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Rowley: The Town that Grows 3650 Percent

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Rowley: The Town That Grows 3650%
Rowley grain elevators, prior to restoration. (Photo Credit: By Kappakapa (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Rowley, Alberta is a ghost town. Today, there are eight residents who live “in-town” plus a few on the outskirts, across farmers’ fields. While there are only eight residents, including two kids, there are more than a dozen buildings that make up the little town. The locals have dolled them up and preserved them, including adding artifacts, plaques and in the case of the garage, completely tearing it down and rebuilding it in the same style.

There are manicured lawns, public washrooms, picnic tables and camping to be found. On the little main street, each building has a distinct name and purpose. However, looking past the building facades tells a different story.

Pizza night in Rowley

Pizza nights in Rowley draw folks from all over the area, with up to 300 people being in the little town for the evening! That’s a growth rate of 3650%! Rowley’s pizza nights are the main way that the town raises funds to pay for the upkeep of the town, its preservation, and to allow further development. Rowley has put its funds toward converting the old train station into a museum, for example, and to the preservation of some of the very last still-standing wooden grain elevators in Alberta. By very last, I mean that we were told they were 3 of the last 6!

As of the spring of 2014, pizza in Rowley costs just $10. The pizzas are cooked up by local area volunteers in the community hall, who crank them out by the hundreds. Get your order in promptly at 5pm, or it may take a while! Sam’s Saloon is open for the night, featuring a band playing. Order up your pizza and hang out at a picnic table, next to the community center. Don’t worry, the washrooms are just across the street. Once you chow down on your fresh and delicious pizza, get up and dance the night away at Sam’s.

Rowley even has a…

If dancing isn’t your thing, head up the street a door or two to the Doctor’s Office.

Say what?!

Yes, the Doctor’s Office. Like I said, not everything is what meets the eye. The Doctor’s Office/Barber Shop is also home to pool tables! With lots of folks in town, you can make some new friends and try to win a few games, if you’re up for the challenge.

If the kids are with you, they can run along the boardwalk, cycle around town, or play on the playground. The playground is right next to the picnic tables by the community hall.

Once you’ve had your fill, danced away, enjoyed the music, and are ready to hit the hay, simply wander down to the ball field where you have your RV or your tent and sleep it all off.

The little ghost town of Rowley adds a popular and fun social night to the local farmers, further afield farmers, and the residents of Drumheller. It also funds the preservation of history on the prairies, builds community, and did I mention that it’s a roaring good time?

Go check out Pizza Night in Rowley, Alberta. They are held the last Saturday of every month, from 5 until 8, with drinks ‘til late. Rowley is a 30 minute drive north of Drumheller, Alberta.

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