When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Bellevue Mine

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The following is a brief chronology of significant events in the history of the Bellevue Mine.

  • Prior to 1905: Crow's Nest Pass was still part of the NorthBellevue - Bob Owen West Territories until 1905 when Alberta became a province

  • April 1903: Western Canadian Collieries Ltd. incorporated; owned over 20,000 acres of coal land from Lille to north of Blairmore; active development of mine and townsite began; Managing Director Jules J. Fleutot

  • 1904: Bellevue mine opened at railway level; 15 cottages built

  • By August 1905:
    • homes built for Managing Director and Mine Superintendent
    • 50 men on mine payroll
    • 40 new houses to be built
    • plans laid out for tipple
    • boarding house built
    • original main street called Front Street was the street behind present main street
    • Bellevue School District No. 1336 established

  • 1906: mine idle for 79 days because of railway car shortageBellevue - Bob Owen

  • by 1907:
    • first class water system; power house supplied electricity to mine and town
    • hotel built on Front Street
    • mine supplying 1200 tons of coal per day
    • production for year 137,448 tons; profits $115,503 cost price per ton $2.02
    • June 15: post office established

  • 1908: Maple Leaf Mine Coal Co. began operations; a community began to develop in the area near the mine site

  • 1909: Bellevue well established; businesses included drug store, refreshment parlor, 1.0.0.F. Lodge, hall, cafe, pool room, cigar store, co-op, livery stable. Southern Hotel

  • 1910: new steel tipple completed; 2 explosions during the year; December 9ómajor explosion killed 30 of 42 miners in mine at the time [according to mining historian John Kinnear, it is likely that 31 men were killed]; blast deep inside mine; sweptBellevue - Bob Owen main haulage tunnel; first serious mine explosion on Alberta side of Pass; mine closed for months for clean-up; ventilation system improved [see, Bellevue Explosion]

  • 1910: production 336,334 tons; miners 137; total men 371; deaths 34; profits $234,301 cost price per ton $1.32

  • 1911: 8 month strike with miners trying to gain better wages; mine only produced for one month during 1911

  • 1912: most residents lived in company houses; lots for housing became available for sale from R. Connelly; many residents bought land and built own houses

  • 1913: mine complex constructed consisting of top house, mine shafts, power house, compressor house, boiler room, machine shop, lamphouse/timekeeper office, wash house, hoist house, power shed

  • 1919: strike from May to September in Pass affected all mines and citizens; began as struggle against reduction in wages but ended in a fight between competing unions; results of the strike for Bellevue was that if men wanted to work in Bellevue Mine they had to join District No. 18 of the United Mine Workers of AmericaCrowsnest and Its People Millennium Edition

This article is extracted from Crowsnest and its People: Millennium Edition (Coleman, Alberta, Crowsnest Pass Historical Society, 2000). The Heritage Community Foundation and the Year of the Coal Miner Consortium would like to thank the authors and the Crowsnest Pass Historical Society for permission to reprint this material.

Bellevue Mines Website

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