Ayr, North Dakota: Town Trapped in TimeKeith Johnson spent years acquiring, moving, and restoring stores, homes and other buildings, creating his Cass County Pioneer Village.
Cass County Pioneer Village
- Main St., Ayr, ND
- Cass County Pioneer Village. I-94 exit 314. Drive north on Hwy 38 for 11 miles, then east on 26th St. for three miles. Ayr will be visible on the left.
Visitor Tips and News About Town Trapped in Time
Mr. Johnson has passed away and the contents of the village will be sold at auction the end of June.[ND native, 05/25/2012]
The town is still there, but the site looks abandoned and neglected.[M Kerr, 09/19/2011]
Uh oh... maybe Time has started up again, to Ayr's detriment.
Keith Johnson's village is still there. Drove into Ayr, past the large grain elevator, turned left and into the "town within a town." He has at least 8 buildings restored and looks like a couple more at the end to be worked on. Very interesting.[Sandy, 07/19/2010]
A few years ago (5+/-) I was in North Dakota on business and had a Sunday to myself. There wasn't a lot to do in Fargo so I started driving west on interstate 94. I headed north at some point and came upon a very small town called Ayr (About 20 miles from Fargo). It really was a nondescript town and I was just going to turn around and leave. I turned the rental car left onto the next street I came to and thought I'd driven into the Twilight Zone. It was as if I'd entered a turn-of-the-century town. There was an old gas station, one room school house, barber shop, fire station, general store, train station etc.
They were all restored and in excellent condition. I parked my car and wandered around for a while when an older gentleman named Keith Johnson came out of a house. He had done all of this work himself. He bought the buildings and moved them to Ayr and restored them. It was a hobby for him. I'm guessing that he probably donated these buildings to the Frontier Village in Fargo by now...but if he didn't, and they are still there in Ayr, it's an amazing site to see.[Ray Gomes, 06/09/1999]
November 2008: Keith Johnson's town is still in Ayr. He received recognition in 2007 from the North Dakota Historical Society for his persistence in acquiring his own town. Its official name is the Cass County Pioneer Village.