It’s the little town that wouldn’t die, Churchs Ferry, ND.

It’s the little town that wouldn’t die, Churchs Ferry, ND.

Although the rising waters of Devils Lake threatened to consume it, Churchs Ferry remains an incorporated town, though little of its former glory remains.

You can see it each June, however, as its sons and daughters return for Churchs Ferry Days on the fourth Friday and Saturday of June each year, often very close to or encompassing the first day of summer.

2019: This year the festivities begin in nearby Devils Lake on Friday, June 21 at the Elks Lodge #1216, 425 Highway 2 west. A social hour is planned starting at 5 p.m. complete with appetizers that can be ordered off the menu. Then at 6 p.m. there will be a taco bar available for everyone to enjoy. A free will offering will be taken. Friday evening is an informal gathering intended for getting reacquainted with each other and socializing.

Saturday’s events will all be held at downtown Churchs Ferry in the Alumni Center. At 10 a.m. there is an Alumni annual meeting, then lunch for the public will be served. Everyone is welcome and a free will offering will be taken here, too. From 1 to 3 p.m. there will be horse and wagon rides, demonstrations and crafts, the Alumni Museum will be open and City Hall will be, too. There is bingo at 3 p.m. and more time to visit until the 5 p.m. Swiss steak community supper. $12 will be charged for each plate.

Following the meal, during coffee and cake time, several individuals will be recognized for their dedication to the community including Jean Meyer, Louise Nelson, Sid Bingaman, Ann Nelson and Olaf Nord. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a program and time for comments from the classes represented. This year’s honored classes are from 1949, 1959, 1969 and 1979, but all classes are welcome to attend and participate. A live auction with comedian, Dwight, and the raffle drawing wraps up the evening. According to a report from the Churchs Ferry School Alumni Association, over 90 people attended the Friday evening social last year.

The 2010 U.S. Census stated that the population of Churchs Ferry was 12 people, five households and five families. Founded in 1886 and named for a ferry business operated by Mr. Irvine Church* the population of Churchs Ferry was 264 in 1900 and grew to 457 just ten years later in 1910. Since then it has been a steady decline.

But not on the fourth weekend of each June since the school closed in the late 1980s. That’s when the population of Churchs Ferry swells to numbers it hasn’t seen in decades as former residents return to spend time together and remember life as it used to be in this prairie town that refuses to give up. *