el ganeden d'esmareldas

the garden of emeralds

Crossakiel, Co. Meath, Ireland

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Crossakiel, in County Meath, is often considered a part of nearby Kells (Irish: Ceanannas). Kells, is famously known for being the namesake of the illuminated manuscript, The Book of Kells. Though it’s unknown exactly when Crossakiel was established, Kells has been a town since as early as the 12th century. During English invasion in the Middle Ages, Kells was a border town on the English Pale, and later during the Irish Potato Famine around the 1840s, it lost almost 40% of its population.

The Cosy Corner (pictured above) in Crossakiel used to be a pub and a grocery, but is now closed. The Crossakiel Handball Club can also be seen above. Handball is very popular in Crossakiel and has been since as early as the 1920s. The church pictured above is St Shiria’s Church, which was part of the Church of Ireland and is recorded as far back as 1761. The church is no longer in use, as it no longer has a roof or door.

The population of Crossakiel today is unknown, but the town of Kells has a population of nearly 6,000 residents. Kells is known today in media for being the setting of the Oscar-nominated film, The Secret of Kells.


Kayville, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Kayville was named after Billie McKay and was founded in 1905 by Romanian immigrants who built Kayville around the mainstreet with homesteads in the outskirts. The St Peter and Paul Church (pictured above) was built by the Romanian townspeople and is an Orthodox church that is over 100 years old today. Its layout is shaped like a boat to represent Noah’s ark. Mainstreet was very busy and had over 30 businesses, all of which had been abandoned by 2009, though recently a few have reopened. The population of Kayville today is 9 people.


Men in Kayville, 1913

49.7266N 105.1453W

Historical img src

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

Historical img src

Atolia, California

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Silos in Atolia. The roofs of the buildings left can be seen in the distance.

Atolia was a mining town that began in 1905 and lies within the Mojave Desert. It was named for the mining company officials, Atkins and Degolia. The workers of the town mined for tungsten, and at one point, Atolia had a population of over 2000. Atolia once had many buildings, such as a dairy, a movie theatre, a saloon (called ‘Bucket of Blood’), a drug store, a hotel, ice cream shop, newspaper, and school among many others. In 1916, the original town burnt down but was rebuilt to what it is known, with all the features above. Although Atolia really began to lose population in 1919 due to wage strikes, mining activity has been present as recent as 2007.


Atolia, 1908


Atolia, 1915


Atolia, date unknown

Postcard view of Atolia, Ca. From the collection of Mark Landis.

Atolia, date unknown


Atolia burns, 1916


Atolia, 1916

35 18′49.65″N 117 36′29.46″W