The Princeton area was inhabited by the Similkameen people before the arrival of settlers. The first Europeans in the Princeton area were explorers. They were followed by miners hastening to the latest gold rush. Trail builders followed. Then came settlers, many of whom started ranches. Copper and coal mines were developed next. They were cause for the building of the Great Northern and Kettle Valley Railways.
The last spike in the KVR was driven at Princeton. Then came the loggers and timber mills. Old trails became the routes for modern highways. Princeton grew into a regional retail and service centre. Recreation and tourism became a large industry. Most recently, migrants from urban areas are moving to the area to enjoy a safe, relaxed lifestyle amid the amenities of nature.
The History of Princeton is the History of Interior British Columbia
This is the history of BC, all found in the ghost towns, abandoned camps, converted rail trails and still-thriving community of Princeton. More on the history of Princeton and area can be found within the History and Culture section of this website.
History and Culture
In 2010, Princeton celebrated its 150th birthday. Our 150 year history encapsulates the exploration and settlement of the BC Interior.
That history can be seen at our museum, ghost towns, surviving mule train routes, Kettle Valley Railway tunnels and trestles and the pattern of settlement across the landscape.
Our history shows in our culture. Princeton retains its roots in gold mining, ranching, horse breeding and forestry. Our professional rodeo and Racing Days are held at our historic fairgrounds. Borrow a gold pan from our Visitor Information Centre and try your luck in gold country.