BARKERVILLE

NAME: Barkerville
COUNTY: Na
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 6
CLIMATE: Snow in winter-sometimes in summer. Temperate to cool in summer.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Easy in the summer also accessible in the winter
COMMENTS: North edge of Quesnel. Well signed highway-paved. Approximately 50 miles east of turn.
REMAINS: Extensive. Was never truly a ghost. Much restoration since this is a provincial historic site.

It was a two day drive across the interior plateau from Bella Coola to Barkerville in the Cariboo Mountains. We had visited Barkerville in 1997 and loved the place. Barkerville is now a provincial historic park and never was what one could accurately call a ghost town since it had been continuously populated since its founding in the 1860s. Barkerville is one of the best historic mining area museums anywhere. The provincial government has done an excellent job of balancing historical accuracy and commercial development which helps pay for future work. Barkerville is a work in progress. This time we camped at Lowhee campground which is located between Barkerville and Wells. Unfortunately for Orville, Barkerville is NOT dog friendly. Dogs are prohibited in park grounds. That sort of takes something away from historical accuracy. Submitted by: Stephen Wylie

Billy Barker was a half-starved English sailor who jumped ship when it put into one of the many West Coast coves. He heard the news about gold along the Fraser and its tributaries and headed to Williams Creek where he began his diggings. The day was August 13, 1862 when Billy Barker struck it rich. In less than a year, the population grew to over 10,000. Although over $600,000 in gold was taken from his claim, it was not to last. He had married a woman who had eyes for younger men and spent most of his money on her to bring back her attentions. The rest was spent in saloons. He then made a living cooking for road crews. Drinking and a sore on his lip that would not heal cost him one job after another. He wound up in the Old Men's Home in Victoria and died of cancer July 11, 1894. Barkersville prospered until the mid 1870s when claims began to peter out and people began to move elsewhere. In later years, the Province of British Columbia became aware of the historical importance of the old camp and began a program of restoration. In August, 1962, just 100 years from the day Billy Barker made his big strike on Williams Creek, a fine museum opened and the Barkersville Historic Park was dedicated. - Ghosttowns.com


Barkerville back street
Courtesy Jim Wright


Barkerville Main Street
Courtesy Jim Wright


Barkerville Main Street
Courtesy Jim Wright


Barkerville North end of back street
Courtesy Jim Wright

 


Barkerville
Courtesy Jim Wright


Barkerville
Courtesy Jim Wright


Barkerville
Courtesy Jim Wright


Barkerville
Courtesy Jim Wright


Chinese Tong Hall
Courtesy Jim Wright


St. Saviors Church
Courtesy Jim Wright


Barkerville Main Street
Courtesy Jim Wright

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