The Great Northern Route

Like many other North Dakota rural communities, the old Great Northern Railway town of Epping (pop. 100) has all but disappeared thanks to automobiles, changes in farming practices, the railroad’s move to diesel instead of steam, and sundry other common complaints. Here, however, the rapidly vanishing Great Plains lifeways have been partially preserved, thanks to the efforts of a local preacher who single-handedly preserved the abandoned buildings and artifacts as the Buffalo Trails Museum (701/859-4361 in season, Tues.-Sun., $5), which has grown to encompass almost the entire town. Main Street is still dusty dirt, lined by a general store, a hardware store, a pool hall, the Sons of Norway Hall, and other essential elements. Most of these old buildings have been converted to house an amazing array of animated dioramas (papier-mâché dummies dressed up like dentists and patients) and the usual old tools and other junk, but it’s a great place to stop.