It was early in the morning, the light from the sun was just starting to crest over the hill. I was standing on some burlap bags, which had been carefully placed along the edges of the squares to keep the balks from caving in. Below me, a mix of students and veterans were digging away, hauling guffah1 after guffah out to the sift. Watching others work in the early morning isn’t exactly conducive to staying awake, especially when it comes with a pang of jealousy. I really love to dig and sitting on the sidelines due to a wrist injury doesn’t exactly sit well with me. I’m sure this thought…
In my quest to photograph as many ghost towns as I can find, I kept coming across notes about a little gem called Lille, Alberta. Things looked great for Lille when it was first established in 1901. Within a few years, there were about 20 residences on the townsite, along with all the amenities like a hotel, doctor’s office, and a school. The coal mining industry in the area led to the construction of an expansive system of coke ovens, specially made in Belgium. Each brick was stamped with a unique number, shipped, and the ovens were reconstructed brick-by-brick in Lille sometime in 1903-1904.