Then in 1908, it burned down a third time
November 15, 2012 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Tragedies and disasters of the Crowsnest Pass (part 1, part 2).
posted by Chrysostom (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I love BC folklore. When you drive the Crowsnest most of the sketchy little gas stations along the way will have a dusty old wire rack of local books and maps. Some of my best camp reading has come from those.
posted by stp123 at 8:20 AM on November 15, 2012

.. fell over, and THEN sank into the swamp...
posted by The otter lady at 8:37 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Man, I know some folks from the Crowsnest Pass (well, they lived there for a while, they're not *for* there, per se). They probably know a lot about this, but I'll be passing it on.
posted by asnider at 8:38 AM on November 15, 2012

Having driven through there many times (yes, from Calgary to Fernie, of course), it was nice to stop every once in a while and check out the attractions. The Frank Slide interpretive center is well worth visiting, as is a pub or two.

Thanks for this link.

And here's the obligatory link to the song Frank, AB
posted by sauril at 8:50 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Drove through the pass last week. Tough to think of all the bodies still laying there under the rubble.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:55 AM on November 15, 2012

Some friends and I put in a long stretch of barbed wire fence in the Crowsnest Pass for CP Rail. The terrain was so steep and rugged we couldn't use the pneumatic post pounder so we had to pound each post by hand, but damn that was an amazing few weeks, to be working in such a glorious place.
posted by Flashman at 9:28 AM on November 15, 2012

I went to the the Frank Slide interpretative center as a kid for a school field trip. It was an amazing thing to see. Thanks for the cool post.
posted by bove at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2012

I've hiked and backpacked throughout the Crowsnest. Fascinating terrain. The top of Turtle mountain (the Frank slide) is a moonscape. Great boulder-toppling fun. Crowsnest Mtn is a slog, but has an interesting cliff crux. Nearby Mt. Tut has astounding views and had a great bit of boot-skiing. And up in The Promised Land are great cave systems and, again, tortured, surreal landscape.

North of Hillside (?) are abandoned townsites, old mining shacks and equipment, and mine adits that are alomst infinitely deep, judging by the noise of rockfall.

It is an amazing area, full of history, danger, and awe.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:28 PM on November 15, 2012

Note: Turtle Mtn was named "The Mountain That Moves" by local Indians. Building a town at its base was ridiculously foolish, and mining it was greedy and dumb.

The mineshaft tour in Frank (or is it the town east of Frank?) is great. It really hammers home the brutality of miners' lives.

For instance, the mine owner refused for years to provide showers. When he finally did, they were at the top of a long climb and were pay-for. He was a Compleat Bastard in every regard.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:33 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have relatives that were killed in Frank Slide. It's an eerie place.
posted by bluebelle at 6:59 PM on November 15, 2012

It's a beautiful area, and what an awful history.

Despite these obvious safety violations, the government inspector had signed off on the mine just two days prior to the disaster.

Toronto, May 26 - The officials of the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company state that so far the cause of the explosion is not known, but that the day preceding the accident the mines were inspected by the government mine inspector, A. Dick, who issued his written certificate that the mines were in excellent condition.

There's been a lot of dick mine inspectors who have signed off and are responsible for the deaths of miners. A lot of brave hard-working men have worked slaved in horrid conditions, (and still are doing so) and have died awful deaths, so that rich men can become richer.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:44 PM on November 17, 2012

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