Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers

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The two RV Gypsies
at Fort Steele, British Columbia, Canada
August 31, 2009

After leaving Radium, B.C., the two RV Gypsies came across Fort Steele - a recreated village of the 1890's and decided to take a short break and stroll the village.
directional sign to Fort Steele
welcome sign to Fort Steele

Fort Steele is a heritage town in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. It is located north of the Crowsnest Highway along Highways 93 and 95.

history bookFort Steele was a gold rush boom town founded in 1864 by John Galbraith. The town was originally called "Galbraith's Ferry", named after the ferry set up by the city's founder over the Kootenay River. It was the only ferry within several hundred miles so Mr. Galbraith charged very high prices to get across.

The town was renamed Fort Steele in 1888, after legendary Canadian lawman Superintendent Sam Steele of the North-West Mounted Police solved a dispute between a settler who had unjustly accused one of the local First Nations men with murder. This dispute had caused a great deal of tension between the town and the native people. Sam Steele, finding no real evidence against the accused natives, had the charges against them lifted. Both the town and the First Nations people were so grateful that they renamed the town Fort Steele. Much to Steele's dismay, the "Fort" part of the name comes from the NWMP setting up a station in the town, whereas the town itself was never a real fort.

In the late 1890s, Fort Steele was growing rapidly, becoming the heart of the East Kootenays. The Canadian Pacific Railway showed interest in Fort Steele. It was decided that a station was to be built. But a gentleman named Colonel James Baker had other ideas. Baker, a member of the British Columbia legislature, owned a small logging camp named Joseph's Prairie. Baker bribed and blackmailed his fellow members and convinced them to bypass Fort Steele and bring the railway through Joseph's Prairie. This became final after the document stating the railway was to go through Fort Steele was "lost" in the mail. After the railway was completed, Baker renamed the town to Cranbrook. He later sold the people of Fort Steele land. Fort Steele's population quickly dropped as the population moved to the more appealing Cranbrook.

After Fort Steele was abandoned, the site slowly started to decay. A highway was built through the town's current main street. In the mid-1960s, B.C. parliament started to preserve many historic sites. In 1967, Fort Steele was designated a historic site and restoration began. The highway was abandoned in the early 1960s for a more favorable route.

In 1969 Fort Steele opened to the public as Fort Steele Heritage Town. Over the past 45 years, Fort Steele has become one of British Columbia's premier tourist attractions. Fort Steele offers many attractions, such as horse-drawn carriage rides, blacksmithing demonstrations, ice cream making, gold panning, and leather working. Other attractions include an old style candy shop, a store with old-fashioned goods for sale, and a full service restaurant. The town also has several vintage buildings on display, one being a theatre that has plays every afternoon in the summer.

sign - welcome back to the 1890s
the entrance building to Fort Steele
old cabins
horse and carriage ride
Everyone who works at Fort Steele Village dresses in old time clothing
old time theatre
old time stage office
old time livery stable
laughing clipart dudeLee Duquette got thrown in jail for no reason - or so he says!
jail bed
jail cell dorr
A quick trip to the Court House and Lee was released - thanks to Karen Duquette's fast talking!
sign about the court house
the livery feed stable
outdoor meeting place
old stage coach
Barber shop sign
Lee in front of the barber shop
Lee with the Barber shop pole
The old Windsor Hotel
the old Windsor Hotel
inside the hotel
hotel dining room
hotel lobby
an old victrola
One store does it all
can goods and wrapping paper
clothing and more
fabric for sale
can goods
the safe and stuff
the road and stores
gold minning area
Doctor's office
sign - painless dentistry
dentist chair and drill
dentist chait and tools
The two RV Gypsies decided to have lunch. The below photos are from inside the restaurant. Karen Duquette ordered a chicken pot pie that come out cold so she sent it back and ordered a sandwich which was awful. Rather than try a third order, Karen decided not to eat. Lee Duquette did not like his food either, but he ate it. This frustrated them, so they left the village and continued on their journey.

The two RV Gypsies dropped back down into the United States of America  - please continue on with their 2009 travels because they are far from over.


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