Yale is full of history. It is home to one of British Columbia’s oldest churches – St. John the Divine Anglican Church. Built in 1863 in hopes of taming wild miners, the church now functions as a museum and is open for tours and events.
There are a number of interesting items inside the church, including antique linens hand stitched by the students of ‘All Hallows in the West’ girls school.
“In 1870, following a meeting held in Yale, the Yale Convention proclaimed British Columbia as Province in the new Confederation of Canada.”
There is also the Yale Museum, the Lady Franklin Rock, the Spirit Caves, and the ‘National Historic Sites‘ monument to the Chinese Railway Workers – many of whom lost their lives putting the last piece of our country together.
Yale was also the steamship navigation headquarters – mainly because there was a particularly difficult set of rapids to traverse just north of the settlement, and Yale was the perfect place to control traffic heading toward gold – because of it.
And just as importantly, it was also the starting point for the Cariboo Wagon Road.
Surprising to me, the actual location of the wagon stop still looks quite similar to what it would have almost 150 years ago. The road is gravelly dirt, and the area under developed.
I would not have known that the unassuming pull out beside the river even had commemorative plaques, had we not been driving slowly looking for them. Barnards Express Coach and Stage line operated from this spot for 60 years.
The road, meant to secure a hold on trade and push out ‘the Americans’, put the young colony into serious debt.
A drive around town makes you wonder if the ‘colony’ ever managed its way out of that debt! Though Yale is an incredible, historic gem hidden along a main mountain pass, it would appear to have seen better days.
Don’t let that stop you from experiencing it though. The people in Yale are friendly, and many are proud, self made ‘historians’. The yesteryear tales coming out of Yale are indeed something to talk about.