St. Julien School was named for the First World War battle of St. Julien, part of the Second Battle of Ypres, which took place in Belgium during the spring of 1915. The Second Battle of Ypres was significant as it marked the first time chlorine gas was used by German forces to inflict mass casualties on Allied troops. The Canadian victory at St. Julien also marked the first time an armed force from a former European colony had prevailed on European soil. According to the Esther community history, locals met at Chris Torgerson’s farm in 1918, voting 9-2 in favour of building a school. After considering Vimy Ridge and Rutherlands as possible names, school trustees agreed on St. Julien to honour the famous victory. The school opened in 1918, and remained in operation until 1955, closing after a new school in Esther negated the need for St. Julien. #alberta #canada #military #history #pioneer #schoolhouse #war #ww1 #worldwarone #ypres #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries
According to Place Names of Alberta, Esther was named after Anna Esther Landreth, daughter of the community’s first postmaster, Yens.B. Olsen, in 1914. A townsite bearing the same name was established here in 1926 alongside the newly constructed C.N.R. rail line. #Alberta #Canada #ghosttown #abandoned #elevator #explorealberta #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries
Our last stop on the Alberta leg of the abandoned C.N.R. line running north of Hanna was at Esther, a bona fide ghost town north east of Oyen, and site of the oldest remaining wooden Alberta Wheat Pool elevator . Although the townsite seems to have become an extension of someone’s farm yard, the presence of mailboxes within, and signage commemorating previous occupants of the remaining structures, re-assured us it was okay to have a quick look around.
Our visit and social sharing inspired nostalgia amonsgt many of our followers online, further evidence of the power these fast-disappearing wooden structures have in evoking memories amongst prairie people of the way way were, as well as a longing and reverence for the way things used to be. Continue reading #FABTrip15: Esther elevates the discussion