John Nicolas Murray opened the mine in 1913 but by 1914 he sold his lease to Star Coal Mines Ltd. and devoted more of his time to his leases in the Willow Creek area which at that time included the future town of East Coulee.
After the Star Coal Mines Ltd. purchased the lease from J. N. Murray they increased their holdings to 240 acres. By 1920 the authorized capital of the mine rose to $50,000.00. It was the Number 1 Seam mined with a drift entrance and operated by a room and pillar system. At that time the method of mining was still with a "hand pick" which yielded 60,000 tons annually.
During the early years up to the late 1920's the coal was hauled across the river by aerial cable to a tipple that was located on the town side of the Red Deer River. During the mid-1930's the CPR extended their line from Cambria along the north side to the mine entrance, thus eliminating the need for the aerial tramway. This was then converted to a swinging bridge which has now become a very popular tourist attraction.
This article is extracted from Ernest
Hlady, The Valley of the Dinosaurs : Its Families and Coal
Mines (East Coulee, Alberta, East Coulee Community
Association, 1988). The Heritage Community Foundation and the
Year of the Coal Miner Consortium would like to thank Ernest
Hlady and the East Coulee Community Association for permission
to reprint this material.