The Greenhorn - The Foster Mine

Setting the Scene

During the 1907 strike, only the Foster Mine kept running. The other mine owners would not negotiate with the union so the workers walked off the job.

Many of the owners were American and had developed strong anti-union attitudes during the violent labour struggles in the American West. Clem Foster, though he was likely familiar with these struggles, agreed to the union's demands for better wages.

A photograph showing the owners and workers of the Foster Mine posing by a huge rock outcropping.

The owners and miners of the Foster Mine, ca. 1907

The owner of the Foster Mine was not only reasonable, but also hardworking and lucky. He arrived in Cobalt with very little money - his father had to help him out by sending him $50.00 a month. Living like a 'hermit' in his bush tent during the summer, the winter found him in town working in a hardware store to make ends meet. Despite the hardship, he believed there was silver to be found. Credited with being the first to try trenching as a means of locating silver, Foster eventually staked a claim that made him a rich man.

A photograph of the headframe at the Foster Mine.

The Foster Mine, ca. 1907

He went on to invest in real estate in the neighbouring town of Haileybury and later became the Mayor of the town.

A photograph of a horse and buggy going down the picturesque Broadway street in Haileybury.

Broadway Street in Haileybury, ca. 1910

Haileybury was a very pretty and organized town compared to Cobalt. Most of the mine managers and wealthy people lived in Haileybury while most the workers lived in Cobalt.