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The last train and dance have come and gone

Fusilier salt mineAbandoned salt mine

In 1971, Fusilier had a homecoming. More than 430 people attended. There was another homecoming a decade later but the numbers of former residents attending had dwindled.

Although only ghosts remained in Fusilier by the end of the 1970s, Zlatner was still attached to the town and tried to make a go of the last grain elevator he purchased in 1979. It was up and running for a few years, but today the former United Grain Growers elevator is idle, slowing decaying from the forces ofthe elements and the occasional vandals. "Kids came in here and smashed all the windows, and stole the scale off me," said Zlatner, noting the trains stopped coming in the 1990s and the line subsequently pulled.

Every once in a while visitors to the area, noticing the old grain elevator from a distance, will come into the old townsite. They will walk around the dusty streets and poke around in the abandoned buildings. When the enter the community hall, they still find a dozen old-style theatre seats - waiting for occupants that never come. On the wall, there is a homecoming sign, welcoming people to the 1971 event.

"Anybody that wants to use the hall, I let them for free," said Zlatner. "I was going to put a dance on but who would come to dance?"

"First they closed the section of the rail
The foreman left with his family
The church was gone as the school,
blacksmith and the storekeeper left
Elevators closed and the hall was used only now and then
Now 1981 ends, winds blow
Sun shines and then snow begins to fall
Not a soul moves
Elevators silent
Store with gaping windows and scurrying mice
Roof dripping with ice
Freight train loaded with wheat, oats and barley passes by
Ghost town Fusilier"

by Natalie T. Dubielew