Tag Archives: Drought

#FABTrip15: Bindloss, Buffalo, and beyond.

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.

Update: Alderson up in smoke

An update on Alderson, the past remains of which appear to have gone up in smoke. It appears a prairie fire swept through the area around August 14-15, leveling what little was left of the former village.

Following up on his comment in an earlier post, Forgotten Alberta reader, Greg, has forwarded a number of pictures depicting what he found when he visited the former village a few days ago.

As he mentioned in his comment, much of what is left resembles a moonscape; although I am struck by the site of green grass in late September, a rarity itself in southeastern Alberta. The state of Alderson today also stands in stark contrast with what I found there in late July, when abundant overgrowth had overtaken and obscured the entire townsite.

With the bones of this bygone village now exposed, I sincerely hope it will not be besieged by pickers and plunderers, rooting for souvenirs within the newly scorched earth. In my opinion, the value of this site extends far beyond being a place to be plundered for period trinkets and souvenirs.

Scrolling through the images below, I can’t help but wonder how the former village of Alderson is any less significant than any number of the 12,500 historic places listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places? Curiously, the site of Canadian Pacific Langevin Number 1 and 2 Gas Wells, listed as the site of the discovery of natural gas in Alberta (and possibly Canada), was recognized in 1981, and the cairn commemorating this event is literally across the road from the Carlstadt / Alderson townsite.

It seems a glaring and obvious oversight that the subsequent settlement was not included, especially considering the circumstances of its decline, and the historic value of this community as an illustration of the collective history of southeastern Alberta’s homestead period. Of course, this designation preceded the publication of Empire of Dust, without which we might have already forgotten about this forsaken village long ago.

To me, there are many reasons for seeking some sort of protection and recognition for this site, and the recent prairie fire underscores the need even further.

The experiences of the people here helped shape our province. As a descendant of southeastern Alberta pioneers, this place is sacred to me.

It deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

AldersonABSept26-2014-(42)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(16)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(41)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(8)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(13)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(6)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(7)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(5)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(4)-web

 

Related:

Alderson: The past remains

At Alderson, a former village along the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline, northwest of Medicine Hat, time and freight roll on – but the past remains.

To echo the thoughts included within the preface to Empire of Dust (see below), it should be a historic site. There are stories to be told there.

Split personality. 

X” marks the spot.

Looking southeast down Bowell Street, Alderson

Related:

Prairie Post: Former Bow City site to get a heritage marker

PrairiePostLogo

A great article below from the August 1, 2014 edition of the Prairie Post by Rose Sanchez detailing the contributions of many towards a successful heritage marker application for the village of Bow City.

Former Bow City site to get a heritage marker

The former site of what was meant to be a metropolis — Bow City — will be remembered for years to come with an Alberta heritage marker.

Vulcan County officials were successful in seeing their application approved. It was submitted to the Heritage Markers Program at the end of January.

The program is meant to support the installation of markers that “promote greater awareness of the historic people, places, events and themes that have defined the character of the province.”

Jonathan Koch, who operates the Forgotten Alberta website which showcases history of the southeast corner of the province, was instrumental in helping pull the application together, along with Liza Dawber, grants and program co-ordinator for Vulcan County.

Vulcan County officials have become more aware of the history in their area since starting the municipal heritage partnership project in 2011.

“This is a very cool, interesting story,” says Dawber, about Bow City. “We’ve become much more aware of some of the very interesting stories that happened throughout time in Vulcan County.”

Click here to read the rest of the article

Related: Bow City – the village born unlucky.

Bow City getting village status historical marker

Good news everyone! From the Brooks Bulletin, intrepid scribe Rob Brown informs the masses that the Province of Alberta has approved Vulcan County’s application for a historical marker at the site of the former Village of Bow City (reproduced below).

A big thank you is owed to Liza Dawber and Vulcan County for their work approving and submitting the Heritage Marker application, and the community partners who supported the application.

Bow City getting village status historical marker

Just in time for next week’s 100th anniversary of becoming a village, Bow City has been awarded a historical marker noting the fact.
On July 13, 1914 Bow City was incorporated as a village.

Last week, Jonathan Koch, an avid historian working on the recognition project, said the province notified him a marker is forthcoming.

He says it is important to recognize the past.

“We certainly do run the risk of losing our history if these aren’t marked and people aren’t doing the work,” he says.

Continue reading Bow City getting village status historical marker