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108 Mile Ranch has a long and interesting history. It became swept up in the Cariboo Gold Rush in the late 1850s and was aptly named for being the 108th mile on the Cariboo Waggon Road where the 108 Mile Hotel operated from 1875 to 1881.  Although the oldest buildings have been on this location since the 1860s, 108 Mile Ranch only became a heritage site in the 1980s.

Let’s delve more into the fascinating history of the 108 Mile Ranch and its transformation over the years.

In 1969, Arthur and Henry Block made a significant move by purchasing the 26,000-acre 105 Mile Ranch from R.M. Monical and sons. This acquisition marked the beginning of an exciting journey for the area. On August 17, 1969, the first landing took place at the 108 Airport, with Frank Bernard piloting a Cessna Skymaster. Olaf Hansen joined the flight, making it a memorable long weekend fly-in and opening event.

The development of the 108 Golf Course was a major undertaking. The Block Bros. envisioned creating a destination resort where people could purchase lots, enjoy recreational amenities, and experience the comfort of a small, picturesque community. The centerpiece of this haven was a sprawling golf course built to PGA Championship standards. It featured a clubhouse, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a 20-room hotel. The resort became one of the most significant development projects of its time.

Here are some key milestones in the early years of the 108 Mile Ranch:

  1. 1970: Major work was completed to clear and develop the 108 golf course. Additionally, dredging occurred between 108 Lake and Sepa (Separation) Lake. The Club House was built, and Mike & Heidi Hapalo took a 5-year lease to operate the restaurant. The golf course officially opened, with Keith Hannah as the golf pro and Bill Wilson as the assistant pro. During this period, 400-500 lots were sold.

  2. 1971: The 108 Motor Lodge opened with 22 units, and construction was underway for a swimming pool and tennis court. A new building adjacent to the airstrip (now known as the Wheelroom) housed the sales office for Block Bros., a Mini Mart operated by Dick and Myrtle Tyrwhitt, and a gold shop owned by Mary McFarlane. Block Bros. acquired full ownership of the project by buying out shares from Len Monical and Dick Smith.

  3. 1972: The 108 experienced extreme winter conditions, with a low temperature of -45°F and significant snowfall. The Volunteer Fire Department and Woman’s Auxiliary were initiated, and the 108 Recreational Ranch saw the construction of an old Community Hall near the chapel. The 108 Property Owners Association was formed, and about 37 new homes were built, along with over 300 lots sold.

  4. 1973: An 11,400 sq. ft. indoor riding arena was built on Tatton Road, and Ducks Unlimited surveyed Walker Valley for potential conservation efforts. The 108 School opened as the 108 Annex with five portables.

  5. 1974: The Motor Lodge expanded, and tennis courts were added. Groundbreaking occurred for the new 108 chapel construction, and the 108 school had 130 students and five teachers.

  6. 1975: The 108 Lake was stocked with Eastern Brook Trout, and a new school opened with eight classrooms.

  7. 1977: The 108 School officially opened with 227 students, and the resort faced challenges due to the provincial government’s Agriculture Land Freeze. Despite this, the 108 Golf Resort continued to thrive, offering golfing, outdoor activities, and a rare onsite hotel.

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