We are now at Crowsnest Pass in Alberta, Canada. Rivers born in Canada’s Rockies carved passes eastward to Hudson Bay or westward to the Pacific Ocean. This one was long used by Indians.
Searching for gold in 1873, Michael Phillipps was the first white man to cross the Canadian Rockies through this unexplored pass. The Crowsnest Pass is the lowest through the Rockies passes on the Continental divide in this area
Tidbit of Information: A continental divide is a ridge of elevated terrain that separates the drainage basins of a continent. Rivers west of this divide will drain toward the Pacific Ocean, rivers east of the Divide toward the Atlantic.
Henry L. Frank was born in Ohio in 1851. He was a self-made entrepreneur who invested in various enterprises. He had various coal mines in Montana, where he was active in politics and the community. In his home city of Butte, Mr. Frank was a prominent business man, being one of the heaviest mining operators and real estate holders.
In 1901 rich veins of coal were discovered in Crowsnest Pass. Frank developed the Canadian-American Coal and Coke Company to mine the base of Turtle Mountain in the Pass. Native oral history refers to Turtle Mountain as “the mountain that moves.”
He built the town of Frank, named after himself, to house the mine workers and stores to support them. The town’s grand opening was on September 10, 1901. The mine was a success, and by 1903, 600 miners worked and lived in Frank.
We wanted to view this historic mining community, so we drove to Frank. Standing on one of the main streets, on the edge of town, this is what we saw:
At 4:10 in the morning of April 29, 1903, the tip of Turtle Mountain broke loose, slid down and decimated part of the Village of Frank.
The primary cause of the “Frank Slide” was Turtle Mountain’s unstable structure. The rock layers of soft sandstone and hard granite, stacked like slippery playing cards, simply slid into the valley.