Community History

The book 'Crowsnest and its People' covers the History of Hillcrest and the History of Bellevue in great detail.  This volume also covers the history of the other towns and villages in the Crowsnest (including those that no longer exist).  In addition to the history of the towns, you will also find information regarding families, industry, organizations and social aspects of our community.

Bellevue was founded in 1905 on the flat land above the Bellevue Mine operated by the French-based West Canadian Collieries (WCC). Its post office opened in 1907. The naming of the town is credited to Elsie Fleutot, the young daughter of one of WCC's French Canadian principals, Jules J. Fleutot, after she exclaimed "Quelle belle vue!" (What a beautiful view!). In 1909, the Maple Leaf Coal Company commenced operations at the Mohawk Bituminous Mine and constructed the settlement of Maple Leaf adjacent to Bellevue. In 1913, WCC transferred many workers to Bellevue from its closed Lille operations. WCC displayed a five-ton coal boulder at the 1910 Dominion Exhibition in Calgary.

This period of growth was not without setbacks. An explosion in the Bellevue Mine during a partial afternoon shift on December 9, 1910, killed 30 miners. In 1917, a fire destroyed most of Bellevue's business section, followed by smaller fires in 1921 and 1922. A shanty-town called Bush Town, or Il Bosc, below Bellevue was flooded in 1923 but persisted for several years.

West Canadian Collieries opened the Adanac Mine at Byron Creek in 1945, but by 1957 all of the Bellevue area mines were closed. The tipple at Bellevue continued to process coal from WCC's Grassy Mountain open-pit, but was removed in 1962 after that operation closed. These closures caused a critical reduction in Bellevue's tax base.

Bellevue finally incorporated as a village on January 1, 1957.  The realignment of Highway 3 in the 1970s led to a decline of Bellevue's business section.

 Another web page that covers some of the most exciting aspects of Crowsnest Pass history can be found here .

Bellecrest Community Association History

The Bellecrest Community Association formed in 1982 for the purpose of drawing traffic back into the community after the realignment of Highway 3.  To draw people back into the communities of Bellevue and Hillcrest the association has hosted a large number of events and performed numerous activities to enhance the life in Bellecrest!