Fire destroys historic church on Fort Berthold Reservation

RAUB, N.D. – A piece of North Dakota and Native American history is gone today after a devastating fire.

Photo courtesy: Prairie Rose Seminole

A Monday-morning blaze destroyed the Memorial Congregational Church south of Parshall, on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

Here's what we know:

Crews arrived on scene shortly after 10 a.m.

The church was already engulfed in flames, the roof had collapsed, and the walls were falling apart.

There was no saving the church, but they had the fire out within an hour.

While the church no longer held services, there were plans to restore the building come August.
Now those plans will be put on hold.

Sally White remembers picnics, celebrating Christmas, and spending time with her family at the Memorial Congregational Church.

“We had a lot of memories there,” said Parshall resident Sally White.

Now, those memories are all that's left.

The plaque here at the Memorial Congregational Church dates back to 1899. Now, all that's left standing is the chimney that was once part of this historic structure.

“I just drove right up there and seen it and it was already burnt all the way down. It was just heartbreaking. I just had to cry because it was so sad,” White said.

The church was relocated from Elbowood before the town was washed out after the building of the Garrison Dam.

The cemetery was also moved, where Ed Hall's father was buried.

“He died just before. He was only buried in Elbowood for a year and then he got moved when they moved the cemetery,” said Parshall resident Ed Hall.

His parents, White's family, and loved ones of many others still rest there today.

“There will be some monument there if we don't rebuild it, see,” Hall said.

“That church is like a family member to us,” White said.

Now they're left to pick up the pieces.

Investigators are still working to find out what started it. No one was hurt.