The village of Dorothy, which never grew beyond 100 residents, is considered one of Alberta’s classic pioneer communities. It served as a popular social centre in the first half of the 20th century in the heart of the province’s famed Badlands Country. Dorothy is located about 20 kilometers southeast of Drumheller in a flat valley bottom.

A few years after the turn of the 20th century, Percy McBeth, a store keeper living in the immediate area, applied to have a post office and wanted to name the site Percyville. However, the district post office inspector decided instead to name the site Dorothy, after the daughter of Jack Wilson, an early rancher who first arrived in the area in 1900. The hamlet grew modestly and enjoyed its greatest prosperity in the late 1920s, shortly after a railway line was built through the area.

At one time the hamlet had three grain elevators, three stores, a butcher shop, pool room, telephone office, restaurant and a machine agency. A school was opened in 1937 and lasted in the hamlet until 1960. When the trains stopped coming to Dorothy more than 20 years ago, the village basically died. Today, there is a population of only four permanent residents still living in Dorothy. Only one of the grain elevators — built in 1928 — still stands, and looks as if it's about to topple over any second.

September 16, 2019

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