|My daughter and I at BX Falls|
The BX is also known as Electoral Area C in the Regional District of the North Okanagan and there is a BX-Swan Lake Community Association that includes residents of both the BX and Swan Lake areas. Other things bearing this name in the area are BX Creek, BX Falls, BX Road, BX Elementary, the BX-Swan Lake Fire Department and the BX Ranch Park. The BX Press Cidery is a local business that operates in the area and they too have a great write up of some local history here .
|Francis Jones Barnard|
Barnard had a large impact on the town of Vernon and the Okanagan in general. He, along with other prominent historical men, began an enterprise to build the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway – a spur line branching off the great Transcontinental Railway at Sicamous and travelling to Okanagan Landing. The S & O Railway effectively opened up the entire Okanagan Valley to the rest of the world. Barnard Avenue was named in his honour and is today Vernon’s main street ( 30th Avenue) travelling through the heart of downtown Vernon.
|(Barnard’s Express At Yale. Provincial Archives)|
His “BX” stagecoach line at one point delivered mail as far as Wrangel, Alaska and was at one time said to be the longest stage coach line in North America. Frances Barnard effectively kept out the American express lines such as Wells, Fargo and Company from taking hold in Canadian territory and his BX Ranch and Express are a major part of the history of our province. For this and more, he is considered one of the Fathers of British Columbia.
It was in 1860, though, that Barnard began ranching about 5 miles east of present day Vernon. In 1868 he sent his foreman, Steve Tingley to California and New Mexico to purchase 400 of the finest horses for breeding purposes for his coach line and drive them home to the BX Ranch near Vernon. By the 1880’s, his son, Frank, had expanded the ranch to about 2,000 head of horses and about 7,000 acres of land. The Greater Vernon Museum records: “These horses became the breeding stock from which Barnard drew the horses needed on the stagecoaches and freight wagons. The run from Cache Creek to Priest's Valley (Vernon) and Okanagan Mission operated until the completion of the Okanagan branch of the CPR in 1892.”
|BX Ranch at Vernon, BC 1898 ( BC Archives #D-02455)|
Sources & Further Reading:
Greater Vernon Musuem: http://www.memorybc.ca/bx-ranch-ltd-fonds;rad
Margaret Ormsby: http://www.memorybc.ca/bx-ranch-ltd-fonds;rad
The BX Press website: http://thebxpress.com/the-bx/
Vernon Real Estate website: http://www.vernonrealestate.ca/about-vernon-bc