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Lost on the Prairie

Lost on the Prairie

With the advent of satellite navigation, we’re never truly lost anymore, but there are those times when we run across a former road that’s now underwater, or has fallen into disuse, and we’re forced to take an unplanned route to our next destination, and it frequently turns into a blessing in disguise, because we often run into out-of-the-way places that we didn’t know about beforehand. This former prairie farmstead was one of those pleasant surprises. We were just tooling down…

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Abandoned 6 Arch Saskatchewan Bridge

Abandoned 6 Arch Saskatchewan Bridge

This abandoned Saskatchewan bridge, a concrete arch bridge, also sometimes referred to as a “bowstring arch” bridge, is in southwestern Saskatchewan, just over two kilometers west of Scotsguard. The bridge spans the former line of the Great Western Railway and Notukeu Creek and was once the primary crossing of this coulee for traffic traveling along Highway 13. 

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The Ghostly Remains of Neidpath

The Ghostly Remains of Neidpath

Founded in 1909, Neidpath is in southern Saskatchewan, about 40 kilometers southeast of Swift Current, or 190 kilometers north of Saco, Montana. The Canadian National Railway arrived in 1924, and today, Neidpath is a relic of that simpler time when the railway was a primary means of transportation for people and goods.

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Crandall’s Landmark Standard Oil Station

Crandall’s Landmark Standard Oil Station

If you decide to visit Crandall, South Dakota, this much is certain — you will be treated to some awesome prairie vistas on the way to this out of the way place near the convergence of Day, Clark, and Spink Counties. Crandall is an unincorporated community with fewer than a handful of residences remaining. The former gas station is historically significant as the last Standard Oil Station in the United States to use manual gravity pumps.

Last Days in Monowi, Nebraska: Population 1

Last Days in Monowi, Nebraska: Population 1

Monowi, Nebraska is a near-ghost town in Boyd County, Nebraska, about 75 miles northwest of Norfolk. We first discovered Monowi when I ran across a story from 2011 about Monowi’s status as the smallest incorporated city in the nation with a population of only one.  Reuters photographer Rick Wilking wrote a nice piece on that one resident, Elsie Eiler. We were in Monowi quite early in the morning, so we did not feel comfortable knocking on anybody’s door, but we’re…

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School’s Out in Readlyn, Saskatchewan

School’s Out in Readlyn, Saskatchewan

Where pupils once filed in with their lunch pails for a day’s learning, there is now a relic that leaves no doubt, school’s out in Readlyn, Saskatchewan. This old school is thoroughly fenced however, and the grounds are in use by the property owner, so I wasn’t able to get any closer. 

Passing Through Sleepy Verwood, Saskatchewan

Passing Through Sleepy Verwood, Saskatchewan

During a trip to photograph some Saskatchewan places, including Cadillac, Neidpath, and this abandoned bridge, I found myself passing through sleepy Verwood, Saskatchewan, and stopped to grab a few photos.

Church on the Prairie in RM Stonehenge

Church on the Prairie in RM Stonehenge

This is Peace Lutheran Church, a church on the prairie in the Rural Municipality of Stonehenge #73, in southern Saskatchewan, about 105 kilometers southwest of Moose Jaw, and just 2 kilometers south of the farm at the site of Lakenheath, Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan’s First Consolidated School is Abandoned

Saskatchewan’s First Consolidated School is Abandoned

As I was planning a trip to photograph Saskatchewan places in July, 2016, I didn’t have plans to stop here until I found out about the former Aneroid Consolidated School. Like so many rural communities on the Great Plains of North America, Aneroid is shrinking. Young people are now going to school in nearby Ponteix, and the former consolidated school is abandoned.

Almost a Ghost: Near Ghost Town Courval, Saskatchewan

Almost a Ghost: Near Ghost Town Courval, Saskatchewan

After leaving Parkbeg, Saskatchewan, the next place on my list was the former St. Joseph’s church in tiny Courval, an unincorporated hamlet about 55 kilometers southwest of Moose Jaw, on the west end of Old Wives lake in southern Saskatchewan.

The Lonely Ghost Town of Galilee

The Lonely Ghost Town of Galilee

The day was done and I had finished photographing the places on my agenda on this day in July. I was on Highway 36 in southern Saskatchewan, enjoying the scenic drive north to a hotel in Moose Jaw, when I unexpectedly spotted this place right in front of me as I crested a rise in the road. I had no idea that I had stumbled upon the lonely ghost town of Galilee.

A Stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

A Stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan

Parkbeg is about 50 kilometers west of Moose Jaw, right along an unusual stretch of the Trans Canada Highway where the two divided sides of the highway are so far apart in places that you can’t see one side from the other. I was a stranger in Parkbeg, Saskatchewan, so as I was photographing my first place, a local resident stopped her car for a quick chat.

A Long Goodbye for Corner Gas in Dog River

A Long Goodbye for Corner Gas in Dog River

You won’t find Dog River, Saskatchewan on any map, because Dog River is a fictional place–the setting of comedian Brent Butt’s “Corner Gas,” a hit Canadian sitcom that ran from 2004 to 2009, and a crowdfunded movie of the same name. In reality, the remains of the set for Corner Gas is located in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, on Highway 39 between Weyburn and Moose Jaw.

Vanishing Hamlet: Admiral, Saskatchewan

Vanishing Hamlet: Admiral, Saskatchewan

Admiral, Saskatchewan is located in Wise Creek Rural Municipality No. 77, about 195 kilometers southeast of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Until 2006, Admiral was an official village in southern Saskatchewan, but in August of that year it was reorganized into a hamlet (analogous to the dissolution of an incorporated town in the United States). It was the end result of more than eight decades of dwindling population for this quiet settlement on the prairie. As of 2006, Admiral had a reported…

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This Must Be a Route 66 Hotel, Right?

This Must Be a Route 66 Hotel, Right?

This must be a Route 66 hotel, right? A hotel borne of car culture, a lonely stop among the cacti on the most famous two lane highway through the American southwest. Right?

A Brief Revival in Creede, Colorado

A Brief Revival in Creede, Colorado

Nestled among the mountains in Mineral County, about 130 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, lies Creede, a mountain town originally founded on the silver boom. The end of the boom led to a rapid decline for this picturesque little burgh in the San Juan Mountains, but a wartime need for metals in World War II led to a brief revival in Creede, Colorado. The first silver discovery in this area was at the Alpha mine in 1869, and Creede started…

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Tombstone, Arizona Before the Tourists

Tombstone, Arizona Before the Tourists

Tombstone, Arizona is forever embedded in American Old West lore for its status as an outpost for scoundrels and heroes, and as the site of the infamous 1881 gunfight at the OK Corral (the actual gunfight happened near the OK Corral, not in it, but we’ll leave that subject for others to cover in-depth) in which the Earp brothers gunned down Tom and Frank McLaury (McLowrey) and Billy Clanton. Before the gunfight, however, Tombstone was a town like many others…

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The Invisible Beaches of Ridgeville, Manitoba

The Invisible Beaches of Ridgeville, Manitoba

Ridgeville, Manitoba is a shrinking community in southern Manitoba, about ten miles northeast of Emerson, or sixty miles southeast of Winnipeg. The average visitor would never know it today, but about 9,000 years ago, Ridgeville was beachfront property. Glacial Lake Agassiz (one of the largest of all the glacial lakes and larger than all of the Great Lakes combined) created a successive series of beaches in the Ridgeville area as it drained. Today, the soil remains sandy, but Lake Agassiz…

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Canada’s First Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Canada’s First Ukrainian Orthodox Church

It took a year to gather the photos for this post, largely due to my own confusion about two churches named St. Michaels. I stopped in Gardenton, a tiny town in southern Manitoba, just over the international border from Minnesota, because I had been photographing some places in Tolstoi, which is just a short distance away. I hadn’t done much pre-planning or research on Gardenton, but I was pleased to discover some abandoned places I could shoot.

All That Remains of a Manitoba Ghost Town

All That Remains of a Manitoba Ghost Town

The divided highway which straddles this tiny country church is the only hint that a metropolitan area of more than 700,000 people lies just thirty minutes to the north. Otherwise, this serene spot on the prairie is a place out of time, a remote spot on the table-flat plains that were once the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz.

Daydreaming on Main Street in Struble, Iowa

Daydreaming on Main Street in Struble, Iowa

Struble, Iowa is in Plymouth County, about thirty miles northeast of Sioux City, and not far from another place we recently visited, the similarly-named Ruble, Iowa. According to the 2010 Census, Struble is a town of 78 residents, down from an all-time high of 327 in 1910. I was fooling around on Google Earth One day when I stumbled upon Struble, and we decided to visit so we could photograph the abandoned buildings in town. In April of 2016, we found…

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