Coleman National Historic Site - Coleman, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 38.082 W 114° 30.177
11U E 680299 N 5501010
Quick Description: The core area of the town of Coleman has been declared a National Historic Site. This large plaque, mounted beside the CNHS monument at 18th Avenue & 77th Street in Coleman, affords a little insight into the history of the town.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 8/16/2015 2:09:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMPE54
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member GeoKs
Views: 1

Long Description:
For further information see Coleman National Historic Site of Canada.

Coleman National Historic Site

Opening of the Coleman Mines
Coal reserves in the Crowsnest Pass became marketable with the construction of the railway in 1897-98. This transportation link, from Lethbridge to Kootenay Landing, B.C., connected the coal deposits of the Pass with the hard rock mines and smelters of southeastern British Columbia. Coke from the ovens of the Crowsnest Pass mines was essential to the smelting process, and coal was needed for the steam locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1903 the new community of Coleman was established north of the International Coal and Coke Company mine. In 1909 the McGillivray Creek Coal and Coke Company began operations on the north side of town. Both companies made huge capital investments in their underground operations and in community infrastructure.

Coleman Townsite
The Coleman townsite was established in 1903, the same year that mining operations began. The new town was named by A.C. Flumerfelt, president of the International Coal and Coke Company, after his youngest daughter, Norma Coleman Flumerfelt. The coal company sold lots to individuals and businesses, and provided lots for a hospital, school and other community services from its large tracts of land. Through the coal company's efforts the citizens of Coleman had a water system, electric lights and a telephone system by 1905. Coleman grew quickly and was soon the largest and most prosperous town in the Pass. With the promise of employment in the mines, successive waves of immigrants made their way to Coleman and ethnic enclaves emerged within the community. Italian Town was the area just west of downtown, Slav Town encompassed West Coleman, and Bush Town at the east end of Coleman was home to many immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Economic Cycles
While Coleman's mines produced millions of tons of coal and coke over their existence, the town's economic fortune was always directly tied to the unpredictable demands of the coal market. Prior to the First World War, Coleman experienced a boom with a steadily increasing demand for coal and a non-stop influx of immigrants willing to work in the mines. Following the war, Coleman underwent a long period of economic stagnation, with a significant reduction in coal production and seemingly endless labour struggles. Symbolic of the inter-war period was the closing of the coke ovens in Coleman which had long supplied the smelters in British Columbia.

From the mid-1930s through the Second World War the coal market stabilized and Coleman once again saw a period of economic growth. However, the Canadian Pacific Railway's conversion from steam to diesel engines in the 1950s signalled the beginning of the end of the coal industry in Coleman and throughout the Crowsnest Pass. To make up for the lost railway market, the Coleman mines were pioneers in establishing new markets in Japan for metallurgical coal. As the coal industry continued to decline, the International and McGillivray mines amalgamated with the Hillcrest-Mohawk mines to form Coleman Collieries. A number of strip mines were opened and coal was trucked into the Coleman Collieries site to be processed, keeping production going when many other Crowsnest Pass mines were closing their doors. By 1983, mining operations were no longer profitable and Coleman Collieries, the last coal mining operation on the Alberta side of the Crowsnest Pass, ceased operations.

Coleman National Historic Site of Canada
Coleman was an important coal-producing centre in the Crowsnest Pass, which was one of the greatest coalfields in Canada. Many of the original physical elements associated with the coal mining industry and railway transportation, along with intact commercial and residential districts from early Coleman, can still be found. This unique blend of industry, technology, transportation and community resulted in the designation of the Coleman National Historic Site in 2001. Within the National Historic Site are the Coleman Collieries plant and mine entry, the C.P.R. line, the old commercial district of downtown Coleman, and the residential neighbourhood of West Coleman.
Learn more about Crowsnest Heritage

Photo goes Here

Type of Marker: Cultural

Sign Age: Historic Site or Building Marker

Parking: Park right in front.

Placement agency: Crowsnest Heritage

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