Tuesday, July 11, 2017

As Seen in Central Alberta: Gadsby, Botha and More!

While on a day trip to the Stettler Town and Country Museum this weekend, (fantastic place and subject of a future post!), I made a couple of pit stops. OK...like 5 pit stops. Mainly to view 2 old schools that a friend brought to my attention. I love finding old schools on my own, either by chance or by research, but after seeing photos of these two, I knew I had to go in person. Also, it just goes to show that even after being all over an area there is always some roads you haven't been down yet.

The first stop was at the former Shooting Lake School. It was originally opened from 1907-1938, the building was condemned by the County and sold for use as a barn. In 1949 Mathano School was moved to the district and became Shooting Lake School (version 2.0), until 1953 when it became a Community Centre. It's in rough shape, open to the elements and appears to have a crumbling foundation. Glad I saw it now before it's gone.




The second school, can be found in a neighboring district and is called Big Knife. In case you were wondering, yes, there was also a Little Knife nearby. Big Knife operated from 1906-1943. It was sold to the Halkirk School District in 1954 and then sold again in 1964 to a local farmer. It stands in the same location today.




Just north of these schools is Gadsby. It is the 'Smallest Village in Alberta'. The 2016 population was 40, up from 25 in 2011.  Population boom!! There are a few interesting buildings, including a church with a very steep peaked roof.  It piqued my curiosity. I'd love a peek inside this beautiful old place. There was no sign or marker outside, but I read that this was the Gadsby United Church built in 1910. It has been repainted sometime in or around 2010.

There is also an old 2 storey brick former bank building, common design in many small towns it seems. That picture is not included here (technical difficulties). Also found an old store front with mostly unintelligible words...I can see 'Service Shop' and 'Repairs'. Also, likely newer old writing, 'Ye Ole Ice Cream Shoppe'.

Peaked and Piqued! 

Garage/Ice Cream Shoppe, probably not at the same time.
Next stop, Botha! To pay a visit my favourite old building. I think you can see why from the photo. It's even haunted, if you believe in that sort of thing. Unfortunately its been boarded up more recently. It's sad to see this majestic building boarded up.


Last but not least, a barn. One of my favourites. It was fall last time I saw it, so it's nice to see it in the summer surrounded by lush green fields.


Happy to see me?

Special thanks to Tim for the tips on the schools and to my kiddo for coming on another adventure with me. There's no one I'd rather be with on a backroad trip.

12 comments:

  1. Love the photos. I have seen the building in Botha a few times. It is one the places I would have loved to seen when it was in use.

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    1. Agreed!! I haven't even seen an old photo of it. Must find one!

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    2. Or finish my time machine.

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  2. Hi Jenn :) Very nice visit! I love the look of the old barn...you know, you just don't see stuff like that around here, at least in my area. Old buildings are routinely just scrapped, I feel like there isn't too much history here unless you go to Old Montreal or Old Quebec. I love haunted places btw, did you venture in at any point?

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    1. Hi Rain! I lived most of my life in Calgary where anything old seemed to be replaced with new, shiny and boring. Since moving to a smaller place I am amazed at how many interesting things are just off the main roads. I haven't been in that haunted building, the owner does not live there but a friend has some history with it, so I have heard stories.

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    2. Oooh you should write about it!! :)

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  3. Nicely done on your explorations! I'm out exploring all the time too, but never put any research or information down as to what I'm finding. It's always take a few photos and find the next spot. I'll need to slow down and take some time! Any advice on how to find all these interesting locations? Have you assembled a map (google map perhaps) of your finds?

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    1. Hello Vagabond! Lots of places I just stumble upon which is great! Others, like schools I research before heading to an area. I also am friends with people who happen to know lots about different parts of Alberta. Online groups help too. I don't have a map on paper...it's all in my head lol.

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  4. Nice post Jenn. You always find such great spots!

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    1. Thanks Michael, I am glad there are still lots of places to discover, and these aren't even too far from home!

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  5. Interesting thing about Big Knife school. The Big Knife creek and Big Knife Provincial Park are almost a half hour drive to the north, nowhere near the school.

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