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In 1807 when David Thompson, and his crew expertly challenged the currents at the confluence of the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers, it isn't likely they gave any thought to the future townsites of Golden. It has taken over 75 years of men with visions of homes, families and prosperity to come along.
Originally being one building and simply called "The Cache", the site was used by Major A.B. Rogers as a base camp for his survey crew. In an attempt to outdo a camp to the east, which called itself "Silver City", the name "Golden City" was chosen. The gold mining industry wasn't panning out to meet optimistic expectations and soon the term "City" became a little too pretentious for most and town became known simply as Golden.
As it did with the rest of the nation CPR brought commerce, trade, and population. Colorful and rowdy in the beginning with tales of rum running, gun play and stolen loot (not yet found). This period came to an end as the transient railroad workers moved on to other sites. Those who remained soon settled down to the business of establishing a family community.
Tourism became popular in the early 1900's with the hiring of Swiss guides by the CPR. The lure of fresh, unconquered peaks and indeed the prospect of viewing and experiencing the untouched wilderness of an infant country enticed Europeans and eastern Canadians to fill CPR passenger cars and their hotel rooms.
Edelweiss Village today & KHMR in the background
To make Swiss employees feel more at home the CPR constructed chalets of Swiss concept and called their accomplishment Edelweiss Village. Today the original homes stand overlooking Golden as the town progresses into the age of tourism.
To establish its economy Golden turned to the fortunes of the forest. Here, tribute must be paid to the early pioneers of the logging industry, for it is only through their careful guardianship of the land that the people continue to market a resource, which is available and sustainable.
Golden is not without memories of the steamboat era, for on May 8, 1886, Captain Frank Armstrong, launched "The Duchess: Departing from the Columbia Lake she was charged with transporting supplies for Golden and the never-ending appetites of the busy CPR crew. However exciting, it was a short lived era, for the construction of the southbound CPR tracks in 1914 executed the quick demise of the romantic era of steamboat transportation.
From gold panning in the Quartz Creek area in the late 1800's to the engineered wood products of the 1990's; from 'The Duchess' launching from the Columbia Lake, to the para-gliders sailing off Mount Seven, it is obvious that the people are willing to make friends with the changing faces of time. This virtue possessed by valley residents will ensure for future generations that Golden will remain Authentic. Community. Adventure