I remember watching the elevator in my home town being torn down. I was sad because it was the orange one.
I remember peeking into random old abandoned buildings as we cruised around the backroads near my hometown; population 180. Sometimes I would be brave enough to go inside, but I never wanted to get caught by a land owner, even though 20 years ago there wasn’t much concern about trespassing and we would never vandalize anything.
As Facebook has taken over the world, photos of old abandoned places have continually caught my eye as I scroll through my feed.
Eventually I started to recognize photographer’s names. Chris Attrell was one of the names that became familiar. Fast forward to this year and I was listening to Chris speak at a tourism conference and he was giving lots of shout outs to the Leader area, where I am involved in tourism. I, of course, had to go introduce myself, and before you know it, we were brainstorming some fun collaborations.
I was honoured to open my inbox one day to find an email from MacIntyre Purcell Publishing saying that I was on the list to get a copy of Forgotten Saskatchewan, Chris’s newly released book. When it arrived in the mail I was impressed at the thickness of it and the hard cover. I giggled at the forward message written by Robert Scott. The best people are all a little nuts. Chris’s introduction reminded me to chase activities that bring me joy, a message that never gets old.
I skimmed through this photography book a few times, pausing to look at the hidden details and noticing a few familiar scenes. The night photos always grab my attention, probably because I’m always in bed too early to take in the beauty of the dark sky. I also love the ones with rusty old vehicles in the frame.
My mom was visiting the other day and she looked at each photograph from start to finish, reading each caption and oohing and awing at the images captured.
I’ve seen ruins all over the world and stood in line to see piles of rocks, or broken stone columns. Saskatchewan’s historic buildings won’t stand the test of time. Wooden barns are crumbling. Elevators are being torn down. Old churches are withering away. This photo collection is preserving our history.
It’s actually making me sad to think that generations in the near future won’t be able to cruise the backroads checking out old barns and houses.
Chris shows off a part of Saskatchewan that is at risk of being forgotten. He promotes preservation by not sharing exact locations and by asking permission to be on private property. I hope that others will cherish these historic relics and be respectful to the people and property. Living in Saskatchewan, I know that most owners would be happy to share the history behind these old abandoned buildings over a coffee ( or cold one).
Thanks for sharing your passion and talent with us, Chris.