August 22, 2011 Three Young Canada Works students assisted a special archival project at the museum when they were not needed to lead tours of the railcars.Carly Soparlo, Delaney Kunitz and Laura Irvine spent part of their time on large historical files from the Cranbrook Archives about Col James A. Baker, the founder of Cranbrook. They also worked on historic material about the homes in Baker Hill from special files that have existed since 1974. Their main job was to put the existing written material into a digital format for easier analysis for future exhibits and research. This often required considerable work in deciphering some early hand written material from the 1800′s.Col Baker is a relatively unknown and often misunderstood historical figure who was responsible for the founding of Cranbrook as we know it today. The files are vast and contain a very lengthy history of his famous British family, which can be tracked back as far as the 1200′s.The files also contain detailed material on Baker himself before coming to Canada in the early 1880′s, his time in the area as MLA from 1888 on, his life back in England on return there in 1900 and prior to his death in 1906.One interesting document is a East Kootenay Voters list of June 1898 from the Provincial Secretary’s office in Victoria. This was two months before the railway arrived in what would become the City of Cranbrook, when most people still lived at Fort Steele.In the new digital format, it was easy from the master list to get the total number of voters and the total number of communities represented, which were also alphabetically organized as well as the total number of voters in each community. The list was also able to be organized alphabetically by profession with total numbers in each category so one can see what jobs most people were involved in and how many were in each profession.For example, the analysis showed there was a total of 364 registered voters for the East Kootenay riding in June, 1898. This list had also been arranged in alphabetical order, so it easier to search for known names.There were 35 communities represented ranging in size from urban (such as Fort Steele with 290) to very small rural settlements like Elk River with 1 person. Cranbrook had 15 voters, Wardner 17, Moyie 22, and Wasa 10. Within a year or two, Cranbrook would surpass Fort Steele, and within 7 years. Cranbrook would be much larger and the government offices would be moved to Cranbrook from Fort Steele.The analysis also showed that there were 59 professions (jobs) represented with 60 farmers, 57 free miners, 47 miners and 18 hoteliers to name a few. Of course, with the coming of the railway and the greater accessibility to the area, many more jobs were created in the cities with the rural areas having a lesser proportion than before.Continuous development of local history in the Cranbrook Archives makes history come alive and makes it more accessible to residents to understand their own community better.