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UER Mobile > Canada: Other > Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets (Viewed 2740 times)

post by EPOCH6   |  | 
Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
< on 4/11/2019 4:10 PM >

The last 30 to 40 days I've been travelling at a hell of a pace with no more than a couple of days at home in BC between trips, mostly working on the road in the Canadian prairies, but always finding at least half a day between jobs to roam and explore some of the places I've wanted to visit for years. The last week of March, shortly after meeting up with the YEG crew in Edmonton, I was back on the road in southern Saskatchewan with a list of ghost towns along my route, most of them not far from the Red Coat Trail.

This was my 3rd trip to Saskatchewan in the last 2 years and, as is always the case, my expectations were vastly exceeded. Compared to what I've experienced exploring rural British Columbia and Alberta over the last few years, Saskatchewan is the undisputed king. Nowhere else have I had as much luck just pointing myself in any random direction and stumbling upon more history and ruins than I could ever have the time to fully explore. Saskatchewan is nothing short of a Canadian Ghost Town Mecca and among it's extraordinarily sparse landscape one will find more history and character than they would ever expect from a passing glance at the horizon.

The amount of photos that I returned home with is far from suitable for a single post so I will be updating this thread periodically with a bit of insight into each individual location.

Robsart, SK

Like many of the townsites along the Red Coat Trail Robsart has existed on the threshold between ghost town and hamlet for decades. On approach one wouldn't expect to find anybody living there, the number of properties abandoned does appear to exceed the number occupied, but the most recent population data available online (2016) does claim a population of ~20. Upon my visit I counted ~5 but it is entirely possible that some residents are seasonal.

Not long after its incorporation over a century ago in 1912 Robsart was a fairly active community with a population exceeding 350, hotels, cafés, churches, a school, banks, grain elevators, and a public hospital. Robsart's descent is a familiar story that applies to most ghost towns: The Great Depression, accidental fires in the downtown core, droughts, struggling industries, and the success of neighboring cities peeling the population away one by one. The decline was drawn out all of the way to January 1st, 2002 when it was finally dissolved into an unincorporated hamlet and handed over to the governance of Rural municipality of Reno No. 51.

The original Robsart Hospital was built in 1917 and closed in the late 30s, it still stands today on private property and is the only remaining pioneer hospital of its kind in Saskatchewan. This was the first building that I came across on my way through town and I was immediately approached by an unusual pair of security guards who seemed rather excited to see me, maybe the only stranger they'd met in months.

PSX_20190325_212259 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

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Several original stores remain in the Robsart downtown core. One of them, the Vidora Cafe, was saved from demolition and moved from the original nearby townsite of Vidora to Robsart, it is one of the only remaining structures from Vidora.

Robsart,_Saskatchewan_(1915) by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

PSX_20190325_212000 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

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Robsart1914_orig_jpeg-1- by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

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PSX_20190325_213341 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

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PSX_20190325_221924 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

More to come!

[last edit 4/11/2019 4:10 PM by EPOCH6 - edited 1 times]

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post by blackhawk   |  | This member has been banned. See the banlist for more information.

Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 1 on 4/11/2019 4:59 PM >

Great stuff, and write up
lmoa, Beaver Lumber Co.


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post by becckeez   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 2 on 4/12/2019 2:21 AM >

Beautiful photos! Can't wait to see the next installment.


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post by EPOCH6   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 3 on 4/13/2019 11:39 PM >

Dummer, SK

Yes, Dummer.

PSX_20190327_144034 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

Another railroad town, Dummer sprung to life in 1911 under the management of the Canadian National Railway. Originally settled by Thomas Tulloch, Dummer was named after his hometown back in Ontario. Dummer's population peaked at around ~250 in 1916 with 3 grain elevators providing plenty of industry and jobs for most to live sustainably. In 1925 the Canadian Pacific Railway built a spur line from Wallace to Cardross, the increased competition would mark the beginning of a long descent for Dummer. The widespread drought of the notorious "Dirty Thirties" devastated the entire area but Dummer held strong and survived, recovering after World War II and running the first power lines into town around 1955, the population steadied around ~50 and many lived comfortable lives there until the late 80s when Sask Pool finally closed their grain elevator and pulled out of town.

Historical records claim that Douglas Tulloch and his wife June, the son of Dummer's original settler Thomas Tulloch, were the last residents to leave in 1993. However, documents, newspapers, and magazines scattered around the townsite seem to suggest that the land was occupied as late as the early 2000s. Today Dummer is silent, hiding in plain sight along a long and dusty range road.

PSX_20190327_143023 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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[last edit 4/13/2019 11:44 PM by EPOCH6 - edited 1 times]

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post by blackhawk   |  | This member has been banned. See the banlist for more information.

Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 4 on 4/14/2019 12:29 AM >

Great ghost town and images EPOCH6



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post by EPOCH6   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 5 on 4/23/2019 4:16 PM >

About a week before my final trip to Saskatchewan in March 2019 I was driving home from Vancouver International Airport, it was probably around midnight and I was way behind on sleep after multiple long days on the road in Alberta. My work van only has an AM/FM radio in it so most of the time CBC is quietly droning on in the background, tonight they were re-broadcasting an episode of Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap and I couldn't tell you what song was just playing but as soon as I heard the word "Neidpath" bounce off my ear drums I was wide awake. Bachman was reading through his backlog of fan mail and was about halfway through a letter from a man living in Neidpath, Saskatchewan, one of my most anticipated targets for the upcoming week on the road in southern SK. My ears perked up and my brain struggled to accept the news, my brief research on Neidpath up to that point had suggested that the final resident moved away a couple of years ago, so either I'm so tired that I'm hearing things or the internet lied to me, both very possible, 1 week later I would learn first hand it was the latter.

PSX_20190326_211744 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

Neidpath, SK

Neidpath is one of many railroad hamlets in southern Saskatchewan that have been skirting the boundary between ghost town and settlement for decades, the population figures you come across online will never paint an accurate picture. At its peak population of around 100 in 1928 Neidpath was still far behind its neighboring boom towns and while it had a full array of services at the time, the settlement was already in decline by the late 1930s. CN Rail had already begun to pull out by 1958, stamping out any chance at future economic recovery.

Today Neidpath is home to a few. There are reports from a few years ago claiming that only 1 resident remained and that he was in the process of planning a permanent move to the city but upon my arrival last month there were at least two active properties. I was certainly spotted but never approached, nor did I approach them, but it is clear that Neidpath does not yet belong to the ghosts.

PSX_20190326_202119 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr

As of 2016 this church was still seeing occasional use, today it appears to be slipping into disrepair.

PSX_20190326_201153 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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Reports online suggest that this home belonged to Neidpath's only school teacher.

PSX_20190326_202211 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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PSX_20190326_202521 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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At one point Neidpath was home to four active grain elevators, today only 2 remain.

PSX_20190326_200525 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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Every once in a while I find myself in a room that ties a knot in my stomach, this was one of them. The rest of the home is in disrepair, nearly empty and clearly abandoned, but the living room has remained clean and untouched. The TV remote sitting neatly placed upon the table, the china set arranged and undamaged, the ash tray in position but empty and clean...

PSX_20190326_204145 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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PSX_20190326_210300 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr


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post by blackhawk   |  | This member has been banned. See the banlist for more information.

Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 6 on 4/23/2019 4:40 PM >

Very cool rural finds EPOCH6
That old Coleman stove is a relic.


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post by EPOCH6   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 7 on 5/14/2019 4:55 PM >

Not much left to share from this trip in terms of history, having a hard time keeping up with myself lately, leaving on another 8 day road trip through WA, OR, CA, and NV tomorrow morning. Here is what's left over of my favorites from the Saskatchewan trip. Most of these locations, excluding the townships of Cadillac and Tessier, are remote and difficult to research after the fact. My apologies for the massive photo dumps, this trip was colossal.

PSX_20190327_162552 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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post by SaskExplorer   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 8 on 7/1/2019 3:48 PM >

Excellent photos. It's been awhile since I've been to these locations.


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post by skatchkins   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 9 on 7/1/2019 6:14 PM >

So many awesome finds and photos. Sorry I missed this thread the first time.


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post by blackhawk   |  | This member has been banned. See the banlist for more information.

Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 10 on 7/1/2019 8:24 PM >

Stellar thread EPOCH6
That old blue International truck is bad ass.


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post by EPOCH6   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 11 on 11/3/2020 5:22 AM >

Got to spend a few more days roaming around southern Saskatchewan last month. Never gets old to me, exploring the prairies, it's deeply therapeutic and continually rewarding. Always seems like I can't travel 20 km in any direction without finding something worthy of a closer look.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip and a bizarre realization that I came to while writing this post.

Parkbeg, SK

Sometimes life can be strange, especially for our breed... The more you move around, the more you travel, the more you explore, the more likely it is that something like this will happen, yet it never feels any less peculiar when it does.

October 2020 I was tasked with deploying a public safety radio system in Mosaic Stadium, Regina's fancy new open-air football arena, home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In an effort to feed my highway addiction I often find ways to buffer each end of a job with a massive road trip. This time I decided I would spend the entire weekend preceding the job driving from the west coast of British Columbia to Regina, SK, exploring and detouring as much as possible along the way.

I drove at least 1000 kilometers per day, sunrise to sunset, still managing to find time to rummage through an old lumber mill, rock quarry, cabin, coal mining tipple and a small Hamlet west of Moose Jaw named Parkbeg.

I had no intention of stopping in Parkbeg but couldn't stop myself from rubbernecking at the sight of an obvious ghost town. I pulled off the highway and spent a good hour or so exploring its mostly empty dirt streets. Parkbeg, like many hamlets in Saskatchewan, is only mostly abandoned. There are still a few people living here but I managed to come and go undetected. So off I went with a camera full of photos and a smile on my face, glad to have stumbled upon the place by chance.

I arrived at Mosaic Stadium bright and early the following morning. Part of my job is to measure and analyze radio coverage footprints, this requires me to obtain a master key and walk every square foot of a facility (precisely why I love my job). At some point I found myself entering a room marked "Mascot Locker Room".



I have now learned that the Gainer the Gopher, mascot of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, was born in Parkbeg, SK.
https://en.wikiped.../Gainer_the_Gopher

Having explored nearly every abandoned home in Parkbeg, this means that... more likely than not... I unknowingly traveled from Gainer's childhood home to Gainer's private locker room in less than 24 hours.

Life is strange.

PSX_20201018_200203 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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[last edit 11/3/2020 5:26 AM by EPOCH6 - edited 1 times]

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post by EPOCH6   |  | 
Re: Southern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns and Hamlets
<Reply # 12 on 3/21/2021 11:02 PM >

Oh Saskatchewan, it's like shooting fish in a barrel out here.

I always forget how easy it is to explore in this province until I land with maybe 2 hours of sunlight left, punch in the coordinates for something that I spotted from satellite view, and end up finding half a dozen more locations to explore along the way. It truly is paradise for somebody with our addiction.

Time was on my side this week. The two jobs that I flew out here to complete went very smoothly, I finished ahead of schedule, and had a full day and half to roam aimlessly. This is the only place I know of where I can arrive completely unprepared, no research going in, and just aim myself carelessly toward the horizon, knowing that I will find enough to photograph sunrise to sunset. In ~48 hours and 400 km I found at least 20 abandoned homesteads (shooting maybe half a dozen), an incredible century old church, drove across the Big Muddy badlands and summited Castle Butte both inside and out.

Full album:
https://www.flickr...718695492762/page1

Here are a handful of my favorite shots from this trip:




Yes, I rang the bell.






































[last edit 3/21/2021 11:12 PM by EPOCH6 - edited 2 times]

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