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The village of Dorothy, which never grew beyond 100 residents, is considered one of Alberta’s classic pioneer communities, serving 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.
Dorothy Sign
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 Dorothy post office officially opened in 1908. The hamlet grew modestly and enjoyed its greatest prosperity in the late 1920s, shortly after a railway line was built through the area.
Dorothy-Main Street
© Johnnie Bachusky
The Alberta Badlands hamlet was named after the daughter of Jack Wilson, an early rancher who settled in the area in 1900.
© Johnnie Bachusky

A crumbling garage and
an abandoned store are today’s sole occupants of Dorothy’s Main Street.

Dorothy-Abandoned car on Main Street
An abandoned car lies on the side of the hamlet’s Main Street.
© Johnnie Bachusky
At one time the village had three elevators, the Alberta Wheat Pool, the Alberta Pacific and the United Grain Growers, 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. It was later joined to a dance hall. The combined building stills stands today and is used for birthday and graduation parties.
Dorothy-Abandoned House Dorothy-Abandoned House
© Johnnie Bachusky
© Johnnie Bachusky
Several of Dorothy’s remaining empty pioneer residential buildings still sprinkle the barren Badlands landscape.
There are several empty boarded up houses in and around Dorothy, which once boasted as many as 70 residents but now only has four permanent citizens.
Dorothy-The last of three stores, now closed Dorothy Community Hall
© Johnnie Bachusky
© Johnnie Bachusky

The community hall, part of which is an old school, still serves area residents for parties and graduations. For visitors, there is also a small museum in a tiny log hut to inspect pieces of the once vibrant lifestyle of this unique part of Alberta.

The last of three stores which served Dorothy is now closed for business.