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History of Ashcroft

History of Ashcroft

The Village is steeped in the history of the Gold Rush. With the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800's Ashcroft became Mile "0" on the road to the goldfields. Freight and mining supplies off-loaded from the train, made their way north to the Cariboo Gold fields by stagecoach, freight wagon and sleighs in the winter. Accommodations and services increased rapidly with the influx of people and by 1887, the BC Express Company, a famous stagecoach line in Yale, had relocated to Ashcroft where it stayed for 35 years. Ashcroft was bustling with harness and wheel repair shops, blacksmiths, livery stables and freight warehouses.

During the period 1886-1920, the Village of Ashcroft flourished. By 1920, however, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was built which accessed Prince George and the Northern Interior of British Columbia from Alberta. Ashcroft lost its strategic position as a supply centre for the North, spelling the end of a prosperous era.

To survive, after the town lost its role as an important transportation centre, and to recover, after the destruction of "The Great Fire" of 1916 the people of Ashcroft came to rely on their natural resources - that when water is added to the parched soil of the "benches" between the hills all around practically anything will grow well under the intense heat of this northern desert's sun.

During the same time, Chinese immigrants were doing experimental planting and reaping benefits from the sale of tomatoes and potatoes. The BC Express Company decided to convert their freight barn in Ashcroft into a tomato cannery and consequently put BC Express workers back to work. The cannery remained open until 1957.

An in-depth history of Ashcroft can be obtained by purchasing Ashcroft's newest history book - "Bittersweet Oasis - A History of Ashcroft and District 1885-2002". The cost of the history book is $25.00 including taxes.

To obtain your copy of "Bittersweet Oasis - A History of Ashcroft and District 1885-2002" by mail, please send a cheque in the amount of $30.00, includes postage and handling, to Village of Ashcroft, PO Box 129, Ashcroft, V0K1A0.