Discover Crowsnest Heritage
History of Hillcrest
Hillcrest, also known as Hillcrest Mines , is now a quiet hamlet at the west end of the Crowsnest Pass. Hillcrest was named after coal prospector and entrepreneur Charles Plummer Hill. The Hillcrest Coal and Coke Company, incorporated on January 31, 1905, began constructing the town the same year, and the Canadian Pacific Railway soon built a spur for transporting coal from the Hillcrest Mine, and a station. The town soon grew to a population of about 1,000.
Another explosion occurred in the Hillcrest Mine on September 19, 1926 when the mine was idle, killing two men. Explosions at other coal mines within the Crowsnest Pass also caused deaths: Coal Creek, 1902 (128 men killed); Michel, 1904 (7); Coleman, 1907 (3); Bellevue , 1910 (30); Michel, 1916 (12); Coal Creek, 1917 (34); Coleman, 1926 (10); Michel, 1938 (3).
After the mine closed in 1939, Hillcrest experienced a period of economic decline. In 1979 Hillcrest joined Bellevue, Frank, Blairmore, and Coleman in forming the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.
A monument to the Hillcrest mine disaster and the lives lost has been placed at the Hillcrest Cemetery . Heritage sites within Hillcrest are identified on the Heritage Driving Tour map.
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