An Appreciation For Hettinger North Dakota, Part III, School Neighborhood

Today I travelled to Hettinger in the middle of the work week in order to photograph the residential neighborhood that surrounds the Hettinger School. The population of Hettinger is only about 1,100 people currently, so there is only one school for K-12th grades.

The school is located approximately one block east of main street, two blocks north of Mirror Lake Park, and four blocks south of Kennedy’s Grocery Store. School enrollment is 150-300 students. The student-to-teacher ratio varies between 10:1 and 12:1.

The neighborhood surrounding the Hettinger School consists of, in my estimation, 60% of houses constructed prior to 1960, 30% of houses constructed 1960-1990, and 10% of houses constructed after 1990.

Like many towns in southwest North Dakota, the town was planned and created by the railroad. I am almost certain that Hettinger was platted and deeded by the Milwaukee Road Land Company, the same railroad company as Mott, Regent, and New England. Here is the plat map of Adams County from 1917, showing the Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul railroad passing through the town of Hettinger

If you use the following link, and scroll down to page 18, use the magnification icons to zoom-in on the town of Hettinger, you will see “Milwaukee Land Co.”

Even though there is quite a bit of variety in the houses in Mott, Regent, New England, and Hettinger, there is also a similarity, because the majority of the houses that were built prior to 1940 were Sears, Roebuck & Co. kit homes. There were 370 different Sears kit home designs available

Before viewing the seven videos below, I would like for readers from elsewhere in the country, to understand that the population of Hettinger is 1,100 people, the average house price is about $120,000, and the cost of living is 25% less than the U.S. average. Here are some of these statistics

In the following videos, the faint clacking noise is the sound of my motorcycle running, so that I can flee:

Just one school for Hettinger K-12

2 thoughts on “An Appreciation For Hettinger North Dakota, Part III, School Neighborhood

  1. Looks quite paradisical. Do you think the danger of an invasion here by Californians is relatively low, unlike in the small Idaho town you wrote about last year?


    1. In reply to Gengler,

      There is a danger that I could inspire more people to try to move to Hettinger than I was intending, than I had anticipated. I believe that there are approximately ten houses for sale, probably ten houses for rent, maybe twenty apartments available for rent in Hettinger. Once these homes are bought or rented, there is not a way for more people to move to Hettinger, except build more houses, which land purchase, zoning approval, building plan creation, plan review, permitting would take about a year before building could take place, then another year after that for construction. During this one year plans & permitting, followed by one year to construct new homes, the City, School, businesses, people, could begin making changes to accommodate more people moving to Hettinger.

      At first, the existing homes for sale, homes for rent, apartments for rent becoming occupied, would be a helpful boost to the local Hettinger economy. So would the construction of up to fifty additional houses. Beyond this, it could negatively impact the slow-pace, peaceful environment of Hettinger. But there are some existing things that could dampen over-growth, such as local landowners refusing to sell additional land, or the City refusing/squashing/delaying new development.


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