Tara Sprickerhoff photo. McDougall Avenue and Stafford Drive are just a few of the street names with a storied history in Williams Lake.

HAPHAZARD HISTORY: Williams Lake street names

Columnist Barry Sale looks back on who Williams Lake streets are named after

Every day we travel along various streets in our city, but very seldom do we stop to consider how or why those streets were named.

In this article, I have taken the names of 40 streets, mainly in the older part of Williams Lake, and indicated where each name originates. See how many you know.

1.) Atwood Place: Named for Dr. Hugh Atwood, early family physician, who spearheaded the drive for the new regional hospital which opened in 1962.

2.) Bagshaw Street: Named for William Bagshaw, a surveyor who laid out the plans for the town of Williams Lake in 1920 (with much interference from the then Premier of B.C., John Oliver).

3.) Barnard Street: Named for Francis Jones Barnard, founder and first operator of the B.C. Express Company, commonly called the “B.X.,” which carried freight and passengers from Ashcroft to Barkerville for many years.

4.) Boe Street: Named for Barney Boe, a plumbing and heating contractor in early Williams Lake, as well as a bush pilot and gold miner in the second Cedar Creek gold rush.

5.) Boitanio Street: Named for Augustine Boitanio, founder of the Springhouse Ranch and/or his son, Antoine, a packer, cowboy, judge and fiddler.

6.) Borland Street: Named for Robert Borland, early merchant and land holder. He bought the lower ranch (where the Stampede Grounds are now) after William Pinchbeck died in 1893, and opened a store and post office there. Williams Lake was almost named Borland.

7.) Broughton Street: Named for Bill Broughton, who served in the Chilcotin as both a B.C. Provincial Police Constable and a Game Warden from 1930 to 1942.

8.) Cameron Street: Named for John Angus “Cariboo” Cameron, discoverer of one of the richest gold claims in the Barkerville area, and the man after whom Cameronton was named.

9.) Carson Drive: Named for Bob Carson, an early merchant (bulk oil dealer) who was a Village Councillor and a MLA for the Cariboo.

10.) Comer Street: Named for brothers Bill and Tom Comer, who took over Pinchbeck’s upper house and ranch in what is now the Glendale area.

11.) Cornwall Street: Named for Hugh Cornwall, manager of the Onward Ranch in the 1950s and for his wife, Sonja, a noted Cariboo artist.

12.) Dodwell Street: Named for C.H. Dodwell, who owned a real estate and insurance office in the 1920s and the 1930s. He was also the town’s postmaster, and he wrote frequent editorials for the newspaper.

13.) Gibbon Street: Named for Ted Gibbon, the PGE Station Agent from 1928 to 1935, whose wife, Elizabeth, refused to move into the station house until indoor plumbing was installed.

14.) Haddock Avenue: Named for Arthur Haddock (1878-1961), who drove stage coaches in the Cariboo, the Klondike, and the Nevada gold fields.

15.) Huckvale Place: Named for Hazel Huckvale, educator, alderperson, community activist and city booster who was the long-time principal of Glendale Elementary School. In her latter years, she was heavily involved in seniors’ issues.

16.) Huston Street: Named for Marcus Wayne Huston (1867-1942), a teamster/driver for the BX Company who retired to Soda Creek, purchased a store there and became postmaster.

17.) Johnson Street: Named for Charles Wynn Johnson, who bought the Alkali Lake Ranch from the Bowe family in 1910 and turned it into one of the largest ranching operations in B.C.

18.) Mackenzie Avenue (originally named Railway Avenue): Named for Roderick Mackenzie, an early merchant who arrived in 1919 and established the town’s first general store.

19.) McDougall Avenue: Named for Tom McDougall, an early cowboy, horse trainer and ranch worker.

20.) McKinnon Road: Named for Rev. Alex D. McKinnon, the first minister at the Williams Lake Presbyterian Church. He served from 1921 through 1941, and saw the church become St. Andrew’s United Church in 1925.

21.) Mellish Avenue: Named for Fred Mellish, who arrived in 1920, worked in the mine at Wells and at the Bullion Pit, and eventually established a successful trucking/hauling company.

22.) Moon Avenue: Named for Charlie Moon, early rancher who established the Deer Park Ranch on the west side of the Fraser River near the Sheep Creek bridge.

23.) Moxon Place: Named for Charles and Laura Moxon, long-time owners of the Maple Leaf Hotel, which in 1928 was “the nicest and most honest hotel in town.”

24.) Ogden Street: Named for Peter Skene Ogden (1790-1854), fur trader, explorer, and eventually Chief Factor for the Hudson’s Bay Company in the Columbia region. His historical influence is well-known throughout the Pacific North West.

25.) Oliver Street: Named for John Oliver, Premier of B.C. in 1920, who insisted on establishing the town of Williams Lake at its present site and named its main street after himself.

26.) Patenaude Drive: Named for Joseph Phillip Patenaude, who came to the Cariboo from Lachute, Que. and established a ranch at 150 Mile. Later, he rented the Comer Ranch (where the Stampede Grounds are today). He eventually settled in the Horsefly area.

27.) Paxton Road: Named for Thomas Paxton, an early merchant who built up a large store/trading post on the Onward Ranch with partner John Eagle. The Store was a going conern from 1890 until 1902.

28.) Pigeon Avenue: Named for two brothers, Joseph and Moyse (Moses?) Pigeon, who arrived during the gold rush and became early settlers and ranchers in the Dog Creek area.

29.) Pinchbeck Street: Named for William Pinchbeck who came to Williams Lake in 1861 as a constable. He remained in the area becoming a successful rancher, land owner, businessman and entrepreneur. At one time he owned the whole Williams Lake Valley from Scout Island to the dairy fields in Glendale.

30.) Proctor Street: Named for Pete and Mary Proctor, who arrived in the early 1950s and built the Sunny Side Auto Court. Pete was an electrician who was instrumental in the development of the Williams Lake Golf Course.

31.) Renner Road: Named for George Renner, an American who was a successful rancher in the area during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1937 he bought the Williams Lake Tribune and ran it until the 1950s when he sold it to Clive and Irene Stangoe.

32.) Resker Place: Named for Rev. Basil Resker, first Anglican minister, who arrived in Williams Lake in 1926. He wore out eight vehicles and clocked an average of 20,000 miles a year during his 12-year tenure here.

33.) Rose Street: Named for Fred Rose, who came to the Cariboo during the gold rush and operated a saloon in Stanley. In the 1880s he relocated to 150 Mile House where he was the sheriff and government agent for several years.

34.) Slater Street: Named for Walter Slater, an early businessman in town. He built and operated the first Bank of Montreal, and he also was Williams Lake’s first liquor vendor.

35.) Smedley Street: Named for John Dexter Smedley, a hardware merchant, who was the first chairman of the Williams Lake Village Council. He was also an amateur architect and he designed St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

36.) Smith Street: Named for William Smith, an early hotel owner and entrepreneur. He bought and operated the Log Cabin (Ranch) Hotel, and constructed the new Grand Central (Maple Leaf) Hotel. His son was Cyclone Smith, the famous cowboy who lost his life at the 1932 Stampede.

37.) Stafford Drive: Named for pioneer settler George Stafford, who established a large ranch in the Springhouse area. Members of the Stafford family continue to ranch in the region today.

38.) Western Avenue: Named for Syd Western, an early businessman in Williams Lake and the co-founder (with Alistair Mackenzie) of Wrestling Day, the civic holiday on Jan. 2.

39.) Windmill Crescent: Named for the windmill pump which drew water from a 70-foot well for drinking and irrigation. It was installed in 1942 by early land owner Nick Richards, and is still standing today.

40.) Yorston Street: Named for John (Jack) Yorston, B.C. Express agent at 150 Mile House. When he retired in 1903, he and his brother Robert purchased the Australian Ranch (Mile 190 on the Cariboo Wagon Road). Jack later became MLA for the Cariboo. The ranch still remains in the Yorston family.

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