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August 10. 2004

Ghost Town

Last week we had visitors from Holland staying with us. They made me realize once again the enormity of what we lost when the town where we were so warmly welcomed in 1952, was demolished. Of course I drove my cousins to our beloved town site and tried to point out where our house on Wavell St. had been, where St. Michael’s Church had stood, the school where I was a student and later began my teaching career had been located, and so many other points of interest such as the Club, the doctor’s office, the stores. It was obvious from the looks on their faces that although they were most interested to visit these important places, it was impossible for them  to visualize the town. I kept repeating that there were houses along both sides of the streets…really!  My cousin’s wife wondered why the government had allowed an entire town to be destroyed against the will of the residents. She stated that this would never be allowed in The Netherlands. Of course I explained that the Company owned both the houses and the land not to mention the mining rights below the town. They still found it inexplicable that a vibrant town could just be permitted to disappear. They had never heard the term “Ghost Town” before and when I translated it, I could see it was still impossible for them to believe that this could happen.

On Wednesday August 4, 2004, the Sudbury Star ran an editorial on the Ghost Towns of this area. The subtitle stated, ”Ghost towns are a reminder of Northern prosperity and mortality.” Another quote from that editorial states, “Worthington, Creighton And Happy Valley were once all towns thriving with industry and a sense of community. As the towns grew through the last century, they became increasingly affluent – right up until the mines that sustained them closed and the townsfolk were forced to move on.”   That describes exactly what happened, doesn’t it?

The article also describes how strange it is that nothing remains of these once happy and productive communities where families were raised “and dreams forged….but which are now covered over with weeds”.

Our annual reunions in September and the indomitable spirit of Creightonites as evidenced by the enormous success of the “Creighton Revisited” website, allow us to prove that although the physical features of Creighton have disappeared, the people and the memories have not!

**Erna, thank you for this heartfelt contribution.  How right you are - we have been forced to accept a reality that boggles the mind of an *outsider*.   Seeing our world through their eyes is a stark reminder of what we once had.            ~AB

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