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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Middletown's history is quite limited. Of the three communities that once lined the Michel Creek Valley, it is often the most forgotten. Perhaps Middletown is omitted from the memory because the area is now commonly referred to as Michel-Natal, (the names of the towns that used to lay on its either side), perhaps it is due to its relative size. Regardless, Middletown's identity was inextricably linked—even overshadowed—by Michel and Natal.

Michel, Middletown, and Natal were separated by less than a kilometre. Natal, the cultural and commercial part of the Valley, was the furthest west and Michel, which had the largest population, was located east. Even at its peak, Middletown was the smallest settlement, with only about 40 houses.

Like its neighbouring communities, Middletown has long ceased to exist. In the 1950s, many moved from the town, most leaving for Sparwood. Over the years, the accumulation of dirty air from the tipples took its toll on the community. Without government support, Middletown deteriorated considerably, its many homes and buildings blackened by coke oven smoke. When the British Columbia government proposed the demolition of Michel Creek Valley communities in 1964, Middletown was the first to disappear. Today there is little left that would indicate the former settlement.

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