Rowley, Alberta

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One of the homes undergoing restoration.
One of the homes undergoing restoration.
Rowley, Alberta is located in Alberta
Rowley, Alberta
Location of Rowley in Alberta
Coordinates: 51°45′44″N 112°47′18″W / 51.76222°N 112.78833°W / 51.76222; -112.78833
Country Canada
Province Alberta
RegionSouthern Alberta
Census division2
Municipal districtStarland County
 • Governing bodyStarland County Council
41 m (2,134 ft)
 • Total8
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Postal code span
Area code(s)+1-403
HighwaysHighway 56

Rowley is a hamlet In Alberta, Canada within Starland County.[1] It is located just north of Drumheller.


Grain elevators prior to restoration
Searle Grain Company Grain Elevator Site Complex and United Grain Growers - Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator Site Complex, Rowley, Alberta.jpg
Ghost town Rowley Alberta Canada (33675860231).jpg

Less than a year before the new millennium, the last train passed through Rowley. In the mid-1970s, Rowley, which once boasted a population of about 500 in the 1920s, was a beat-up dying community, with rows of empty houses and businesses, and inhabited by only a few dozen prairie-hardened souls. But one night, a few party-happy locals, whose liquor supply was fast dwindling, decided on a quick solution – a “B & E Party” at a boarded-up old saloon. The bar was fixed up and named Sam's Saloon after one of the previous owners who had been a respected member of the community. The brazen men then got talking about sprucing up the pioneer community to make it a heritage stop for tourists. For the next quarter century, locals restored old homes and businesses and soon visitors were attracted from all parts of Alberta, Canada and the U.S. The highlight of the community's new fame came in 1988 when a cinema production team used Rowley as the set for the hit Canadian movie Bye Bye Blues. Part of Rowley's charm is that while locals have spent thousands of dollars fixing up many of the old community's homes and buildings to reflect the town's pioneer days, there are still many others left abandoned, and offer ghost towners wonderful photo opportunities. 1999 also saw the regional train service through Rowley end and locals are worried about the community's future. "That's really going to hurt our cash flow", said one old-timer, noting as many as 900 train tourists a week would get off at the Rowley station, which also serves as the town's museum. However, the town, which now has an official population of 10 as of 2019,[2] is still hoping word-of-mouth will keep tourists coming. Locals meet at the community hall year-round, and gladly offer visitors a tour even in the cold winter months.


Rowley was a shoot site for the films "Legends of the Fall" and "The Magic of Ordinary Days" in addition to "Bye Bye Blues" Jonny Harris, Still Standing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-04-01). "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  2. ^ Rosenberg, David. "Capturing Canada Like You've Never Seen It Before". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2 August 2013.

External links[edit]

  • Alberta Heritage. Rowley
  • Rowley Pizza Nights [1]

Coordinates: 51°45′44″N 112°47′18″W / 51.76222°N 112.78833°W / 51.76222; -112.78833 (Rowley)