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Rowley... 2

However, the bluntness and cowboy swagger softens dramatically at the mention of one name - Sam Leung - a Chinese cafe and butcher shop owner who served the town for almost three decades. Sam charmed everyone, and he loved a good shot of whiskey and a poker game. His backroom became the favorite haunt of the good old boys, who after arriving on the declaration of buying meat, were soon at the poker table with whiskey in hand.

Sam Leung Sam's Saloon
© Johnnie Bachusky
Sam’s Saloon was built in 1920 and operated as a restaurant by Sam Leung from 1943 to 1968.
Chop suey and fried oysters were served. But Sam's was also the place where women could laugh and complain about their men while munching shrimp. And many children learned to count with Sam's pennies because the Chinese butcher made extra time to teach them. Sam Leung retired in 1968 and died three years later down the road in Rumsey.
For some, his passing and the closing of his cafe signaled the coming of the ghosts in Rowley
The late Sam Leung was a beloved, admired and respected restaurateur in Rowley.
Photo courtesy of the Rowley Community Association.
Lion's Oil Garage Classic Coke sign on storefront
© Johnnie Bachusky
© Johnnie Bachusky
A winter scene in front of Lions Oil Garage. With a distinct rustic flavor, locals took great care in restoring classic signs of the past on the town’s pioneer buildings.
When James Clark's grocery store shut its doors in 1973, it was, aside from the grain elevators, the last Rowley business to close. There were a dozen or so residents left, and the post office and community hall still served residents from Rowley and the surrounding area. In 1980, Sam's was reopened for a town homecoming, but this time it wasn't a cafe, but "Sam's Saloon." Then in the mid-eighties, Rowel's rustic rural flavour caught the attention of big-time moviemakers. Bye, Bye Blues, a Canadian produced film, was shot in Rowley in 1988. For three months in the summer, Rowley was converted into a movie set. Several of the original buildings were used and others specially built. The producers agreed to leave the newly constructed buildings after their shoot. They still stand today.
Former Pioneer Hospital Bank/craft shop built for movie set
© Johnnie Bachusky
The former hospital was built in 1918.
It was used as a hotel in the movie, “Bye, Bye, Blues” and is now a private residence.
© Johnnie Bachusky
The bank/craft shop was built specifically for the 1988 Canadian film, “Bye Bye Blues”.
Pool Hall built for movie set Private pioneer residence used in "Bye Bye Blues" movie
© Johnnie Bachusky
Pool hall built for an old west movie set.
The movie and its use of Rowley received wide attention in Alberta. More and more people visited, and suddenly, the town was on the brink of losing its ghost town status. Rowley's community association received scores of requests to use the community hall. Sam's Saloon was roaring with summer fun. More film and commercial producers came after Bye, Bye Blues. The area's cowboy flavor and barren locations appealed to moviemakers. One American cigarette company even shot a commercial in Rowley because of its wintry resemblance to Siberia.
© Johnnie Bachusky
A private pioneer residence at the edge of town. It once housed the local preacher and was used as “Daisy’s” residence in the 1988 film “Bye Bye Blues”.