Yellowhead County’s Heritage Program offers a fun way to learn more about the history of Yellowhead County – with geocaching!
Check back for updates on our geocached locations.
Current locations include:
Edward Aloisio was born in Italy in 1910. Like so many fellow Italians, he immigrated to Canada, arriving in 1926. He arrived in Robb in 1932 and began working in the coal mines until 1960 when he worked for the Department of Highways until his retirement in 1975. His first love, other than his wife, was the violin. Although he loved operas and classical music, he learned how to play fiddle music to play at local celebrations. He could also play the accordion, banjo, guitar, piano and harmonica. His family remembers him as an expert gardener, hunter and fisherman.
He was a leader in Robb, running the community association for years. His work was instrumental in establishing the community hall, curling rink and numerous outdoor skating rinks.
‘Everyone needs a hero… my father was my hero and he is ever present in my memories and my daily living.’-John Aloisio, son of Edward
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway needed to secure massive amounts of coal to power their steam engines. Word of coal deposits near the upper McLeod River basin drove prospectors to stake claims in this area. With coal at hand, the Grand Trunk Pacific made plans to construct a branch south. A new subsidiary, the Grand Trunk Pacific Branch Lines Ltd., began construction in 1910 on a branch railway to access the rich coal seams. By 1912, the first shipment of coal from the branch line left the Yellowhead Pass Coal and Coke Company, near Coalspur. The first coal mined from Robb would be shipped in 1918.
For many years, Marko Filipovich would stop by the station after his shift at the mine and work at carving two large rocks beside the station. He used two sharpened railway spikes on large flat boulders that were close to the track and station.
The first stone has the inscription:
1910 G T P Railroad
Boat without sail, Ship without Rudder, Man without Woman, Pig without Tail
The second pays tribute to the McManus family:
J. McManus CNR 1935 Robb, Alberta
It also includes a picture of a horse head and three-leaf clover paying homage to Joe’s Irish background.
These stones stayed beside the station until K. Brandle moved them to the Robb General Store after the closing of the Robb Station. For many decades the rocks stayed at the store, a well-photographed site by tourists to the area. After the closure of the store, the stones were moved to the multi-plex, for a new generation to enjoy.
The house on the corner was once the Anglican Church in Mountain Park. Built using donations from miners in Mountain Park, the church was completed in 1940. After being used only a handful of times, the community of Mountain Park became abandoned after the mine closed. Due to potential wildfire danger with vacant buildings, the ghost town of Mountain Park was demolished. Luckily, the Anglican Church was relocated to Robb in 1958. The church has been repurposed as a family summer cabin.
The Bryan Hotel is part of Yellowhead County’s Heritage Inventory, which evaluates the historical value of a place. The Bryan Hotel was established in the 1940s to provide lodgings for the miners at the Bryan Mine, located west of the current HWY 47. The boarding house was later purchased in the 1970s and renovated into a hotel. Many of the original features of the building remain, including the upstairs bannister and coal boiler, although it has been converted to use natural gas.
The Bryan Hotel has been an important gathering place for the hamlet of Robb for generations and continues to serve as a bar and restaurant today.
In 1918, Peter Addison Robb partnered with Dr. A. E. Porter and Eusebio Morino to develop the claim. The men sold the mine for $100,000 to the cooperative Balkan Coal. Two years later, the company was sold to Alberta Standard Coal Company Limited. Hoping to sell lots of coal at below-market value, the company went bankrupt in 6 months. By 1927, Lakeside Coals purchased the liquidated assets of the mine and started operations again. Lakeside was headed by Edwin A. McBain, who owned the mine at Wabamun, hence the name ‘Lakeside.’
While McBain had achieved some success with his other mines, Lakeside was hit with multiple misfortunes. In 1923, the mine caught on fire, and the affected shafts were blocked. However, the fire broke through to the surface in 1943. Lakeside spent the following two years attempting to put the fire out to no avail. Lakeside abandoned the site and began to mine from the west. While the east slope brought fire, the west was constantly flooding from Bryan Creek. In 1944, sparks ignited coal dust on the boiler house and quickly spread to the surrounding buildings. The tipple, power plant and trestle were up in flames in just a few short moments. The company never recovered from this disaster and sold the mine in 1950 for strip mining. Although stripping briefly occurred, all mining operations ceased in 1958.
This name marks the distance on the railway from Bickerdike, the start of the Coal Branch.