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Stone Firewall

Fire wall
Stone fire wall ruins (link to large image).
Like many pioneer towns, Yale had its share of major fires.

Fire could easily get out of hand in towns mostly built of wood, with little precautions taken in the placement of buildings to prevent the spread of fire. In July, 1881, a drunk caused the burning of a third of the town. The original Shilson house may have been destroyed when a fire ravaged the whole town block. The Oppenheimer store's brick vaults were the only thing left standing after one fire.

Fire wall
This photograph was taken after the burning of the entire Block 1. (BC Archives: a-04371).

Fire became more of a concern when two fires broke in two months.

After a second fire two months later, a stone firewall was built, at right angles to the river, to basically break the town into two halves. It was paid for with money raised by firefighters for new equipment, to which many Yale residents contributed. Remnants of this wall are still visible today.

Many of the establishments in Yale were destroyed in these fires. This included the Saloons found on Front street.

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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.