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Sims, North Dakota

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Ghost town
Sims is located in North Dakota
Location within the state of North Dakota
Coordinates: 46°46′20″N 101°29′55″W / 46.77222°N 101.49861°W / 46.77222; -101.49861Coordinates: 46°46′20″N 101°29′55″W / 46.77222°N 101.49861°W / 46.77222; -101.49861
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Morton
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

Sims is a ghost town in Morton County, North Dakota, United States. The town was founded in 1883,[1] and Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church was constructed the following year.[2] Today, the church has been restored and still worships every other Sunday.[2] The church parsonage has also been restored and is home to the Sims Historical Society Museum.[3]

During her trip to North Dakota in October 2008, First Lady Laura Bush visited Sims and toured its church.[4]


Sims was founded in 1883 as a coal town.[5] Coal mining and the town's brickyard helped Sims grow to a population of more than 1,000 people.[2] However, the 1910 Census recorded a population of just 86 people.[6] The population fluctuated over the years, with an estimated 98 people in 1940.[1]

The post office was founded in 1883 and closed in 1947, with mail routed through Almont, North Dakota, to the south.[7]

Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church was built in 1884 as a combination church and residence. A new church was built in 1896 next to the parsonage.[3] The church is reportedly North Dakota's oldest Lutheran church west of the Missouri River. The congregation still has roughly 50 members, even though they do not live in Sims.[8] Locals report, however, that the town does have one remaining resident: a former pastor's wife who died between 1916 and 1918. Dubbed the "Gray Lady Ghost," her spirit is reported to haunt the old parsonage, wandering the rooms and playing the organ.[2][8]


  1. ^ a b Wick, Douglas A. (1988). North Dakota Place Names. Hedemarken Collectibles. pp. Page 179. ISBN 0-9620968-0-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Former Sims Scandinvaian Evangelical Luth Church, Sims - Morton County". Preservation North Dakota. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b "Sims Historical Society Museum". Preservation North Dakota. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  4. ^ Laura Bush visits ND, Retrieved on October 2, 2008.
  5. ^ Winser, Henry Jacob; Riley, William C. (1897). The Official Northern Pacific Railway Guide: For the Use of Tourists and Travelers Over the Lines of the Northern Pacific Railway and Its Branches. Northern Pacific Railway. p. 105. 
  6. ^ "1910 Census of Population and Housing: North Dakota" (PDF). Thirteenth Census of the United States,. United States Census Bureau. 1913. pp. Page 331. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  7. ^ Patera, Alan H. and John S. Gallagher (1982). North Dakota Post Offices 1850-1982. Burtonsville, Maryland: The Depot. p. 98. 
  8. ^ a b "Tradition is alive in Sims". Bismarck Tribune. 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 

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