The mine was established in 1936, however the original mine structures were razed by a fire and the site was quickly rebuilt in 1937. Coal mined at the site was mostly ideal for heating homes, and so the mine generally only operated during the winter. Operations ceased in the mid-1950s as new energy sources, like natural gas and oil, replaced coal.
At the height of the coal mining era, there were 139 mines operating in the Drumheller Valley. Today the Atlas Coal Mine is the only one that remains, and as a museum and interpretive centre, it's a fascinating and well-preserved showcase of this industrial chapter.