Fort Steele (1887-1888) - A North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post first established in 1887 in the present day town Fort Steele in British Columbia. Established as Kootenay Post, the first permanent North West Mounted Police post west of the Rocky Mountains. Later became known as Fort Steele after the NWMP Superintendent Samuel Steel who established the post, Abandoned in 1888.
History of Fort Steele
A North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post first established in 1887 to resolve a growing conflict between native peoples and settlers in the Kootenay Valley. Chief Isador of the Ktunaxa band had freed two members of his band from the Wildhorse Jail who were murder suspects and local tensions were high.
NWMP Superintendent Sam Steele arrived with "D" Division to establish a post to control the situation. Steele first established a tent camp and then began construction on the post to house the officers and men of "D" Division. To defuse the local situation Steele investigated the incident and found that the charges against the two men were bogus and ordered them dropped. His actions impressed the Chief and the local population so much that the Chief and his people went back to the reserve and the settlers named the town Fort Steele after Sam Steele.
Fort Steele (Kootenay Post) remained open for about a year, closing in 1888.
Must See! Part of the Fort Steele Heritage Town. The NWMP post and the town of Fort Steele have been recreated as they were in the 1880s and 1890s. On the recreated NWMP post, particular attention to detail is paid to the Officer's quarters where every room has been furnished as it would have been on 3 Mar 1888 just before supper time. The occasion was a farewell dinner for a visiting Assistant NWMP Commissioner Herchmer.
The remainder of the post surrounds a large central parade with a large, two wing, enlisted barracks on the southwest end of the compound and NCO quarters and Orderly Room on the northeast end. A large stable and workshop line the southeast side of the compound.
Visited: 19 Jun 2017