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Barnard's Express Office

Detail of Express Office
The Yale express office in about 1868. (BC Archives: a-01559)
Barnard's Express, commonly known as B.X., had it's first express office in Yale's Front Street.

Francis J. Barnard's business had a humble beginning. What evolved into Barnard's Express did not provide service as quick as express service today, but was very fast by the standards of the time. It began in the fall of 1860, when he carried mail on foot from Yale to Barkerville, in the Cariboo. He had to return in bitter cold temperatures to finish his first year of service. In 1862 he purchased a horse, letting him carry more letters and papers per trip. Only a few years later he built an express office at the corner of Front & Albert streets, but now horses were enlisted to trot the distance to the far off gold fields.

Fraser River in Winter
This winter scene in Yale is what Barnard may seen on return from the Cariboo.

Barnard Express office, past and present
Present day Front and Albert Streets, showing where the express office was. Click to see the past and present side by side.
The express office in Yale was located on the busiest streets in one of the busiest towns in the west.

His express office sat on Lot 10, Block 17 in Yale, which was originally bought by William Davis in 1859 (see documentation). It would have been a convenient location for goods that arrived by steamer to be transferred to express wagons, and their delivery be continued on land.

Today in Yale, no remnant of the express office exists.

Sign post The same spot today is occupied by a private home; the only marker of the original site is the corner where Front and Albert streets meet. A sign post was built just across Front street from where the original office was to commemorate this piece of Yale's history.

Barnard's Express wagons used the Cariboo wagon road to transport goods. See where it began on the Cariboo Wagon Road Mile 0 page.

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Last updated 31 August 1998.
This digital collection was produced under contract to the SchoolNet Digital Collections Program, Industry Canada.
Produced by Schoolnet Digital Collections Team.