History

Rocky Mountain House was an important fur trading fort during the 1800's. Both the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company traded with 9 First Nations groups (Nakoda, Siksika, Tsuu t'ina, Ktunaxa, Piikani, Atsina, Kainai, Nehiyawak, and Mètis). European goods were traded for furs from the First Nations.

David Thompson, a great mapmaker of Western Canada, spent much time at Rocky Mountain House, since it was the last fort before crossing the Rocky Mountains.

Timeline of the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

1799Rocky Mountain House (North West Company) and Acton House (Hudson's Bay Company) forts are built.

1800David Thompson arrives at Rocky Mountain House.

1801Fanny, David Thompson and Charlotte Small's first child, is born at Rocky Mountain House. They went on to have a total of thirteen children.

1802NWC and HBC forts are abandoned since they both failed to trade with the Ktunaxa first nations.

1805Rocky Mountain House and Acton House are reopened.

1807David Thompson leaves Rocky Mountain House to cross the mountains and reach the Columbia River. Forts close.

1810Pikanii blockade at Howse pass stops David Thompson from reaching the Columbia River. Rocky Mountain House is reopened for Joseph Howse, the explorer.

1811David Thompson crosses the Athabasca Pass in winter to reach the Columbia River.

1819Rocky Mountain House and Acton House reopen after being closed for seven years.

1821The HBC and NWC merge under the name of the Hudson's Bay Company. Acton House is occupied, but renamed Rocky Mountain House.

1825After being closed for two years, Rocky Mountain House reopens as a wintering post.

1835A new Rocky Mountain House fort (fort 3) is constructed near the previous site.

1841The first missionary to reach Rocky Mountain House, Reverend Robert T. Rundle, arrives.

1847Artist Paul Kane visits Rocky Mountain House and depicts a 5-sided fort in his painting.

1853Chief factor, J. E. Harriott, leaves Rocky Mountain House after being in command for twenty years.

1858The Palliser Expedition's James Hector and John Palliser visit Rocky Mountain House.

1861Rocky Mountain House is abandoned due to starvation. The fort burns to the ground during the fur traders absence.

1864A temporary fort is built while a permanent, year-round fort is being constructed.

1868The permanent fort (fort 4) is completed and occupied.

1870William Francis Butler visits Rocky Mountain House as part of investigation on the whiskey trade and general lawlessness in the west.

1875Rocky Mountain House is closed.

1912The Canadian Northern railway comes to the Rocky Mountain House village.

1922Chester and Mabel Brierley start farming the land.

1926The location of the forts is given Historic Site status.

1931The Brierley family donates the land around fort 4 and a plaque is placed at the chimney ruins to commemorate Rocky Mountain House.

1968The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recommends the site to be an official historic park.

1977The Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site opens to the public.

2015The Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site remains open to visitors ans continues to be an important archaeological site.

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Confluence Heritage Society

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