Leaving Empress, we journeyed westward, following the abandoned Royal Line onto our next stop, the hamlet of Bindloss. Located in Special Areas No. 2, Bindloss, according to ‘Place Names of Alberta’, is named after Harold Bindloss (1866-1945), a prolific British author of “western” novels, some of which were set in the Canadian West. No word on whether Bindloss ever visited the hamlet that bore his name, although some of his tomes, including “The Harder Way”, “The Lean Years” and “Long Odds”, could very well have been set here. #Alberta #Canada #history #abandoned #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries
Having logged over 1000 km in two days, we finally headed for home on a lazy Sunday morning. Along Secondary Highway 555 we stopped in forlorn outposts of the prairie, the communities of Bindloss, and Buffalo, and a forgotten graveyard near the ghost town of Cavendish. As the warm winds whipped the dirt and tumbleweeds around us, and the sun bore down through the high haze, I felt a communion of sorts with the dry belt denizens of decades ago, who left these parched plains en masse, having endured too many seasons of promise turned to dust. I wondered how the residents of today would endure, and what would be left to see our next time around. Continue reading #FABTrip15: Bindloss, Buffalo, and beyond.
John Harold Fenton reported for duty on June 10, 1918. A farmer’s son from the windswept plain at Cavendish, Alberta, young Fenton was just 17 when he journeyed west to Calgary to enlist in the Alberta Regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Possibly driven by patriotism, a desire for adventure, or the need to escape the dusty desolation of the drybelt, Private Fenton signed up just as the Great War was drawing to a close. While Germany’s forces on the Western Front were nearing defeat by October 1918, another deadly foe was emerging from the east, this one closer to home.
Continue reading #FABTrip15: Pte. John Harold Fenton of Cavendish, Lest We Forget
Is it a symbol of a mysterious medical past? Or a relic of pioneer history, its meaning lost over time? What is the deal with the winged thingy atop the old bank building in Empress anyway?
Continue reading #FABTrip15: The mystery of the Empress caduceus
Our last stop on the Alberta leg of the abandoned C.N.R. line running north of Hanna was at Esther, a bona fide ghost town north east of Oyen, and site of the oldest remaining wooden Alberta Wheat Pool elevator . Although the townsite seems to have become an extension of someone’s farm yard, the presence of mailboxes within, and signage commemorating previous occupants of the remaining structures, re-assured us it was okay to have a quick look around.
Our visit and social sharing inspired nostalgia amonsgt many of our followers online, further evidence of the power these fast-disappearing wooden structures have in evoking memories amongst prairie people of the way way were, as well as a longing and reverence for the way things used to be. Continue reading #FABTrip15: Esther elevates the discussion
In 1925 the Canadian National Railway began to construct a branch line west from Loverna, SK to Hemaruka, AB. By 1926 it had reached New Brigden. The railway brought grain elevators, a hardware store, grocery stores, restaurant and other services to New Brigden. A water tower was also erected to provide a reliable water source to the early steam locomotives. Constructed almost entirely of wood the approximately, the 13-meter water tower is the tallest feature of the New Brigden skyline. In the early years New Brigden was served by train three days a week. In time however, improved roads in the region made it easier to move around, making it necessary for the train to come to New Brigden only once a week, Fridays. In 1979, New Brigden lost its railway service. The water tower remains as the oldest structure in the community and the last prominent reminder of the settlement period. Sources: newbrigden.ca, Alberta Register of Historic Places #Alberta #Canada #railway #history #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries
A few miles east of Sedalia is the hamlet of New Brigden. For many years, this community was known for being the home of long-serving Alberta politician, and one-time Deputy Premier, (Hon.) Shirley McClellan. This community seems to have weathered the recurring cycle of drought and depopulation better than many in the dry belt, and today still boasts a school, post office and community hall. New Brigden also possesses enough community spirit to acquire almost $40,000 in provincial grants to preserve the hamlet’s 90 year old water tower, which while weathered and leaning, has long out-lasted the railway that preceded it. Continue reading #FABTrip15: The heart of New Brigden