NOME, N.D. – It's back to life as usual in sleepy Nome, for now.
A renowned white supremacist who has sought to create havens for like-minded people in multiple small North Dakota town has given up his land in Nome.
On the edge of town, you'll still find the shattered glass, crumbling foundation and charred steps that once led to Zion Lutheran Church. The smoke was still rising from the ruins in late March, hours after the building burned to the ground. The fire marshal ruled it intentional.
White supremacist Craig Cobb had recently purchased the abandoned church, intending to turn it into the "Donald J. Trump Creativity Church of Rome."
Cobb maintains that the arsonist who burned down the former church building did so out of hate and has pledged to go to great lengths to find out who started it.
"The psychopath who burned it, or psychopaths, need to be caught ... because they endanger all of the children in Nome. Imagine if this arsonist gets into an argument in Nome," Cobb said.
Cobb once offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the responsible party. Now that the smoke has cleared, he's rescinding the offer. He also took back the $8,000 he paid for the church and handed ownership back to the previous owner.
That's welcome news for many in Nome, a town of about 60 people that’s 20 miles south of Valley City.
"I know everyone else was saying they were relieved,” Nome resident Randy Langland said.
Cobb hasn't given up all ties. He now maintains a video website at the domain www.NomeND.com. There he shares news and video blogs from the Creativity Movement.
"They can't really burn a website down can they?" Cobb said.
The page encourages white supremacists to "make hajj to Nome."
"It's one of the last white areas in the United States. And you're safe here," Cobb said. He said he'd still move to town if he found the right deal.
Nome's mayor says the fire investigation hasn't found many leads at this point. It'll be up to the property's current owner to clean up the site.
Cobb has previously tried and failed to start white supremacist enclaves in the North Dakota cities of Leith and Antler.