Rocky Mountain House

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Rocky Mountain House (1799-1875) - A North West Company post first established in 1799 near the present day town of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. A competing Acton House was established by the Hudson's Bay Company nearby and when the two companies merged in 1821 both became Hudson's Bay Company posts. Not continuously occupied and located on at least four different sites. Abandoned in 1875.

Rocky Mountain House Site #4 Chimneys
Rocky Mountain House Site #1
Rocky Mountain House Last Site Marker and Two Chimneys in the Background

History

Rocky Mountain Post Acton Post
  • Site 1 (1799-1821) First Post
  • Site 2 (1835-1861)
  • Site 3 (1865-1868) Temporary Post
  • Site 4 (1868-1875) Final Post
  • Acton Post (1799-1835)

Site #1 (1799-1821)

Rocky Mountan House #1

Established by John McDonald of the North West Company in the fall of 1799 as the most westerly fur trading post in the district. Initially intended to trade with the more westerly mountain tribes it became a trade center for the local Blackfoot and Assiniboine tribes instead. The Hudson's Bay Company established nearby the Acton House at the same time. The trade did not prove to be profitable and both posts closed and reopened several times.

Starting in 1806 David Thompson and his wife Charlotte Small use the post as a base for his explorations of the Rocky Mountains and his eventual discovery of the Athabasca Pass and his navigation of the full length of the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.

When the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company merged in 1821 under the Hudson's Bay Company name both posts became Hudson's Bay Company posts.


Site #2 (1835-1861)

Site #2 for Rocky Mountain House was located just a bit north of where the final site was constructed. This site was the most successful of the sites and remained in operation almost continuously between 1835 and 1861. The post evolved into an unusual five sided shape. The post was abandoned in the spring of 1861 due to a combination of native hostility, a lack of food and little trading. It was burned to the ground by a group of Blackfoot in the fall of 1861. There are no above ground remains of this post.

Site #3 (1865-1868)

Site #3 was a temporary post used while site #4 was under construction. Little is known about this site.

Site #4 (1868-1875)

Rocky Mountain House #4 Plan

Construction on the final Rocky Mountain House began in 1864 but was not completed until 1868. From 1868 to 1875 it functioned as the last trading post at the site. The centerpiece of the post was the Chief Factors house and the two chimneys from that house remain today on the site. When the post closed in 1875 the post was dismantled and the materials were reused at other locations.


Current Status

Part of the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site near the town of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada. The site of the first Rocky Mountain House is outlined by earthen depressions and has interpretive panels. The second site has an interpretive panel only. The third site is not identified. The fourth site is identified with markers, interpretive panels, location markers for buildings and two standing chimneys.

The historic site has a visitor center and a reduced scale depiction of the fourth site intended for youthful visitors.


Location: Town of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.

Maps & Images

Lat: 52.3623 Long: -114.9709

See Also:

Sources:

Links:

Visited: 13 Jul 2014


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