Partner City

Princeton

Where Rivers and Friends Meet

Indigenous peoples have come to Princeton for thousands of years to seek the valuable red ochre found in a bluff a short distance west of town. When Europeans, like the pioneer John Fall Allison, began to settle here at the confluence of the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers at the end of the 1850s, they called the place Vermilion Forks after the ochre they found on the riverbed. More settlers followed, and by the end of the 19th Century the settlement--by then renamed Princeton--was surrounded by a network of gold, copper, and coal mines. Since then Princeton's fortunes have risen and fallen with the mining industry. Happily it has avoided becoming a ghost town like many other nearby mining communities, thanks to the excellent grasslands, soil, and forests that have supported diversified industries based in the town. Today Princeton's economy relies heavily on logging, and tourism, since the region furnishes an enormous number of summer and winter recreational opportunities.

These photos and tours are possible through the generous support of our partners.

Historic Walking Tours


Then and Now Photos

First Tulameen Bridge First Tulameen Bridge

Princeton & District Museum Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

First Tulameen Bridge - 1880

The rather rickety looking first bridge over the Tulameen in wintertime. It was a crucial connection for Princeton in those days, leading to the Old Hedley Road, the Princeton-Summerland Road, and of course up the Tulameen towards Granite Creek and beyond. It was destroyed by pack ice during winter-breakup and had to be replaced soon after. The second bridge was also destroyed, and now we're on the third bridge.

Early Princeton View Early Princeton View

Princeton & District Museum Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Early Princeton View - ca. 1900s

A shot of Princeton in its early days before many buildings have been built. In the central distance you can see the old courthouse on Vermillion under construction. Notice how low the ground is with the Tulameen River, a time before dykes were constructed, meaning that flooding could be an occasional occurrence.

Hotel Under Construction Hotel Under Construction

Princeton & District Museum Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Hotel Under Construction - ca. 1900

An early shot of downtown Princeton, showing few buildings.

View from the South View from the South

Princeton & District Museum Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

View from the South - ca. 1900s

A view of downtown Princeton from the bluffs overlooking the town to the south.

Town Site Town Site

Princeton & District Museum Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Town Site - ca. 1900s

View of the townsite in the distance.

Building the Princeton Tunnel Building the Princeton Tunnel

BC Archives I-60927 & On This Spot Enterprises

Building the Princeton Tunnel - 1910

Several men take a break from construction of the Princeton Tunnel to pose for a photo, part of the Great Northern Railway, which was the first to reach Princeton and connect it with the outside world.

Standing in Bridge St. Standing in Bridge St.

Okanagan Archive Trust Society & On This Spot Enterprises

Standing in Bridge St. - 1915

A man walks across Bridge Street, in this shot taken right near the intersection with Vermillion. In those days there was such little vehicle traffic that one didn't have to think twice about jaywalking. The Similkameen Star offices are at right.

Cenotaph and the Legion Cenotaph and the Legion

Princeton & District Museum Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Cenotaph and the Legion - 1919

A photo of the Cenotaph showing the old Legion building in the background, and behind it the belltower of the fire hall that would summon volunteer firefighters in the event of an emergency. You can tell this photo was taken between the two wars since there is only one plaque on the cenotaph. Sadly, a second would have to be added to honour those who fell in another world war.

Engine 579 Engine 579

Princeton & District Museum Archives & On This Spot Enterprises

Engine 579 - 1931

People boarding a train at Princeton Station.

Residential View Residential View

Okanagan Archive Trust Society & On This Spot Enterprises

Residential View - 1945

A view of homes in Princeton, looking across the Similkameen towards the north.


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