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Coalmont Time Line


1858

 

A fully exposed vein of coal is first discovered in the area that reportedly could be lit by a match.

 

Around the same time, gold was discovered in the Tulameen River and its tributaries.

 

1885

 

Johnny Chance discovers gold at Granite Creek on July 5, and the Gold Rush begins.  (Note:  There is much controversy over who actually was the FIRST to discover gold.  Some give credit to William Briggs, Mike Sullivan and John Bromley but after so many years it would be impossible to know for sure.)

 

1886

 

Granite Creek grows to be one of the largest communities in British Columbia with over 2,000 people and gold production peaks.

 

On May 1 Granite Creek opens a Post Office with Alex Lindsay as Postmaster.

 

1901 – 1907

 

The Nicola Coal Company maps out coal from Granite Creek to 4 miles west and three tunnels are made at Collins Gulch.

 

On April 4, 1907 a fire destroys Granite Creek.  It is believed the fire started in the kitchen of F.P. Cook’s Store and spread to most of the adjacent businesses and homes.

 

1908

 

The Erl Syndicate from England does further development on the Granite Creek side.

 

1909

 

B.C. Coal and Coke Company obtains control and concentrates on Fraser’s Gulch.

 

1910

 

B.C. Coal and Coke installs a compressor plant and builds a tunnel at Fraser’s Gulch.

 

The company reorganizes as Columbia Coal and Coke with offices at Granite Creek.  They continue work at Fraser’s Gulch and begin work at Bear’s Den.  They commence construction of their offices, the Seven Sisters (identical cabins for workers), a schoolhouse, barn, and houses for officials and staff on the North side of the Tulameen River just below Fraser’s Gulch. The site of this activity is called “Cardiff”.

 

The VV & E (Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway) announces their contract for the Princeton to Cardiff run and construction begins on February 21.

 

1911

 

Coalmont gets its name in February.  The area previously referred to as Cardiff becomes known as “Upper Town”.  The Columbia Coal and Coke Company moves its offices from Granite Creek to Upper Town in Coalmont. 

 

On June 6, the “Coalmont, B.C. Plan of Townsite” is registered in Kelowna, B.C.

 

On July 19, Messrs. Williamson and Turner open a real estate office in Coalmont.  A syndicate of people from the coast purchase a block of 160 lots.

 

Coalmont opens its first Post Office on August 1.   Postal records list James W. Bettes as Postmaster, however, newspaper accounts from the time, name Isaac McTavish as the Postmaster.

 

On September 11 at 11:00 Ms. Myrtle Schisler marries Louis Marcotte (the original owner of the Coalmont Hotel) in Princeton.

 

The VV & E track reaches Coalmont on November 10.

 

1912

 

A bridge is built across the Tulameen River at Upper Town and many miles of wagon roads are built to Fraser's Gulch and Blakeburn.

 

The Columbia Coal and Coke Company employs 70 people.

 

Six tunnels are built at Blakeburn (including the #1 and #2 mines).

 

The Coalmont Courier Newspaper begins publication.  Unfortunately, it only lasts 6 months.

 

On February 18, regular operation is approved of the VV & E line between Princeton and one mile past Coalmont subject to the completion of a telegraph line.

 

The newly built Coalmont Hotel has its Grand Opening Ball on April 24.

 

A regular, twice a week train begins running between Princeton and Coalmont on May 1.  A proper station building was erected early in the year together with a Section House (where the section foreman and his family lived). 

 

The first school opens in Coalmont with Ms. McQueen as teacher.

 

The VV & E announces its contract to build their line past Coalmont to Brookmere and an agreement is made with the KVR (Kettle Valley Railway) on September 20.

 

1913

 

The number 1 mine is closed at Blakeburn and is connected to the number 2 mine.

 

In March, the Columbia Coal and Coke Company fails financially and, in August, is taken over by A. McEvoy, Trustee Operators Coalmont Collieries.  Their head office is in Vancouver.

 

1914

 

A formal agreement is signed between the VV & E and the KVR for joint use of the tracks between Princeton and Brookmere on July 10.

 

At the end of 1914 mining stops in Blakeburn.

 

1915

 

Underground exploration is resumed in Blakeburn, but no coal is shipped.

 

On May 28 the rail line between Coalmont and Brookmere is approved for regular operation.

 

On May 30 Coalmont appears as an official station in Kettle Valley Railway time tables and will remain so in railway time tables until abandonment. 

 

1916 - 1917

 

No work is done at the mines.

 

Many of the landowners, caught up in the speculative boom of Coalmont, allow their land to be reverted to either the Company or the Crown.

 

1918

 

The mining company is reorganized under the name Coalmont Collieries, Ltd. and mining is resumed.

 

1919

 

Work begins on the tramline right-of-way.

 

1920

 

In November, the tramline is completed and in operation.

 

The Coalmont power house is completed.

 

The Wilson tunnel (number 3 mine) is started in Blakeburn and reaches 825 ft. by the end of the year.

 

On May 16 a special GN train runs from Oroville to Coalmont with GN President (Ralph Budd), and other officials for a tour of Coalmont Collieries.

 

Hattie McBride, the town Madam, is burned to death in her home (murder) on November 21.  No one was ever brought to justice for the crime.

 

1921

 

Dr. Edward Sheffield becomes Coalmont’s first Doctor.

 

In the spring, the tramway is completely overhauled with larger cables fitted.

 

1922

 

Charles H. Martin becomes Coalmont’s first Police Officer.

 

On August 1 the town name of “Blakeburn” becomes official when the first Post Office opens there.

 

1923

 

The number 4 mine at Blakeburn is opened.

 

The Union Bank opens in Coalmont with Colin R. Malcolm as manager.

 

1925

 

On January 20 the last GN train collecting ice is recorded in Tulameen.

 

1926

 

The Union Bank in Coalmont becomes the Royal Bank of Canada with Colin R. Malcolm continuing as manager.

 

1928

 

This proves to be the best year for coal production (over 164,000 tons).

 

1929

 

The Coalmont school is moved from the All Saints Anglican Church to its own new building erected by Coalmont Collieries.   Ethel D. Mills is the teacher.

 

The power plant is upgraded.

 

1930

 

The number 5 mine is started.

 

August 13 is “Black Wednesday”.  Forty-five men die as a result of an explosion at the number 4 mine in Blakeburn.

 

1935

 

The Royal Bank of Canada closes in Coalmont.

 

1940

 

On April 8, the lights go out in Coalmont.  With the closing of the Blakeburn mine, all power is cut off for the town of Coalmont.  The power house at the mine had supplied electricity to the residents.

 

1957

 

On May 13 the Coalmont train station is destroyed by fire.  At some point it was replaced with a small freight and passenger shelter.

 

1962

 

The section house is sold and moved across the street sometime after 1962.  This house still stands today, however, it has been renovated extensively.  It is located on Front Street near Campbell Avenue.

 

1964

 

The last passenger train runs through Coalmont on January 17.

 

1965

 

In November, Coalmont comes out of the dark and gets electricity.  The Coalmont Hotel is the first building to receive power.

 

1976

 

The Coalmont school is dismantled and taken away.

 

1989

 

The last freight train runs on April 27 from Brookmere to Princeton.

 

On May 9 the last train (a work train) runs through Coalmont.

 

1990

 

On July 21 the Coalmont station is officially closed.