Thursday, 3 March 2016

Lime City February 14, 2016

I really was not sure if the ruins were on private property on not, it is hard to tell. So I ventured what I thought was a reasonable distance.

From the sign:

"Lime is a manufacture byproduct of limestone which is used extensively in coal mines for rock dusting as a way to control dangerous coal dust, and is also used in the building industry for the manufacture of plaster and concrete.

Local entrepeneur Joe Little recongized that the Frank Slide provided a ready and seemingly endless supply of limestone without the expense of quarrying. He and his partners D. Christie and J.A. Henderson from Guelph, Ontario purchased a portion of the Frank Slide in 1909, and the following year two concrete kilns were built. In 1912 the operation was sold to the Winnipeg Fuel and Supply Company who added a third kiln constructed of stone, a less advanced but also less expensive construction technique. 

These wood-fired "draw kilns" allowed continuous operation. Limestone boulders were broken into manageable sized pieces, hoisted by steam power and dumped into the top of the kiln towers, then baked in the kilns at a high temperature. The lime and waste material was then "drawn out" of the base of the kiln. The lime was placed into barrels built on site and shipped to markets by rail.

The company built a modest house for the kiln manager and bunkhouses for the workers. The small community that grew around the kiln was known locally as Lime City. The lime kilns ceased operation in 1918 and closed permanently in 1923. The kiln's first and only manager, George Pattinson, stayed on as the site's caretaker between 1818 and 1922, then moved away like many other Lime City's residents. 

The kilns are representative of a technology which is uncommon in Alberta and are an example of an early attempt to diversify the economy of the Crowsnest Pass."

There are lots of ruins in the Crowsnest Pass area of Alberta from the coal mining days. Lime City is close to Frank, Alberta.


  1. Very interesting, were you able to look inside the kiln? I again am curious to what is inside...enquiring minds and all that. Photos again tell a story themselves, but love that you back them up with actual information. Thank you for posting.

  2. Now that is a tough one to find - no can do. :o(