Whether you are interested in First Nations history, intrigued by the intrepid-ness of our fur traders as they scouted new territory or want to mine the history of the prospectors, history comes alive in the Otter Valley!
Experience what life was like hundreds of years ago as you step into and explore the authentic ghost towns of Granite City and Blakeburn!
The discovery of gold led to the creation of a mining camp called Granite in 1885. As the number of miners grew the camp became known as Granite City. By 1886, Granite City contained 300 European prospectors and 100 Chinese. Later development in Granite City resulted in many shops and services being opened, including 9 general stores,14 hotels and restaurants, and other businesses. Two hundred buildings occupied the two main streets - Government and Granite. Granite was regarded as one of the largest cities in British Columbia.
On April 4,1907 most of the town was destroyed by a fire. Later prospectors, looking for other precious minerals, rebuilt and settled the town. However, by the 1960’s all the inhabitants had left leaving the town abandoned.
Blakeburn is B.C.’s largest remaining and ironically unrecognized historical site. This coal-mining town which closed in 1940, currently consists of over 300 structures, a 4 mile rail-line. It is located southwest of the intersection of Granite Creek and the Tulameen River, across from which lies the surviving coal mining hamlet in the area, Coalmont, which was the railhead for the Blakeburn Mine, connecting it to the Kettle Valley Railway.
The linked article gives some nice pictures and descriptions of the town as it was at its peak.
The Mascot Gold Mine is an unique experience. The mine buildings were built on a cliff almost 1 km above the valley floor – an incredibly difficult place to build a mine! Travelling along, winding, dusty mountain roads, you will begin to experience life as it was for the miners as you quickly travel back into time and history.
There are nature hike’s which lead to the top of the mine’s famous stairs. At the site, you will be able to explore the original mine buildings, see how the operation worked and imagine what life was like here. The extraordinary and stunning Mascot Gold Mine, perched on a cliff face over-looking the spectacular Similkameen Valley, will amaze and astonish.
The Coalmont Hotel is a heritage hotel with furnishings from its era. While not running as a hotel anymore, the saloon is still open and can be visited to view the historical architecture and furnishings of the era.
The Princeton Museum has a wide range of historic collections reflecting Princeton's history:
Take a truly fascinating look into Hedley's rich mining history at the Hedley Museum, where many artifacts of the mining days gone by are on display.
Also in the area are numerous historic sites and buildings including log barns and a blacksmith shop. Maps are available at the museum showing the location of these timeless artifacts of life in the past.
You can also go panning for gold in the area like prospectors from the past!