Cariboo Map

Ashcroft Manor

Hat Creek Ranch

Clinton Hotel

Pollards Cornish Ranch and Roadhouse

59 Mile House

70 Mile House

100 Mile House

105 Mile House

108 Mile House

118 Mile House

150 Mile House

Quesnel Hudson's Bay Company Store



Hat Creek Ranch



Present-day panoramic view of
Hat Creek Ranch
Hat Creek Ranch is located 14 miles from Ashcroft. The Ranch is situated on District Lots 93 and 94.

Retired Hudson's Bay Company Chief trader Donald McLean and his family moved from Kamloops to the area of Hat Creek and the Bonaparte River in 1860.

Modern maps show these lots lying west of the Bonaparte River, and intersected by the old Cariboo Wagon Road completed in the summer of 1863.
Map to Hat Creek Ranch

The present highway is on the east side, not the west side, of the Bonaparte. Hat Creek, flowing from the west, empties into the Bonaparte just east of the present boundary of Lot 94.

In 1861, McLean and his sons constructed a log stopping house beside the Cariboo Trail.

McLean cabin built in 1861.

Downstairs interior view
of McLean cabin

It appears from reports that the old McLean cabin at the mouth of Hat Creek was moved to it's present location in the 1880's by William Cargile who bought the property in 1881.

The original walls of this building form the core of the Hat Creek House.
Upstairs area of McLean cabin
where travellers would sleep

Donald McLean and others established ranchers and roadhouses along the newly built Cariboo Wagon Road provided feed for the hardworking horses, and accomodations for the weary drivers and passengers.

It would have been about a dollar a night in the early days to stay one night at the ranch, which would be the equivalent of $50.00 today.
Sleeping accomodations
for weary travellers
Most of the miners heading off to Barkerville that stayed at the ranch would have unrolled their blankets and bedrolls onto the dirt floor to sleep.

Few would have had beds similiar to this one here.

According to an interpreter at Hat Creek Ranch, "the dining area displayed here are the few pieces that are original to the house." It was said to be brought to the house in 1862, for the daughter-in-law of Donald McLean.
Meakin china set brought for
the daughter-in-law of Donald McLean

In 1864 McLean joined a posse in search of the murderers of a survey party, it was during this event that he was shot and killed.

A man named George Dunn acquired ownership of this land between 1866 and 1871. George Dunn bought out Hat Creek after Donald McLean was shot, which was possible because McLean never signed his pre-emption papers.
BC Archives E-03334
Early photo of Hat Creek Ranch

The first room in the house was originally a single story, and was just a dirt floor. Different additions were made over the years including a second floor added in 1872. A partition wall was created to make a ladies washroom.

Second floor added in 1872

Wallpaper on second floor

The wallpaper you see here was brought from England. There was next to no insulation in this building which made the summers warm and the winters very cold.

The Harper Brothers acquired Hat Creek Ranch in 1872 through a mortgage foreclosure.
Inside saloon at Hat Creek Ranch

A man named William Cargile purchased Hat Creek Ranch in 1881 and ran it's hotel through a series of managers. The hotel saloon was a popular place for travellers to socialize.
The bar keep would sleep on top of the liquor to prevent theft.

After the Canadian Pacific railway arrived at Ashcroft in 1886, Cargile established Cargile Hotel there. He now lies in the Ashcroft cemetary with many other pioneers of the area.
Steve Tingley
BC Archives B-04915

Steve Tingley was a transportation baron whose career began as a stagecoach driver with Barnard's Express at the start of the goldrush. Steve Tingley became it's owner and renamed it as the B.C. Express locally known as the BX. In 1894 he bought Hat Creek Ranch and the hotel and made numerous improvements.
1901 West Wing
In 1901 the west wing of Hat Creek House was added, and the freight horse barn and BX barn were built.

Many Cariboo towns have street names comemmorating Tingley's career.

Born in Germany Charles Doering earned a fortune as a brewer in Vancouver with a passion for hunting game birds. He retired at Hat Creek Ranch in 1912 where game was plentiful and easily found in open range.
Artist redition of Hat Creek Ranch,
September 27,1905
He and his wife Mary used Hat Creek Ranch as there private residence. After his death in, Mary moved to her former estate, Fairburn farm, near Duncan on Vancouver Island.

In 1990, most of the property was acquired by the British Columbia Heritage Trust to preserve and present a chapter of provincial history.

Last updated November 30, 1998.
Produced by Carollyne Yardley
Industrial Art Internet Group Ltd. 1998-1999