Abandoned Alberta: Ghost Towns

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Bankhead, Alberta

A small coal mining town that existed near Banff in the early twentieth century, Bankhead came to be after the Anthracite mine closed down. Bankhead mine began supplying coal for the locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but closed after complaints of poor coal quality and constant labour strikes.

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Bankhead, Alberta
The town included school facilities, a hotel, pool hall, about 100 residential homes, a restaurant, stores, several saloons, a boarding house for single men and a church. In 1926, many of the town’s buildings were moved to nearby Banff and Canmore, but remains of the town are still visible at the original site.

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Cadomin, Alberta

Cadomin’s name is an acronym for ‘Canadian Dominion Mining’, and the town thrived from the 1920s to the 1950s, with approximately 1,800 residents during its most prosperous times. The Cadomin Coal Company began operations in 1917, but closed in 1952 due to declining markets as the railroads replaced steam locomotives with diesel.

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Dorothy, Alberta

The tiny town of Dorothy never grew beyond 100 residents, but was a popular cultural hub for the miners and families living in the Drumheller Valley in the early 20th century. It was home to three grain elevators, three stores, a butcher shop, pool room, telephone office, restaurant and a machine agency. A school served the community until 1960 and later a dance hall was built on as an addition.

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Luscar, Alberta

The original underground mine at Luscar opened in 1921, and by 1922 the town consisted of approximately 30 homes, a small hospital housed in a cottage, a school, a general store and other small shops. The mine closed in 1056 and nothing of the town remains today.

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Maybutt, Alberta

Maybutt can only be described as a planned town that failed to launch. Big plans were made for the town when the Canadian Pacific Railroad announced there would be a third line added to the town, running from Fort Macleod to Helena, Montana. However, plans never got past the planning stage, and despite the town’s many amenities — it had livery stables, a Union Bank of Canada branch, a two-storey boarding house, two general stores, a dry business, a lumber yard, three grain elevators, a flour mill, a Presbyterian and late United Church — the town’s population began to dwindle. The Dust Bowl era of the 1930s sealed the town’s fate and most residents moved elsewhere, hoping to find greener pastures. Maybutt’s population today is under 20 people.

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