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. …
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. …
In Plymouth County, about twenty miles north of Sioux City, stands Ruble, Iowa, a tiny dot on the map near Broken Kettle Creek.
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.
The store once had a hitchin’ post for horses, and later, gas pumps. The store also served as the post office for Ruble, but only for six years, from 1900 to 1906.
There is a nicely maintained home that stands between the old school and the store, but either nobody lives there anymore, or they just weren’t home when we were there.
There is an underground storm shelter next to the school which would have served as protection from the powerful twisters that pass through this part of the Great Plains.
Inside the storm shelter. Hopefully tornadoes scare you more than spiders.
Inside the schoolhouse. The roof is porous, and this school needs a renovation to save it.
There is a short local history and some vintage views of Ruble, Iowa on IowaGenWeb.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just down the road from Aladdin is a former coal tipple, now a state historic site.
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.
If you enjoy abandoned places and the high plains, check out our book, Churches of the High Plains.
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.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
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. …
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. …