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Rocky Mountain House, Settlement

During the late 1700s, the uncharted territory of what is now known as the Rocky Mountain House was travelled by British and Canadian fur traders.

Rocky Mountain House was for many years the richest fur producing area in the Northwest. It shipped great bales of otter, sable, cross fox and many other common furs yearly. In 1799 James Bird arrived with a party of voyageurs to establish the first trading post for the North West Fur Company known as Rocky Mountain House. Another fur trading post, Acton House, was established by the Hudson's Bay Company in close proximity. As a result, there was fierce competition for trade with the Kootenay and Blackfoot aboriginal groups. In 1821, the two trading companies merged. The North West Company's post was closed but the name Rocky Mountain House remained. David Thompson, the famous explorer, surveyor and geographer made the fort at Rocky Mountain House his headquarters from 1801-1802 while exploring and mapping for the North West Fur Company. He returned in 1806 to complete his work.

During the its turbulent history, the fort was burned to the ground by Aboriginals three times, but was rebuilt by traders each time until the decline of furs forced the abandonment of the post in 1869.The fur trade era ended a year later and the fort closed in 1875. In total, five different fur trade posts were built between 1799 and 1875. Around 1900, the first settlers hungry for land started to drift in. They were seeking the opportunities offered by the vast natural resources in the area. Resourceful homesteaders established major industries in mine props, railroad ties, fence posts, telegraph poles and power line poles. In 1912, the town of Rocky Mountain House was established.

Hudson's Bay Company Fort

Hudson's Bay Company Fort

Main street

Main street