By Cathy English, Revelstoke Museum & Archives
Revelstoke is a relatively small community with several distinct neighbourhoods. Heritage Week this year celebrates “Good Neighbours – Heritage Homes and Neighbourhoods”, making this a good time to reflect on how these distinct parts have developed and contributed to make Revelstoke the vibrant community that it is now.
In Revelstoke’s early development, the population was mostly centred on Front and Douglas Streets, with small pockets in other parts of town. The Farwell townsite map of 1885 identifies the community as stretching from Front Street to First Street, and from the CPR bridge to the base of the Douglas Street hill.
A dispute with Farwell led the Canadian Pacific Railway to locate its station and yards well outside of his provincial land grant. A new community, known initially as Revelstoke Station, built up around the new station, with some business buildings located right on Track Street.
Business owners who did not want to pay extra shipping charges to have their goods brought to their Front Street stores soon relocated to Mackenzie Avenue or First Street, causing an eventual shift in the downtown. Front Street went from a bustling business street to its current residential use.
Before the shift became complete, there was a great deal of rivalry between the two neighbourhoods. The first fire brigade was created in 1892, with a fire station on Front Street, but by 1899 the residents of Station Townsite, or “Upper Revelstoke” as it was more commonly known, were calling for their own fire brigade and station. Fire Brigade No. 2 was created, with a new station built behind the old city hall building. Revelstoke also had two post offices, and even separate toboggan runs and tennis clubs.
Many of our current neighbourhoods started out as primarly farming areas, including Arrow Heights, Columbia Park, Southside and Big Eddy. It’s interesting to see how the community has shifted and changed over the years.