Motorists driving along the sparse, desolate Highway 41 might understandably be fooled into thinking about a stop in Kha quick bite and some gas in Khartum. Interestingly Khartum sticks out like a sore thumb on most road maps and for all intents and purposes appears to be a small, thriving roadside community. As a matter of fact, Khartum is one of those eerie, little places that keeps popping up all the time, only no one seems to know anything about it.
Khartum, originally known as Lett, appears to started up at the beginning of the 20th century. Postal records show that Charles Laviolette opened the first post office in 1903. Austin Legree, a wagonmaker, served as postmaster from 1907 to 20. Accordingly in 1908, the community’s name changed from Lett to Khartum in honour of the Ottawa Valley rivermen who were part of the Egyptian Nile expedition in the 1880’s.
At one time Khartum had a lumber mill. The remains of the dam sit alongside a small creek near Highway 41. Khartum also served as a small rural postal hamlet servicing a widely dispersed population and group of communities. Be that as it may, the last postmaster, Mary LaRocque, closed up shop in 1949.
For some strange reason, Khartum still merits two road signs and a prominent spot on most road maps. Be that as it may, there isn’t much to see. Apart from the road signs, nothing else remains, apart from a few foundations, cellar holes and the burnt out remains of a building, said to have been a gas station. However this building bears little resemblance to a gas station and if it were true, the presence of a bathtub is puzzling. Furthermore, there’s no evidence of a cemetery and no prior records of a church.
All things considered, whatever went on in Khartum and whatever led to its sad demise will forever remain a mystery. Sooner or later the government may get around to removing the road signs and removing Khartum from the map. Until that happens, the mystery of Khartum will remain intact.