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Crichton

Where women were the first to arrive and last to leave

CrichtonCrichton cairn

As with most good folks in Saskatchewan, hospitality and good manners are important to Crichton citizens - now just one family.

However few are their numbers, good graces and courtesy are extended to anyone who happens to pass through Crichton, a former hamlet located behind a bluff along Hwy. 13 - Saskatchewan's Red Coat Trail - between Admiral and Cadillac.

Aime Lacelle, whose family roots in Crichton go back to the 1940s, recalls a fellow who was recently walking along the rail line, and who decided to check out the town, staggering up the winding road leading up to the hamlet. The man wasn't exactly dressed like a suave world traveler but that was okay with Aime. Visitors are always welcome in Crichton. Aimee remembers the man taking quite a liking to his dogs in his backyard, snapping photograph after photograph. When Aimee approached him, the man never moved, except to take several more pictures.

"I stood right beside him and he never even noticed me. I followed him a bit as he did move about to take a few more photos but he still didn't pay any attention to me," said Aimee.

The fellow kept at it, but Aimee just let him have his way. He didn't kick him out of town, nor call the cops. Eventually, the man finished his business and walked north up Main Street; veered into the sunset, and down below the bluff, and back towards the rail line to continue his solitary journey.

The rail line is now long gone and so too are any road signs along the highway to mark Crichton. But there is a cairn on a natural bench above the highway, honoring the hundreds of residents who lived in or near Crichton from 1909 to 1982.

The settlement was first surveyed between July 25 and 29, 1913 by Calgary's David Townsend. The small scattering of locals chose the name Crichton, after the Scottish poet and scholar born in Perthshire in 1560, the son of Scotland's Lord Advocate Robert Crichton. He was, according to Scottish legend, the original boy wonder - dubbed "Admirable" for his brilliant intellect - whose name became a byword for complete accomplishment - handsome, exceptional writer and artist, a superb horseman and fencer, and accomplished in all social graces. He died at the age of 22 in a street brawl in Italy, killed by his pupil. Coincidently, the first town to the west of Crichton is Admiral, now a near-ghost town with magnificent pioneer churches.