Saturday, October 2, 2010

Barkerville and the Gold Rush

Barkerville was such a fantastic part of our Gold Rush study.  We're almost finished this study; and this was such a great way to have the whole study come to life.  It was SO much fun, and we learned an incredible amount of history.  


Everyone in the entire town was in full costume and character.  The Theatre Royal show was so much fun and we were greatly entertained!  They even got Jason up on stage which was hilarious.  The kids were laughing so hard that the elderly couple a little to the front left, kept peeking back and them and laughing at the kids.


What gold rush, 1860s experience would be complete without a stage coach ride?!  Of course all the kids wanted to ride outside while the adults were in the coach.


This guy was showing the kids about hard rock mining and trying to sign them up for the job.  He told them he'd pay them a dollar a day for a 10 hour day.  They weren't willing. 


Judge Begby, "the Hanging Judge", confiscating all of Samuel's "weapons" before heading into court. 


The merchants would each fly the flag of their country over their store or establishment.  The school house had a British flag and a few others, but when Barkerville was first built up around Billy Barker's claim, it didn't really "belong" to anyone but the natives.  Governor James Douglas quickly declared himself governor over the entire region and saved British Columbia from being annexed to the United States!



Oh yes... the school house.  We spent an hour in the school house where we were all between the ages of 6 and 16.  It was long enough to really get an idea of what it would have been like in that time.  We were instructed before entering how to sit, address the teacher and respond... standing when called upon and answering in full sentences, ending in "mam".  We all agreed that we would not have wanted to be in school there.  And Teigan and I had to wear bonnets as not to distract the boys with our "lovely tresses".  My Dad used to dip the girls braids in the type of ink wells that you see in front of Teigan!  He went through a one room school in rural Ontario similar to this one.


This amazing piece of machinery, while we all agreed looked like a medieval trebuchet or catupult, was really used to pulverize rock.


The Cornish Waterwheel was really something to see in full swing.  It was used to bring water from the creek, while another part took miners 52 feet down under ground and brought up buckets of rock and dirt to put through the large sluice box.  Of which Liam is about to open the gate on. 



We spent the later afternoon every day exploring the river for neat rock specimens, and of course panning for gold.








We did find flakes of gold in the river, but the big treasure for the kids were these big old fashioned jaw breakers from Mason and Daly.  It felt very Little House on the Prairie.  I half expected to have Mrs Olson come out and scold us for loitering on the front porch. 


This was such a fantistic experience.  I would recommend it to anyone, whether studying the gold rush or not.  It was so much fun and such a great way to learn about history.  The kids wanted to do another day on top of the two full days that we had already spent there.  And we easily could have.


D.M. McGowan said...

Barkerville is a marvelous place.
I've been to several historical villages here in Canada and a couple in the US and nothing compares with the education, entertainment, and history to be found in Barkerville.

Kevin, Sonya, Claire & Max said...

Hi Karyn, found your blog on the HS Meet-up site. Your pictures are fantastic. What sort of camera do you use? I have an Canon Xti Rebel but my pics dont turn out half as good as yours.

Karyn said...

Hi Sonya, thank you. I have a Canon as well. 40D. The Xti Rebel is a good SLR. I've been taking pictures and studying photography for a long time! There are lots of really great books to help your photography, or some great night courses too. Have fun! :)