Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ok, so we're here, now what do we do? Dorothy, Alberta

There is so much to see and do in the Canadian Badlands you could plan a full two week vacation, (we definitely recommend you do) and there would still be plenty left for another visit! Best known for the amazing dinosaur bone-beds, hoodoos, interesting topography, the very famous Royal Tyrell Museum and a little less known for it's ghost towns, the Badlands are a popular vacation destination. Over the next few months leading up to the Best of the Bad Mega Event we'll highlight some of the many POI's worth seeing during your stay in this beautiful region of western Canada.

In Starland County, at the heart of the Canadian Badlands and nestled in the Red Deer River Valley, lies the picturesque ghost town of Dorothy, Alberta. Just a few miles south-east of Drumheller, Dorothy was named for the daughter of Jack Wilson, one of the hamlet's early settlers at the turn of the 20th century. When Arthur Peake, another area pioneer, first arrived, he had to dismantle equipment and wagons and lower it all down the banks of the river using ropes as there were no roads. He built his log cabin just one mile west of Dorothy in 1906. Although never expanding beyond 100 residents the hamlet saw growth after the post office was established in 1908 and it's greatest prosperity came after the arrival of the railway lines in the 1920's. With the "boom" in population, Dorothy became a popular social centre for the first half of the 20th century. The hamlet's United and Catholic churches were the focal point for the entire area's social events. By 1944, the hamlet had the two churches, a post office, a school, three grain elevators, a butcher's shop, pool room, a grocery shop, a telephone office, restaurant and a machine agency.

Today, Dorothy, Alberta is home to just a handful of residents. Both churches, the Peake family's original log cabin, a grain elevator and a community hall, which the area residents still use, are still standing. There are many interesting sites, lots of photo ops and a small museum for visitors to learn more about the fascinating history of this area. And of course, we can't forget we're geocachers. There are several caches en route (and just off route) from Drumheller and right in town you'll find "Valley Ghost Town", GCWAWJ.

We're looking forward to sharing more of this unique region and the awesome caches located throughout. If you've travelled and cached here please don't hesitate to share some of your favourites in the comments area!

227 Days and counting to Western Canada's Baddest Mega Event! Don't forget to log your "will attend" at GC2GA1J.

The photo link at the top of this blog was taken by our very own Westrock-Bob just outside of Dorothy, Alberta.


  1. Here's something I found... a poem about pioneering ranch life at Dorothy!

    Sodbuster, by Arthur Peake

    “They say the chosen ones of God
    Are those that bust the prairie sod
    And kill the grass to grow the wheat
    That folks may all have bread to eat.

    It truly is a noble sight
    To see them plowing day and night
    As up and down the row they go
    No matter how the wind doth blow.

    With tractor, disc and cultivator, and hopes
    To use the combine later,
    And load their truck with wheat, maybe,
    And haul it down to Dorothy . . .”

    Arthur S. Peake 1865-1929 - Pioneer, cowboy and poet!

  2. Dorothy is a great ghost town. I've been making semi-regular visits there since 1997. It has been interesting to watch the restoration work taking place on the churches over the years. During my initial visits they were very much in danger of being lost as the windows were missing, the doors did not lock and the roofs leaked like sieves.

    My last trip through was in the spring of 2009 when I did a few black-and-white photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danocan/sets/72157616633283008/

  3. I was just there on Nov 13 and really enjoyed myself. Of course I was there for geocaching and found the one mentioned above. Mainly though, I was there to do research for a new EarthCache I want to develop. Stay tuned.

  4. @Landsharkz, Thanks so much for sharing the poem, what an awesome find!

    @Danger, gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing the link. Feel free to join our flickr group Dan and add your favourites !!

    @Kevin, Ooooo can't wait to hear more, perhaps I'll do a post on EarthCaches in the Canadian Badlands! Photos please, I happen to know you're pretty handy with the camera too ;D