Features of a Company Town

Company towns often have unique features that set them apart from other town developments. For example, architecture is uniform and similar from building to building; the home of the company manager is usually more imposing and prominently located. There is often a focal point around which the town is centred – typically a community hall […]

A Different Company Town

Early gold rush towns sprung up without any structure; shacks were put up without any planning or services, as was the case with nearby Barkerville. Most placer miners only wanted to rush in, make their money, and leave as quickly as possible. They would exhaust the creek beds of gold and depart to other prospects, […]

Wells Sports & Leisure

While the main draw to Wells in the 1930s was employment, the Wells Townsite Company understood that the availability of sports and recreation served to increase the attractiveness of the mining town to new employees. At its height Wells boasted tennis courts, a golf course, two racetracks, baseball diamonds, a curling rink, a hockey rink, […]

Community Life: Entertainment & Events

Imagine that instead of living as you do now, you live in Wells during the 1930s. Your father works for one of the two main mines – the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mine or the Island Mountain Mine – or perhaps he runs a thriving business in Wells. Your home is heated by a wood stove, […]

Post-1930’s Wells: The Little Town That Did

With the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mining Company ceasing operation in 1967, much of the employment needed to sustain a town the size of Wells disappeared. Although employment had been slowly dwindling since the early 1960’s, with the Cariboo Gold Quartz ceasing it meant that a large source of income for the population of Wells ended. […]

Pre-1930’s Wells: The Little Town That Could

Before the town of Wells was established in the early 1930s, there were a small number of people living in the area. After the first Cariboo Gold Rush had waned, there were still some miners and people living in Barkerville and, on the future site of Wells, there was a tiny camp that housed a few […]

World War II

The outbreak of World War II finally pulled much of Canada out of the Great Depression with the increased demand for supplies for the war effort and then, in 1942, with the active involvement of the Canadian military. The country and, indeed, the world, was focused on the war, which meant little or no support […]

The Depression

Canada was hit hard by the Great Depression. The value of exports from Canada went from a high of $1.3 billion in 1928 to a low of $0.5 billion in 1932. By 1931, unemployment reached 28 percent in British Columbia, the highest in Canada. 1 in 5 Canadians became dependent upon government relief to survive. […]

Fred Wells: Prospector & Adventurer

Prospector, miner, and adventurer Fred Marshall Wells was born in Whitefield, New Hampshire on August 4, 1861. There are conflicting reports as to how Fred ended up in British Columbia in 1882. One story tells of Fred crossing over the Rocky Mountains from Calgary on a pony “just to see what lay on the other […]

Strikes at the Mines

Labour organisation existed in three different forms between the thirties and sixties. It began with a union as part of the Congress of Industrial Labor Organization (CIO), was then an employees co-operative before returning to the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW or simply ‘Mine Mill’). The two major union organising periods […]