Barkerville Timber Kings episode to air Sunday, February 7th at 7:00 PM Pacific Time
- This past June, Barkerville Historic Town & Park played host to Timber Kings, the hit HGTV reality television series starring a crew of master log-smiths from Williams Lake’s own Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia… and now the Kings are returning the favour.
- At 7:00 PM Pacific Time on Sunday, February 7th the sixth episode of Timber Kings’ third-season, “Going for Gold,” will reveal the amazing results of Certified Swiss Timber Framer Peter Arnold’s authentic reconstruction of the 19th-century Barker & Co.’s windlass, mineshaft and shaft house, in almost exactly the same spot Billy Barker’s crew originally built the structures more than 150 years ago.
- Before the gold rush city of Barkerville was deemed the largest settlement North of San Francisco and West of Chicago, it was little more than the dream of an English prospector named William “Billy” Barker and his ragtag group of gentleman miners – Barker & Co.
- On August 17th, 1862, Barker & Co. recorded one of the largest creek side gold deposits the world had ever seen, hoisting bucket-loads of nuggets by hand from the bottom of the Williams Creek valley to its surface, through fifty feet of soggy gravel, using a device called a windlass.
- A windlass is the winch-like device at the top of a rudimentary mineshaft that uses two buckets on a skip system to remove water and gravel from the shaft: one bucket goes down the shaft empty while the other comes up full.
- The Barker & Co. claim was eventually prosperous enough to build larger and more efficient machines like waterwheels and steam-powered pumps, but in those early days it was two men on a hand crank, working 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
- A shaft house was built over top of the windlass to protect the mineshaft and force air down into the tunnels below; a sluice box was also constructed, for the purposes of washing gravel and exposing the gold nuggets within it.
- Since January of 2014, the Pioneer crew has also been star of HGTV’s wildly successful reality television program Timber Kings, and next week the Kings will be traveling via television to Barkerville Historic Town & Park in order to recreate a legacy that has been more than 150 years in the making.
“The reconstruction of our Barker & Co. mineshaft and shaft house is already a remarkable legacy for Barkerville visitors for generations to come. We cannot thank Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia and Timber Kings enough for providing us with this lasting opportunity, and we look forward to seeing the onscreen results on February 7th.” Ed Coleman | CEO, Barkerville Historic Town & Park
Peter Arnold (centre) and crew in Barkerville [Credit: Carleigh Drew, Barkerville Historic Town & Park]