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Lille...2

During its peak years, Lille had three operating mines producing 901,000 tonnes of bituminous coal. Most noteworthy are the ruins of Mine No. 1 which can be viewed about one kilometre from the townsite on the edge of Gold Creek. The remnants of the power house, despite their obvious wear and tear from age, erosion and vandalism, are still magnificent.

Despite Lille's early success, it would be short-lived. The isolation, unpredictable markets and increasing poor quality of coal soon proved too much to keep alive the alpine mine and town. By 1913, Lille and its mine was closed, and workers moved with their families to either nearby Blairmore or Bellevue. For many years until the 1940s, scores of homes and other structures were left at the site. During the 1970s, Lille's magnificent brick coke ovens were picked apart by treasure hunters.

Cement & wood foundation Left: A cement and wood foundation at the edge of town leading to mine workings.
Mine ruins near river
©Johnnie Bachusky
Much of the ruins of Mine Number 1 has now fallen into the river.
©Johnnie Bachusky
Mine site ruins Mine site ruins
©Johnnie Bachusky
©Johnnie Bachusky
The land around the ruins of Mine Number 1 has been overtaken by nature.
The magnificent ruins of Lille's Number 1 minesite, slowly eroding away.
Mine ruins Mine ruins
©Johnnie Bachusky
©Johnnie Bachusky
Above: The crumbling ruins of mine No.1 stand as a stark reminder of Lille's mining days.
Coal slag near coke ovens
©Johnnie Bachusky
A large coal slag behind the coke ovens left over from the mine's pioneer production years.
Coke ovens Coke ovens
©Johnnie Bachusky
©Johnnie Bachusky
Above and below are four views of the coke ovens. The famed Lille Coke ovens. Each year, the massive industrial structure crumbles more and more - due to time and vandalism. Souvenir hunters are known to remove the bricks as each one of them are numbered.
Coke ovens Coke ovens
©Johnnie Bachusky
©Johnnie Bachusky
Coke ovens Coke ovens
©Johnnie Bachusky ©Johnnie Bachusky
Since the late 1970s, Lille's famed coke ovens have been ravaged by vandals. Another view of the crumbling coke oven complex.
On top of coke ovens Close up of coke ovens
©Johnnie Bachusky
©Johnnie Bachusky
A close up of the cavernous and crumbling coke oven complex.
On top of the coke ovens. Note the mine machinery in the foreground.