King Coal: A Social History of Coal Mining in Alberta
By Khalehla Litschel
FriesenPress (January 17, 2018)
King Coal presents the rich history of Alberta coal mining, and the people and culture that emerged out of the industry, from the 1870s through to the modern era. King Coal invites the reader to discover Alberta’s coal history, its triumphs and tragedies, and its legacy in the province today. Uniquely, the book’s carefully researched historical sources are augmented by a vision of the era imagined through a fictional account of the author’s coal mining ancestors, as well as a variety of poetry, song lyrics, archival and modern photographs, and appendices that contain maps, charts, and links to multiple museums and historic sites around the province. These features of the book complete a full portrait of miners and their families, presenting how they lived and worked, the innovations they created, the tragedies they endured, and the life cycles experienced in the towns where they lived—including those boom and bust towns that have disappeared from the Canadian landscape. Made to feel like insiders in a different time, readers will emerge from King Coal with an excellent view of the social side of coal mining in Alberta, a time in Canada’s history when Coal was King.
Fascinated with Alberta coal mining since her first visit to the Bellevue Underground Mine at Crowsnest Pass, Khalehla Litschel graduated cum laude from The King’s University with a degree in history. She works as a program assistant at the Fort Heritage Precinct in Fort Saskatchewan where she is honing her craft of gathering and disseminating information by providing tours and special events while also taking courses from the Alberta Museums Association as she works towards a Certificate in Museums Studies. She has published several pieces in Ballyhoo, The King’s University College Annual Student Art Publication, and work in The Logos Lantern of the Edmonton Logos Society. Khalehla lives with her family in Edmonton. Among her most precious possessions are her great-grandfather’s coal mining pick axe, his mine drill—both gifts from her grandfather—and, most recently, her great-grandfather’s mining helmet, discovered in a garage attic.