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.
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