Curated Collection of Historical Photos from Revelstoke

In 1885, during construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), surveyor A.S. Farwell laid out the main street of a town, which was also named after him. When the CPR eventually reached the community of Farwell they disputed his claim to the land and ultimately built their station east of town. The disagreement didn’t end there though. In 1886 the CPR wanted to name the town in honour of the man, Lord Revelstoke, whose banking firm provided the funds that would ensure the railroad’s completion. The development of the town was delayed for years as a battle between Farwell and the CPR was fought in court. It wasn’t until 1897 that landowners could get clear title for their property. Revelstoke was incorporated as a city two years later, in 1899.

Bridge over Columbia River, British Columbia, 1884-1886

Between the CPR and the steamboat traffic along the Columbia River, Revelstoke was an important transportation hub for British Columbia’s interior. As such, the town had many amenities that were typically only available in larger urban centres. These included an Opera House, a YMCA gymnasium, the largest department store in the province’s interior, C.B. Hume’s, and the first ever ski jump in North America that was established in 1915.

Ice boat in Revelstoke area, British Columbia, 1908-1912

Natural resources, in the areas of forestry and mining, have long been the backbone of Revelstoke’s economy and still continue to play important roles to this day. Tourism now plays a prominent role in the community’s economic prosperity as Revelstoke has established itself as a mountain sports mecca.

Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1887-1889
Albert Canyon, Selkirk range, British Columbia, 1889
Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1886
Illecillewaet river gorge, British Columbia, 1905-1906
Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1905-1906
Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1905-1906
Canadian Pacific Railway bridge, Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1890
Waterfall, Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, 1912
Surveyors with snowshoes, British Columbia, 1913
Lunch being hauled by sledge to surveyors, British Columbia, 1913
Snow plough on Canadian Pacific Railway line, British Columbia, 1914
Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1920s
Nurses taken to Nakimu caves by workers on Connaught Tunnel construction project, British Columbia, 1914
Snowshoeing on Christmas Day at Twin Butte, British Columbia, 1913
The north fork of the Illecillewaet River, Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, 1912
Men with mountain climbing ropes and equipment in front of a building in the forest, Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, 1912
Canadian Pacific Railway, Arrow Lake Subdivision, mile 1, British Columbia, 1915
Cedar logs banked on Columbia River south of Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1915
Douglas Hector’s grave, British Columbia, 1920-1939
Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive 5780, British Columbia, 1927
Canadian Pacific Railway locomotives 5904 and 5911 eastbound from Revelstoke, British Columbia, 1936-1938
The town, Columbia River, and the Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, 1945

For even more historical photos from around the Revelstoke area, please see these previous posts about Glacier National Park and Rogers Pass.

Steamboat “Revelstoke”, British Columbia, 1920

The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives. If you’re interested, additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on the photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

About Tyler Dixon 177 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.