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Key Number: HS 26715
Site Name: Lille Industrial Complex Village
Other Names:
Site Type: 0725 - Industrial/Manufacturing - Metal and Other Minerals: Mine


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
8 3 5

Address: N/A
Number: N/A
Street: N/A
Avenue: N/A
Town: Lille
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: N/A
Interior: N/A
Environment: This site is reported to be threatened by the proposed activities of the Consolidated Coal Company on their Grassy Mountain property near Lille. The Lille Industrial Complex consists of an integrated series of coal mine, processing area, administrative headquarters, urban development and transportation system sites spread along several miles of the Gold Creek Valley between Bluff Mountain and the Livingstone Range, just north of the town of Frank. Most of the sites are located on the valley floor, close to the creek, but others are situated on the valley walls some distance up on the sides of the flanking mountains.
Alterations: N/A


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction began
Usage: Usage Date:
Owner: Owner Date:
West Canadian Collieries Limited.
The Resource Service Group Ltd. 731001245
Alex A. Vishloff
Glacier Park Company
Province of Alberta
Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Of the more than 60 buildings constructed at Lille from 1903 to 1914, the Belgian 'Bernard' coking ovens are the only extant structures.
Lille area, first called French Camp, was prospected in 1901 by J.J.
Fleutot and C. Remy. In 1903, Fleutot organized West Canadian Collieries Ltd.; the company changed the name to Lille. Three mines opened by the company in the vicinity of Lille caused its growth. In 1914, Lille mines and townsite were abandoned.
Lille being the only major town outside the Crowsnest River Valley was an anomaly in the historical settlement pattern of the 'Pass' area.
Its geographical location has given rise to the unique status attributed to the site by Dr. Cousins, an historian who is knowledgeable of the Crowsnest Pass. Dr. Cousins describes Lille as the only true ghost townsite on the Alberta side of the Crowsnest Pass.
The Lille townsite is of considerable importance from an archaeological point of view. Although most of the buildings have been dismantled and some looting of surface artifacts has occured the Lille site is possibly the least disturbed site, relative to other abandoned sites, of the Crowsnest Pass area within Alberta. Because the exact duration of occupation of the site is known, there is considerable potential for problem orientated archaeology at Lille site.

* * *
Coal was first mined at Lille in 1901, although it was not until 1903 when J.J. Fleutot organzied West Canadian Collieries Limited, that operations began in earnest. In 1904, fifty Belgain Bernard-type coking ovens - unique within the Crowsnest Pass - were constructed and by 1907 the daily output of the mines had reached seven hundred tons.
At its zenith the community of Lille boasted of at least 60 buildings including an hotel, hospital, school and post office. The coke and coal produced at Lille was transported to the Canadian Pacific Railway line at Frank via the Frank and Grassy Mountain Railway, a spur line built in 1903. Both the Lille mines and the townsite were abandoned in 1914 as West Canadian had by then acquired more productive holdings in Blairmore.
In its time, Lille was an anomaly in the historical settlement pattern of the Crowsnest Pass area; it was the only major community outside of the Crowsnest River area; it was the only major community outside of the Crowsnest River Valley. Because of its unique geographical location, it is today the least disturbed of all the abandoned sites within the Pass, with virtually pristine view planes. Although most of the buildings and related structures have been removed leaving the coking ovens as the most prominent ruins, the archaeological remains and the documentary evidence are such that all of the many facets of the site complex may be completely interpreted in what is essentially a period setting.


Status: Status Date:

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
Tatiana Gilev 2003/08/11


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0158
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