Princeton, BC, incorporated as a town in 1978, population 2724 (2011c), 2780 (2006c). The Town of Princeton is located at the junction of the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers, 114 km west of Penticton. Originally known as Vermilion or Red Earth Forks, it was also called Similkameen and Allisons, after the first pioneer, John Fall Allison.
Princeton became a stop on the pack trail from Fort Colvile to Fort Hope after the Oregon Treaty. Allison established a ranch there in 1859 and lived there until 1900, discovering coal and copper in the area. James Douglas had a townsite laid out in 1860 and named it in honour of a visit to British North America by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).
The region boasts a long mining history, starting with the Rock Creek gold rush in the 1860s, which brought many placer miners to the creeks. The much larger strike (1885-90) saw up to 8000 men working at Granite Creek, including many Chinese. Copper was mined 1878-1957 and coal 1898-1950. A key event was the arrival of the Great Northern and Canadian Pacific railways, which opened the Coquihalla-Kettle Valley route to Vancouver. The nearby Nickel Plate Mine at Hedley also benefited the town. The opening of the Hope-Princeton highway (1949), of which Princeton is at the east end, helped to offset mine closures. A brewery that had been established in 1903 shut down in 1961.
Tourism, agriculture and ranching all contribute to the town's economy. Logging has been carried on from earliest times; numerous smaller mills were merged into one large mill in 1976 and it is Princeton's largest employer.