el ganeden d'esmareldas

the garden of emeralds

Broadway, Virginia, US

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Broadway, Virginia lies in Shenandoah Valley near the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, and has been booming since the 1850s, though it wasn’t formally incorporated until 1880. It was originally known as ‘Custer’s Mill’ and was successful as the railway ran through it and it was very fertile, being known as the ‘breadbasket’ of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. This being said, much of Broadway was destroyed in the war by a campaign by Union General Philip Sheridan called ‘The Burning’. Among buildings destroyed was the eponymous Custer’s Mill, and because of it’s destruction, the town was renamed Broadway. Broadway gained most of its population during  the 1940s from the poultry industry and after World War II. Despite the many abandoned buildings around town, Broadway is actually growing greatly, and today has a population of about 3,800 residents.


Chaitén, Los Lagos, Chile

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Chaitén was created before European conquer and was first explored by European conquistadors in the search for the City of the Caesars, a city of legend full of gold, silver, and diamonds, somewhere in the Andes. However, Chaitén was first officially listed as a town in 1940 and served as a port.


Chaitén, 1950

In 2008, for the first time in over nine thousand years, the nearby Mt Chaitén volcano erupted. The city of Chaitén was evacuated while Mt Chaitén continued to erupt for months continuously. Because of the volcano, the town was also flooded due to lahars (extremely dangerous flows of mud, debris, and rocks) causing the nearby river to overflow. Currently, the town of Chaitén is being rebuilt, though there is controversy whether it should be or not because of the state it’s in. Some of the population has returned, and it currently has a population of 3,500 residents, of its original 7,000.

42 55’0″S 72 42’0″W

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Parkbeg, Saskatchewan, Canada

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The land that Parkbeg is on had an extensive history long before the little town was founded. Many indigenous peoples, including the Plains people, Assiniboine people, Plains Cree people, and Blackfoot people, lived on the land once, and later lived around it until they were forced on to reservation. But they left traces around the land, and artifacts and tipi rings can still be found in and near Parkbeg today. Though Parkbeg got a post office in the early 1910s, it didn’t officially become a town until 1920. Its main industry was grain and it still has one grain elevator (first photo) which is owned by Paterson Grain. It also had strong ties with the Canadian Pacific Railway. By the late 1950s, it was too small to be considered a village anymore.


‘On the line between Canada and the US, 1902’ at the Parkbeg train station

50.4500N 106.2667W

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Neidpath, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Neidpath was first settled in 1909 but was officially founded in the 1920s with the construction of the railroad. It was named after Neidpath Castle in Scotland. The population peaked before 1930 when it reached about 100 people. It then began to decline and later a fire destroyed the general store and then the school was closed. The last operating businesses in town were the grain elevators, of which there used to be four, but there are only two left today. In 2014, Neidpath had a population of 1 but it now has 0.

50.179N 107.375W

Girvin, Saskatchewan, Canada

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It is unknown when Girvin was founded, but its pump house (not pictured) that once provided water for horses and is now a historical landmark, dates back to 1906 and is the only pump house in Saskatchewan. Girvin’s slogan is ‘here, people count’, though only 20 of those people do remain today. Girvin was officially dissolved as a village in 2005.


Bits of Girvin, 1912

51.1500N 105.9172W

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Crichton, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Crichton was founded in 1913 and was named after the Scottish poet James Crichton. It was officially abandoned in 1983 when the last resident left, though someone returned and Crichton has one resident today.


Aerial of Crichton, 1950s

49.2555N 107.3123W

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Bromhead, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Bromhead was founded in 1913. Only three years later, a fire swept through Bromhead and destroyed many of its buildings and only a few were rebuilt. Later, a second fire occurred outside the town which drove many of its residents away. It never recovered from the population loss and stayed a small town since the 30s.


Aerial view of Bromhead, 1956

49.1054N 103.4031W

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