Fort Yale grew overnight from a nearly abandoned Hudson’s Bay trading post to a bustling gold rush town.
A visitor to Fort Yale on July 28, 1858 wrote:
We arrived at Fort Yale in little less than nine hours from Fort Hope. There are probably 700 or 800 people here, nearly all of whom are miners, living in canvas tents, and waiting for the river to fall. A number of miners were at work on the river bank, with rockers, and most of them make a living by washing the loose dirt and cobble stones. I slept at Mr. Johnson’s (agent for Ballou’s Express) tent that night, and breakfasted next morning with my old San Francisco friend… whom I found tenting a little way down the river. He gave me a good breakfast consisting of fried salmon, bacon, hot bread and coffee, cooked by himself and served in tin plates and cups…
There is but one public eating house in the town, and the invariable diet is bacon, salmon, bread, tea and coffee, and the charge is one dollar a meal. No milk or butter is ever seen. The eating house is kept in a log house partly covered with bark, and with a dirt floor. Everything is made in the same room which is not more than 12 x 14 and is consequently cramped for space and as hot as an oven.”