“This was life in Kensal” – Memories Of My Hometown

Beckley’s Bar, Saturday Night


Photographer Lewis Ableidinger is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  These images are from his project ‘A Town You Haven’t Heard Of – Kensal, ND‘.  To see Lewis’ body of work click on any image.




Valentine’s Day


Kensal Community Cafe


Opal at Home


Kensal (population 163) is a small town just off of Highway 20 in central North Dakota. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s the town I grew up in. It wasn’t really what you’d call a thriving town, but it had what you needed; a grocery store, a cafe, three churches, and of course a bar. It even had a high school until last year when a class of two was the final ones to receive a diploma on the makeshift stage erected in the gymnasium.


'The grocery store closed, the cafe almost closed, people moved on, and people passed on..."


I began making photographs of the people and places of Kensal in 2003 during visits home from college. At first I just viewed them as interesting pictures of my town but as the years progressed they developed into a more meaningful project. The grocery store closed, the cafe almost closed, people moved on, and people passed on; the patina of time added a new dimension to the old 35mm negatives filed away in the basement.


Class of 2004 Graduation


Pingree Buchanan Kensal – Girls Basketball


These photographs represent Kensal as I remember it. The old men gathered at the bar to warm up on a cold winter night; most of the town turned out to watch the girl’s basketball team; the special Valentine’s Day dinner at the community-owned cafe. This was life in Kensal.


Field Dressing a Deer on Opening Weekend


Main Street at Night


Kensal Community Cafe


See also:

The Cold War In North Dakota

By Lewis Ableidinger



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