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Only the memories are alive

Robinhood churchThe abandoned Lutheran Church

July 27, 1991 was supposed to be just a lazy summer day of puttering around the farm for Irene Allen.

Just a few minutes before at 11 a.m., Irene and her husband Robert were putting away their belongings at their country home, about two kilometres southwest of Robinhood. They had just returned from a vacation, and decided the gorgeous hot Saturday morning and afternoon would be spent painting windows at the house.

But their son Murray had arrived and he had big news to deliver.

The first part was the happiest piece of news in months. Murray, who had turned 20-years-old the month before, was back together with 19-year-old Carol Lee, a beautiful young woman he was previously engaged to but had broken up with months earlier.

The second part brought tears of joy. They agreed once again to get married. "We really knew they were meant for one another," says Irene.

The third part was a stunner. The young couple decided to elope in a park at Jackfish Lake, a 20-minute drive southwest of Robinhood. But Carol Lee and Murray came by to inform his parents because they knew feelings would be hurt if they just ran off and got married.

If the shock of an elopement wasn't enough for the Irene and Robert, there was one more piece of news: the wedding was scheduled to begin in eight hours.

Irene's prayers were answered, but eloping was out of the question. She and Robert were determined to give the young couple the best wedding possible.

"When we put our heads together I said, 'There was a little church in Robinhood. Grandma and grandpa would be thrilled if you were married there because they had purchased this church sometime before," says Irene.

The first service at the Robinhood Lutheran Church was held a half century earlier on Easter Sunday, 1941. At the time Robinhood was a quiet little central western Saskatchewan hamlet of about 60 residents, about 11 kilometres southeast of Glaslyn.

The name Robin was chosen for the hamlet for the new post office in 1923 because a school was given the same moniker three years earlier. However, the federal post office department told locals they couldn't have Robin because the agency didn't want confusion with a Roblin post office in Manitoba. The owners of the general store and post office, John and Annie Wilson, submitted their second name choice - Robinhood - and it was accepted by federal officials.

Robinhood's early prosperity was short-lived, and by 1971 the post office was closed and most residents had left. For many years after the closure of the post office, Robinhood was even taken off government highway maps.

The church's best days were also cut short. It closed in 1956, and worshippers travelled eight kilometres east to Medstead to attend services.