Queenstown Alberta is a forgotten place, just a mere dot on the map in the middle of nowhere. Located on a gravel back road and along an abandoned railway line, not many pass through this prairie settlement and for those who do, it just takes one blink and they’ve missed it. It’s doubtful this “almost” ghost town has much time left.
Situated on the former CPR Lomond Subdivision branchline, there are only a few houses remaining, along with two buildings of interest to people like us: the Queenstown Garage and the town’s community hall. We’ll go into detail on these shortly, but first a little history of the town is in order.
While the region was settled earlier, the town as we know it dates from the time the railway came through – so around 1925. The line, used almost exclusively to transport prairie grain, was pulled up just after the turn of this century. Pictures found in the web show several grain elevators in town, however there is no trace of them left. It’s uncertain if any or all the elevators survived until the line was abandoned, or if they were torn down earlier. On Bing Maps aerial view, there appears to be one elevator still standing – but I am not sure the date of the image they used. That photo (as of April 2013) has been updated and the elevator is no longer seen.
Outside of the elevators, I have not been able to find any vintage pictures of the town or the buildings we are exploring. Nor have I been able to confirm the population of Queenstown at its height.
The garage is the only former business and one of two non-residential buildings left in town. Sitting either on Centre Street or 1st Street South, depending on which map program you consult, it is just up from Railway Avenue – meaning, is was not far from downtown. Actually given the small size of the place, nothing was far from downtown. The overall design of the building certainly makes me believe it dates back to the town’s origins. As a garage it’s safe to assume that at one time it also doubled as the town’s filling station – that seems logical and I can just picture some old globe pumps out front.
On our visit, the building was plastered with a bunch of old T-shirts. An odd work of art I guess?
Just a block away sits the old community hall. It’s a pretty nondescript building but interesting none the less. I am certain in the day it hosted many grand parties and celebrations. Peering through the cracks, one can see some old waggons being stored inside, along with a very cool cigar store Indian.
Much like a barber pole or the three gold globes of a pawn broker were universally accepted symbols of their respective enterprises, the cigar store Indian was such for tobacco stores. In times past they were seen at the doorway of many tobacconists. Today, these statues can be seen as politically incorrect or at least insensitive.
In the 1990s, I visited Queenstown and photographed some of the grain elevators there…
Prairie Sentinels – Queenstown Alberta
Speaking of garages, check out Deanz…
Deanz Garage – with Sharpeshots.com.
If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!
Date: September 2012.
Location: Queenstown Alberta.