Frank Slide - Frank, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 35.723 W 114° 24.161
11U E 687689 N 5496885
Quick Description: April 29, 1903 is a day never to be forgotten in Alberta's Crowsnest Pass.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 7/30/2020 8:49:18 AM
Waymark Code: WM12X6H
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 1

Long Description:
It was early on that fateful morn when approximately 82 million tonnes, or 30 million cubic metres, of limestone boulders broke loose from Turtle Mountain and crashed into the valley below. Directly in its path was the southern end of the sleeping town of Frank, Alberta, home to most of the miners at work on the night shift in a coal mine within Turtle Mountain at the time.

Fortunately, much of the town was spared, but the slide was responsible for the deaths of an estimated ninety people. The true number of those who perished in the disaster will never be known. This was the second largest landslide in Canadian history and one of the twenty largest slides in the world.

At the time of the slide there were 20 miners hard at work in the Turtle Mountain Mine, 17 underground and 3 at the surface workings. The 3 on the surface were immediately buried by the slide, while the 17 underground were unharmed but trapped by the slide. They decided to dig themselves out and, after 13 frantic hours, popped out on the surface 50 metres above the now buried mine entrance. Rescue teams digging at the entrance below were both shocked and elated to see the miners emerge from the mountain, all unscathed by the ordeal.
Frank Slide
Description of Historic Place
The Frank Slide is a cultural landscape encompassing roughly 508 hectares between the towns of Frank and Bellevue. It includes the extensive field of boulder debris from the 1903 rock slide, a lone surviving fire hydrant from the town of Frank destroyed in the slide, and three lime kilns.

Heritage Value
Frank Slide is significant as the site of the worst natural disaster in Alberta's history, as a geological phenomenon which may still yield significant scientific information, and as a provincial landmark.

On April 29, 1903, the east face of Turtle Mountain fell way into the Crowsnest River valley. In the course of one hundred seconds the mountain face toppled and slid four kilometres across the valley, rising to 152 metres above the valley floor on the other side. The slide buried the southern end of the town of Frank, the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) through the Pass, and the mine plant of the Canadian-American Coal Company, killing seventy people. Seventeen miners trapped inside the mountain managed to rescue themselves by tunneling upwards to the surface. The primary cause of the Frank Slide was the mountain's unstable structure, though underground mining, water action in summit cracks and severe weather conditions may have contributed to the disaster.

The scale of the disaster and concern over the mountain's instability provoked unprecedented government action, including a 1911 Royal Commission and a decision by the provincial government to close coal mining operations in the mountain. However, the rock proved useful for railway maintenance across the prairies and for the production of lime. The Winnipeg Fuel and Supply Company operated lime kilns here until 1923.

The second largest catastrophic slide in Canadian history and one of the twenty largest slides in the world, the Frank Slide is one of the most impressive and best known natural phenomena in Alberta. It made an important contribution to geological science, because the size of the slide and a lack of vegetation made it one of the first to receive detailed geological study.

Character-Defining Elements
Physical characteristics of the "debris field" - extent and depth (volume) of the fan of rock debris, which are indicative of the magnitude of the event both as a natural occurrence and human disaster;
- distribution of the debris potentially revealing into the dynamics of large-scale rockslides as geological events;
- composition (limestone) and structure (jointing and bedding) of the rock, which speaks to the geology of the area and inherent weaknesses in the mountain that contributed to the slide;
- massiveness of individual boulders, which viscerally convey the sheer scale of the event and the devastation it wrought;
- vegetation patterns on the fringes of the debris field, which tell a story of environmental impact and recovery.

Frank townsite
- depressions marking locations of former buildings;
- street alignments of the former town of Frank (now Frank Industrial Park);
- cast iron fire hydrant.

Transportation corridors
- old road(s) and alignments that reflect the disruption resulting from the slide.

Three limestone kilns
- mass and form of these tall masonry structures, rectangular in plan and tapering toward the top;
- cast-in-place, board-formed concrete construction of the two east kilns;
- rubble stone construction of the west kiln;
- sloped retaining wall of kiln loading platform retaining wall of cast concrete with parging and brush-applied limewash;
- brick-lined oven doorways at south base of kilns;
- vestiges of rail spur from main line to kilns, including roadbed aligned with kilns and defined by embankment with a limestone rubble retaining wall;
- visual association with slide scarp on Turtle Mountain directly to the west;
- roads or paths used to transport limestone from the slide to the kilns for processing.
From the Alberta Register of Historic Places
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

Frank, AB
T0K 0E0
(Portions of NE and SE 30-7-3-W5 and a Portion of the West 1/2 of SW 29-7-3-W5)

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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