1999.329.2 | Beaver Mine, Thetford Mines, QC, about 1930
Beaver Mine, Thetford Mines, QC, about 1930
About 1930, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
25.7 x 20.2 cm
Gift of Mr. Alfred Penhale Estate
This artefact belongs to :© Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
Keys to History
Despite the safety measures taken in the 1930s, fatal accidents still occurred: in December 1938, a rock slide killed seven men at the Bell mine at Thetford Mines. But miners were not the only ones threatened by rock slides. In the 1940s, roads and buildings too close to the pit were sometimes in danger of collapsing because of the mining method used, called block caving.
A caterpillar steam shovel is loading cars at the bottom of the pit. Electric shovels had also been used in the Thetford Mines region since 1929. Diesel shovels would make their appearance in the 1940s.
This is probably the Beaver pit at Thetford Mines. The growing craters would soon threaten miners' houses in the Mitchell and St. Maurice neighbourhoods. Back in the 19th century, miners had started settling near their workplaces. By the mid-20th century, mine expansion was coming into conflict with urban development.
This photo was taken sometime in winter in the 1930s. Trucks were not yet in common use. The sides of the pits were dangerously steep. Starting in 1948, terraced pits became common as trucks began to replace locomotives and railcars.
Seen from above the pit, the miners looked increasingly like ants. Would you have noticed the man to the left of the steam shovel if he had not been circled?