norwegian Evangelical Church. This stately and substantial white church still uses a historic pipe organ (believed to be the state's first at a country church) to accompany Sunday services. An informational placard near the parking area details the church's history. Fort Ransom is a sleepy town most of the time. However, a handful of area events (a few of which have been around for decades) draw hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. Special events like the Stampede and Sheyenne Valley Arts and Crafts Fall Festival aside, nearby Fort Ransom State Park's breathtaking views make it a must-see.