1909 School in Comstock, MN

For Sale
Listing details may have changed since 1/13/21.
Check the links below for the most recent listing information.
Added to OHD on 1/13/21   -   Last OHD Update: 8/4/21   -   34 Comments

15857 17th St S, Comstock, MN 56525

Maps: Street | Aerial

  • $45,000
  • 15000 Sq Ft
  • 0.48 Ac.
Only a short drive from Fargo (about 15 min) and just across the river from Oxbow this is a great opportunity to own a piece of history. New roof on the front section (later summer 2020), nearly all of the inside needs to be cleaned out and gutted. Sq footage is an estimate as some floors have collapsed. Flood plain-parcel is currently not mapped. Building sold as-is. Contract for deed is available.Owner/Broker
Contact Information
Andrew Rockhold, Castlerock Investment Group
(701) 367-7603
Links, Photos & Additional Info
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34 Comments on 1909 School in Comstock, MN

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  1. MichaelMichael says: 3585 comments
    1979 That 70's show
    Otis Orchards, WA

    The outside looked promising……and then I looked inside. It’s hard to see the potential through the mess.

    • sheetanumasheetanuma says: 18 comments
      Springfield, IL

      Yes I agree Michael, very sad situation. I did like the wood stairs though and that beautiful front window over the doorway. That one wood floor looked salvageable, maybe there are more. Geeze that old furnace is a hoot. I’d keep that just to look at or maybe could sell to a museum. When I looked past all of the junk I really don’t think the whole thing has to be gutted. First thing I think is to get supports everywhere so no more falls, from the basement to the attic ( and then of course the roof). Recycle everything possible for $ and to keep it out of the landfill. Keep every piece of good wood to reuse/repurpose. Oh ya those two retro chairs could be really cool redone. Anyway What a cool building. Sad but cool!

      • MichaelMichael says: 3585 comments
        1979 That 70's show
        Otis Orchards, WA

        I would agree that the whole thing doesn’t have to be gutted. I just wasn’t expecting so much junk that doesn’t relate to the building itself being left behind. The first order of business, at least in my book, would be to clean out all the trash that isn’t related to the building. Then you can get a better picture of what can be saved and what needs to be be-built. That said, it’s still an amazing structure and deserves to be saved and re-purposed! I could see myself living there in my home based business!

  2. KEYLIMEKEYLIME says: 1144 comments
    OHD Supporter

    The buyer is responsible for cleaning out the seller’s trash? Did I understand that correctly? Interesting property. Pic 3 includes the warning “Vandals will be hunted down.”

    • burdockburdock says: 47 comments
      1838 (?) knee-wall cape
      Salem, MA

      And “God is watching you” to the right of that. I wonder if those were written in something washable or if it’s mocking something someone said. It would be a big job to clean this out, but I bet you’d find a lot of cool things.

    • sheetanumasheetanuma says: 18 comments
      Springfield, IL

      I don’t think it says vandals, looks more like someone’s name?

      • KEYLIMEKEYLIME says: 1144 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Vandris??? If so, that would be a direct threat, wouldn’t it? I’m gonna stick with vandals.

        The pump won’t work
        Cause the vandals took the handles..

      • Barbara VBarbara V says: 1328 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1800 cottage
        Upstate, NY

        No, it’s “VANdAlS” (just a mix of upper and lower case letters). Ironic, huh?

        Anyway… What is it about an intact antique staircase that makes even the worst wreck seem worthy of restoration…?

        • Barbara VBarbara V says: 1328 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1800 cottage
          Upstate, NY

          I.e., “vandals” Ran out of editing time to clarify…

        • No I’ve been inside. There is nothing to restore. You would have to tear out every floor and redo the foundation.

          This is brick walls and some roof.

          He is still taking out any salvageable antiques and having people come pick and pay for anything that may make the property valuable.

          You would basically be trying to build an entire new house inside the old brick.
          We were there yesterday.

          • Such a shame….I can’t stand when old buildings are essentially looted and then left with the hope of someone else sinking in tons of money to prevent it falling into neglect.

  3. Belladog1Belladog1 says: 285 comments
    OHD Supporter

    It’s a good thing only the front roof is new because you are going to have to put a large hole in the back roof to dump all the money in. I do hope some one has the guts and cash to restore this place. It could be a very cool space. It’s a shame the history that gets lost when some one looks at and old building and thinks total loss tear it down and put up something nasty.

  4. BethanyBethany says: 3548 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1983 White elephant
    Escondido, CA

    Hmmm not too much to salvage inside but I do spy what I think is an old mimeograph machine in the fifth picture from the bottom–maybe the former offices for the school?

  5. ScottjScottj says: 68 comments

    At least the agent is honest with the photos…… no putting lipstick on a pig here!

    • prettypaddleprettypaddle says: 195 comments
      OHD Supporter

      An intrepid agent too — I’m amazed and extremely grateful that they braved the deterioration to take pictures of the interior! A beautiful building on the outside and I sorely hope someone will step up and save it.

      • KEYLIMEKEYLIME says: 1144 comments
        OHD Supporter

        The listing says that the broker is the owner. It is his interior. Encouraging that there is someone standing at the top of the stairs so we know it’s solid enough to climb. And there was a second person taking the pic. So, two people braved the interior and lived to tell about it.

  6. snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 591 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1782 Quaker Georgian
    Worton, MD

    I want to say something positive about this listing:
    -It doesn’t have alligators living in the basement!
    -The tenants have left.
    -It’s a blank chalk board for the dreamer.
    -It was NOT a “FARGO” film location.
    -Plenty of fresh air and easy access to all wiring/plumbing in the walls
    -Did I mention no alligators?

  7. CoraCora says: 2100 comments
    OHD Supporter & Moderator

    Clinton, TN

    Poor thing. Such a neat old building – I imagine it was a fun place to go to school.
    I would love to go through the contents to look for old-timey school stuff. ❤

  8. GretaBGretaB says: 7 comments
    Rohnert Park, CA

    Maybe I feel sorry for her, but I think she’s beautiful.

  9. TomasczTomascz says: 128 comments

    Some of those photos are just kind of disorienting. My beef is, why did they ever let it get to this point?
    It’s almost like you’d have to spend 5k cleaning it out to see if it was even salvageable, let alone salable.
    It’s a really pretty building and I hope it’s not already lost, but when floors start collapsing in a building that size, that’s not very promising. I wish them luck.

    • BoobtubeBoobtube says: 348 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1984 Post and Beam saltbox

      Being on a flood plain sure ain’t helping, either.

      • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12817 comments

        1901 Folk Victorian
        Chestatee, GA

        It doesn’t say it is. Looking at the water way nearby I doubt it’s something you’d have to worry about.

        • BoobtubeBoobtube says: 348 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1984 Post and Beam saltbox

          My apologies, I mis-read the description where is says, “Flood-plain parcel is currently not mapped.” I thought they were stating that this parcel was on a flood plain.

    • snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 591 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1782 Quaker Georgian
      Worton, MD

      Yes. My rural county has several one-room schoolhouses in a similar state, or worse. They’re easy to imagine as fun houses, artist studios, etc. I think they were just locked up, auctioned-off for pennies, and the people who inherited them didn’t have the wherewithal to do the heavy lift after the roof started leaking. It’s the same with churches and barns as we often see here. Like so many artifacts from the last centuries, they return to the earth eventually.

    • No I’ve been inside. There is nothing to restore. He owned it since 2013 and only took stuff out of it. The “new” roof is shedding shingles everywhere.

      I’m sure he would sell you some of the stuff out of it.

      Broke My heart to see what it was left too.

  10. PuristaPurista says: 245 comments

    Perhaps the deepest significance of this building in its present form, a significance summarized well by the listing realtor, is that it embodies the Greek master Clausius’ ”Great Conundrum.” He gave the example of a two-story private residence on the island of Cellaphon. As built, the house was 1,000 square epherma (roughly 1,000 square feet) on each of two levels, for a total of 2,000 square epherma of living space. But the place had been abandoned for some years and half of the second floor had collapsed. Is the house now, he asked, 1,500 square epherma or is it still 2,000?

    It became quite clear from his ”Deathbed Confessions,” a copy of which was found at Alexandria, that although he tortured his students regularly with this question, he himself never arrived at a satisfactory answer.

  11. DianeEGDianeEG says: 604 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1896 Farmhouse W/Swedish roots
    Rural, IL

    I worked at Kewanee Boiler when I was young. These big boilers are found in many large commercial and public buildings, ships (WWII) and smaller ones in large homes. Many are working as perfectly as the day they were new. Kewanee Boiler, Kewanee IL started in 1868 and at one time employed thousands. The owner, E.E. Baker, is credited with the philanthropy to develop much of Kewanee. It was closed by another owner in 2002 and the manufacturing buildings have been demolished. The national headquarters building is still standing although in awful shape. It was a beautiful elegant office complex that once included a center botanical garden. It’s has been vandalized. For pictures: http://towns-and-nature.blogspot.com/2019/11/kewanee-il-kewanee-boilers-buildings.html If this MN building was mine, I would keep the old boiler and paint it like the day it was new. As for donating – it weighs 4 zillion tons (plus or minus) and is huge – doubt there’d be takers unless for scrap iron.

    • sheetanumasheetanuma says: 18 comments
      Springfield, IL

      Thank you for sharing that Diane. Yes, I could tell she was special and yes bringing her back to life would be the best thing ever. Wouldn’t it be great if a bunch of us could save that building together?

  12. DianeEGDianeEG says: 604 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1896 Farmhouse W/Swedish roots
    Rural, IL

    Apparently, I’m a sniffer dog this morning because I wanted to find out more about the community and surmise why this has been left to fall down. Looks as if the community is mostly agricultural based, which could indicate a considerable wealth in this part of the state but perhaps not as far as wanting to do something with this school. Also, I wondered if part of the interior mess was in the attached back one-level portion of the building – Is that the portion where the roof is not new. Also, the property beside this school is also categorized as a school and also no longer used for that but does look maintained. In repurposing this building, it would be hard to know if Fargo has any residents that are looking for a bedroom community condo type lodgings or would support unique businesses. There is also the culture of the area to consider in wondering if non-typical commercial enterprises would be accepted and endorsed, especially by a non-local. The work involved, the business plan and the ability to love all things MN, small town living and cold would have to be seriously considered if you’re coming in from another part of the country. It’s suppose to be 11 degrees below zero this coming week – reality check. Note the giant snow plow blade across the street. Not saying the community couldn’t reinvent its self. I’m also betting this has to be a pretty fabulous and beautiful part of the northern US for those that love wide open spaces and winter everything – that would be me.

  13. p07p07 says: 27 comments

    I remember reading about this place. When a way I kinda like this building to be kept a abandoned, because it gives it a interesting feel to it. Here’s a website article about it: https://www.inforum.com/community/history/4953573-After-falling-in-love-with-historic-Comstock-school-building-Moorhead-man-ready-to-sell

  14. p07p07 says: 27 comments

    There is also another abandoned school like this in the area. Only about 6 miles south of Comstock, Abandoned Wolverton Public School stands. Built 1906, also listed on the national register. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolverton_Public_School

  15. AnnieMAnnieM says: 5 comments

    The communities are all joining schools in this area. Probably why they closed the doors. My elementary school in Hallock, MN was sold for $2.00 a long time ago. I always liked that old building too. This area of the border of MN and ND is the Red River Valley. Cold, windy prairie and also open and beautiful. I wonder if the Wolverton Mountain bar is still open. My ex brother in law was there most every night back in the 70’s. I was underage, but it was pretty casual and I didn’t drink alcohol when I was that young. At least not at the bar!

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