On the final day of #FABTrip15, we emerged from comfy confines of the Forksview Motel and Manor, ready for another dry and dusty day in #SEAlta. After a wander around the village, Greg and I stopped at That’s Empressive for a coffee, a chat, an ice cream, and a Kit Kat, before hitting the road for Bindloss and points west along the abandoned Royal Line. Continue reading #FABTrip15: Impressions of Empress
Having been a bank (twice), a boarding house, and a jeweller’s studio, the old CIBC building in Empress is now home to arts, crafts, groceries and gas, and it still looks great after almost a century. Now “That’s Empressive!” #Empress #Alberta #Canada #history #explorealberta #mybadlands #returntorural #FABTrip15 @gregfarries
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?
Constructed in 1914, the former C.P.R. railway station at Empress is located in a railway cut, situated on the north end of the village. During its hey-day, Empress served as a divisional point along the now-abandoned “Royal Line”, which operated between Empress and Bassano from 1914 to 1997. The Royal Line is so-named as Empress, and a number of sidings to the west—including Princess, Patricia, Millicent, Duchess, and Countess—possess names with royal origins. Although Empress was once home to a terminal facility, including a roundhouse, today all that remains is the station, which was restored by the community in time for its centennial in 2014. #Alberta #Canada #railway #royal #history #mybadlands #explorealberta #FABTrip15 @gregfarries
Greg and I concluded our sojourn along the old Scapa-Loverna line with a swing through western Saskatchewan. Just over border we located Loverna, which admittedly was much more substantial than I had expected. Loverna was, at one time, a commercial hub for much of eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan, boasting a population of about 500 souls, before drought and abandonment took its devastating toll on the community, and the surrounding area. Apparently several blazes over the past half-century have served to clear out much of the community’s “dead wood“, leaving behind only a few occupants, and block after block of empty lots.
Leaving Loverna, we surveyed the scorched earth between there and Alsask, a stop on our 2007 road trip. As both our vehicle and ourselves began to run on fumes, we headed into Oyen for a meal and sundries, before setting off for the village of Empress. We arrived in the “Hub of the West” as the sun slid towards the horizon, ending our excursion at the Forksview Inn: a comfortable, clean and affordable place to relax after a long, dusty day on the road. Continue reading #FABTrip15: We end up in Empress
(Hover over image to activate slideshow options – Slides courtesy of Glen Lundeen / prairie-towns.com)
The launch of Prairie-towns.com signals yet another online endeavour to preserve the history and heritage of Western Canadian communities.
Contained within the collection are over 2700 photos, many postcard images, from 400+ communities throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Amongst the total is are several pioneer-era postcards from southeast Alberta communities such as Alderson, Chinook, Orion and Suffield (see above) that have withered considerably, or disappeared altogether since the images were captured.
Congratulations to heritage preservation projects in Empress, Medicine Hat, Redcliff and Taber that will split over $80,000 in grant funding from the province (details below, with project descriptions from Alberta Culture). A total of 58 projects across Alberta received provincial funding this time around. Still no word on whether the application from Vulcan County for the installation of a heritage marker at the village of Bow City was successful, but I remain hopeful.
Update: Good news everyone! No decision yet on the Bow City heritage marker, expect work one war or the other in June.