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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.

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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.

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Ghost Town on Broken Kettle Creek

Ghost Town on Broken Kettle Creek

In Plymouth County, about twenty miles north of Sioux City, stands Ruble, Iowa, a tiny dot on the map near Broken Kettle Creek.

Ruble, Iowa

Ruble was founded in 1900, and was never really more than a roadside pit stop, with the store serving weary travelers and regional residents under the leadership of H.C. Marbach. The small one-room country school served area students in the early days until a larger school was built on a different site.

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Tiny Aladdin, Wyoming is For Sale

Tiny Aladdin, Wyoming is For Sale

Aladdin is a former coal mining settlement in Crook County, today a tiny roadside stop in the Black Hills of northeastern Wyoming, just a short drive from Devils Tower National Monument. Census records indicate a peak population of 200 people during its coal mining heydey, but today, only 15 residents reportedly remain. The centerpiece of Aladdin is the 118-year old General Store which does a brisk business serving travelers on the road between Devils Tower and Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

Aladdin, Wyoming

In July of 2014, the owners of Aladdin put the town up for sale. A sign on the door of the store reads, “This town is for sale. Store, house, bar, trailer park, post office, 30 acres, $1,500,000 firm.” There have been several interested buyers, but so far, no takers.

Aladdin, Wyoming

Any potential buyer with plans to operate the General Store would have to make a strong commitment of both dollars and labor. There is no running water at all in the store (travelers use outhouses when necessary), heat is provided by a wood burning stove, and running the town is a full-time job, seven days per week.

Aladdin, Wyoming



Aladdin, Wyoming

The inside of the store is absolutely packed with antiques and souvenirs. We spent a good twenty minutes inside shopping and imagining what it was like in the 1800s.

Aladdin, Wyoming

Just down the road from Aladdin is a former coal tipple, now a state historic site.

Aladdin, Wyoming

During its operational days, this tipple facilitated the coal mine at the top of the slope. A mine car would carry ore to the top of this structure and “tip,” dropping a load of coal down the chute into a waiting Wyoming and Missouri Valley railroad car at the bottom.

Aladdin, Wyoming

If you enjoy abandoned places and the high plains, check out our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Aladdin, Wyoming

There is a quite nice, paved walking path that leads from the bottom of the tipple to the actual mine entrance at the top, and you will be treated to an amazing view if you make the short, uphill hike.

Aladdin, Wyoming

Aladdin, Wyoming

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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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.

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Lily, South Dakota: Population 4

Lily, South Dakota: Population 4

According to the 2010 Census, four residents remain in Lily, South Dakota, a charming little town in Day County, about 45 miles southeast of Aberdeen. It’s in lakes country and it is a beautiful drive. There are a number of fading structures in Lily (so many in fact that I didn’t even shoot them all) including a former gas station, and a church that looks like it was converted to a shop or possibly a home.

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