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Nordegg...2

The town was founded in 1914, three years after German entrepreneur Martin Nordegg initiated the area's first coal mining operations. Nordegg's first development plans were ambitious, with main streets laid out in a circle and side streets running in line to the centre. Looking very much like a wagon wheel, the town's urban plan - which is being resurrected in the municipal district's future design - was adopted from English planner Ebenezer Howard's 'garden city' concept, and also modeled from the Mount Royal neighbourhood in Montreal.

Nordegg's townsite eventually boasted more more than 250 miner's cottages, churches, hotel, clubs, the huge Big Horn Trading Company store, a hospital once considered the most modern in Alberta, and even its own version - for a short period of time - of a red light district.
Old Nordegg Old Nordegg
Photo: Anne Belliveau Collection
Photo: Anne Belliveau Collection

But shortly after creating his town, Nordegg , a German citizen, was expelled from Canada during the First World War. He returned in 1922 but sold his shares in his mining company in 1923. He remained in Canada until his death in 1948 when the town was still booming with almost 3,000 citizens, including 900 workers at the mine site.

Nordegg Butcher
Nordegg Main Street
© Johnnie Bachusky
© Johnnie Bachusky
Butcher shop
Nordegg Main Street
Nordegg Street
© Johnnie Bachusky
© Johnnie Bachusky
Seven years later, with locomotives fast switching over to oil and diesel, the mine
ceased operations and the town, which saw its citizens quickly scatter elsewhere, belonged to the ghosts. Following several years of inactivity, the remote town site became the location of a minimum security penitentiary in the early 1960s, where prisoners moved and worked about freely and lived at the old miners' boarding house, which still stands today in the old town site.
Miner's boarding house Nordegg Jail
© Johnnie Bachusky
© Johnnie Bachusky
Restored Nordegg church
The restored original church in the townsite at Nordegg. The church bell lies beside the church on the right between the windows.
Photo: Anne Belliveau collection.
Nordegg miner's cemetery
Miners cemetery Miners cemetery
© Johnnie Bachusky
© Johnnie Bachusky
Miners cemetery
Miners cemetery
Miners cemetery
© Johnnie Bachusky
@ Johnnie Bachusky
@ Johnnie Bachusky