Anthracite is a ghost town located 7 kilometres (4.4 miles) NE of the Town of Banff on both sides of the TransCanada Highway. Our mission today is to locate a memorial plaque, placed, after 1972, at the burial site of a child who drowned in the Cascade River in 1883.
On the south side of the TransCanada Highway, this old coal mining town was operated by the British-owned Canadian Anthracite Coal Company from 1886 to 1904 with a predominantly immigrant population of 300. At its peak there was a hotel, general store, hardware store, pool hall, barber shop and restaurant. The town was largely decimated by the 1894 Cascade River flood which destroyed bridges and several buildings. The worst was yet to come. On June 16, 1897 the Cascade River flooded again. In spite of the construction of dams, the water rose above them and entered the mines, killing the entire horse and mule population trapped underground as well as destroying many homes near the river. By 1904 the majority of the population moved a few kilometres north to the Bankhead Mine which began operations the same year. Anthracite became a ghost town. The search for the memorial plaque consumed the morning of a fabulous day. Lunch is enjoyable in the sun at Anthracite under the massive presence of towering Cascade Mountain. The mine remains are on the North side of the highway and bits of equipment and infrastructure remain visible amongst the coal slag heaps.
Since the Anthracite access is just off Tunnel Mountain Road, Ewa and I dedicate the afternoon to exploring the Banff Hoodoos on this incredibly beautiful day before some shopping in the very busy Town of Banff prior to the return trip to Calgary.
There is no photo of the plaque. We did not find it. The Parks Canada office in Banff could not give me the location, which surprised me, but the officer provided me with a phone number of a gentleman in British Columbia who will be able to help for the next time out.