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History of Revelstoke

Revelstoke is located in a temperate rain forest and the tourism potential of the town was recognized very early on. Mount Revelstoke National Park was proclaimed a national park in 1914, at the urging of the local citizens. The surrounding peaks attracted mountaineers beginning in the 1880's with over a thousand people each year staying at the CPR's Glacier Hotel near the summit of Rogers Pass. Until 1940, with the construction of the Big Bend highway, the only way to travel east of Revelstoke was by railway. The Trans-Canada Highway through Rogers Pass was finally completed in 1962, making Revelstoke easily accessible by car for the first time.

Before the construction of the Hugh Keenleyside Dam at Castelgar in the 1960's, there was considerable agricultural activity in this region, with about 200 farms from Revelstoke to Arrowhead, about 50 miles south. At one-time, Revelstoke was known for small berry production, with strawberries shipped across Canada. There were several farms in the Columbia Park and Big Eddy areas, as well as what is now Arrow Heights. Mount Cartier was a large Ukrainian farming community at the base of the mountain and produced much of the hay and vegetables for the district. Standard Dairy, near the current baseball fields, and Hillcrest Dairy, at the site fo the current Hillcrest Hotel were two of the largest dairy farms in the area.

Mackenzie Avenue, circa 1915
photo: Revelstoke Museum & Archives: #P1092

For more information on the history of Revelstoke and district, we welcome you to visit the Revelstoke Museum & Archives. Explore the history of the area through our exhibits or browse through our collection of over 5,000 photographs and our extensive reference room and archives.

By Cathy English, Curator/Director, Revelstoke Museum & Archives