Drift Prairie

There’s not much left of Sherbrooke, ND. It’s marked on my North Dakota atlas but no one lives there anymore. Sherbrooke was once a hub for this part of the drift prairie region in North Dakota. It was the county seat of Steele County from 1885 until 1919. On a trip through North Dakota in 1896, President William McKinley stayed at its hotel. But in 1919 county residents voted to move the county seat to a more convenient location that was on a rail line or a river. Nearby Finley won, and Sherbrooke went into decline.

Visiting places like this, I’m reminded of how the land persists as it is despite peoples’ big dreams and hard work. Somebody put a lot of love and labor into this place, planting trees, laying the brick foundations that are now bare of walls and building the wooden houses and barns, some of which have blown off their footings, building up businesses of which there is now not a trace. People have roots here. More than one loved it, I’m sure. I wonder if they come back and visit. The hour I walked through I didn’t see or hear a car, didn’t see a soul, just the steady wind blowing through.


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