The Ghost Town of Brooking

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Brooking Ball Team in 1912
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Following the Willowbunch Trail from Weyburn, settlers would begin to come into the area that would one day be known as Brooking. Beginning in 1900, the NWMP patrolled the area on a regular basis, so it was not long before people began to settle. The first of the settlers is believed to be O.A. Johnson, who took up a homestead in 1904. One year later, a steady influx of settlers began to come into the area, settling all over the place. Some had filed for homesteads, some were squatters. Some came with families, some came alone to build the house for the family. By 1906, just two years after the first settler, all the available homesteads in the area were taken.

To get to the nearest town, it was a 35 mile trip to Weyburn to haul supplies such as lumber, food and coal. At this time, it was a long journey of up to three days. The grain had to be hauled there as well, and when the elevator was full, farmers came back and dumped their grain to await a future trip.
In 1906, the newly-formed Saskatchewan government undertook building a cement bridge over the creek near the future site of Brooking.
In 1908, thanks to a petition signed by 2,250 settlers in the southern area of Saskatchewan, a new rail line was proposed and planned by the Canadian Northern Railway. With news of the new railway line, promoters, surveyors and more came in. Settlers heard that the railway would be coming through, so they created a town, with businesses and homes, almost overnight. The town would be named Stowe. Eventually, the name of Buffalo Valley was chosen for the town, but as it was believed to be too long, the name Brooking was chosen and accepted. The name came from Lawrence Harden, who had lived in Brookings, South Dakota.
Businesses popped up very quickly, with a post office opening on March 1, 1911. E.C. Lewerton would be the first postmaster of the community. A three-storey hotel was also built, as well as two restaurants and a bakery. Two elevators popped up, as did a blacksmith shop, a barber, poolroom, livery barn and more. Many in the community had hopes for the future of the community but when it was decided the divisional point would be at Radville, just a short distance away, the hopes and dreams of those who built in Brooking were quickly destroyed. The growth of Brooking halted overnight, and businesses moved to Radville, while others burned down “accidently”. By 1935, only five businesses were still functioning.
On May 17, 1961, just over 50 years after it opened, the Brooking Post Office closed and the Brooking Co-op Association was dissolved. The Pool elevator closed in 1968, while Brooking Station closed in 1965.

Today, little is left of the once thriving community that had high hopes. 
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