As the Cariboo Gold Rush was waning towards the 1870s, another gold rush was about to take place in northwest British Columbia. Also called “the Cassiar”, this region was the home to a heady gold rush of its own.
Gold had actually been discovered in the area a few years prior on the Stikine River
. A minor gold rush developed, which petered out fairly quickly due to the lack of subsequent gold discoveries. However, when high-grade gold deposits in the northern reaches of British Columbia were unearthed, the Cassiar Gold Rush began in full swing.
The northern area of British Columbia is characterized by quite rough terrain. This area is quite remote and doesn't see a lot of visitors. Its topography is littered with steep mountains and glaciers, and experiences quite severe winters. As such, it took some time before the resources were available for miners to begin exploring the area.
It was in the summer of 1872 when Henry Thibert and Angus McColluch made one of the earliest documented gold discoveries, which is also how Thibert Creek
, a tributary of Dease Creek, gained its name.
Thibert passed away the following year due to the severe cold. Despite this, news of the rich output in the began to entice miners to brave the area. Activity and development in the area increased even further, and in 1874, several large gold nuggets were unearthed at the McDame Creek
, which became the center of the Cassiar Gold Rush, with activity also significant in Thibert Creek. Roughly upwards of a million dollars’ worth of gold was mined in this region, with the largest recorded find from McDame weighing in at a whopping 72-ounce gold nugget
Because of the Cassiar Gold Rush, the Laketon, Porter Landing and Centerville towns were established. At the height of the mining boom, Laketon was considered the unofficial capital and became home to four hotels, two cafes, five stores and even its own newspaper.
The rush eventually dwindled in the 1880s as interest drifted elsewhere. The final "nail in the coffin" for this region was the Klondike Gold Rush
which started in 1898. Any miner that remained in northern B.C. headed up to the Yukon.
These areas have become ghost towns today, except for a few large-scale companies with present-day undertakings to unearth more of the Cassiar’s high-grade deposits.
NEXT: GOLD RUSHES TO ATLIN & CARIBOO