One of the homes undergoing restoration.
|Municipal district||Starland County|
|• Governing body||Starland County Council|
|Elevation||41 m (134 ft)|
|Time zone||MST (UTC−7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC−6)|
|Postal code span||T0J 2X0|
Less than a year before the new millennium, the last train passed through Rowley. And now the Alberta prairie town's future may once more belong to the ghosts. 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. But 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 8, 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.
This section possibly contains original research. (December 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-04-01). "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- Rosenberg, David. "Capturing Canada Like You've Never Seen It Before". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2 August 2013.