The town of Chase was named after Whitfield Chase, an American from New York State who arrived in the area in 1867 after originally coming to Canada during the 1858 gold rush. He was the first non-native settler that farmed and raised a family in what was then called the Shuswap Prairie. He married a young First Nations girl who became Elizabeth Chase, and they raised nine children together. The town was named in honour of Whitfield Chase although the community did not exist until more that 10 years after his death.
Shuswap is the European version of a local First Nations word Secwepemc, which refers to the people of the Secwepemc Nation. The Shuswap/Secwepemc Nations covers an area of 145,040 square kilometres in the British Columbia Interior. Before the town of Chase existed (pre-1908), the main town centre was called Shuswap and was located approximately five kilometres west. This was also the site of the first train station in the area in 1888, and the site of the first bridge to cross the Thompson in the area before the Pine Street Bridge was built in the 1930's.
An American logging company first came to the area in 1907 and purchased what became the original town site from Whitfield's heir. They subdivided the land into lots, installed water and electricity and sold the lots to workers and business people. For the location of the mill, they leased approximately 70 acres of land from the Chase family that bordered the Thompson River near Little Shuswap Lake.
The Chase mill became known as the Adams River Lumber Company (not to be confused with the Interior mill on Adams Lake originally owned by Mr. Holding from the 1940's), because they logged exclusively off the Adams River and Lake area. The Adams River Lumber Company, after logging within 100 feet of the Adams River and Lake closed the mill in 1925 and took their profits back to the United States. This lease was terminated in 2006 and the property revert to descendants and heirs of the Chase family.
Chase grew slowly over the next few decades with only a small core of permanent residents. It was not until incorporation in 1969 that the community began to market itself as a tourist destination and people began to explore the area. The community, as a result, saw an increase in population with visitors to the area returning to live, work and retire. Chase also benefited from the construction of the Coquihalla Highway in the mid-1980's. Improved access to the area brought new life to the local economy in the form of another tourist explosion that has only expanded the community's economic base and resident population. Chase continues to benefit as the number of businesses, population and tourism increase and contribute to the local economy.