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.
Park Closed (for now). Antelope Hill Provincial Park, north of Hanna #Alberta #Canada #returntorural #mybadlands #explorealberta #FABTrip15 @gregfarries A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on
Time to reflect. Dowling Lake #Alberta #Canada #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on
The Dowling town site was surveyed in 1925, just north of the lake, along the CNR’s Hanna to Warden branch line. According to the Hanna North history, a small community consisting of an Alberta Wheat Pool elevator, general store and post office sprouted up here along the CNR line. By the mid ’50s, only the elevator remained. In 1975, the Wheat Pool closed and was later demolished. The Hanna-Warden line was abandoned eight years later. #Alberta #Canada #history #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on
Scapa came into being in 1925 along the CNR’s Hanna – Warden line. Named for a famous harbour in the Orkney Isles, Scapa experienced a flicker of prosperity, which was extinguished by the drought of the Dirty Thirties. At its peak, Scapa was home to three elevators, a school, several stores, and even tennis courts. Today a handful of residents and a community hall remain. #Alberta #Canada #community #school #history #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on
Scapa School District #4357 was organized in 1929. To accommodate school amalgamation, this three-room school was built in 1955, but subsequently closed 13 years later. Scapa #Alberta #Canada #school #history #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on
Scapa School in Special Area, north of Hanna. Next up, what it looks like inside. @4gotten_alberta #fabtrip15 pic.twitter.com/wJpq7G7ECQ
— Greg Farries (@gregfarries) August 2, 2015
An look inside Scapa School in the Special Area. @4gotten_alberta #fabtrip15 pic.twitter.com/RL5ZKBVx6H — Greg Farries (@gregfarries) August 2, 2015
13 Replies to “#FABTrip15: “Hanna to Scapa” or “Going with the Flow””
Interesting post on Scapa. I’ll have to check out the Special Areas myself next time I’m in the province visiting relatives. I hope you will get to have a look at Spondin, Garden Plain and other locations along they former CN rail line that once ran from Scapa eastwards to Hemaruka, Naco, Esther and points east since this is one “boxcar branch line” I have a fascination for.
Hey Bill, thanks for the kind words. We did head out that way, as far as Loverna in Saskatchewan, so keep checking back for more photos.
Hi there. I was out in Scapa in June. Only one residents remains. Schools gone but the hall still remains and the old general store. Also ball dimonds and the old swings from the school.
Hi Duane – thanks for the update. Sad to hear the school is gone, but I suppose it was inevitable. It was wide open when we were there.
Hi there! My parents bought the store and are living there. We have homesteading plans in the works. Reading about it’s history has been fun. Thanks for the post! I am sad about the school too! Would have loved to snoop around.
Hi Samantha – thanks for stopping by! Your plans sound exciting. I am more than slightly envious! Are your parents operating a store in Scapa? I’ll have to take trip through that way post-quarantine. Stay safe!
I am 20 minutes from Scapa and this is a good history lesson.
Thanks Dan! Glad you found it interesting.
Thanks Dan! Just came across your blog. My Dad was born near Garden Plain, relatives had once lived Scapa to Hanna area. Many attending Netherby School and buried Netherby cemetery. We had a family reunion back in 1992 when my Dad and cousins were still living (the last of that generation passed at Hanna 2017). It was very interesting to tour the area a little. I will now check out for your Garden Plain tour.
Hi Gwenn! Thanks for stopping by. Cool to hear about your family history in the Garden Plain area. I will probably stop through there this summer, to snap some new pics. Have you ever seen the NFB film, “Every Saturday Night”? There are some great shots of the hall and elevator at Garden Plain, circa 1973. Check it out!
I’m always grateful for any pics or stories you can share. All the best!
I’m looking to connect with a farmer in the Scapa district, Leo Erion. I’m with the Medicine Hat Cowboy Poetry Foundation. Our website looks at local and western history and it is near Scapa that a rancher named Brainard lost his cattle, horses, son and good friend. A memorial is set up for them where the blizzard victims died. I was so taken with the tragedy that I too wrote a poem. I would also love to connect with Helen Brunner Standing who wrote a poem too.
My grandparents homesteaded in the Garden Plains area and lived there for a few years. He built a sod home and it was their home after he married my grandmother in January 1913. He tried farming but was unsucsesful so abandoned the homestead and moved to Rumsey area where he operated a coal mine. He discovered a coal seem when he built the sod home and sold the coal to his neighbors to make a little money. Their names were Clyde and Virgie Wooden.
My grandparents ran the post office in Scapa and my grandpa ran the elevators their for many years. Don’t have many relatives in that area anymore but try to get to the Handhills rodeo in the area every so often.