Legend Of The Lost Lemon Mine
If you are looking for adventure, take Highway Two and head down, past Calgary, hanging a right on Highway 533 for quick jaunt to Coleman, almost directly west of the City of Lethbridge. Maybe, with a little luck and a lot of hiking, you may find the Lost Lemon Mine.
The story of this mine begins, according to Mysteries of Canada blogger, Bruce Rickets, during the 1870’s. A pack of gold-fevered prospectors had been travelling up from Montan to Southwest Alberta to seek their gilded fortune. A pair of them, known only to history as “Lemon and Blackjack”, split off from the group and headed towards the Rockies in search of their lucky strike. The pair were panning their way upstream when they began encountering success. Here is how it was described by Senator Dan Riley in the 1946 publication of The Alberta Folklore Quarterly. And we all know senators never lie.
"Blackjack and Lemon found likely showings of gold in the river. Following the mountain stream upwards toward the headwaters they discovered rich diggings from grass roots to bedrock. They sank two pits and, while bringing their cayuses in from the picket line, they accidentally discovered the ledge from which the gold came..."
"In camp that night the two prospectors got into an argument as to whether they should return in the spring or camp right there. After they had bedded down for the night, Lemon stealthily crawled out of his blankets, seized an axe and split the head of his sleeping partner. Overwhelmed with panic when he realized the enormity of his crime, Lemon built a huge fire and, with his gun beneath his arm, strode to and fro like a caged beast till dawn."
As the legend goes, the brutal attack was witnessed by some Blackfoot braves who immediately alerted the chief of the tribe. However, the natives were ultimately blamed for the incident and Lemon got off scot free. The chief then cursed the mine so that any who shall find it shall forever be cursed.
So far, or at least so the story goes, no less than three separate parties have since located the cursed mine and have died before they could either realize any riches from their success nor been able to let anyone else know where the mine can be found.
In 1988, a geological technician from the University of Alberta by the name of Ron Stewart went looking for evidence of gold deposits that might give substance to the legend. When the research seemed to indicate there was some potential in the geology of the area to host gold-bearing deposits, the Coleman area played involuntary host a mini-gold rush. Stewart went on to write the book “Goldrush; The Search for the lost Lemon Mine.” Other sources give a great deal of weight, however, to Tom Primrose and Hugh Dempsey’s, The Lost Lemon Mine-The greatest mystery of the Canadian Rockies” which was published by Frontier Books.
Are the stories of the mysterious mine with the gruesome past mere fiction or is there a fortune in gold hidden out there for someone lucky enough… or perhaps, unlucky enough given the whole curse thing, to find the Lost Lemon Mine? It’s anybody’s guess and might just be what you were looking for if you wanted to kick “geo-caching” up a notch.
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