With a modern day population of just a couple of hundred, it is easy to overlook small, sleepy Yale. But the town has a vibrant history. In 1858 the discovery of gold nearby resulted in rapid population growth as 30,000 miners and business people flowed into the area. Yale boomed and quickly became the biggest town north of San Francisco and west of Chicago.
The Yale Historical Site is home to some restored buildings from the 1800’s. Creighton House was built in the 1870’s and now functions as a Museum, exhibiting a vast array of historical artifacts and photographs.
St. John the Divine Anglican Church was built in 1863 in hopes of taming wild miners, and is the third oldest church in BC.
Historical events helped shape not only the town of Yale, but also the Province and the Nation. In 1871, after discussions at the Yale Convention the previous year, British Columbia became the sixth Province in the new Confederation of Canada, ending any chance of succession to the US.
The Canadian Pacific Railway was built in the 1880’s with construction headquarters in Yale. On-site, there is a monument to the Chinese Railway Workers – many of whom were killed during the railroad’s construction.
Outside the museum you will see “Tent City” in which you can glimpse what life may have been like for the miners and railway workers.
You can also try out gold panning for yourself.
The historical site itself is quite small, but contains a wealth of interesting artifacts and information. We really enjoyed our stop here and would recommend it in conjunction with a visit to Hell’s Gate Airtram. Yale is about a 2-hour drive from Vancouver and 20-30 minutes before Hell’s Gate so the two pair very well together. The Yale Historical Site helped set the scene for our trip to Hell’s Gate where we viewed the mighty Fraser Canyon from the perspective of history.