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 population of 30.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

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, Saskatchewan

Admiral Recycle Depot

Admiral, Saskatchewan

Admiral, Saskatchewan

An assortment of rubber belts still hang on the wall inside this building last known as Larson’s Welding & Repair.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

Did the person who put up the “Sorry We’re Closed” sign realize they were putting it up for the last time?

Admiral, Saskatchewan

Admiral is just down Highway 13 from several other places I visited, including Cadillac, and this abandoned bridge.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

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.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

On the left is the church today known as Holy Family Parish Roman Catholic Church. The sign said mass was Saurday at 7:30 pm.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

Admiral, Saskatchewan

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.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

Admiral, Saskatchewan

admiral20

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.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

Admiral, Saskatchewan

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.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

Inside, the church is beautiful. I couldn’t guess as to why the pews have been moved aside.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

I wasn’t sure if this was still a credit union, or if someone was using it as a residence.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

An old chemical fire engine is on display in the town square.

Admiral, Saskatchewan

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

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7 thoughts on “Vanishing Hamlet: Admiral, Saskatchewan

  1. What a fantastic little town, and it’s even on Google Maps! Even better :). I love the three churches, and how one was unlocked. I would love to just wander in and listen to the sounds of a building settling. Thank you for another wonderful article!

  2. I went through Admiral a couple of weeks ago. The St. Andrews church is now an antique store open on Saturdays and Sundays. The owner also owns the Cadillac bar. The Lutheran church is for sale but they haven’t much luck finding a buyer. The bank was purchased by a fellow from Texas who is restoring it to live in.

    1. I was also escorted by 2 big friendly dogs while I was photographing. I believe they are owned by the Texan.

      1. The 4th church was on the other side of the village, is now at a church campsite near-by, but never had a steeple. These are very good photos of Admiral, though sad ones as it, like other small places is declining . Neither dog belongs to the owner of the former Credit Union. One may have been a farm dog who gets lonesome at home so goes to town and the other belongs to the owner of the former school, I agree both are friendly dogs. The Lutheran church has just recently closed and it seems that there are still some of the pews left in the building which would explain why they appeared to be moved to the side. .I understand that the bell has been removed, a very nice sounding one , easily heard a mile away. Now shall I wipe a tear from my eye?

  3. Made a visit to my home town of Admiral after several years of not being there. Instantly a tear hit my cheek as I drove through what I use to Walk and enjoy. It’s so sad that a town that created so many great memories has hardly anything left. As I drove toward the school a great memory came upon me of the wonderful sports days and all the ball games where played in the ball diamonds which so many smiles were created. Admiral was a wonderful town to grow up, with great friends and great memories

  4. I lived here back in the late 70s and at that time there was 5 churches!! Two of them were moved to different locations. Sad to see it like this but a lot of good memories here!!

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