Although there is some debate as to the origin of our namesake, it is commonly accepted that Telkwa is a native term meaning the "meeting of the waters" and describes the picturesque joining of the Bulkley and Telkwa Rivers in the heart of the town. The history of Telkwa has also ebbed and flowed with the dramatic changes of the community with the Telegraph Trail, the rush of settlers at the turn of the Century, and the arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
The first townsite in the area, Aldermere, was originally established on the bluff above the Bulkley River (and above the present day townsite of Telkwa). The townsite was the central stopping spot for travelers and prospectors following the Telegraph Trail and the call of the Gold Rush. The town of Aldermere was first staked by John Dorsey in 1904 and was home to the first Hotel, Post Office, Newspaper (the Interior News), and General Store for the Bulkley Valley.
The first settlers had to travel by steamboat up the Skeena from Prince Rupert to Hazelton. Many treacherous canyons had to be traversed and in some areas the passengers had to unload and walk while the steamer was winched through the dangerous waters.