Fort Steele originated as a fur trading post and became a Kootenay River
crossing known as Galbraith's Ferry. Due to disputes between the Kootenay Indians and settlers, the Northwest Mounted Police, led by Sam Steele, came here to settle the disputes and erected a fort and barracks. Thus, Fort Steele came into being in 1887. After "the Indian trouble" abated the next year, the Police left and for several years, placer mining for gold was the only activity. When silver was discovered in 1892, the town boomed with hundreds of miners and sternwheelers from Montana. In 1898 the Crowsnest Pass Railway was diverted to Cranbrook
, two sternwheelers were wrecked, and the town was a dying one by 1904.
It has since been restored as Fort Steele Heritage Town.