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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mt. Eisenhower in Canada??


The train tracks in the foreground of this post card belong to the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The mountain was named "Castle Mountain" by James Hector in 1858 (a Scottish geologist, naturalist, and surgeon who
accompanied the Palliser Expedition as a surgeon and geologist) for its castle-like appearance. From 1946 to 1979 it was known as Mount Eisenhower in honour of the World War II general Dwight D. Eisenhower. Public pressure caused its original name to be restored, but a pinnacle on the southeastern side of the mountain was named Eisenhower Tower.


Located nearby are the remains of Silver City, a 19th-century mining settlement, AND the Castle Mountain Internment Camp in which persons deemed enemy aliens and suspected enemy sympathizers were confined during World War I. The Castle Mountain Internment Camp, located in Banff National Park, Alberta, was the largest internment facility in the Canadian Rockies, housing several hundred prisoners at any one time. Established on July 13, 1915, a total of 660 "enemy aliens" were interned at the facility during its entire operation. It held immigrant prisoners of Ukrainian, Austrian, Hungarian and German descent. Their only crime was that they were not born in Canada.

Despite their civilian status, a great many people were sent to prisoner of war camps located in the Canadian hinterland, to be used as military conscript labour on government work projects. Of particular note was the use of forced labour in Canada’s national parks, where they were introduced there as a matter of policy to improve existing facilities and increase accessibility by developing the park system’s infrastructure. By 1915 several internment camps in and around the Rocky Mountains were in full swing, including a camp at the foot of Castle Mountain, the terminal point of the then uncompleted Banff-Laggan (Lake Louise) road.

Recognizing the value of future tourism, the main purpose of the camp was to push the Banff highway on through to Lake Louise, although, in addition, bridges, culverts and fireguards were also built. The camp consisted of tents within a dual barbed wire enclosure. The tents however proved inadequate during the severe winter climate, forcing the camp to relocate to military barracks built on the outskirts of the town of Banff, adjacent to the Cave and Basin, site of the original Hot Springs.

With the onset of spring, the camp returned once more to the Castle Mountain site. This process of return and relocation would continue until August 1917 when the camp was finally closed when the internees were conditionally released to industry to meet the growing labour shortage. All of the above information was taken from Wikipedia.

The post card was printed and published by Byron Harmon.
Harmon arrived in Alberta in 1903 as an itinerant photographer after leaving his portrait studio in Tacoma, Washington. By 1906 He had become a founding member and official photographer of the Alpine Club of Canada. He took over 6,400 photographs while exploring the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirks. In 1907 Harmon began turning many of these photographs into real photo postcards, which became his principal life’s work. In 1924 he traveled into the Rockies with the photographer Lewis R. Freeman. Some of the real photo postcards produced under Harmon’s name from this trip may actually be the work of Freeman that he published for him. After this trip Harmon mostly produced scenes alongside railway lines.
This particular post card has a white border around it so it is probably from between 1915 to 1930.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.