What Is a Ghost Town?
When I began this project on the ghost towns of Alberta I was not quite sure what to expect when I visited these fabled places. From the Coal Branch to the Crowsnest I have observed a commonality that they all share, they are not static localities frozen in time. They are living historical sites that not only have a past history, but they are also affected by modern municipal growth and development. These present changes can either benefit these ghost towns, or threaten their very existence. With that said, to define the concept of a ghost town is not as simple as one can think. When someone defines a “classic” ghost town they think of a completely abandoned townsite with old buildings still standing as if time itself froze. In rare cases this can be true, but the reality is that many ghost towns today still have a (very) small population, commerce, and museums to showcase its rich history. Or they may have vanished without a trace. To put it simply, a ghost town is a locality that experienced a period of economic and population growth that provided access to the amenities required for a healthy municipality, such as hotels, restaurants, general stores, and hospitals. However, following a devastating economic collapse, the town’s population drastically decreases and the commerce that once thrived in the town is now extinct. This definition is quite fitting for the purpose of this project, especially since the majority of these localities relied on the local resource potential, whether it was coal or crops. With this in mind go out and explore these wonderful historical sites, because they may be gone forever in the near future. 

Acknowledgements

About the Author

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this project in any way shape or form. Without your help none of this would have been possible. 
 
Dr. George Colpitts: Editor

Caroline Thomas: Photographer

Jason Ferris: Photographer 
 
Mike Wells: Photographer
 
Phillip Van Hooft: Photographer
 
Special thanks to the University of Calgary PURE Award for giving me the opportunity to explore Alberta and share this information with the world. 
Aaron Lang is a Bachelor of Commerce student of the University of Calgary, who was granted the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) Award to explore the ghost towns that pepper Alberta. This website serves to educate the public of the historical and modern state of these forgotten and obscure localities.
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    aklang@ucalgary.ca