In the short amount of time that I have spent in Saskatchewan and after my latest trip to see Colton, I am now convinced that Saskatchewan is where I need to be. Given that the province has a stretch of highway that spreads across its borders that has been dubbed “Ghost Town Trail” is enough for me. I drove a stretch of this highway and only stopped at a couple places.
On my way home on the Monday, I did decide to take Highway 1 home so that I could make this stop. I haven’t been successful on finding any information on the internet but was able to find out a little bit from a blog post by a fellow explorer.
It is believed that the local First Nations people that traveled through this area named it Summerberry because of its abundance of berry bushes that they found in the area during their migration. On their summer travels they would stop here to pick berries which was an important supplement to their diet.
Pulling in to town I did note that there was at least one, maybe two homes, that appeared to be occupied. As you drive down towards the tracks, it becomes more and more apparent that there is no one else there, but them. The town is well maintained.
People were said to start settling in Summerberry in the early 1880s. The rail line was built through the settlement in 1882. This tractor and a threshing machine are one of the first things you see as you head down the hill towards the tracks.
The stone school was built in approximately 1907 and 85 students enrolled in grades one through ten. They shared two classrooms on the first floor while the second floor was used for concerts and dances as it had a large auditorium. In 1922 when the school introduced grades 11 and 12, they took over the second floor.
Declining enrollment forced the high school to close in 1965 and the following year, the school closed for good. If you look closely, you can see the fire escape slide on the left side of the photo. Yes, a slide. When I photographed it I thought this was maybe added on after the school closed but in fact, it was placed there when the school was built, in case of a fire on the second floor.
In 1972 the village lost its status and became an organized hamlet under the RM of Wolseley. By 1982, Summerberry had only a “handful” of residents. The grain elevators were still in operation, but no other businesses existed. In 1985, the elevators closed and were demolished a few years later.
I would have liked to wander around a little while longer but I was alone and I wanted to get home before dark. I could see many roofs and farms from where I stood and there were a couple of interesting old vehicles parked in the town. I do hope to go back one day.
I found this old place on the way out and I will say, it kinda creeped me out. And that doesn’t happen often. I guess being alone didn’t help. I never got out of the car here and only snapped a couple of photos.
I also found this big beautiful home. If I had an exploring partner I likely would have gotten out of the car and had a look around. I guess I really do need to go back to this old town.