Vintage Photos of Coleman, Alberta

If there was one word to describe the community of Coleman, it might just be ‘perseverance’. The town has persisted through worker strikes and natural disasters, only to emerge as the largest of the five municipalities within the Crowsnest Pass area. Coleman was first established in 1903 to support a new coal mine that was being operated by the International Coal and Coke Company. The town saw rapid growth, quickly becoming the largest in the region by overtaking Blairmore, its neighbour to the east. The town was originally known as Paulson’s Camp or McGillivray Hill before the post office settled on ‘Coleman’, which was the middle name of Norma Flumerfelt, the youngest daughter of the mine’s owner and president A.C. Flumerfelt.

19-? – Exterior of the fan housing for mining coal, located in Coleman, Alberta.

Coleman endured worker strikes in 1911 and again in 1932, floods in 1923 and 1942, and fires in 1948, but it was the decline in coal that likely caused the biggest economic hardship for the region. As the mines gradually closed, Coleman along with Bellevue, Blairmore, Frank, and Improvement District (ID) No. 5 amalgamated into the Community of the Crowsnest Pass in 1979.

1920’s – Exterior view of the Grand Union Hotel.

Today Coleman and the greater Crowsnest Pass area is a burgeoning tourist hub with excellent outdoor recreational opportunities and a wealth of history for those keen on learning about the past. Coleman was also designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2021.

1922 – View of the exterior of the Alberta Provincial Police Detachment building.
1923 – Mr. Bourassa, William Chalest, Hector Lamrie and Hector Landry drinking and smoking.
1923 – View of the town of Coleman during a flood.
1923 – View of the Miners Group International Coal & Coke Co.
1923 – Exterior view of the Empire Hotel.
1930 – View of Main Street in Coleman, Alberta.
1942 – Flooded street with two buildings in east Coleman, Alberta.
1951 – Miners picking up their electric safety lamps at the International Mine. Coleman Collieries Ltd.
1951 – Miners driving “A” level of the rock tunnel using an “Air leg”. International Mine, Coleman Collieries Ltd.
1951 – Man and trolley locomotive haulage in a rock tunnel in the McGillivray Mine, Coleman Collieries.
1951 – Small dwellings and shacks, Coleman, on Highway 3.
1951 – Machine storage building, Coleman, on Highway 3.
1951 – Chinook Cabins.
1951 – Men mining from pitch cars shown at a chute, McGillivray Coal and Coke Limited.
1951 – Man assembling safety lamps, International Mine.
1962 – Man standing next to Ford delivery truck for Kropinak’s General Store.
1967 – Interior view of Kropinak’s General Store with three women dressed in period costume for Canada’s centennial year – left to right: Helen Kropinak, Irene Carve and Myrtle Kerr.

For similar posts, please visit my previous stories including Historical Photos from Frank Slide in Crowsnest Pass and Historic Photos from Fernie, British Columbia.

1972 – Group of people posed In front of Kropinaks’ General Store. Left to right: Wanda Proc, Asta Oswald, Helen and Albert Kropinak, Matilda Reichel.

The photos above were collected from Archives Canada and the Provincial Archives of Alberta. If you’re interested, additional information can be found for each photograph on their websites. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta and Western Canada. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

About Tyler Dixon 222 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.