Big Valley Bulletin. FILE PHOTO

Big Valley, the mining town

Big Valley’s past includes more than trains.

Linda Stillinger

Big Valley Bulletin

While digging post holes out on his land, Mr. Ed Colterman unearthed a seam of coal on his land, changing Big Valley’s story. In 1912, a mine started operations just 1.5 miles north of the village. The Big Valley Collieries began on a small scale, with 11 men working at the mine in 1914 slowly increasing to 15 at the beginning of 1915. Yet production quickly took off and by the end of the year the payroll had swelled to 45 men. They mined 2,980 tons of coal that year.

In February of 1916 the mine had 34 men producing 100 tons a day and in 1917 production was up to 155 tons a day with 48 men working. By 1919 the Big Valley Collieries figured on producing as high as 800 tons a day so began plans for a three-storey hotel to be located at the site. The hotel, able to accommodate 100 men was built in 1920.

Daily output increased to 225 tons a day in 1921 with 79 men mining and by 1922 they were mining as high as 350 tons a day with a yearly total of 31,212 tons. Besides the local sales, in 1924 they shipped 12,000 tons of coal to Saskatchewan and 2,700 tons to Manitoba. In 1925 during the month of January the mine produced 7,204 tons, however by the following March production was cut down to 2,465 tons per month.

When the mines were first opened, everyone imagined a great potential for Big Valley, however, due to unanticipated difficulties securing a good grade of coal and continued water seepage in some of the tunnels it was not easy to produce a regular output. Gradually production slowed down and by the end of April 1927 the mine closed. During its 15 years of operation, the mine had produced 356,162 tons of coal.

This information has been taken from As We Remember Big Valley, 1974.

September birthday greetings go out to Vivian Hulley – 1, Tom Sinclair – 2, Arline Grover – 3, Shane Nyuli – 3, Karen Hingst – 4, Judy Titus – 8, Edwin Johnson – 10, Trevor Kirtley – 14, Cassie Stewart – 14, Courtlyn Bardwell – 14, Beth Nyuli – 15, Stetson Daychief – 15, Larry Annable – 15, Kaiden Chapman – 16, Keith Campbell – 18, Joan Robinson – 19, Jessie Armstrong – 20, Darcy Greig – 23, Bennett Anderson – 26, Brent Bartley – 28, Zane Bartley – 29 and Brooke Skocdople – 29.

Happy anniversary to Dale and Marilee Colp – 1, Dave and Mandi Lucki – 9, Lorne and Devony Fraser – 16, Brice and Shelley Burnstad – 17, Fransisco and Barb Laisnez – 20, Paul and Cheryl Elines – 21, Keith and Sheryl VanHaga – 23, Devon and Gail Boulding – 26, Kevin and Sandra Wittenburg – 27, and Chanse and Loralee Stefanik – 29.

l.stillinger@gmail.com

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