Last modified: 2011-09-09 by rob raeside
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image by Arnaud Leroy, 19 February 2007
Located in the heart of the South Cariboo, 100 Mile House, BC, is the site of one of the earliest roadhouses on the Cariboo Wagon Road that serviced British Columbia's Cariboo Gold Rush. The community of 100 Mile House received it's name because of it's distance from the original Mile "0" in Lillooet.
Many years later, 100 Mile House remains a welcome stop for travellers on BC's Cariboo Highway 97 offering a variety of lodging and tourist services. Try a visit to Centennial Park, one of the prettiest spots on earth! A great place for a picnic by Bridge Creek. Nestled in a valley overlooking Bridge Creek, 100 Mile House has become a year round recreational playground, including some of the world's finest cross country ski trails.
The 100 Mile House Free Press, 3 January 2007, reports:
Mayor Donna Barnett came to work the first day of 2007 only to find Cache Creek’s flag blowing in the 100 Mile wind. Our southern neighbour won the mayoral bet in ICBC’s October Zero Crash Month and, as a result, their colours will fly outside council chambers for the next month. The 100 Mile House flag is flying in Clinton.
Zero Crash Month is a province-wide competition organized by ICBC that
challenges communities to reduce vehicle crashes and road-related harm.
I understand that there were bets among neighbouring municipalities and
that the winner's flag was flown over the loser's city hall.
Ivan Sache, 6 January 2007
There are more historical details on the district website:
The South Cariboo historic roots go back to the fur trading days before the gold strike. By 1860, thousands of gold seekers thronged to the Cariboo to seek the precious metal. Between 1862 and 1870, over 100,000 people traveled the Cariboo Wagon Road from Lillooet, making their way north into Cariboo country.
Throughout this gold fever, certain roadhouses, because of their favourable locations along the Cariboo Wagon Road from Lillooet to Soda Creek, grew to be supply points for the gold seekers and the surrounding district. 100 Mile House, South Cariboo's dominant community, was originally one of these stopping points along the gold rush trail. 100 Mile House was so named because it was located 100 Miles from Lillooet (Mile 0) of the Cariboo Wagon Road. As the gold rush subsided, ranchers began to settle the surrounding area. The land around 100 Mile House was purchased by British nobleman, the Marquis of Exeter, in 1912. The son of the Marquis, Lord Martin Cecil, arrived in the South Cariboo in 1930 to look after his father's holdings. The population of the settlement was about 12 at this time. The first project Lord Martin Cecil started was to construct a new hostelry to replace the decrepit old stopping house. It was called the 100 Mile Lodge, the fanciest accommodation for miles around. Today, the lodge is used as a private dwelling for the Emissaries of the Divine Light, a non-sectarian ministry which Lord Martin became director of in 1954.
Abundant stands of timber throughout the South Cariboo drew dozens of portable sawmill owners in the late 40's and 50's. The economy shifted into a new gear. Construction of Highway 97 began. Communities such as Forest Grove and Lac La Hache were bigger than 100 Mile House at this time.
In 1949, the first of three houses in 100 Mile House were built by the Jens brothers, who had begun a small sawmill out at Canim Lake in 1944. In order to establish dwellings in the 100 Mile House area, the Jens brothers entered into a leasing agreement with Lord Martin Cecil. The lease agreement proved to be the first of many from the 15,000 acre estate, which included all of what is now the District of 100 Mile House. The leasing plan remained in place until the town of 100 Mile House incorporated in 1965 when the lease property was offered for sale to the tenants of the estate.
In the mid 1960's, a renewed boom in the lumber business reflected further growth and building development. In 1969, Block Brothers purchased the 108 Mile Ranch and developed it into a resort community. Today, the 108 Mile Ranch is one of the largest subdivisions in the South Cariboo with a population of over 2,600.Today, the South Cariboo consists of a number of small unincorporated communities in the outlying area surrounding the District of 100 Mile House and has a population greater than 20,000.
There was some hint on the existence of a local flag in the press,
which was confirmed by the town administration to Arnaud Leroy. The
flag is vertically divided blue-white-blue (1:2:1) with the district
coat of arms in the middle. The red coach surmounting the crest of the
arms seems to still exist
(large photograph). I guess that the house depicted in green
is the historic 100 Mile Lodge.
The two cows recall that cattle breeding was and is still a main activity in the region.
Ivan Sache, 19 February 2007
image contributed by Christopher Bedwell