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Key Number: HS 33696
Site Name: Atlas Coal Mine
Other Names:
Site Type: 0725 - Industrial/Manufacturing - Metal and Other Minerals: Mine

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
27 18 4


Address:
Number:
Street:
Avenue:
Other:
Town: East Coulee
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape:
Storeys:
Foundation:
Superstructure:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: N/A
Interior: N/A
Environment: N/A
Condition:
Alterations: N/A

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Constructed

Usage: Usage Date:
Coal Mine

Owner: Owner Date:
N/A

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Notice the drive wheels on top of cage structure, each steel cable (1 1/4 dia) is fastened onto a cage as one comes up to the surface with loaded car of coal, the empty car descends to the pit bottom, its weight helps to bring up the loaded car, the cage is fastened by slides, which are greased on the runners, to overcome friction.

* * *

Building / Site Description:

As the president and major shareholder of Century Coals Ltd., Mr. O.H. Patrick, denied site inspection, a detailed inventory of structures and their contents was impossible. Two sites separated by approximately four miles comprise the Century Coals operation. Site One is the lower tipple / coal preparation plant on the south side of the river at East Coulee. Operations began here in 1936 following the completion of the East Coulee bridge. Shortly after the preparation plant burnt and was replaced by the present structure in 1937. This plant operated in conjunction with another preparation plant located half-way up the adjacent hill. Here some local cars, scrap lumber, rail bed, and one building possibly a wash house for the miners, remains. Some alterations and additions to interior equipment at the lower preparation plant have occurred since 1937. At least one small fire has broken out in the building, a remarkable record considering the fate of other wooden coal tipple buildings in the province.

Clustered near this lower plant are office / storage buildings and a loading ramp. Just across the road are a number of houses, in use, that may have been company built. A grain elevator formerly sat between these residences and the plant, but was dismantled a few years previous. Between the residences and the plant, paralleling the road now sits a coal cutting machine, mechanical coal loader and several mine cars.
Site Two is located approximately four miles to the south / south-east of the lower preparation plant. At the second site is the shaft and slope openings of Century Coals Ltd. begun in 1954. Structures include buildings (a machine shop apparently still in use) and the shaft hoist structure. A small amount of coal does presently find its way to local markets.

Historical Significance:

Century Coals Ltd. traces its history back to 1914 through several coal mining companies working at various sites in the Drumheller area.
Most important of these companies were Fox Coulee Coals, Wild Fire Sales, Rolling Hills, Commander Coal, Regal Coal, and Atlas Mines.
Considering this lineage, Century Coals Ltd. was the longest and largest coal production in the province. Beginning with Dr. Omer H.
Patrick's purchase of Atlas Mines, and their later operation by Lorraine Patric, and presently by Omer H. Patrick, this family greatly influenced the Drumheller coal industry as well as the City of Calgary where they resided.

Architectural Significance:

As a producer in the highly competitive domestic coal market (coal for house stoves, furnaces in office buildings, institutions and factories) Century Coals Ltd. was an innovative survivor. Whether underground or on the surface, the company utilized new technology to ensure coal quality and suitability for their customers. Thus the lower preparation plant with coal sorting, cleaning and chemical treating equipment represents these efforts. Also unique because of its wooden composition, the plant is the last remaining complete coal mining structure in the Drumheller area.

* * *

For Immediate Release

Atlas / Century Coal Mine Designated a Provincial Historic Resource
The Atlas / Century Coal Mine site in East Coulee has been designated a Provincial Historic Resource, the Honourable Greg Stevens, Minister of Culture and Multiculturalism, announced today.

'The mine has played an important role in history of the Drumheller coal field, as well as the entire coal industry in Alberta,' Mr. Stevens said.
The Atlas Coal Mine was established in 1936 and rebuilt in 1937 following a fire. The plant incorporated the newest industry technology, including a self-propelled coal cutting machine on tracks, and the use of non-explosive compressed carbon dioxide (cardox) to dislodge coal.

Introduction of the method was an important first for the mine and its operations. Mechanized equipment and the cardox process sustained the Atlas mine as major producer in the Drumheller district through to the mid-1950s, when Century Coals Limited, parent company of Atlas Coal Mines, opened a new mine site.
Drumheller M.L.A. Stan Schumacher said the Atlas / Century Coal Mine is also of historical significance, because it represents the accomplishments of one of Alberta's major coal industry entrepreneurs, Dr. Omer Patrick, who introduced the very latest in developments in coal cutting and mining in the 1930s.
'Both the operations of the mine site, and the activities of its chief entrepreneur, are vitally important to Alberta's history,' Mr. Schumacher said.

Century Coals Ltd., under the presidency of Dr. Patrick, was a major producer in the highly-competitive domestic coal market, and an innovative survivor. Whether underground or on the surface, the company utilized new technology to ensure coal quality and suitability for their customers. A preparation plant on the Atlas / Century site, with coal sorting, cleaning, and chemical treatment equipment, represents these efforts. Also unique because of its wooden composition, the plant is the last remaining complete coal mining structure in the Drumheller area.

Dr. Patrick and his family greatly influenced the Drumheller coal industry as well as the City of Calgary where they resided. His widespread interest included badlands fossils, leading to the development of Dinosaur Park on St. George's Island in Calgary. He was a founding member and first president of both the Calgary Zoological Society and the Civic Government Association of Calgary.
The East Coulee site is located 160 km northeast of Calgary.

* * *

Press Release Edmonton, Alberta December 1988

The Honourable Greg Stevens, Minister of Culture and Multiculturalism, announced today that the Atlas / Century Coal Mine site in East Coulee has been designated a Provincial Historic Resource.

The Atlas / Century Coal Mine site has played an important role in the history of the Drumheller coal field as well as the entire coal industry in Alberta. It was established in 1936 and then rebuilt in 1937 following a fire. The new plant incorporated the very latest developments in the industry, including a self-propelled coal cutting machine on tracks and the use of cardox to dislodge coal as early as 1937. By 1938, the Atlas Coal Company had obtained exclusive rights to cardox over much of the Drumheller field. The cardox method was non-explosive, releasing compressed carbon dioxide to dislodge the coal. The procedure resulted in a harder, firmer coal, generally free of 'shatter cracks', subject to less degradation during handling and transport, and capable of burning longer. Introduction of the method was an important 'first' for the mine and its operators. Mechanized equipment and the cardox process sustained the Atlas mine as a major producer in the Drumheller district through to the mid-1950s, when Century Coals Limited opened a new mine site.

Through his control of the Atlas Coal Company from its inception in the Drumheller area in 1917, Dr. Omer Patrick, one of Alberta's major coal industry entrepreneurs, took a hand in the Atlas mine's development.

Dr. Patrick's widespread interests included badlands fossils, leading to the development of Dinosaur Park on St. George's Island in Calgary.

He was a founding member and first president of both the Calgary Zoological Society and the Civic Government Association of Calgary. He also served as president of both the Calgary Board of Trade and Calgary Kiwanis Club, and sat on the boards of both the Wood's Christian Home and the Calgary School Board.

Thus, both the operations of the Atlas mine site and the activities of its chief entrepreneur were vitally important to Alberta's history.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Occasional Use
1980/02/29
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Registered Historic Resource
1989/02/13
Register:
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1990/06/05

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0495
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