Like Beaver Mines, the community of Lundbreck owes its economic origins to both the ranching & coal mining industries. Their contributions actually pre-date the establishment of the settlement.
Local ranching started in the late 1870s as a collage of family & corporate based operations. The first, dating from 1879, was the 40,000 acre Garnett Bros. spread between the Middle & South Forks of the Oldman River that extended as far west as the eastern entrance to the Crowsnest Pass. Within four years half of it was purchased by F. W. Godsal. To the north was the vast Walrond Ranche, a conglomerate established in 1883 via financing from Great Britain. Local veterinarian Dr. Duncan McEachren served as one of the original shareholders. A massive log house for the manager was built some eleven years later. During the mid 1910s, the Doukhobor community established a series of farms in the Lundbreck area.
Two Lundbreck area coal mines dated back to the 1880s. The first was established just north of the Middle Fork by local pioneer Mart Holloway, already famed for his participation in the naming of Pincher Creek. The second, the Galbraithe Coal Mine, also operated during the 1880s & re-opened in 1904 following the establishment of the CPR’s siding here. It was managed by C.C. Moore & J. G. Short. The best remembered mine was operated during the early 1900s by Mess. Breckenridge & Lund, credited with the naming of Lundbreck itself. NWMP reports indicated that nearly 75 men were employed at the Lundbreck mines in 1905.
Lundbreck also became a commercial centre for area ranchers & coal mines. The Lundbreck Trading Co. was established as a general store in the early 1900s by the Rogers Bros. It was several changes of ownership, first sold in 1907 to A. H. Knight, & later still, to the partnership of Walter Knight & Arthur Densmore. Wallace T. Eddy operated a butcher shop nearby. A local firm of Green & Mason owned a thriving livery stable. Charles Moore operated a general store & H. G. Slemmon had a butcher shop. H. H. Esham was the local blacksmith. Overnight accommodation was provided by the Windsor Hotel, under the ownership of Thomas Madden. It was a two-story complex that outback boosted a double-decker outhouse. The building unfortunately was destroyed by fire in 1963.
Educational services came early with the establishment of the Lundbreck School District No. 1571 in 1907. The first school teacher was Mr. Schofield & the initial Board was composed of five early businessmen, doctors & ranchers. Classes were first held in a small bunk house which quickly became over crowded. By 1910, a larger country school was constructed. Early teacher salaries were as low as 70 dollars monthly & there was a high turnover of teachers during the 1920s & 1930s. In 1932, a second class room was built in the school’s basement which allowed for the separation of classes into lower & upper grades. The first Grade 12 graduating class dated from 1954, and in 1959, the modern Livingstone School with all twelve grades was established. Lundbreck remains one of the few rural hamlets home to such a large school.
Lundbreck was declared a hamlet in 1907. Its Post Office, which still operates today, was established on April 1st, 1906 with James T. Wallace as its first postmaster.
Source: Researched & Written by Farley Wuth, Curator, Pincher Creek & District Historical Society.