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.


Woolgoolga, New South Wales, Australia

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Woolgoolga was founded in the 1870s and is named after the word Weelgoolga, which the indigenous people of the area called the area. However, its original name was ‘Woogoolga’ until it was changed in 1966. Woolgoolga has a large Sikh population that now farms most of the agriculture of Woolgoolga that is bananas and blueberries. Woolgoolga’s main landmark is its large Sikh temple, Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara.


Woolgoolga, 1972

30°07′S 153°12′E

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Georgetown, Colorado, US

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Georgetown First Presbyterian Church (Gothic Revival), built 1874


Old Missouri Firehouse (Queen Anne/False Front), built 1875


Georgetown Public School (Federal), built 1874, recently restored

Georgetown was established in 1859, during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. It is named after one of the founders, George Griffith. Though it never found much gold, it made good amounts of money off of silver, which caused large population growth. By 1893, Georgetown had more than 10,000 residents. After this, the town began to lose its population as silver deposits dwindled. Georgetown has been used as a filming location for many movies, and as of today, it has around 1,000 residents.


Map of Georgetown, 1874


Georgetown, date unknown

39°42′45″N 105°41′45″W

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Wauchope, Saskatchewan, Canada

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St Jean Francois Regis Roman Catholic Church (what a name; Carpenter Gothic)

Wauchope (pronounced like ‘walk-up’) first started being settled around 1901, but became a village in 1906. Most of the residents came from England, France, Belgium, or Sweden. The town was named for a General W Wauchope. It had a Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian church and cemetery, along with a lumberyard, school, community hall, barbershop, hotel, skating rink, and many other stores. The St Jean Francois Regis Roman Catholic Church is pictured above and has inside of it a pipe organ hand-built by one of the residents, a blacksmith named A Sylvestre. Wauchope has a very well-recorded history and it is believed to be home to about five families today.

View from Elevator (looking NorthWest)

The Catholic church can be seen as the farthest building, year unknown <1940

Wauchope viewing West (circa 1947)

Wauchope, 1947. Again the Catholic church can be seen as the furthest building in the image. Though this image is closer, some buildings have still disappeared.

49 36′00″N, 101 54′02″W

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Peterson, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Holy Eucharist Church (Ukrainian Baroque revival/Carpenter Gothic)

Peterson was founded when the railroad was built in 1912 and was named after the first shopkeeper in the town. Most of the settlers were eastern European, specifically Ukrainian, and as with most early settlers of Saskatchewan, nearly all of the residents were farmers, though several blacksmiths lived in the town. Peterson had two churches, Holy Eucharist Church (Ukrainian Greek orthodox, built in 1927, pictured) and St Agnes Parish (Ukrainian Catholic, built in 1924, not pictured, still active today). It had a school which closed in 1970 and began the downturn of the town’s population; Peterson had reached its peak in the early 60s. In 2008, it had a population of 15.

52.1132N 105.4117W

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