Cranbrook Community Album
After Colonel James Baker's coup of stealing the CPR away from Fort Steele he returned to his home in Cranbrook, Kent, England. His son Valentine Hyde Baker continued at Cranbrook, B.C., living in the family home in 'The Park,' now Baker Park. It was under Hyde Baker's tenure that 'The Park' flourished as the social centre of Cranbrook. The fetes and other social occasions, the continual auto touring and the gathering of young, socially conscious townsfolk brought to Cranbrook an excitement it had never felt before. It was under the influence of the Bakers that Cranbrook forged the unique character that would take it forward to the present time.
In 1905 the city incorporated and quickly became the trading centre of East Kootenay. Electrical and telephone systems were installed and Opera Houses and Auditoriums built. The first City Council was elected and soon after that School Boards and other community administrations.
Cranbrook became a strong lumbering centre with both American and British investors attracted by the huge stands of first growth timber. Gradually Baker Street expanded and filled in. Many fine and attractive business blocks were constructed. Slowly tourism also became an industry of note, along with mining. The community experienced slow and sustained growth.
In the 21st century Cranbrook and the Columbia Basin have been 'discovered' by the world. Large recreational and housing developments began to appear everywhere. The shape and fabric of Basin communities began to alter. In Cranbrook, as elsewhere in the Columbia Basin, an examination of local history is being encouraged so that we can move forward, building on the best our community has created in the past. A bright future that recognizes and pays homage to our hardworking roots is anticipated.