Princeton (originally Vermilion Forks) is a small town in the Similkameen region of British Columbia, Canada. It lies just east of the Cascade Mountains, which continue south into Washington, Oregon and California. The Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers converge here. As of the 2001 census, the population was 2,610.
Historically, the area's main industry has been mining—copper, gold, coal, and some platinum—but nowadays the town's biggest employer is a mill owned by Weyerhaeuser, along with a few smaller timber companies.
Before European contact, the land around today's Princeton was known among First Nations people as a source of red ochre. Beginning no later than 1846, fur traders, settlers, and miners established trails connecting what was then known as Vermilion Forks to the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. John Fall Allison became, in 1858, the first permanent settler of European ancestry. To this day, the site of his home functions locally like a kilometre zero, with creeks east of Princeton having names like "Five Mile" based on their distance from that location. The town he founded was renamed "Prince Town" (later corrupted to "Princeton") to honor an 1860 visit to eastern Canada by Prince Edward (later King Edward VII). Allison's wife, Susan Louisa Allison, chronicled the legends of the local First Nations people.
In the years 1909–1915 the railways arrived, with the Kettle Valley Railway (later Canadian Pacific) connecting Princeton to the Great Northern.
Until 1961, Princeton was home to a brewery, the Princeton Brewing Company. Until the 1940s, the brewery kept its beer cool in the Vermilion Cave. The cave, which held up to 20 railway cars at a time, was largely demolished to make way for the Hope-Princeton Highway, part of the Crowsnest Highway (British Columbia Highway 3).
Princeton joined the Canadian Board of Trade (later Chamber of Commerce) in 1913, and was incorporated as a village in 1951, and as a town in 1978. Beginning in the 1980s, Princeton began to revitalize its downtown, a plan that included red brick sidewalks and new streetlights. In the 1990s, they adopted a "heritage" theme, with many businesses converting their exteriors to match architectural styles from roughly a century earlier. Further landscaping of the town centre continues as of 2008.
More information: http://town.princeton.bc.ca