Monday, March 14, 2011

Robsart, Saskatchewan: A Ghost Town on Google Street View

I'm just fascinated with the idea of ghost towns, entire communities that have been abandoned for one reason or another. They make for gorgeous, eerie photos - history, preserved but still decaying. Buildings where people once lived, laughed, loved... now vacant and overgrown. It's romantic, even as it's eerie. The most romantic things are eerie, anyway.

So Robsart, Saskatchewan is one. One of many - the Prairies are dotted with similar places, erected for different reasons and abandoned for different reasons still. Robsart is probably one of dozens. Anonymous, really... except for one thing: Google Street View has sent its cameras through. So now, the most valuable thing Google Street View does - giving you the sense of what it's like to walk streets you'll never see in person - can be applied to a ghost town as well. Let's go for a stroll...

(Note, as always these pictures get bigger and sadder if you click on them.)

Pictures of ghost-towns always have a kind of "The Day After"-style post-nuclear gloom to them. This building was clearly never a very impressive building, but now, in its state of disrepair, it's just sad.

This one was a bit nicer. These people were richer, I suppose. Notice how they left curtains up. I imagine they left saying they'd return one day, or that they'd use it as a summer house or something.

Not here, though. These people cleared out for good. Didn't even bother to close the door on the way out. Though I don't know if this used to be a house or not. It's huge, and look at all those 'vintage cars' abandoned back there. Like everyone was at a weekend hoedown when the bomb fell.

More abandoned cars. Mind you, abandoned cars sitting in fields is a pretty common phenomenon in every rural community, isn't it?

Maybe not like this, though. Threshers and... er, I don't know the names of farming equipment. But there is sits. Some of it is seemingly of a newer vintage, isn't it?

Apparently, this used to be a hospital. I can't say that for sure looking at it, though: it could be a very large dwelling, it could be a schoolhouse... who knows. It's nothing but rotten wood now, anyway, and it looks thoroughly emptied out.

I call this the 'corner store', but I have no idea what it really was. I wonder if that star's a Christmas decoration, and if it just happened to be a December when they cleared out. It kind of looks like there might still be products on display inside.

Clear what this used to be, though, eh? It's tough to guess the vintage: this looks positively Wild-West, but I doubt it's quite so old. Maybe that's when the lumber company was founded, and they used it for decades after without ever changing the sign.

This one is absolutely gorgeous: a 1960s igloo-style façade hiding a sadly generic red building. Who knows what community activities this sad little building, with its solitary tiny front window, once held. But the Canadian Centennial logo establishes the vintage more exactingly. Whenever Robsart was abandoned, it was sometime after 1967. Of course, when I say 'abandoned'...

...Robsart hasn't been completely abandoned. Here's a cow in the middle of the detritus. Must be lots to eat around here.

And I'm not just talking about cows either. Wikipedia reports that Robsart has a population of nine. For some reason, I find this creepier than the thought that it had been completely abandoned: that people still live, like squatters in a graveyard, surrounded by the ghostly detritus of the community that once was.

Or even somehow attempt to eke out a business. This, the painted sign indicates, is 'Robsart Art Works', presumably someone's workshop studio. Several signs around town advertise this site, probably for the benefit of ghost-town adventurers. But it's tough to imagine this poor person gets much business. Although I imagine living in Robsart gives her (for some reason I presume it's a her) a fair amount of inspiration.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...