Historical Photos from Drumheller and the Badlands

Entering the Drumheller Valley is like landing on the surface of another planet. The shortgrass prairie and farmland gives way to an alien landscape filled with bizarre rock formations, dry, sunburnt soil, and a host of prickly plants. The Alberta Badlands are truly spectacular and must be seen in person to truly be appreciated. The valley is home to a number of tourist attractions, but the biggest draw are the dinosaurs. The first fossilized dinosaur bones in Alberta were discovered more than 100 years ago and archaeologists are still making new discoveries to this day. Yes, dino-fever is alive and well in this province, but back in the early 1900’s the Drumheller area looked very different. Mining was the primary industry and the town itself was but a fraction of the size. Below is a collection of historical photos of Drumheller and the surrounding badlands. You’ll see early archaeological digs, the Atlas Coal Mine, which is a popular tourist destination today, Horseshoe Canyon, a wonderful spot to explore, and the meandering Red Deer River. I hope you enjoy these historical photos.

Drumheller, Alberta, 1912

For additional information about the Drumheller area, as well as the very popular Dinosaur Provincial Park, please refer to my previous stories called, Breaking Bad(lands) and Jurassic Province respectively.

Ferry crossing, Red Deer River, Drumheller area, Alberta, 1910-1912
Drumheller Valley, Alberta, 1910-1912
Drumheller Valley, Alberta, 1910-1912
View of Atlas Coal Mine, Drumheller, Alberta, 1920
Horses fording Red Deer river, Alberta, 1900-1903
Pick mining, Newcastle coal mine, Drumheller, Alberta, 1915
Road in badlands, near Drumheller, Alberta, 1923-1930s
Frank Moodie prospecting in the Drumheller area, Alberta, 1911-1925
Street in Drumheller, Alberta, 1915
Excavation of dinosaur skeleton in Drumheller, Alberta, 1912
Hoodoos, Dinosaur Valley, Drumheller, Alberta, 1939
George F. Sternberg uncovering a dinosaur in the Badlands, Steveville, Alberta, 1920
George Sternberg, paleontologist packing dinosaur, at Steveville, Alberta, 1921
Dinosaur bones being wrapped, at Steveville, Alberta, 1921
Leg bone of dinosaur found below Steveville, Alberta, 1917
Badlands, near Drumheller, Alberta, 1923-1930s
Horseshoe Canyon, Drumheller area, Alberta, 1929
Little church on Dinosaur Trail near Drumheller, Alberta, 1945
Red Deer River, rural road, and railway tracks in the badlands near Drumheller, Alberta, 1930

All of the photos on this page are published with permission from the Glenbow Archives. If you’d like more information about each photograph, or to purchase a high resolution copy, just search the identification number (printed on each photo) on the Glenbow website. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

About Tyler Dixon 219 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.