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It is situated on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Golden lies at an elevation of 2,095 metres (6,890 ft). The town was founded in 1885 during construction of the railway as a divisional point for trains between Calgary and Vancouver. It was named after James Hector, a Scottish geologist who explored parts of British Columbia in 1858–1859. The first settlers were CPR employees who arrived to build houses and lay out roads; they were followed by homesteaders from eastern Canada. By 1901 it had grown sufficiently to be incorporated as a village with 800 residents, but its population declined when nearby Craigellachie took over much railroad traffic. A fire destroyed many buildings in 1906, but some substantial brick commercial blocks survived along Front Street south of Mountain Avenue until recently converted into offices or shops.