Watsom Manor
100 Mile Historical Society, 108 Mile Ranch

Felker House Before Restoration
Felker House, Lac La Hache

Lone Butte Watertower
Lone Butte Watertower, Lone Butte

Willowford School
Willowford School House, Horse Lake

Location Map


108 Heritage Market



Thank you for viewing historical.bc.ca with South Cariboo History.
The collection of historical site around the South Cariboo help display the history of the growth of the Interior of BC through the Gold rush of 1800's and the Ranching right up the present day.


100 Mile House - Historical Sketch
The discovery of gold on the Horsefly River by Peter Dunlevy in 1859 started the Cariboo Gold Rush. Bridge Creek House, which was 100 miles from the jumping-off place on the route to fortune, was renamed 100 Mile House. Successive owners catered to the travelers and settlers who were seeking to carve their own niche in the "Cariboo." In 1912, one of the owners was killed in a hunting accident, leading to the sale of 100 Mile House Ranch and Roadhouse. By that time it was composed of five adjoining buildings, which had been added onto as time and funds allowed. Sold to the Marquis of Exeter, a house was built for his son, Lord Martin Cecil, who arrived from England to take up residency. In 1937, the original five buildings caught fire and the building with its sixteen bedrooms burned to the ground.

Sightings of the Original Gold Rush Trail
While most remaining examples of the original Gold Rush Trail are on private land, they can still be viewed from the present-day Highway 97. Heading north from the Visitor Information Centre, (set trip odometer to '0') the remains of an old "snake" fence (which at one time bordered the trail) can still be seen among the trees on the west (left) side of the highway at 4.6 kms (just past the Canim Lake Road.) The original trail reappears at 10.4 kms (shortly before the 108 Mile Ranch rest area.) If one pays attention to the contours of the ground and looks for the "easy route," bits and pieces of the original trail can be seen to alternate from the right to left side of Highway 97. At 13.2 kms you can see the original trail on the west and a section of the "second" trail with its "blacktop" surface (built in the 1950's) to the east. The trail is once again visible on the right (east) side of the highway between kilometres 22.2 and 23.7, indicated by remains of a fence on both sides of the trail with a flat, driven-on appearance in between. As you proceed north, look for signs of previous travelers on both sides of the highway and try to imagine the level of determination that drove those settlers, prospectors and business people to seek fortunes in country we call "The Cariboo."

108 Heritage Site
Located along Hwy. 97, you will find the 108 Heritage Site. Tourists and locals are welcome year round. The site is open for daily tours mid May to mid October. While most of the buildings are original to the site, a few have been moved to the location including the McNeil House, the Greenlees trappers cabin and the 133 Mile School House. The McNeil House was once located at 105 Mile and was one of the original roadhouses. Fashioned in the classical Victorian style, the house boasted 10 bedrooms. It ceased to be a roadhouse in 1912 and is now home to a most interesting museum. Other buildings at the 108 Heritage Site include the impressive Watson Barn, the BX barn, a blacksmith shop, post house, ice house, telegraph building, bunk house and an outhouse.

Road Houses (AKA) Mile Houses
Scattered along the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail are a series of roadhouses. Usually within a day's ride of each other, the roadhouses were most often built where water and grasslands were plentiful. Those on the way to the gold fields to the north stopped overnight for a meal, a bed and a place to water and feed their horses. Road contractors or those who didn't fare so well in the gold fields were often responsible for building the stopping houses. They in turn became the pioneers of the area and developed communities and local businesses.

Stagecoach
In 1863, the road from Yale north to Soda Creek was completed; by 1864, coaches, mule trains and freight wagons were moving passengers and supplies along the 480-km route, a 52-hour voyage. The Barnard Express Stage line, whose coaches regularly traveled this road, used a number of vehicles, such as mail coaches and six-horse passenger coaches. These coaches traveled up and down the Cariboo for 50 years until 1915, the end of the stagecoach era. The Red Coach Inn is the resting-place for one of the few surviving wagons of the Barnard Express and Stage Line. (approx. 1 Km North of the Visitor Information Center)

The Rail Road
The PGE (Pacific Great Eastern) railroad began building their railroad in 1918 from North Vancouver to Squamish and onward through to Prince George, connecting the Cariboo to the coast. The highest point on the line was Lone Butte where today one of the only 2 remaining water towers in the province exist.

They Being
Who were the people who stopped here on their way to the gold fields? Of course, there were loads of miners and prospectors hungry for the riches the gold would bring them. But there were many others who were drawn up the Gold Rush Trail eager to profit in the other ways. Entrepreneurs such as blacksmiths, surveyors, accountants, and ranchers were all a part of the rush.



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