The Burning of Bucyrus, North Dakota

Bucyrus did not have an Orthodox church, but it did have a Lutheran church building.  It was also very close to land my family owns.  As many may now be aware, a wildfire just wiped this little town off the map:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/18/bucyrus-north-dakota-wildfire_n_1978693.html?utm_hp_ref=green

Bucyrus had less than 30 residents and never was very big:

http://ghostsofnorthdakota.com/category/bucyrus-nd/

Notice, in the second link, not only the beautiful pictures (no longer possible) but the significant population drop from 1950 to 1960.  This was not unusual.  During that time, many people left North Dakota, especially southwestern North Dakota.

Given the small population of Bucyrus and the slow proliferation of ghost towns in North Dakota, one might wonder what is truly lost.  Well, obviously, anyone losing his/her home loses something dear.  That goes without saying, but I also think there’s a larger more communal loss.  There is a loss of history.  There is also the loss of one more small town, for all the good that produces.  Granted, there is nearby Hettinger and there will always be small towns, but each time a small town is lost, a community is disrupted.  I, myself, grew up in small towns (Bowbells, ND, followed by Lemmon, SD, though I do remember a little bit of my pre-K years in Niche, ND as well–no memories of living in Palermo, where I lived my first year–but notice that is now a “ghost town,” too–and having visited it now and then over the years, I concur).  Small towns can be fishbowls, but they can also be neighborly and the harbingers of a good, solid work ethic.  We’re tough, we West River Dakotans, but prayers are appropriate nonetheless.  May God grant them all comfort and help in these times–everyone, from the firefighters to the sandwich makers, to those who lost their property and/or homes.

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