Robson, British Columbia

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Robson is an unincorporated settlement in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. It is immediately north across the Columbia River from the city of Castlegar, on the west bank of the mouth of Pass Creek. Across Pass Creek on the same side of the Columbia is Raspberry, which was founded as a Doukhobor colony. The two communities are grouped together for census purposes as a single designated place named as Robson/Raspberry.

Robson dates from the time of the Big Bend Gold Rush and was one of the ports of call on the Columbia River-Arrow Lakes steamboat route. Robson's founding was linked to the completion of the CPR in 1885, and to the discovery of galena on Toad Mountain in 1886. The first town site in the Castlegar/Robson area, also tied to transportation developments, was Sproat's Landing, located, on 18 May 1888, between the junction of the Kootenay with the Columbia and the mouth of Pass Creek. Fred Hume and Robert E. Lemon, set up a warehouse and store in 1888, to serve the transport of goods from the CPR at Revelstoke to the mines on Toad Mountain and the new town site of Nelson. Sproat's Landing also became the headquarters for the Gold Commissioner, Sam Green, probably buying out R.E. Lemon. In 1890, the CPR began construction of a rail link, the first in the Kootenays, to Nelson to replace the trail railway built by L. Macquarrie in 1888. They decided to relocate their transfer point away from the marsh land at the mouth of Pass Creek. Viewed in another light, an anonymous source states they did so because of "exorbitant land grabbing by the occupants of the Sproat site". East Robson became the terminus, located one mile north on a well-drained terrace. After completion of the Columbia and Kootenay rail link in August 1891, a hotel was built. West Robson was established across the river to serve the Columbia and Western Railway, built by August Heinze to link with his smelter being built on Trail Creek. In 1902, the Yale Columbia sawmill was built at Wesley, near this transfer point. In 1898, the Columbia and Western Railway was extended from the west of this slip to Grand Forks and Midway.

A major development affecting the fortunes of East and West Robson, and beginning the history of Castlegar, was the decision to build a rail bridge across the Columbia linking the rails of the Columbia and Kootenay, the Columbia and Western railway lines. Completion of the rail bridge in 1902 led to relocation of the terminal from East Robson to Castlegar, where a rail station was built. Robson's business's include Johnnys Groceries and the historic Lions Head Pub.

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