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Building a Good Life in the Badlands
East Coulee School Museum
East Coulee , Alberta

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   When the Coal Mining Era
of the Drumheller Valley in
eastern Alberta dawned with
the discovery of coal in the
area, many towns sprang up,
some virtually overnight.
Most of these towns were
built and owned by the mining
companies to accommodate the
miners working the coal

seams, but a few independent
communities developed as
well. East Coulee, for
instance, burst into being
after the railroad companies
built a spur line into the
area east of Drumheller. The
town grew at an incredible
rate reaching almost 3000
people after only two years!

   For 25 years East Coulee
prospered, home to thousands
of people with most of the
men spending at least some
time working for the mining
companies. These miners and
their families endured the
hot, arid climate of the
valley bottom, a difficult
place to grow food, to find

shade in the summer and to
get around during the long
winters. This Community
Memories exhibit recounts how
these courageous and
determined settlers built a
good life in the Badlands
despite the hardships.
   East Coulee is now
officially a ghost town, even

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