During the 1864 gold rush, a cable ferry stretched across a narrow section of the Kootenay River, enabling prospectors to safely cross the turbulent waters. A small settlement sprang up, and after another mining boom -- this time for silver, lead, and zinc -- Fort Steele had more than 4,000 inhabitants. But when the railroad pushed through, it bypassed Fort Steele in favor of Cranbrook. Within 5 years, all but 150 of the citizens had left. In the 1960s, the crumbling ghost town was declared a heritage site. Today, more than 60 restored and reconstructed buildings grace the townsite, including a hotel, churches, saloons, and a courthouse and jail. In summer, living-history actors give demonstrations of period skills and occupations. There are also a steam train, wagon rides, and a variety show at the Wild Horse Theatre. The International Hotel Restaurant serves Victorian fare.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Recommended 2010
- visit website
- tel: 250/426-7352
- 16km (10 miles) northeast of Cranbrook on Hwy. 93/95
- Cranbrook, BC
- May-June and Labour Day to mid-Oct daily 9:30am-5pm; July to Labour Day daily 9:30am-6pm. Evening entertainment and restaurant July to Labour Day Tues-Sun
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