The Story of the Vulcan Hotel

The Vulcan Hotel today

The Vulcan Hotel has a unique place in the history of Southern Alberta.  One of the most notable geological events of the recent history of the area, the collapse of Turtle Mountain in the Crowsnest Pass and the resulting formation of Frank Slide, played a large role in the dynamic history of this building.  Following the destruction of much of the pioneer coal mining town of Frank, the (then known as) Imperial Hotel was dismantled and moved by railroad to the townsite of Vulcan, arriving in 1912.

Although the town of Frank continued to grow following the slide, and the Imperial Hotel remained open for a time, speculation of another slide led to the ultimate relocation of the town of Frank in 1912 to its current location.  The owner of the Imperial Hotel at the time, Mr. A Mutz, had it torn down and salvaged the material to have the hotel rebuilt in a new location he had selected in Vulcan.  The following appeared in the Vulcan Review on September 24, 1912:

“The Imperial Hotel was opened to the public this week.  It is the largest and best equipped hotel between Calgary and Lethbridge.  The exterior is finished in cement block effect, while the interior is electric-lighted, steam heated and a complete system of waterworks has been installed.”

Turtle Mountain and Frank Slide

In 1916, Mr. Mutz put in a steam plant for the electric lighting, wich also allowed him to install the first lights on main street in Vulcan and a laundry service using steam from the plant.

Mr. and Mrs. Mutz retired in 1930, and the Hotel was then owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. J Dobbs who had come from Taber.  Dobb’s ownership lasted 32 years, in which many alterations were made to the Hotel and it was known to be very clean and luxurious for a prairie Hotel.  Following the end of  the Dobb’s ownership in 1962,  the Hotel ownership has changed many times and both the interior and exterior have undergone major changes.

Any viewers with photos or information regarding the unique story of the Vulcan Hotel are more than welcome to further contribute to this article.  Please comment below or send an email to

For more information on the events of Frank Slide, visit these online articles:


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