June 2, 1864: Passed the famous Hill’s Bar. Mr. York much excited and talked long of its rich claims. The town, however, is nearly abandoned and falling to ruin…
HILL'S BAR GOLD RUSH GROUND ZERO
Ground Zero of the explosive Fraser River gold rush was known to the First Nations as “Hemhemetheqw,” or “place to make salmon oil.” This 100-metre stretch of gravel was the richest gold-bearing bar on the Lower Fraser. A San Francisco prospecting party led by Edward Hill discovered gold here during a lunch stop in March, 1858. The instant town that sprang up on this rich real estate has completely vanished.
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Three Fun Facts about Hill's Bar
Hill’s Bar was mined by both First Nations and Americans early in the rush until an argument over a pick ended with Chief Kowpelst of Spuzzum being struck by a shovel weilded by American Con Mooney.
By an extraordinary coincidence, Gov. James Douglas came upriver at that moment and intervened to defuse the dispute.
The settlement—packed with hotels and stores, but just one saloon—was briefly home to Judge Ned McGowan, who gained infamy during “McGowan’s War” in 1858-59.