Street under construction in 1934, wpH383
Richardson and Ted Baynes, two young engineer
graduates from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, were
employed by the Townsite Company to lay out the company town Wells.
The first buildings to go up were the Townsite Office on Pooley Street
and Ed and Mae Richardson's house (they were newly weds). More houses,
a school, hospital, church, recreational facilities, hotels, and stores
were built by various members of the community and contractors, such
as Northey Construction Company of Vancouver and a local firm, Gardner
Construction. Garvin Dezell & Sons Company were hired to build various
private buildings. Local carpenters were also employed.
of Bowman Crescent and the Catholic Church, wpH63
area on a small round hill was chosen for the location of the business
district. Better class houses were built on Bowman Crescent with a view
of the mine, while other residential areas were laid out on the flats
below Pooley Street, reflecting the social hierarchy of the town. Wells
was quickly organized and structured. Tiny, economical 33 x 100' lots
kept the town small & compact, which encouraged neighbourliness and
a sense of community. All the conveniences of a large city were provided.
Power was supplied by the Cariboo Gold Quartz
generator by early November 1934 and running water was in service
by winter 1935.
Theatre had 'talkies' (movies with sound added) and a large community
hall was added in 1937. Wells even had a racetrack and ball park for
recreational activities. When the town became a reality by the end of
1934 with 40 buildings finished, it provided financial opportunity for
the people who got started there. The boom-town
also became the center of cultural and sporting activity in the Cariboo
region. People would come from Prince George, Williams Lake, and Quesnel
for entertainment and to participate in sporting events.
Down Pooley Street, wpH46
In a 1940
census, Wells was described as the fastest growing town in British Columbia.
Since the mines slowly declined after World War II, so the population
of Wells steadily dwindled until today there remains around 250 year-round
and the hospital were sold privately, the Community Hall was sold to
the Wells Chamber of Commerce, and the
Wells School is now run by the provincial government. The last mine
closed in 1967, and with it, the Townsite Company.
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