Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Moose Jaw # 2 of 3

Moose Jaw has a colorful past-- some good, some not so good. In 1927 Moose Jaw was said to be the center of the Ku Klux Klan in Saskatchewan. It was short-lived as the leader was arrested.

There were/are a series of tunnels beneath the lower part of Main St. One reference says Chinese workers built them to avoid persecution on the surface. (Many Chinese workers came to prairie towns to escape harassment in B. C. after the completion of the CPR railroad-- whites felt they were stealing their jobs.) Another reference says the tunnels were built by engineers that ran the steam generators that at the time heated the hotels at the end of Main St.--  a more believable idea to me. Historians do seem to agree that Chinese workers did live in the tunnels for a period of time, working above ground in laundries, etc. during the day.

This photo is supposed to be from the tunnels. Who knows?

Then there are the stories of Al Capone hiding out in Moose Jaw, when things got hot in Chicago. The Soo Line Railroad (owned by the CPR) runs from Chicago to Moose Jaw, through Minneapolis, so it is feasible that he did come to Moose Jaw at some point, but there is no hard evidence to support the stories.

Researchers have spoken to Moose Jaw old-timers and there are stories of some of them meeting mob members, and even one of a barber that was called to the tunnels to cut Al Capone's hair. I could easily imagine mob members from Chicago coming to Moose Jaw (because of the Soo Line) in the same way I would imagine that they would go to many other towns in the U.S. and maybe Canada when things got hot.

None of the stories can be proven but they do make for colorful tales for Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw had enough gambling, prostitution and free flowing booze in the 1920's (during prohibition) that it was dubbed "Little Chicago". A good deal of booze flowed to Chicago and other points along the way, from Moose Jaw, via the Soo Line.

Here's a couple references if you're interested:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/moose-jaw-tunnels-reveal-dark-tales-of-canadas-past/article4158935/ from the Globe & Mail.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travelblogs/486/37356/The+Tunnels+of+Moose+Jaw+are+filled+with+Half-Truths+and+Lies?destId=361457 from a Lonely Planet blog.

Whatever the truth, one motel in Moose Jaw is trying to capitalize on the stories. It's "Capone's Hideaway Motel" at the bottom of Main St. The old car is a nice touch. A bit of irony is that the CPR station (background) is now a liquor store... with some other shops as well.

The hanging sign in the shot below (near the bottom) is the only hint of the Chinese connection to Moose Jaw's past that I could see. It happened to be on the corner of River St. and Main, River St. being the heart of illegal activity when the city was jumping. The Capone sign above is on the other side of Main.

While we're into history, here's a shot of the CPR station from 1928.

And one of Main St.-- about 1928 too?

Another of Main St., much later judging by the cars.

For the older crowd that might remember him...

In Crescent Park...

"Watch me kids, do what I do."

"Little Church on the Prairie"... on the way to Buffalo Lake.

Jane tried the door and it was open! This note was inside. You did have to kick the door shut!

There was a guest book inside.

A sign at the buffalo compound at Buffalo Lake... It's sad that our forefathers killed 60 million buffalo, but where would you plant crops with that many buffalo thundering about? (Not that I'm condoning our forefathers actions. Heaven forbid.)

Pelicans at Buffalo Lake.

I'm a sucker for abandoned houses. We came across this one on the way home from Buffalo Lake.

An interesting find inside the house. How long has this coat been hanging there? Why was it left behind? Worn out I suppose.

Some old sheds were on the property too.

Nicole against a prairie sky.

An Elk Game Farm near Buffalo Lake. Rich Americans (mostly) come here to shoot a trophy elk. Not much of a challenge I expect.

View from the hills south of Moose Jaw.

A prairie crossroads.

I got the rental stuck near Briercrest, in some gumbo, a glue-like mud that won't let go. A friendly farmer rescued us.

It doesn't look too bad really, but it was.

Jane took the next few shots. Brother Doug's shoes. Mine were about the same but I just had some old runners on. It felt like you were carrying about 5 pounds of gumbo on each shoe.

Once we were out of the gumbo, we went to Briercrest to clean up. Small villages like Briercrest remind me of an old western movie set. The boxy, white house was probably the town hotel in an earlier time.

We were looking for Pronghorn Antelope before I got stuck. We'd seen this one earlier. The only animal that can outrun a Pronghorn is the Cheetah.

Canola field.

We thought this doe was alone until she left the tall grass.

We walked back a bit to see a hawk. I like road shots.

A bull at my sister's farm... "Don't mess with me!"

Horses are much more approachable.

This was an odd sight. As they were crossing the road, some of the young ones would plop down, as if to rest. Then, when they noticed the others weren't stopping, they'd get up and scurry to catch up.

One of those 'slimming' mirrors.

The railyards in Moose Jaw are near Moose Jaw creek.

I was surprised to see a caboose. Maybe they use it in the yard.

There were lots of oil cars in the yard. Something most of the country doesn't realize: (from the Net-- this refers to conventional oil only)
Last year (2011), Alberta's conventional oil production was 178.9 million barrels compared to Saskatchewan's 157.8 million, a difference of 21.1 million barrels, according to ministry statistics. In 2010, Alberta's conventional oil production was 167.6 million barrels, while Saskatchewan produced 153.7 million, a spread of only 13.9 million barrels.

I'll add one more post for Moose Jaw at some point-- just trains, for train buffs.

I do like to promote the old home town & province. Vive la Saskatchewan. :-)

- fini -



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Search my Blog...