GHOST TOWN AT QUESNEL FORKS, BC

 Backroads to Likely  Site Map

When in High School my friends and I would drive the backroads from Quesnel, BC heading to Wells, Barkerville to the north west of town or down the Hydraulic Road behind Dragon Lake just south of town. I’d heard about Quesnel Forks but never been there so decided to explore the Likely and Horsefly area this summer.

Getting to Quesnel Forks meant  driving from Likely along a winding gravel road, down a steep set of switchbacks about 11 kilometers west of town to the abandoned townsite of Quesnel Forks.

Backroads to Likely  Left Behind
Last Car in Quesnel Forks

Another resource town long abandoned, Quesnel Forks was first settled in 1860 and served as a supply center for would-be miners heading north to the gold country at Antler, Lightning and Williams Creek closer to Barkerville. This was the best route until a rough road was cut along the Quesnel and Cottonwood Rivers. At that time this community served about 100 permanent residents and 2,000 or more transient prospectors heading into and out of the surrounding gold fields.

Backroads to Likely  Old Bridge at Quesnelle Forks
Photo of a Photo at the Visitor Center shows the original settlement of Quesnel Forks with the Toll Bridge
Backroads to Likely  Old Bridge at Quesnelle Forks
No Bridge Exists Today

From what I’ve read, Quesnel Forks had two bridges to cross the Quesnel River during it’s history – a North Fork and a South Fork bridge. The photo of the sign above, that I took at the visitor center is an ad for Adler and Barry’s Toll Bridge. Looking for information led me to another interesting trail about the Barry and Adler association which you can check out here: Barry and Adler

 

Backroads to Likely  Old Slide Site
Landslide across from the ghost town

 The footings for the bridges built along the Quesnel River were always threatened by slides and high water but the bridge lasted until 1948 before it was destroyed by a massive spring run-off.

Backroads to Likely  River Bank at Quesnelle Forks
Restored buildings on the bank of the Quesnel River

 The riverfront of the abandoned town used to be a few streets into the current riverbed. When a big slide collapsed on the opposite hillside the resulting wave took out much of the bank.

Backroads to Likely  Riverfront
Restored buildings on the bank of the Quesnel River

Backroads to Likely

Backroads to Likely  Deconstructing  General Store
Remains of the General Store
Backroads to Likely  Fire Bucket
In Case of Fire use Water Bucket and Run Along Roof!
Backroads to Likely  Front Porch
The Necessary Porch
Backroads to Likely  Interior Detail
Interior Details of Abandoned Building

Backroads to Likely

Backroads to Likely

Backroads to Likely  Old TubBackroads to Likely

Backroads to Likely
Shake Roof
Backroads to Likely  Wall Detail
Wall Detail
Backroads to Likely  Shorty Lahaie's Cabin
Leo “Shorty” Lahaie’s Cabin

Who was Leo “Shorty’ Lahaie? Check the link for some interesting chat about Shorty – 

Apparently this tenacious miner was the last to leave town some time in the mid-1950’s.

Backroads to Likely
Two Ghosts Chatting

Backroads to Likely  Miners Cabin

Backroads to Likely  Miners Cabin

Backroads to Likely  Tree-in-House
Birch Tree in Abandoned Building
Backroads to Likely  Grave Markers
Gold Rush Miner

There’s a cemetery at Quesnel Forks (do you know the difference between a Cemetery and a Graveyard?) where some quiet time visiting the markers makes for an interesting history lesson.

Backroads to Likely  Grave Markers
Farmer
Backroads to Likely  Grave Markers
Of Chinese Descent
Backroads to Likely  Grave Markers
From Canton

In the cemetery there are a number of markers to remember the Chinese miners and merchants who made Quesnel Forks their home by the middle of the 1870’s. Many came from the provinces in South China and more came up to make their fortune in the gold fields after leaving the CPR on completion of the line through Ascroft.

So much history every time I check for details!

For example: Smallpox killed some; Mining accidents killed others; and what about the marker that simply says “In Memory of Jewish Merchants…Murdered…” What’s that all about?

Backroads to Likely  Grave Markers
Storekeeper Dies of Smallpox
Backroads to Likely  Grave Markers
Murdered Jewish Merchants
Silver Fox

On leaving, the last visible resident made an appearance – just to remind us that although humans may have abandoned this site there continues to be a healthy population just behind the scenes.

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One thought on “GHOST TOWN AT QUESNEL FORKS, BC

  1. Interesting read and great photos.
    I remember I spent a week there in the
    mid 1980’s.
    There was an older gentleman living in
    one of the cabins there.
    He told us he was guarding the graves.
    We spent quite a bit of time chatting
    with him.
    He had some really interesting stories
    about the area.
    I wish I could remember his name.
    I’m surprised there isn’t mention of
    him in any of the articles I have been reading.
    He even mailed me a postcard that I had received when I returned home.
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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