Cottonwood House was one of the most popular road houses along the Cariboo Wagon Road. It was built in 1864 by John Ryder and Allen Smith. In the early years the business changed owners several times. In 1874 John Boyd gained title to the house and operated it with his family until the fall of 1951.
With barns, fields, fresh water, wholesome food and clean rooms Cottonwood House developed a reputation among travelers as a great place to stop. The farm also supplied feed for animals and supplied goods to miners.
In 1909, John Boyd died after a brief illness. John’s wife Janet, continued to run Cottonwood assisted largely by some of her children. In 1951 the property was sold to Vagn and Anna Olrik. The Province of British Columbia bought Cottonwood House in 1963 and designated it as a Provincial Historic Site.