Located close to the historic site for which its named, the Buffalo Jump Arts and Crafts store not far from Gleichen is abandoned and forgotten and close to collapse. Empty and open to the elements, it’s only a matter of time before it’s gone.
This structure is located along the Trans Canada Highway at the junction to town. It’s sits at a crossroads and from the building one can see the namesake Gleichen Buffalo Jump to the southwest (link to it below), a long low bluff with an east facing slope where the animals were dispatched.
I am afraid data on the building seen in this report is rather scarce. What it was before, when it became the Buffalo Jump Arts and Crafts store, and when it closed are all unknowns to us. In spite of in-depth research, we have only been able to find little bits and pieces and there are so many holes yet to fill. I hate reports like this, where we come away uncovering so little. As always our quest for information continues and if new data is found updates will be forthcoming. Also, we always welcome input from our readers.
At one time an old train depot was located at this site, which explains why the store is often called Buffalo Jump Station. I recall passing that building while on oilfield hotshot trips in the 1990s but never found the time to photograph it (doh!). That industry is go-Go-GO and there was never any time to stop and smell the roses. I so regret that.
At some point in the early 2000s or so the station was moved to the town of Cochrane west of Calgary and this author saw it in that community around 2004. It has since been moved from that spot and for now its location is somewhat of a mystery. It’s also not clear where the station came from (was it Gleichen’s?).
Some online reports, because of the train station I presume, state that this was a train stop. It wasn’t and the nearest rail line is a couple kilometres away in Gleichen.
In the 1990s there were other buildings near the arts and crafts store, mostly sheds and the like, their exact purpose unknown.
Based upon photos this author has seen, the building was in the early to mid 2000s boarded up and in much better shape then it is today. In fact it has deteriorated a lot (once open to the elements decay is quick). Not seen in our photos (for some reason) was the cinder block foundation, which was crumbling badly and I suspect it will soon collapse. The sign has faded a great deal too. Inside the building there is lots of bird poop and little else.
It also appears that at one time a gas station once operated here and an old broken sign can be found nearby.
One snippet uncovered online, sadly, was about the passing of the person who used to run the business but it makes no mention when she did this. This lady died only recently. Another article online mentions a store being at the spot where the Buffalo Jump craft store is, in the 1950s – perhaps it was connected to that gas station?
It’s assumed that many of the arts and crafts sold the at the establishment were sourced from the nearby Siksika First Nation, located just south of Gleichen.
On this adventure I was accompanied by fellow history explorer Jon Dirks. He’s provided a couple stunning photos which can be seen below. Together we explored this site, the Buffalo Jump itself and an old barn nearby, which will be the subject of it’s own report.
To see the nearby Buffalo Jump mentioned in this article, go here…
Gleichen Buffalo Jump – with Jon Dirks.
If you’d like to know more about what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: October, 2013.
Location: Gleichen, AB.