What Pegman Saw: Churchill Falls

Churchill Falls, Newfoundland & Labrador | Larry Flemming, Google Maps

“Where’s the falls?”

Larry eyed the man who stood on the other side of the station counter, in his cargo pants and tan vest with its abundance of pockets. They didn’t get many strangers around here, even in spite of the fact the Trans-Labrador Highway was the only highway in the whole of the province. “What falls?”

“Churchill Falls.”

Larry leaned back, grinning. “Well you’ve found it then, man. You’re here. This Churchill Falls.”

The man turned over his shoulder, confused as he eyed the long rows of flat-topped buildings. He cleared his throat. “I meant the water falls.”

“Oh,” Larry said. For Churchill Falls had housing and shopping and stores. It had an army of steel lattice soldiers stringing cable from the power plant to every corner of the region. But the one thing they did not have was a waterfall. Not anymore.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

My apologies for being late to my very own party. I’ve been fighting a virus.

Churchill Falls is a company town, however he Falls for which the town is named were dammed up in 1970.

Special thanks to Google contributor Larry Flemming, who took many of the wonderful photospheres of this region. Thanks to Larry we all got to see and learn more about this lovely region of the world.

24 Comments

  1. Great story. The old bait and switch.

    I grew up among company towns in Arizona. Ajo and Morenci were owned by Phelps Dodge. They owned the roads, the utilities, the stores and shops. They had their own cops and firemen, their own schools and rec centers. And everybody worked for the company. They frowned on the residents driving to Tucson or Florence to buy groceries from less expensive places, and even used a private security force to ensure people didn’t do this much. It’s still a thing today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! It surprises me how much this is still practiced.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d not heard of company towns. Except there’s a line in a song about owing his soul to the company stores. Which isn’t to say they’ve never existed in UK, but I think not to the extent. I believe Cadbury’s had one (the chocolate people), and possibly Welwyn Garden City once was one. And I’m sure someone will prove me totally wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how I first heard of them too, that song. I always associate them with mining towns but I guess is could and can be any sort of industry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, the Cadbury’s one was attached to a chocolate factory.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds good to me!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t think they received free chocs, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Strangely depressing, that Churchill Falls no longer has a Falls, only a whole town focussed on one thing – work. You convey that feeling of insularity well, Karen. Great snapshot

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn. I found it kind of depressing too. But the pictures of the town were fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was an inspiring choice of location

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the way you’ve constructed this story, Karen, especially the way you foreshadow the damming of the falls by telling us of the powerlines to every corner of the region. It has a nice flow, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Penny. I found a lot of irony in a town named after a thing that no longer exists. But I suppose that happens a lot. Glad to have you globetrotting with Pegman this days 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And I’m glad to be back globetrotting with Pegman! I like the 150 words format which enables some character development as well as the story.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done, Karen. Funny how the town keeps the name despite the damming of the falls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Dale. Sorry I thought I replied earlier, but my comment went missing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happens to the best of us!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It went the way of the falls… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. He he he!! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Now I’m really confused, because Larry Flemming is the same photographer who took the photo of a waterfall that I used, and Google Maps (and Larry) both call this area “Churchill Falls.” Granted, it’s not a really tall waterfall. Maybe there used to be a much bigger falls, and by comparison, this is just a glorified bit of rapids?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that picture and wondered. I based my info on the falls on the Wikipedia page, which shows a big fall from a hundred years ago and a trickle now… But maybe Larry knows something Wikipedia doesn’t! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churchill_Falls

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I spent some time looking around and I’m still not sure. The place my image was taken has the label “Churchill Falls Trail” next to it, and has quite a few different photos associated with it: it’s clearly a tourist destination. It’s downriver from the Churchill hydroelectric plant, so it makes sense that if they’re diverting water from that river it would have less flow now. Some of the photos show the same kind of trickle seen on the Wikipedia page. I know from living next to a waterfall in Ithaca for years that the water flow varies wildly over the course of the seasons, so maybe that’s the answer. Or perhaps the hydroelectric plant varies in how much water it diverts at different times.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That makes sense! I also think if you ever decide to give up the noveling you have a great career in investigative reporting.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ha ha, I like calling it that. Sounds much better than “procrastinating by looking stuff up online”!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. LOL! I can relate

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.