|Gold was first discovered on Williams Creek at a point above BlackJack Canyon, south of the future town of Barkerville. A town sprung up around this find called Richfield and soon all the ground for miles around was staked. Strangely, the ground below the canyon proved poor and it wasn't long before Williams Creek earned the nickname 'Humbug' Creek. |
Billy Barker, a Welshman who had 'cut his teeth' in the California rush of '49, suspected that gold must also be present below the BlackJack, but at a deeper level than at Richfield. He formed a company of like-minded men and in 1862 sunk his first shaft. Although it payed poorly, Barker sunk another and then a third shaft. It was at 52 feet in the Barker Co.'s third shaft that a rich paystreak was struck... the rest is, as they say, history.
To the left, you can view an artist's rendition of the town of Barkerville today. Williams Creek originally ran the course of what is now the main street of the town; miners intent on retrieving the yellow metal, diverted the creek to its present course along the left or east side of the valley floor. The south end of the town (top of screen) is the location of Barkerville's Chinatown, the oldest surviving in North America and at one time estimated to number some three to five thousand residents. A third of the way down, near the large clearing on the left hand side of Main Street, 'white' Barkerville begins. Photographic evidence shows that no clear geographic demarcation existed, as both white and Chinese merchants were located throughout the townsite. Perhaps more important than any geographic division, was the cultural one. Although trade was conducted between the two communities on a regular basis, very little social or other intermixing occured.
You may click on any of the coloured buildings to learn more about them. As a future project, site administrators plan on implementing AppleTM QuickDraw 3DTM and QuickTime VRTM technologies to provide a more interactive experience. Visitors will be able to examine building interiors, streetscapes and even artifacts in virtual three dimension. Bookmark us and visit the site often to view new some of these new developments as they occur...