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 population of 30.
Settlers came to the area in the early 1900s and a rural post office was founded as Blairville in 1911. The Canadian Pacific Railroad arrived two years later, in 1913. In 1914 the village was officially incorporated as “Admiral,” and in keeping with the nautical theme, the streets were reportedly named for historic naval figures–Drake Street, Frobisher Street, and Nelson Avenue, for instance, as well as Revenge Avenue.
Like many Great Plains communities, the population boomed for a time and Admiral peaked with a population around 250 in the 1920s, but the coming of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression started a downward trend that would continue to the present.
Admiral Recycle Depot
An assortment of rubber belts still hang on the wall inside this building last known as Larson’s Welding & Repair.
Did the person who put up the “Sorry We’re Closed” sign realize they were putting it up for the last time?
Admiral’s three remaining churches. Up until sometime in the 80s, there would have been a fourth church steeple in this photo, on the right. What happened to it, I don’t know.
On the left is the church today known as Holy Family Parish Roman Catholic Church. The sign said mass was Saturday at 7:30 pm.
This is the former St. Andrews United Church. It’s a beautiful building, built in 1923, and monitored by 24-hour video surveillance. I wasn’t sure if the “Antiques” sign referred to the church or the house next door.
The Lutheran church on top of the hill, at the junction of Admiral Avenue and Minnesota Street, has a relatively recently-installed steel roof, and I was surprised to find the door unlocked–a throwback to the old days when churches were unlocked at all times for those who might need spiritual guidance at an odd hour.
In the entryway, a rope awaits for someone to ring the bell. I rang the bell when I visited this church in South Dakota (it’s a tourist attraction and quite remote) but I resisted the urge to pull the rope at this church in Admiral, lest I raise some alarm.
Inside, the church is beautiful. I couldn’t guess as to why the pews have been moved aside.
I wasn’t sure if this was still a credit union, or if someone was using it as a residence.
An old chemical fire engine is on display in the town square.
There was once a three story hotel in Admiral, a depot, and a number of other businesses (you can get a glimpse on the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan site). Today, however, Admiral is a vanishing hamlet on the prairie, one of a number of places on Saskatchewan’s Ghost Town Trail.
Photos by Troy Larson, content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media