In 1930, people flocked once again to the Cariboo in a second gold rush. At a time when many across the country were standing in food lines, men were happy to take on the difficult work of hard rock mining. Most of the miners spent their working hours underground, but the pay was good, and the bustling new town of Wells had plenty to offer.
People from various cultural backgrounds — including Chinese, Scandinavian, American, and Irish descent — travelled to the Cariboo to escape the devastating effects of the Depression. Many were not properly prepared for the conditions that would face them in the mines with little money for proper safety gear.
Many struggled just to support their families, though most were grateful to have work during the Depression. Food was generally expensive during the 30s and since Wells was such an isolated town men had to work hard to feed their families. Few men ever struck it rich mining gold.
Since temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius were common during the Cariboo winters, it was important to keep warm. A typical miner’s outfit consisted of big boots, a wide-brimmed felt hat, woolly pants and plaid shirt, suspenders, kerchief, and a knife at the waist. Once the businesses were built, mining supplies could be purchased right in Wells.