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
Further east along the abandoned Hemaruka-Loverna line is the hamlet of Sedalia. Clearly a community with sticking power, Sedalia boasts an active post office /convenience store, and Co-op store (although both were closed when we arrived); as well as a hall, a church, and a handful of residents. Next stop: New Brigden. Continue reading #FABTrip15: We stop at Sedalia
Greg and I continued east towards Little Gem, now a sprawling farmstead along the abandoned grade of the C.N.R. line. The place lived up to its name, with the small park and plaque at Little Gem being an unexpected green oasis amidst the vast expanse of windswept prairie.
The next stop was a study in contrast. Were it not for the cairn erected alongside the highway, Naco townsite would have been virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding grassland. Closer inspection revealed the flotsam of this former community strewn throughout the shortgrass, which also concealed the hornets’ nest I inadvertently knelt down upon, prompting my hasty retreat from the scene. After pausing at the rest stop across across the road, which yielded even more wasp nests, and a collage of explicit pornography, we continued ever eastward towards less-creepy Sedalia. Continue reading #FABTrip15: Little Gem to Naco
From Spondin we continued eastward, skirting the fringe of the desert on our way to a date with Helen, Mary, Ruth and Kate – Hemaruka for short. Although possessing few amenities, this outpost on the plains was well-maintained, the hall was in good shape, and home improvements were underway on at least one residence. Judging by the lack of derelict structures, and proliferation of plaques within, Hemaruka appears to be a community that is determined not to disappear. Next stop (s): Little Gem and Naco. Continue reading #FABTrip15: A date with Helen, Mary, Ruth and Kate
Leaving Hanna, Greg and I traveled north towards Scapa, tracing the route of the now-abandoned Hanna-Warden C.N.R. line. We paused at Dowling Lake to reflect, checked out Alberta’s newest (closed) provincial park, and looked for traces of the nearby Dowling townsite . Continuing northward, our arrival at Scapa was heralded with enthusiasm by several curious canines. We went with the flow, withstanding waves of ankle-biters and leg-mounters, all for a closer look into the crumbling heart of a once prosperous pioneer community.
Continue reading #FABTrip15: “Hanna to Scapa” or “Going with the Flow”