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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Star Mine

In the late 1920ís (1929) when the C.P.R. built a spur line from Cambria to the Star mine entrance, the mine had already started moving the tipple to the other side of the river. A "walk" suspended on the two cables was constructed across the river for pedestrian traffic. After the mine closed down in 1957 the swinging of suspended bridge remained and it is now a tourist attraction.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.

A close look at the Star mine tipple. The mine entry opening you see is for bringing out cars with rock or bone to be dumped into the slag heap. The entry would also be used for taking in timbers and other supplies into the mine. The two ladies and gentlemen are unknown.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.

The Star Mine closed in 1957.The Valley of the Dinosaurs Its Families and Coal Mines

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.

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