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Castlegar Community Album: People From the Past

Investigating Castlegar’s history is analogous to wrestling with a very large octopus. There is no definitive site or date that immediately proposes itself. For us at the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History that is a wonderful proposition. It means that we have the opportunity to pull together a number of vanished or amalgamated communities into one fascinating exploration – Sproat’s landing, Waterloo, Westley, Robson, West Robson, Brooklyn – the list of contributing communities goes on and on.

As well, no historical rooting into Castlegar’s past can be accomplished without exploring historic transportation routes. The abundance of connecting water routes led to very early boat traffic which, in turn, fostered railway development. Simply, the railway contractors utilized the paddlewheelers for initial supply of their construction camps and so planned railway development accordingly. Inevitably, the emerging network of roads branched from the railways, first utilizing the tote roads of railway construction, then the rail beds of failed railroad lines. The complex and widespread transportation network meant that Castlegar became a transportation hub early on.

The access to natural resources provided by the transportation network meant jobs, and Castlegar grew with agricultural, lumbering, mining and industrial processing activity. It is an exciting history, made even more intriguing with the ethnic diversity Castlegar manifests. The Columbia Basin Image Bank holds a large archive of digital images related to the Castlegar area. We have partnered with the Kootenay Gallery of Art, History and Science and with several private contributors to make these documents available to you. Please take advantage and move from the Castlegar Album deeper into the history of the Castlegar area contained within the Image Bank. Enjoy the rich diversity!