The Carrier Indians pioneered the land in
this area long before the first white man arrived in, what is now known
as Vanderhoof. An ancient Indian village known as Chinlac lies just a
few miles east of Vanderhoof on the junction of the Nechako and Stuart
Rivers. Simon Fraser's diary relates that he was the first white man to
trade with the people of Chinlac.
After the fur traders came the packers,
miners, telegraph operators, surveyors, finally settlers looking for the
free land of the frontier.
In 1906, the Village of Vanderhoof was
only a survey line in the wilderness to mark the location of the marked
railway. When the last spike was driven on April 7th, 1914, it started a
race for the land. The Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company offered
cheap land and had one of their employees, Mr. Herbert Vanderhoof lay
out the townsite. Vanderhoof is Dutch for "of the farm" which
was very appropriate , since it was the first agricultural settlement in
The town grew and in 1926, the Village of
Vanderhoof was born.
With the arrival of World War II, many of
the young men left, and Vanderhoof came to a standstill. But with the
rise in lumber prices it started to grow again.
The next boost to the population and the economy
came with the construction of the Kenney Dam in the early 1950's. At the
peak of it's construction it employed about 1500 men and a number
of them stayed in the area, after the dam was built.
The next expansion period came with a
large influx of American immigrants in the 1960's and since that time
Vanderhoof has enjoyed steady growth.