In what has become a #FABTrip tradition when travelling through the forgotten SE corner of Alberta, we stopped in the hamlet of Orion for a chat with Boyd Stevens: lifelong resident, proprietor of Stevens Hardware, and one of a half dozen souls remaining in the community. As per usual, Mr. Stevens was convivial and accommodating, while freely sharing historical insights and colourful stories about a pioneer-era community that is passing into history.
— Greg Farries (@gregfarries) July 6, 2016
Orion’s Edge. According to Boyd Stevens, this house on the north end of the Orion townsite was once a C.P.R. section house, brought in from Pakowki, 11 km to the west. Stevens says he has heard two stories about how the home came to be erected in Pakowki. The first involved it being built pre-fab in Winnipeg, shipped out and pounded together on site. In the other, lumber was hauled in and it was built on site. Either way, Stevens says “they were hotter than hell in the summer time, and just as damn cold in the winter.” In the docu-short, “Passing Orion”, Boyd tells the story of how this house saved his life. As he relates, in 1939-40 he and his father were returning from a funeral when a blizzard blew in. With the road impassable, Boyd’s father went off-road to try and keep going, but was halted after driving into an abandoned cellar. Scanning the prairie for something familiar, the only landmark to guide them through the storm was the light of this house in the distance. “My dad often reminded, if they ever turned that light off, we would have froze to death, because there were no other lights around.” According to Wrigley’s Directory, a section foreman, J.T. Kentyk, was housed at Pakowki as late as 1928-29, possibly in this building. #Alberta #Canada #mybadlands #explorealberta #FABTrip16 @gregfarries #ghosttown