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Silva, North Dakota: Lone Bank Vault

A bank vault in the middle of a field, part of the abandoned town of Silva. The bank closed in 1936, and the vault is all that remains.

Main St., Silva, ND
From Rugby (US Hwy 2) drive south on Hwy 3 for 13 miles. Turn left at the Silva sign onto 52nd St. E., a dirt road. Drive about four miles east. You'll see an abandoned church on the left. Turn left onto the dirt road (Main St.) just before the church. Drive past the church, and you'll quickly see the vault on the right.
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Visitor Tips and News About Lone Bank Vault

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Bank vault.

Lone Bank Vault

Some hard-to-drive dirt roads, but worth it -- right up until it started feeling like someone lived there.

[Steve Braun, 06/21/2021]

Lone bank vault.

Lone Bank Vault - History

The vault is from the bank that eventually became the First State Bank of Harvey. It was chartered in 1913 at Silva, with $10,000 in capital, as the First State Bank of Silva. The bank operated in Silva until 1936, when the charter was transferred to Harvey. It was one of the few smaller North Dakota banks to survive the Depression. The town existed from 1914 to 1978. Grain elevators, two houses just west and northwest of the church, and the church itself -- steeple removed -- were standing in fields of oats in 1993.

[Descendant of Silva, ND native, 09/29/2012]

Ghost town bank vaults are human teeth in ancient graves -- the last things to disappear.

Bank vault.

Lone Bank Vault

The bank vault in the field is 15 miles south of Rugby.

[diane, 07/24/2008]

Yes, this is a ridiculous landmark, but in ND you grab your moments where you can.

First State Bank.

Lone Bank Vault

My daughter and I recently visited the old vault. No one around knew about it, but I sniffed it out. Silva no longer exists as a town, however there is a cemetery and old church. The vault is easy to see, get to and yes even into. Just turn on the first dirt road to the West of the old church and drive about a 1/4 mile and it is on the right (east) side of the road about 50-100 ft off the road.

It is open and my 15 yr old thought "super cool," saying she wants to go in it -- "YOU FIRST." I just laughed and then we went in. Some history on the town: At the museum in Rugby a lady from Orrin said the Silva had been long ago destroyed due to abandonment and the ND health department burned buildings as they were rat and skunk infested. Silva is still marked by signage off the main hwy but is a good dirt road in.

[Fella Drevlow, 08/11/2006]
Lone Bank Vault

My husband and I took a road trip photographing rural North Dakota last summer. We encountered many interesting things, some of them listed here. One of the most unique and surreal, to me anyway, was the bank vault in Silva North Dakota. This is a very old bank vault, in the middle of a muddy field with absolutely nothing else around it. It has a large black metal door and is surrounded by thick concrete and crumbling plaster. It also has the original combination lock. Obviously an old bank building had been destroyed, but for some reason the vault still stands. Maybe a treasure is looming inside. We didn't try to open it.

[Julie Keogh, 03/19/2002]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Prairie Village Museum: World's Tallest SalesmanPrairie Village Museum: World's Tallest Salesman, Rugby, ND - 13 mi.
Geographical Center of North AmericaGeographical Center of North America, Rugby, ND - 13 mi.
Niewoehner Bell TowerNiewoehner Bell Tower, Rugby, ND - 14 mi.
In the region:
Four Arrows Monument, Belcourt, ND - 47 mi.

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