I remember as a young girl, visiting my grandmother in rural Alberta. Being, at the time, a big-city girl I was mesmerized by the wide open spaces, the vast sky and the myriad of old farm structures that dotted the landscape.
Among my favourites was the impressive grain elevator.
Every prairie town and hamlet had a least one sitting by the rail line. It was place of commerce for the local farmers who’d bring their grain yields in for shipping. As I recall, granny’s town north of Edmonton, being in a rather prosperous farming area, had three.
With the closure of many remote railway lines in recent years, most of these handsome old wooden structures have been demolished. Others, succumbing to wood rot and mouse infestations, have been replaced with galvanized steel impostors which are, no doubt, more efficient but simply don’t carry the torch of romanticism that burns brightly for those they replaced.
What few wooden structures remain must be sought out to be seen and are nothing more than ghosts of a time now past.
These images were taken during two separate excursions — the first in June 2011 at Rowley, a ghost town about two hours north east of Calgary. These towers were to have been torn down but the town purchased them from the railroad and they are preserved as part of a rural museum.
The second image was captured this past July at another ghost town east of the city, Dorothy (yes, I have a namesake.) The rail bed is long gone and the elevator stands alone as a prominent landmark along a stretch of two-lane highway running through the heart of the Alberta Badlands.
My grandparents and great grandparents settled in Alberta, and worked the land, some more prosperously than others. I suppose this is why I am intrigued by these prairie ghosts. They are a part of my heritage.
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Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2012