The History of Fort Nelson

History of Fort Nelson

The North West Fur Trading Company first established Fort Nelson in 1805 and named it for the British Lord Horatio Nelson who won the Battle of Trafalgar. Fort Nelson is presently located in its fifth site (the previous four were vacated due to floods, fires and feuds) at 59˚ north latitude and 122˚ west longitude and sits at an elevation of 1383 feet / 422 metres.

A little known fact is that Fort Nelson was the original “Zero” on the Alaska Highway. Prior to the American drive to build the Alaska Highway, there was already a winter road established from Fort St. John to Fort Nelson, which the US Army built upon during the 1942 construction of the Alaska Highway. Zero was the military
post that served as the launch point for road construction north
to Whitehorse.

When the troops building south met the troops building north at Contact Creek on September 24, 1942, it marked the completion of the southern section of the Highway. It was only after the opening of the Alaska Highway to the public that Dawson Creek was named
Mile 0, as it was the Highway’s southernmost point.


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