Creston

Creston, BC, incorporated as a town in 1924, population 5306 (2011c), 4826 (2006c). The Town of Creston is located in the west Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia.

Creston, BC, incorporated as a town in 1924, population 5306 (2011c), 4826 (2006c). The Town of Creston is located in the west Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia. The focal point of the Creston Valley, the town is situated on Highway 3, the Crowsnest Highway (southern Trans-Canada) 109 km W of Cranbrook and 119 km E of Castlegar. Originally it had been known as Seventh Siding, when the CPR was under construction and later as Fisher. In 1898 the CPR officially recognized the name Creston, after a town in Iowa, on the insistence of one of Creston's founders. In the late 1890s the townsite was laid out on the land between the Canadian Pacific and the Great Northern railway lines, although settlers soon began to occupy the land to the N and E.

David THOMPSON was probably the first white man in the area, in the year 1809. A band of the KOOTENAY originally populated the area, living mainly by fishing the Kootenay R and Kootenay Lk. In the 1860s the DEWDNEY TRAIL, which traversed the valley, was cut from Hope, at the N end of the Fraser Valley, to the Wild Horse gold diggings near FORT STEELE. Few ventured this way after the gold fields were abandoned a short time later, until the discovery of silver in the West Kootenays, when sternwheelers were introduced on the Kootenay R and Lk to ferry miners and supplies into Ainsworth, Kaslo and other Lake points, and to carry out the ore. In 1890 the Alice Mine was staked, although work did not begin until later.

Activity began to shift to logging in the valley, but by 1908, when the provincial government broke up the Crown lands for sale, it was recognized that it was fruit growing that showed long-range potential. William A. Baillie-Grohman proposed the reclamation of the alluvial flood plain of the Kootenay R west of the town by a diversion of the Kootenay into the Columbia R at Canal Flats - named after the canal dug at that point. The unusually high water in 1894 ruined the dikes and his company failed, and it was not until the early 1930s that the federal government began reclaiming bottomlands on a vast scale (eventually 8100 ha). The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, extending S from Lk Kootenay to the US border, is a stopover point for migrating waterfowl, notably swans.


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