On June 19, 1914, a gas explosion ripped through the Hillcrest mine killing 189 of the 237 men who entered the mine on that shift. The men killed in what was at the time the world's worst mine disaster, are buried in a mass grave in the Hillcrest Cemetery. The mass graves are pictured below surrounded by white picket fences.
Apart from the mass grave, the most striking thing about the Hillcrest Cemetery is that it is a graveyard of young men (the vast majority being in their 20's and early 30's), a testimony to the dangers of what was the main industry of the area. In spite of modern safety regulations, mining continues to be a dangerous and, much too often, deadly occupation. Too many men and women die every year feeding their families.
The names of the men who died in the Hillcrest Mine disaster are recorded here .
The Hillcrest Cemetery is located just south of Alberta Highway #3, the exit is well marked. The Crowsnest Pass of Southern Alberta is one of the best kept secrets in Alberta Tourism. Accommodation is affordable, the people are friendly and the area is thick with Alberta history. If you visit Southern Alberta, be sure to allow some time to visit the Crowsnest Pass.