Fairview Jail - Oliver, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 10.991 W 119° 33.078
11U E 314085 N 5450952
Quick Description: The Fairview Jail has been, since 1981, located at the Oliver Museum, towards back along the Heritage Garden walking path.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 10/12/2021 2:12:20 PM
Waymark Code: WM15430
Views: 0

Long Description:
The Fairview Jail is a small, wooden, one cell jailhouse that has been relocated to this location behind the Museum. Interesting to note, the museum is housed in the old BC Provincial Police building, built in the 1920s. Also of note is an old wooden washing machine that was used in the Fairview Hotel and a display of old mining equipment also from Fairview.

Until 1887, the area around Fairview lay undisturbed by man but, that year, a prospector known as One-Armed Reed explored here for gold and, in 1888, two others, Gwatkin and Shehan, were Crown-granted the Sidewinder Claim. Many other interests were staked and, by 1893, Fairview the place boasted of being The biggest city north of San Francisco.

Along The Gulch, close to the mines, buildings were erected and saloons, like Moffat's, the Golden Gate, the Bucket of Blood and The Miner's Rest served the needs of the population. Along with saloons comes boisterous, even criminal behaviour, followed by a community's desire for "law & order", followed shortly by the hiring of a town marshall and the construction of a hoosegow. This one was likely built in the very early 1890s.

To the southeast of The Gulch the townsite of Fairview was laid out. It was here, in 1897, that Fairview's Grand Hotel, nicknamed The Big Tee-Pee, was built. Five years later it burned down, with the loss of two lives. Many years later the ground on which the hotel had stood was screened, yielding dozens of gold and silver artefacts and coins.

By 1906, when Fairview’s gold began to play out, most miners departed for other prospects and, two years later, Fairview had become a ghost town.

By 1919, “the most exciting town in the West" had vanished, although mining activity revived to some extent during the Great Depression and, between 1934 and 1939, 16,992 ounces of gold and 162,66O ounces of silver flowed from these hills.

Essentially nothing remains of Fairview except several historical markers. The site of the Presbyterian Church has been marked, but is otherwise indistinguishable from the surroundings. Constructed at Fairview in 1899, it was moved to Okanagan Falls in 1929 and is affectionately known as The Blasted Church for the method in which it was disassembled for transport (Hint - dynamite was involved).

The wooden Fairview Jail, the last remnant of Fairview, was moved to the Oliver Museum in 1981.

At the front of the jail is this historical marker, placed by the Oliver and District Heritage Society, which outlines the story of the Fairview Jail and the town of Fairview.


Fairview Jail
The town of Fairview, a community founded on the riches of gold, silver, and other ore deposits, had a brief but stunningly prosperous existence in this part of the valley from about 1890 to 1910. The old town site is still accessible today, but little remains.

Many of the residents moved down to the new community of Oliver in the early 1920s. Some of the buildings were left behind, others were dismantled, and rebuilt or the materials were reused to build new structures.

One of the buildings left behind was the old jail. It stood in its original location for decades, being used here and there as an overnight refuge for transient residents, a youth's clubhouse, a stopping point for hikers, a nesting location for barn swallows and mice. It was even used as a cattle shed for a time.

Despite this, it remained in fairly good shape, aside from some vandalism and water damage from its increasingly leaky roof. Time, however, was not on its side. Fearing that it might become lost to vandals, the elements, or wildfire, a group of concerned residents moved it to its current location and restored it.

It now houses a history of mining in the area, including Fairview and Camp McKinney.
Transcribed from sign
Photo goes Here
Type of Marker: Cultural

Type of Sign: Historic Site or Building Marker

Describe the parking that is available nearby: Street parking is available at or near the museum

What Agency placed the marker?: Oliver and District Heritage Society

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