Greenhill Mine - Crowsnest Pass - Hiking Alberta

 

Greenhill Mine was located at roadside on Hwy. 3 in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada

 

 

Recent information suggests the buildings for Greenhill Mine are being cleared for development.  This post may now be archival in nature.

Tunneling deep into rock is fraught with hazard at any time.  Two centuries ago it was the realm of risky exploration by pioneers, who put their lives on the line every day, to set the stage for the lifestyle we are privileged to enjoy today.  Respect is justified.

 

Greenhill Mine Head Frame The long abandoned Greenhill Mine head frame in Blairmore, Alberta

 

 

Crowsnest Pass, in the southwest corner of Alberta, and just north of the Montana border, is the lowest altitude Canadian pass through the Rocky Mountains.  This easier route, combined with huge and more easily accessible coal deposits, became a place of dramatic legend.  Much evidence remains of the courageous people who developed the area beginning in the late 1800's, however, there is insufficient effort and investment being expended to preserve the area's rich history.  An example of this neglect is the Greenhill Mine complex.

 

Derelict remains at Greenhill Mine in Blairmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Although this site is adjacent to Hwy. 3, on the north side of Blairmore, and in spite of the fact the Greenhill Mine was designated as a heritage site in the early 1980's, very little has been done to preserve the history of this mining operation, significant in Canadian history. 

The Greenhill Mine began its operation in 1913 when the Blairmore South Mine, which began its operation in 1903, was closed down.  Many buildings remain intact but are suffering the ravages of time which will inevitably result in total demise if near term action is delayed much longer.

 

Greenhill Mine - Crowsnest Pass Greenhill Mine - Blairmore - Crowsnest Pass

 

 

 

There are powerful and dramatic stories around the development of Crowsnest Pass.  Every two hour drive south from Calgary discovers new trails and fascinating places to explore.  Many opportunities still remain. 

One of the greatest tragedies was the collapse of one side of Turtle Mountain in 1903 which buried most of the town of Frank along with many of its citizens. 

Although Leitch Collieries and the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre have been developed as enduring monuments, they represent only a small fraction of well deserved landmarks in the area.

 

Greenhill Mine entrance Greenhill Mine Entrance - The mine has been blasted shut for safety

 

 

Granted, the Crowsnest Pass is a little out-of-the-way and not the most easily accessible place in the world but the location continues to be a missing link in the chain of spectacular Canadian National Mountain Parks stretching along the Continental Divide.  There are active and dedicated historical groups struggling to preserve the rich history of the region.  Much of this effort is carried on by relatives of ancestors who founded the area.

The potential for the Crowsnest Pass is massive but there does not seem to be a focused will to develop the area as a world-class tourist destination.  Fragments are there but many opportunities for development remain and the clock is ticking as fascinating attractions gradually decay into unrecoverable obscurity.

Participation by Provincial and Federal Government could go a long way towards preserving true and influential Canadian history.  For historical buffs, this area contains a plethora of fascinating stories which include the tragic loss of life at the Hillcrest Mine and the sparse remains of Lille, also a designated heritage site.

 

Following are a few images for what remains of the Greenhill Mine in Blairmore, Alberta, Canada.  The Greenhill Mine closed forever in 1958

Many of the 500+ employees found alternative employment in Crowsnest Pass.  The legacy lives on but the historical treasures are in grave jeopardy.  Please select the Crowsnest Pass category on the right-hand side of the blog page for trips posted to date.

 

Greenhill Mine Greenhill Mine, Blairmore in the Crowsnest Pass

 

Greenhill Mine Ruins at Greenhill Mine in Blairmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Greenhill Mine Remains of the Greenhill Mine Complex in Blairmore, Alberta

 

Greenhill Mine Derelict structures at Greenhill Mine in Blairmore, Alberta

 

Greenhill Mine View of the Greenhill Mine head frame from Hwy. 3

 

Greenhill Mine Portions of Greenhill Mine machinery remain on-site

 

Greenhill Mine The long abandoned Greenhill Mine Medical Facility

 

Greenhill Mine, Blairemore, Alberta The Greenhill Mine Administration Office in Blairmore, Alberta

 

Greenhill Mine, Blairmore Alberta Greenhill Mine boiler manufactured 1903 in Sherbrooke, Quebec

 

Greenhill Mine, Blairemore, Alberta This Greenhill Mine building contains hundreds of old core samples

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Thank you for the update, Darin. It is fortunate historical records have been kept.

I just stopped in there today and it looks like the whole place is getting torn down. There was some machinery up there and the old core building roof collapsed, all core samples gone and many of the other buildings are now gone. Torn down and hauled away. Looks like it won't be there by the end of this year.

Thank you for your comment, Stephanie. The Greenhill property is largely on private land. There is very little information about the mine in a public forum. The next time you are in the Crowsnest Pass, stop in at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and speak with Parks Staff there. They may be able to direct you to a source of information. I agree with you completely. The Crowsnest Pass deserves more attention and protection, as a historical area, than it is getting. I do not know the reason for that but I am sure politics and money are mixed up in it somewhere. I have spoken with several residents there who feel exactly the same way about having the history preserved.

Two of my best friends and I just came back from camping near Greenhill Mine. We went up and inside most of the buildings. Some of your pictures show buildings we did not find or are not there any more. I wanted to know more about it. What was it was called? What happened there and why has no-one thought to turn it into a historical place? It is amazing to see. It is too bad so much has been destroyed. Time will also destroy it.

The Crowsnest Pass is a very special place to me and has been for many years. I did a quick check of your blog and put it on favourites so I can return and spend more time there. Wow! Congratulations on your travel and discovery mission. There are a couple of your posts that are future objectives of mine. I am ashamed to admit I have been to St. Pierre and Miquelon but have never set foot on Newfoundland. I will get there. And I will be interested in your photos and writing. Thank you for your comment on the Greenhill Mine. There is such a density of history and activity in the Pass, I hope something happens to keep more of it preserved.

Cool post. The Pass always has a special place in our hearts. It was always the place we would whip out to for a weekend out of Calgary. A nice taste of the Rockies minus all the crowds of people and tourists. Never did this hike of the mine, but will keep it in mind next time we are in the area. Cheers!

It was not one of the first I found either. It is so obvious, I believe it gets passed by. The headframe is right on Highway 3. What is not so obvious is the large mining complex behind. It takes a right turn, at the headframe, when driving west, to access all the buildings in my photos. For those like myself who revel in history, the exploration can easily consume the good part of a day. It is a fine ramble with amazing discovery potential. I bagged and carried out some carelessly dispensed garbage when I was there.

I grew up in Pincher Creek (near the Crowsnest Pass) but have never heard of this mine, very interesting. Your blog looks great!

I appreciate your suggestion. The situation has been the same for decades. The problem is more to do with local influence, and lack of focussed political will. There are a lot of good people doing a lot of good work to preserve the history of Crowsnest Pass. What is needed is the same kind of political influence that placed the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller. It will take a lot of money and time is running out. I do not expect to see the opportunity realized in my lifetime.

This is a fascinating article. Since your concern for preservation of the site is evident, I wonder whether it might be possible to prod any of Calgary's museums into taking an active interest in Greenhill Mine.

My father had worked in the mine until 1954, after we moved to Prince George, B.C. I recall the times my dad went to work. We lived behind the Teepee Motel. We have a lot of history in the Pass. My grandfather was killed in the Hillcrest Mine on Jan 30, 1930. Also, lost an Uncle in the 1967 Natel explosion. I have always loved that part of that country. It's sad to see these buildings disappear which made history by the people of the Pass.

Thank you for your comment and for sharing your history, Bob.  I am sorry for your loss of family members in the dangerous business of underground coal mining. Crowsnest Pass is a spectacular area with a rich history.  I have always believed the Rocky Mountain Corridor between the south end of Banff National Park and the north border of Waterton Lakes National Park should have been allocated as national parkland.  There is a great deal which could and should have been preserved for historical, ecological and recreational purpose.

My family is from the pass. My grandfather and great uncle worked at the green hill mine for years. My father used to go to the old shower house that you see from highway 3. So many great times spent with all family members there. I also lost my great grandfather in the hillcrest mine explosion. I still to this day love my little piece of heaven.

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