It is accurate to say that without coal, Lethbridge might not be here today. The Blackfoot and other First Nations knew about the coal. A Blackfoot name for the place that would become Lethbridge was sik-ooh-ko-toki or place of the black rocks.
The First Nations had little use for the coal as it could not be burned safely in a teepee, and other fuel sources were readily available. Nicholas Sheran heard about the coal of southern Alberta. Recognizing the need for such a purposeful resource, in 1874 Sheran developed the first commercial coal mine in Alberta.
The location of this mine was on the west bank of the Oldman River, just off the north side of Whoop-Up Drive. Sheran managed a mine there until his death (by drowning) in 1882. Continue Reading →