Thanks to Joe McFarland at CHQR770 yesterday for the amazing opportunity to talk about ghost towns – specifically (old) Bow City and Alderson (a.k.a Carlstadt, a.k.a. Langevin). It was lots of fun, with minimal stammering.
I have embedded the podcast of yesterday’s broadcast below for your listening enjoyment. You can check out the scary situation at Calgary City Hall first, or fast forward to 6:55 where my interview kicks in.
For reference, here are a few links to content on the site about Alderson, and (old) Bow City:
A peculiar facet of southern Alberta’s pioneer-era history is that there is little permanence to it. While we tend to adhere to an old world bias that history involves a permanent physical and literary record, neither of these exist throughout much of the plains. Much of Palliser’s Triangle was settled and abandoned a century ago, and with the pioneer exodus went the stories of hope and heartbreak, which were quickly forgotten as new lives were built somewhere else and generations passed on. Inevitably, the physical evidence of the homestead experiment is fading, with man and Mother Nature working in consort to set the clock back to zero. In time it will be like they were never here at all.
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Thankfully, the memory of Alderson (nee Carlstadt) at the peak of the settlement boom was chronicled in great detail by photographers, Chester Coffey in particular. The Starr family seems to have been a favoured subject, and several photographs documenting their presence in the community now existence within the province’s archival collections.
(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.