The Cariboo Wagon Road, started at Yale in 1862, reached Barkerville in 1864.
The town of Barkerville is at the far end of the Cariboo Wagon Road, the last stop on the stagecoach journey from Yale.
Barkerville was named in 1863 for Billy Barker (1817-1894).
Barker struck gold on Williams Creek, making the most famous claim of the Cariboo - Barker eventually made $500,000!
At first, the town was just collection of miners' cabins and a few stores. Then, thousands of miners rushed to the town to look for claims as good as Barker's, and the town of Barkerville was born.
Barkerville became the largest mining town to be built in British Columbia. At its peak during 1863-1864, the town held about 10,000 people, almost half of whom were miners working claims in the area.
Because Williams Creek sometimes flooded their town, merchants in Barkerville built their stores and businesses on log posts. To get from one building to another, each built a sidewalk in front of their store.
This is how one frequent visitor described Barkerville:
"It was as lively a mining town as has ever existed in any gold-producing country the world has yet seen, not even excepting the famed and more modern Dawson City, product of the Klondike excitement. It had the usual gaming rooms, dance halls, saloons, etc., that figure in every camp, but it also possessed a host of sound legitimate businesses."
Most of the stores and businesses of Barkerville were built in a row along Main Street.
There was the Wake Up Jake restaurant and Lung Duck Tong restaurant, a hotel, rooming houses, a bakery, a barbershop run by Wellington Moses, a Hudson's Bay Company office, several Chinese shops, a few doctor's offices, St. Saviour's Anglican Church, and a bowling alley. The printing press for the Cariboo Sentinel was in Barkerville; this newspaper was an important source of news throughout the Cariboo.