May 262015
Rosebud Alberta

The then and now photos used in this posting date from 1982 and 2015 and shows the small community of Rosebud Alberta. The location in both is a hill overlooking the village, which allows us a good view of pretty much the entire place. In spite of the thirty plus year that have passed, not a great deal has changed overall, save of course for the prairie skyscrapers seen in the background, the grain elevators. There used to be many, now there is one.

The old photo is compliments of noted photographer Harry Palmer. He’s well known and well respected in the field, and has been shooting for decades. Much of his work includes documentary style portraits of people and places across the province and the country. We are so honoured that he
allowed us use of his photo. His work is art, ours, silly little snapshots. The image retains his copyright.

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If you’d like to contribute a then photo to be used as fodder for one of these reports, contact us and we’ll tell you how it’s done.

The Rosebud area was settled in the 1880s but it was with the coming of the railway in the 1910s that it became an established community. Like many prairie towns it declined over the years and today it has a population of just under a hundred permanent residences.

The town is noteworthy in that it is home to a very active and popular theatre group. They own many of the old buildings here, repurposed and used for offices and accommodations for members, workshops and performance venues.

The grain elevators seen in the old photo all date from the 1910s and 1920s and were gone by 2000 or thereabouts. The one seen today was built a couple years after the first image was captured and is now used by a local farmer to store grain. These buildings remind us that farming was and still is important in the area.

Not seen in the photos is the rail line that once passed though town. It ran, naturally, right in front of those grain elevators. This line (Canadian National Railways, former Canadian Northern) was constructed in 1914 and was closed to traffic a few years back, although the rails them self remained in place until very recently. Traveling between Calgary and Saskatoon SK it was closed due to a lack of traffic and high maintenance costs.

Also not seen is the Rosebud River, in behind the elevators, which carved the valley here, the latter an often times very scenic and un-prairie like place.

Beside the new houses on the left and the changes to the grain elevators mentioned earlier, Rosebud overall appears much as it was. Change in these small towns is slow.

Most of the then photos used in these posts come from our readers, as did this one. If you’d like to contribute one, be sure and send it our way. It need only show a street or town scene, and must be from thirty years ago or more. We’ll visit the spot seen, we’ll do our very to shoot a similarly composed photo, and will post the results here on It’s always amazing to see what’s changed and what hasn’t. Often times it’s eyeopening!

We’re not the best writers, nor photographers, but we have the most fun!

Our now photo was composed in-camera and no photoshopping was done after to assist in lining things line up. That’s how we do it and since we do it a lot and enjoy it so much, the results are usually pretty good like what’s seen here.

Some small town then and nows…
Shaunavon Saskatchewan then and now.
Fort MacLeod then and now – Fort Museum.
Empress Alberta then and now.

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date: April, 2015.
Location: Rosebud, AB.
Article sources: Book: Akokiniskway, by the river of many roses (a history of Rosebud).
We had to venture on to private land, with permission, to take our photo

Rosebud AB 1982

Rosebud Alberta in 1982. Photo Harry Palmer.

Rosebud Alberta

And the same scene thirty three years later.


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2 Comments on "Rosebud Alberta then and now"

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Michelle Hollander
Michelle Hollander

Wonderful, everything lined up perfectly. Just found your site and love it!