Rogers Pass

Feature Type:Pass (2) - Low opening in a mountain range or hills, offering a route from one side to the other.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: On Hwy 1, between Golden and Revelstoke in Glacier National Park, Kootenay Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 51°18'00''N, 117°31'00''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD27
NTS Map: 82N/5

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted in the 5th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 30 June 1904.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Named after Major A.B. Rogers (1829-89), engineer in charge of the mountain division of the CPR, 1880-85, and who located this pass for the railway in 1881. Long-considered unsuitable for either highways or railroads (unless protected from slide & avalanche by tunnels & snow sheds), modern engineering & construction methods and new methods of avalanche control & snow removal made construction of a highway through this pass feasible. This portion of the Trans-Canada Highway opened in the summer of 1962.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

As a condition of joining Canada in 1871, British Columbia insisted upon a national railway, linking BC with eastern Canada. The job fell to William Cornelius Van Horne of the Canadian Pacific Railway; some thought it made more sense to build the line through Yellowhead Pass, near what is now Jasper, Alberta, but that meant hundreds of miles of extra track. So the CPR decreed that the railway would be built through Calgary and in as direct a line as possible to Vancouver. CPR crews duly started laying track through the Prairies. There was just one problem: there was no known pass through the Selkirk Mountains [west of Golden]. The railway dangled a $5000 carrot and a promise of immortality in front of an American surveyor, Major Albert Bowman Rogers: CPR promised him a bonus if he could find a suitable pass, and promised to name it after him if he did. Rogers found the pass in 1881, and just 4 years later the rails of the CPR shimmered through Rogers Pass in what is now Glacier National Park. (excerpt from "Of Glaciers and Grizzlies" by Laura Byrne Paquet, Legion Magazine, Nov-Dec 1999). See file G.2.32 for chronology of Rogers Pass railway activities, supplied October 1988 by CPRail.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Although Walter Moberly denied Roger's title to the discovery of Rogers Pass, the credit does seem to be properly his. The facts are as follows: Though Moberly, following his discovery of the Eagle Pass between Shuswap Lake and Revelstoke, did in 1866 send his assistant Perry up the Illecillewaet River, there is no evidence that Perry continued his explorations beyond the valley of that river. Major Rogers, looking for a pass through the Selkirks in 1881, followed the lead given by Moberly and went up the Illecillewaet to its source in the Illecillewaet Glacier.

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997