Jasper House
Jasper House, now a national historic site just outside Jasper, Alberta, was a trading post in the Rocky Mountains, located on the Athabasca River at the intersection of two routes through the mountains: one through Yellowhead Pass and the other through Athabasca Pass.1
Aboriginal peoples trekked by this area, no doubt long before settlers arrived, while on the historic route from “Snake Indian Pass” to the interior of present-day British Columbia.2
Jasper House was established in 1813 as a provision-depot for fur-traders; it was named “Rocky Mountain House”, initially, which confused it with another post of the same name on the Saskatchewan River.3 Soon, it was named after the first post-master to reside there, Jasper Hawes.4
Its first iteration was built near the north end of Brûlé Lake, then between 1929 and 1830 the HBC built a second house at the north end of Jasper Lake.5 The famous artist Paul Kane visited Jasper House in 1846, when Colin Fraser was in command.6 Apparently, Kane arrived there at night, feeling more dead than alive.7 He then sat before a blazing fire and ate five or six pounds of mountain sheep, which he found delicious.8
Kane's journal describes Jasper House as follows:
[…] three miserable log huts. The dwelling-house is composed of two rooms, of about fourteen to fifteen feet square each. One of them is used by all comers and goers: Indians, voyageurs, and traders, men, women, and children being huddled together indiscriminately.”9
The HBC officially closed the house in 1884, and it was destroyed in 1909, when surveyors for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway used it for parts to build rafts.10
Mentions of this place in the documents