Book cover image for: Danger, Death, and Disaster in the Crowsnest Pass Mines 1902-1928

Danger, Death, and Disaster in the Crowsnest Pass Mines 1902-1928

Karen Buckley

$34.95 CAD / $34.95 USD (S)

215 pages, 21 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-132-8 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-323-0 (Institutional PDF)

November 2004

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About the Book

Coal miners, their families, and coal mining communities live with the threat of danger, death, and disaster. This is a vivid exploration of the individual and collective responses to this inescapable risk by the coal mining communities of the Crowsnest Pass, drawing on folk songs, oral histories, and more.

The Crowsnest Pass is most famous for the tragic rock slide at Frank in 1903 when 110 million tones of rock crashed down upon the town. It is nearly as famous for the many coal-mining tragedies that occurred the region in the early twentieth century, from the Hillcrest Mine Disaster—the worst coal mining accident in Canada—to the Bellvue Mine Explosion to the many individual tragedies that afflicted the communities of the Crowsnest.

The discovery of a rich coal deposit created an economic boom and a spike in population in the Crowsnest Pass in the early twentieth century as miners and their families flocked to the region. However, difficult work in rugged, often dangerous conditions, came with the continuous risk of disaster and death.

Using original source material including folk songs, oral histories, and grave markers, Karen Buckly carefully examines the various calamities that have affected the Crowsnest Pass, considering their lasting impacts on their victims and the wider community. Buckly vividly portrays the psychological and sociological features of individual and collective responses to death and danger, providing a unique picture of mining communities that is as true today as a century ago.

About the Author

Karen Buckley earned her master’s degree from the University of Calgary in Canadian history and currently works as Associate Archivist at the University of Calgary Archives.

Praise for Danger, Death, and Disaster in the Crowsnest Pass Mines, 1902-1928:

The work of an assiduous researcher who ferrets out interesting snippets of life and death in the Pass.

—John Douglas Belshaw, The Canadian Historical Review

Karen Buckley makes us imagine living with the fear of death on the job that faced coal-miners every day . . . provides many valuable insights.

—Craig Heron, University of Toronto Quarterly

This book provides illuminating detail . . . it is an important chronicle of the towns and the region.

—Jeremy Mouat, Scientia Canadiensis 

Table of Contents

List of Photographs


1: Danger

2: Death

3: Disaster


Appendix A: Tables and Charts

Appendix B: Mining Definitions