“Couple visits small town in Alberta and what they found missing will shock you…”
Oh, if only I could bring myself to use clickbait-style headlines like that! Anyway, on to the article…
On Good Friday, Emily and I found ourselves with a mutual day off — something that seeming hadn’t happened in forever. Naturally we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and load up the dog, drone, and camera gear in the car and head off to Arrowwood.
While the main purpose of our trip was to replace our Geocache which had gone missing a few months ago. With the sudden increase in the price of gas, combining trips is going to be important this summer.
Some background on the town from one of the signs in the park:
The name Arrowwood is derived from the bushes that grow along the east and west Arrowwood Creeks. Construction of the first grain elevators and CPR station started in 1924 and the railroad arrived in town on June 22, 1925 when the line was completed from the east. Arrowwood was incorporated as a village in 1926 and reached a population of 500 in the late 1920s. The rail line closed in 2002 although some of the elevators had started disappearing before then. At one point, there were seven elevators in Arrowwood.
We think Arrowwood is a great little town — it has a water tower, a grain elevator, a couple of old churches which have been converted into private residences, and a cute little Co-Op store.
Well, it HAD a cute little Co-Op store. One of the first things we noticed upon turning onto Main Street was that the store was gone! Yes, it had been closed when the new Co-Op opened along Railway, but we certainly did not expect to see the old store destroyed, especially because it appeared to be in decent shape.
I had to try my hand at a BigDoer.com-style “Then and Now” shot. Using a photo of the Co-Op I had taken in November of 2015 on my phone, I did my best to line up the shot. Not only is the building gone, but the retro-style lamp which was standing guard over the solo pump is also now missing. I hope someone salvaged it rather than it ending up in a landfill somewhere.
Another interesting thing in Arrowwood is the section of old siphon which is housed in a small wetland park near the southeast corner of town.
According to the sign in the park, water from the Bow River near Carseland is moved through a canal to McGregor Lake for irrigation purposes. To get the water across the West Arrowwood Creek valley, a siphon was used. Apparently the first siphon was built in 1936 and a second one was added parallel to the first one in 1951 to increase the capacity. The original siphons were both replaced by a concrete siphon in 1991. A piece of the original wooden version was donated to the Arrowwood Restoration Society and placed in this park.
The sign mentions the siphons were located 7km northwest of Arrowwood. On a previous trip we drove around trying to see if we could spot the new concrete version but were unsuccessful. The sign also mentions another which carries (present tense!) water across the East Arrowwood Creek valley to the northeast of town. Two more things which require further investigation!
On a side note, there used to be a wooden siphon northeast of the town of Vauxhall which was replaced by a canal in the mid-90s. Somewhere I have some pictures of it as it was being demolished but I can’t seem to find them. That was also a Bow River Irrigation District project and was likely done as part of the same program that replaced these ones near Arrowwood. The timeframe certainly fits.
That’s all I have time for right now as I need to leave for work soon. The wind was very strong so I didn’t get much drone footage, but I did capture a few seconds of the grain elevator. Once I get done with the edits I’ll put it up on the YouTube page.