Page 1 | 2 |
Florence E. Kerr; Information from The Crowsnest Pass
Illustrated and Wm. Hutchinson's Memoirs, Courtesy of Margaret
Kibblewhite (daughter of David Hutchinson)
Hillcrest was born around the turn of the century and built
up on the strength of the tremendous coal fields in the
Charles Plummer Hill of Port Hill, Idaho, found rich coal
outcroppings in the Crowsnest Pass in 1898. By 1902 he owned the
mineral rights on land staked out to become Hillcrest Coal and
Coke Company. By the 31st day of January 1905 that company was
incorporated under the laws of the Dominion of Canada by letter
patent with all the rights and privileges to mine coal, make
coke, build and operate railroads, coke ovens, townsites, etc.
In 1905 the area which was to become the town was an expanse
of timber. Trees were cut down and log shacks were built by and
for the workers. The first tasks in the mining development were
to lay out roads and a railway line to connect with the CPR
line at Hillcrest Junction. By 1910 Hillcrest station had been
built and side tracks for Hillcrest cars of coal had been put
Water supply would be no problem, Drum Creek guaranteed ample
of the purest.
The Hillcrest town-planners looked well into the future: main
street was mapped to be 80 feet wide, other streets 66 feet.
Hillcrest Collieries had two methods of mining coal in
distinctly separate mines and planned to develop several more
mines. It had two methods of lowering its coal from the tram
road to the railroad, one a double track railway and lowering
gear system and one a Jeffrey retarding conveyor.
Hillcrest semi-bituminous coal was high in fixed carbon, low
in ash, free from clinkers and strong in its quality for
generating steam. The CPR reserved their purchases for
Hillcrest Coal and Coke Co. owned the Hillcrest townsite as
well as the mine and all the buildings, railroad, timber limits,
water rights, etc. Mr. William Hutchinson accepted the position
of surveyor-engineer with Hillcrest Coal and Coke Co. and
arrived on May 10, 1910.
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.