East Coulee | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm
  • Former resident unveils research on Drumheller place names

    Jack Sterna's roots run deep in East Coulee

    Jack Serna’s roots in East Coulee run deep, and although the 78-year-old left the Valley to attend college as a teen, it keeps drawing him back.
        Serna was surrounded by friends and residents at the East Coulee School Museum on Sunday, June 25, to unveil a recent research project he took on, the history of the place names in the valley.
        A few months ago he took it upon himself to do some research into how the different communities in the valley got their name. He completed the work by using the Alberta Archives, Ernest Hlady’s book Valley of the Dinosaurs, and good ol’ word of mouth. He came up with five pages exploring place names, had them mounted and they are now on display at the East Coulee School Museum.
        “I have a degree in history, so I thought rather than sitting in my chair, and I don’t have much to do in my waning years. I think of all these things to do, and this one just stuck in my head,” said Serna.
        This is not the first time he has undertaken such projects celebrating the history of the valley. In 2015, he and another, Bill Nimmo unveiled a map of East Coulee from the 1940’s, which is also hanging in the School Museum.
        Through his research, he learned a few things he never knew before, including the fact the Town of Drumheller now encompasses all of these communities.
        While some of the place names, such as Drumheller and Nacmine were easy, others still elude him. He said he never learned where the name Wayne came from, although he said the community was initially known as Rosedeer.
        He still has fond memories of growing up in East Coulee.
        “My old house is still there, I left in 1957, and I go down to visit East Coulee at the Breakfast on Sundays during the summer time.  A number of us go down at the end of June,” he said. “From that, these little projects come up.”

  • National Historic site celebrates centennial

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    This Sunday, the Atlas Coal Mine is marking its centennial and the 80th anniversary of its iconic tipple. 

    The Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site is marking a couple of major milestones in its history this weekend, celebrating the centennial of the Atlas Coal Mine, and the 80th birthday of its iconic tipple.

    The Atlas will be marking the day this Sunday, May 21. The day will have all kinds of activities, games “Mine Crafts,” a birthday cake, and more.

    Executive Director of the Atlas, Sarah Newstead, is looking forward to having some ponies on site for the celebration.

    “The main highlight for me, because I’m a horse person, and of course for Bob Moffatt who was a pony driver, is we have pit ponies coming,” said Newstead. “We will be doing wagon rides.”

    Newstead explains while the Atlas has been around for a century, it was not always in the same place.

    “The Atlas has several different mines in the valley and the first Atlas was founded on March 7, 1917,” she said. “We are also celebrating the 80th anniversary of our tipple. This is what makes us nationally important, and internationally important.”

    She says the fact that the tipple has survived for 80 years is amazing as its wooden structure was seen as a more temporary build.

    “I have done a lot visiting and interaction with mining sites and other industrial sites in the UK, and the scale of the site here is comparable to scale of sites in the UK and other parts of North America. What we have here is something special, Wooden structures are not preserved very often, it is rare to have a structure like this preserved because structures like this are seen sort of as temporary. For it to be in one place for 80 years and still available for the public to view is quite significant.”

    She said in the next few years she hopes to do more research to understand the significance of the tipple in an international context.

    This year will also mark the final phase of the planned restoration of the tipple. This will entail work on the roof deck and conservation work.

    “People will be able to see some of the new restoration we have on the site,” said Newstead.

    The celebration kicks off at 1 p.m.

    The Atlas Coal Mine can be found straight east out of Drumheller for 20 minutes, along Highway 10 just past East Coulee.  


    Keep an eye out for more Weekender action on page or online by following The Weekender on Instagram at @theweekender_dm or on the Drumheller Mail Tourist page. Use the hashtag #Ownthevalley for permission to share your own wild adventures.

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