a heritage town in south-eastern British Columbia, Fort Steele was a town born during the 1864 Kootenay Gold Rush to Wild Horse Creek. The town was originally called Galbraith's Ferry, after John Galbraith, who recognized the need for a ferry over the Kootenay River during the rush, and constructed one. In 1888, it was renamed Fort Steele to honour Superintendent Samuel (Sam) Benfield Steele, who with his North-West Mounted Police regiment, were stationed at Fort Steele. The site was the first permanent post for the North-West Mounted Police west of the Rocky Mountains.
Sam Steele and the "D" Division of the NWMP, containing 3 officers and 75 men, were dispatched to the Kootenays to deffuse tensions between the local Ktunaxa (Kutenai) Indians and the white settlers. Between 1887 and 1888, the tensions were eliminated, and even most of the land disputes in the area were solved.
Fort Steele was a thriving town until 1898, when the B.C. Southern Railway, for political reasons, bypassed the town in favour of Cranbrook. This sounded the death knell for the town - it quickly faded into obscurity, becoming nearly a ghost town.
Today Fort Steele is being restored. With over 60 original or accurately restored/reconstructed buildings, the town is definitely worth a daytrip. It is easily accessible from Cranbrook.