The Bulkley Valley in which Smithers is situated was originally inhabited by the Wet'suwet'en. Smithers was founded in 1913 as the regional headquarters for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The new community was named after the railway's chairman of the board of directors, Sir Alfred Smithers. In 1921, Smithers became the first incorporated village in British Columbia. In 1967, Smithers was incorporated as a town.