When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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McGillivray Creek Coal and Coke Co. Ltd.

by Coleman 50th Anniversary Booklet

The establishment of the McGillivray Company in 1909 provided a tremendous boost to the community. This company acquired the coal seams to the north of International's and like its neighbor was not long in getting into production. In succeeding years it has produced large tonnages of high grade coal and has richly rewarded those who made the original investment. Much of the original capital was obtained from people living in the State of Minnesota, many of whom have retained their interest in the company to the present day.

The late Lorne A. Campbell served as first President of the company and acted in that capacity during most of the years until his death in 1947. Under the joint management arrangement with the International Company he became president of both firms, in 1936, and he, together with his associate, the late George Kellock, placed the Coleman Mining Companies on a solid foundation. Upon the death of Mr. Campbell, Mr. H. A. Howard assumed the presidency of both companies. Mr. A. F. Short, who had many years of service with the McGillivray Company, and later also with International, became Executive Vice-President of the companies following the death of Mr. Kellock in 1940. He ably filled this position until his career was closed while he was still in the prime of life in 1944.

The townsite at Coleman expanded its limits to include West Coleman in 1910 and many lots were soon purchased by the new employees coming to the McGillivray Company. In addition, the Carbondale townsite was developed and further homesites provided for the newcomers.

The company's peak production year was 1924 when over 484,000 tonnes of coal were produced in 223 working days. In 1929 the mine employed as many as 600 men, which indicates its importance to the community.

The company was always a leader in coal preparation and was perhaps the first to introduce wet washery jigs and related equipment to this area. Its mining properties extend many miles to the north of Coleman and indicate excellent prospects for future development.

During the past fifty years the Coleman mines have grown from lusty infants to a maturity that is rare in western coal fields. The men who first filled the ranks are being replaced by their sons and grandsons, and new immigrants from across the seas. The years have presented problems in wars, strikes, depressions, booms and declining markets. Through them all, the workers and management have adjusted themselves to all conditions and have learned to face the future with the same confidence in their own capabilities as have been evidenced in the past.

With the great world need to utilize our energy resources wisely and well, coal has a promising future.Crowsnest 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.

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