Created By: North Dakota State University
The now ghost towns of Hull and Westfield have always been small. These villages that lie near the South Dakota boarder, are connected by a four-mile gravel road that mostly serves the farming communities that live near. Because the communities were never connected to the railway, they inevitably dwindled. Only the most basic establishments in these communities have survived: churches and small grocery stores.
Hull was settled by Dutch immigrants in 1887. The village’s beginnings were marked by the building of institutions that all towns need: a church, a post office, a general store, and a school house. Since its founding, the village’s population has not grown much over 40 residents. The store is Hull’s only business and provides basic necessities to rural families who would otherwise travel to Hague or Strasburg to shop. The Hull Christian Reformed Church still has a strong presence at the center of the community.
Westfield, originally named “Hope” was founded in 1884. It too was founded by the establishment of a post office. It was named for Westfield, Iowa, the former home of many of its Dutch immigrant residents. At one time, Westfield was a bustling city. It has a church, telephone office, a blacksmith shop, and a service station. Like Hull, the village was never incorporated and the population has hovered around 40 for most of the century. Today, Westfield remains more active than the village of Hull. This “Wooden Shoe Community” is home to Hope Reformed Church, Bakker Elementary School and a coffee joint called Grandma’s Kuchen. Kuchen is a traditional German dessert that has a pastry pie crust and is filled with custard and fruit. Locals have declared Grandma’s Kuchen the best in the world.
You can find where Grandma's Kuchen is sold on Facebook.
I. Linton Chamber of Commerce. Emmons County Guide. Linton, ND: Linton Chamber of Commerce, 2010.
II. Woods, Ellen, and Euvagh Wenzel. Emmons County history : compiled for the bicentennial, 1976. Linton, ND: Emmons County Historical Society, 1976.
This point of interest is part of the tour: German Russian Country Driving Tour