Masthead image
As tourists enter the Crowsnest Pass from the east, the first major pioneer landmarks they will see are the famous Burmis Tree on the north side of Highway 3, and a little further west, the abandoned ruins of the Mohawk Tipple. Unfortunately, the Burmis Tree is the only point of interest left of the once prosperous coal mining and lumber town of Burmis, which is now comprised of just a small collection of recreational properties. The unique and starkly shaped tree, named after the community, is Limber pine that is more than 300 years old. The town's name came from combining the names of two early settlers, Robert H. Burns and Jack Kemmis.
The first coal mine was opened in 1910 when the Davenport Coal Co. began production. With the mine, a busy village of 75 families was quickly established, which included a Mounted Police post, two general stores, a restaurant, pool hall, barber, school, livery barn and a Presbyterian church. However, the mine closed in 1914, and although men quickly found work at nearby mines, the town was all but finished by the mid 1920s.
©Johnnie Bachusky
Ruins of the Mohawk tipple at Burmis
But in 1933, a planing mill was built at the dying settlement after the Burmis Lumber Company was established nearby. The town grew once more and prospered until 1956 when the area's timber lease was finally depleted. Burmisí last commercial building was the original general store. It struggled on until 1976 before closing its doors forever. Burmis, as a town, was then finished.
© Johnnie Bachusky

Shortly after visitors traveling west on Highway 3 pass the barren former town site of Burmis, the ghostly remains of the Mohawk Tipple (above right and below) stand at the edge of a ravine overlooking the Crowsnest River. The tipple, due to a lack of demand for coal in the area, was closed in 1952. A fire gutted the structure in October, 1953 and today only the brick portion of the tipple remains.

MOhawk Tipple-side view
Mohawk Tipple-front view
© Johnnie Bachusky © Johnnie Bachusky