Crumbling walls, gaping frames, and empty door frames are the only remains of the Lower Bankshead Lamphouse near Banff, Alberta. The ghost town has a crunchy coal pathway winding through what once was a thriving coal mining operation. A couple of coal cars sit frozen on a piece of track. Glimpses of foundation walls poke through prairie grass. History leaves her ugliest secrets silently buried here, but proudly flaunts the good that happened.
Upper Bankshead was the village where the miner's families lived. Only the steps to the community church remain. The weathered sign says that these isolated families of several different ethnic and religious backgrounds sat and worshipped together in this place. Peacefully.
The lamp house is where I spent most of my time. It haunted me. The plaque read:
I wish every community of any kind had a lamp house.
Sometimes a person's light goes out, but there is no one to go searching for the missing owner of the lamp. No one knows. No one cares. The empty spot on the shelf goes unnoticed. Lord, forgive us.