Anyox BC Ghost Town - Forgotten Cemetery

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The copper mining town of Anyox, BC was in operation between 1914 and 1935, during this time, the town saw 480 births, 160 marriages and 320 deaths. Many of the deaths in Anyox were stillborn babies and infant deaths, largely due to the toxic emissions from the smelter and the large-scale cyanide waste. Additionally, The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic is evident in the number of deaths in Anyox at that time. During the epidemic, incoming ships brought the Spanish Flue into Anyox from those arriving on the ships. All the deaths from Spanish Flu occurred in a two week period. Between October 17-November 2, 1918 there were over 45 deaths in Anyox due to the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Some days 6-7 young men per day were dying and almost all were between 20 and 40 years of age. 15% of all the deaths in Anyox over a 20 year period occurred within these two weeks. When the First World War began in 1914, the Granby Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company promised Anyox men who enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces that they could have their jobs back when they returned from their tour of duty. Approximately 400 Granby company employees from Anyox left and fought in the First World War with 25 to 30 dying in combat, over 100 injured and just 50 or 60 soldiers returned. Granby Consolidated Mining Company made a promise to veterans that they would be looked after and also receive a proper burial. Each veteran's gravesite is marked with a rectangular cement outline with four corner posts and a commemorative concrete helmet. The most prevalent grave in the Anyox cemetery is that of “Julia Omar” who died December 7, 1925 after she had been in ill health for a long time. In 1926 when her husband Omar left Anyox for his home country of Spain, he had Julias casket dug up, shipped to spain and reinterred there. This explains why the large elaborate stone grave marker sits the way it does. One of the first headstones you will come across when entering the cemetery is that of Wilfred Sheldon Teabo, a young boy who tragically fell into Falls Creek while throwing rocks. His older brother who was with him attempted to jump into the water to save him. He was held back by men nearby as he would have met a certain death as well as a result of the toxic cyanide in the water as well as the currents. Every year, a group of Junior Canadian Rangers from the Stewart and Telkwa Junior Canadian Ranger Patrols fly into to Anyox by helicopter and then make a 20-minute hike into the woods to clean and lay poppies on the graves of 15 soldiers. The Rangers will spend a few hours cleaning the graves and clearing brush followed by a ceremony where they say the name of the soldier out loud and lay a poppy at the headstone followed by a salute. My experience of visiting the abandoned Anyox cemetery was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. As I navigated the lightly worn path down that branches off of, what used to be, Hill Street I was filled with anticipation. Knowing that I was sharing this forest with bears added to my already heightened senses. I had no idea how far I would be walking, all I knew was that if I keep on this trail - eventually I will start seeing the headstones. It was about a 10-minute hike before I finally spotted the unmistakable tilted grave of Julia Omar, the silence was deafening. The surroundings were suddenly dead silent, with the exception of some birds off in the distance. The Rangers, in addition to the two lone occupants of Anyox, Kevn and Robbie, have done a great job of clearing the forest, marking a trail with deadfall and maintaining the cemetery. I instantly started spotting the World War 1 soldiers' graves, marked by the concrete cast helmets and 4 corner posts. Some graves of civilians were marked with tombstones but many of the graves here are simply a mound of earth with no marker to identify the dead. I could only imagine what it was like to stumble upon this many decades ago before it was cleared, I have read that you would have never known where you were as there was so much deadfall and overgrowth. Today, bright green moss coats all of the mounds, the graves and the tombstones and the subtle sound of a distant waterfall and singing birds fills the air. I stayed in this location for, what felt like hours, filming videos, taking photos, sitting, contemplating, wandering, and exploring. I didn’t want to leave, but I also felt maybe I overstayed my welcome. Just as I considered staying longer, right behind me a widowmaker dropped from a large tree. A widowmaker is a large dead branch that falls from the tall mature trees, surely to make a widow of the wives of the poor man who’s head has been struck by the falling branch. This was my sign to leave, but I would have to come back here again before this trip was over. On Friday, my last full day in Anyox, Kevin - the younger of the two sole inhabitants of Anyox gave me the idea to film a video flying my drone ever so slowly through the cemetery. I had my reason to go back and later that day, before dinner, I headed back to the site for one last visit to film the footage that would make up this video. Again, staying far longer than planned, I took in every second of the experience, knowing that I would never again set eyes on this remote place. Breathing deep and scanning the forest, eying the graves one last time, I walked past the grave of young Wilfred Sheldon Teabo, turned and stopped for a moment, thankful for this opportunity and never to forget what this place felt like.
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May 30, 2024
abandoned cemetery ghost town anyox bc copper mining historical sites urban exploration urbex photography forgotten places canadian history adventure old creepy wwi spanish flu pandemic graves haunted decay historic abandonment cyanide waste industrial emissions veteran commemorative concrete helmet granby consolidated infant mortality canada moss plant vegetation tree ball sport tennis tennis_ball tomb gravestone natural_landscape natural_environment wood branch terrestrial_plant grass sunlight biome
  • Focal: 35
  • Lens Model: 18.0-35.0 mm f/1.8
  • Shutter speed: 0.02 sec
  • Aperture: f/ 4

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