During the 1864 gold rush, a cable ferry stretched across a narrow section of the Kootenay River, enabling prospectors to safely cross the turbulent waters. A small settlement sprang up, and after another mining boom -- this time for silver, lead, and zinc -- Fort Steele had more than 4,000 inhabitants. But when the railroad pushed through, it bypassed Fort Steele in favor of Cranbrook. Within 5 years, all but 150 of the citizens had left. In the 1960s, the crumbling ghost town was declared a heritage site. Today, more than 60 restored and reconstructed buildings grace the townsite, including a hotel, churches, saloons, and a courthouse and jail. In summer, living-history actors give demonstrations of period skills and occupations. There are also rides on a steam train, horse-drawn wagon, and a variety show at the Wild Horse Theatre. The International Hotel Restaurant serves Victorian fare.