Pre Settlement History
3000-5000 years ago three main Indian tribes came into this area - the Shuswap from the Okanagan, the SolvilIe from Washington and Kutenai from the East Kootenays. The first white man on the Arrow Lakes was Finan McDonald, one of David Thompson’s men, who arrived just above Revelstoke in August 1811.
The first white settlers arrived in 1890. The first steamer ‘Forty Nine’ was launched in Washington to carry freight and passengers to the gold fields during the Big Bend Gold Rush (1865).
Nakusp’s settlement history begins in 1892 when the town site was put up for sale by the Rand Bros. - 25’ lots sold for as much as $300 each. Speculation was that Nakusp would become a mining town.
Since there were no roads or railways between the Kootenay mining areas and Vancouver, goods had to be shipped by water transport from Nakusp to Revelstoke where the main CPR line was located and for a time Nakusp became a thriving community on this shipping route.
The first post office, the first store and the first sawmill opened in 1892. The Nakusp Ledge, the first newspaper, was published on October 5,1893 - the first church opened its doors in 1898. The first school opened in 1895 with an enrollment of 9 in the one room.
First Hospital - 1908
Communications came in 1905 with telephone service - the first hospital opened in 1908 and the first bank in 1909. Power arrived in 1920 along with the first volunteer fire brigade
Of the early buildings only a few remain - 2 are the Leland Hotel (built in the 1890’s) and the Centennial Building (built as a school in 1912) which now houses the Nakusp & Area Library.
In 1905 Nakusp had a population of about 300 residents. The Village of Nakusp was incorporated November 24, 1964 with Joseph Parent as the first mayor. The current population is about 1750.
The importance of forestry for the economy was soon recognized and eventually forestry overtook mining as the major economic base of Nakusp. Celgar began operations in 1951 and Nakusp became the centre of a large pole and lumber industry.
Interfor now operates the main forestry operation in Nakusp, and several mills are currently in operation.