The Coutts-Sweetgrass Station, now located at the Galt Historic Railway Park & Railway Heritage Interpretive Centre near Stirling, has served as a passenger depot, customs office, post office, sheriff’s department, and bunkhouse during its illustrious, and controversial, 125 year history. Constructed on the Canada- U.S. border in 1890, Coutts- Sweetgrass was one of two “lunch stations” along the Lethbridge to Great Falls rail line. Originally built by a consortium, led by Sir Alexander Galt and his son, Elliott, the station later changed hands, and became a flashpoint in the feud between new owners and arch-rivals, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Great Northern Railway. In 1916 the C.P.R. ended the uneasy relationship, sawing the station in half and dragging its portion into Coutts. Abandoned over 70 years later, the station was acquired by the Great Canadian Plains Railway Society in 2000, which moved to it a 35-acre site near Stirling. The last remaining Galt narrow gauge station in Southern Alberta has been faithfully restored to its original proportions, and the museum grounds is now home to a number of rare artifacts, including a Kalamazoo Speeder, a post office car, and a baggage car converted into a school room, with an interactive telephone room in the back. Thanks again to Jason Sailer for the info. @gcprs1890 @gregfarries @owges #explorealberta🇨🇦 #Alberta #Canada #mybadlands #fabtrip16
The Forgotten Alberta 2016 Road Trip (FABTrip#16) kicked off on July 6 with a visit to the Galt Historic Railway Park & Railway Heritage Interpretive Centre at Stirling. Park volunteer and Alberta heritage hero, Jason Sailer, met myself and Greg Farries at the park, and provided us with a wonderful glimpse into the Galt’s past, present, and future. We also received a tour from the park’s fabulous summer staff, and we stopped by the remnants of Maybutt for good measure, before we all headed off to Wrentham for a tour of the Ogilvie Wooden Grain elevator.
Continue reading #FABTrip16: The Galt Historic Railway Park and Railway Heritage Interpretive Centre
Whenever I swing through the southeast, the road home is seldom the most direct route. Last Sunday was no exception. On the way back from balmy Brooks, the brood and I veered north towards the Red Deer River, taking Secondary Highway 876 into the heart of Special Areas #2. We traced the CNR’s abandoned “Peavine” rail spur north from Steveville, stopping to photographs some ruins and ruminants, before concluding our brief sojourn with a stroll down the breezy boulevards of Sunnynook.
Continue reading Road Trip: Meandering along the “Peavine” (Hwy 876).
On February 27, 2016 I was privileged toattend a celebration in Milk River honouring Dr. Liesl Lewke-Bogle, RPAP Alberta Rural Physician Award of Distinction recipient in 2015. On the drive home the following morning, I took a trip up Highway 36, stopping in at some familiar haunts, and not-so familiar places along the way.
Continue reading Road Trip: Get Your Kicks on Route 36
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.