This stately heritage farmhouse and adjacent barn were built on highly productive lands that once belonged to the Hudson’s Bay Company and today remain in the Agricultural Land Reserve. After the BC Electric Interurban rail line came through Milner in 1910, agricultural commerce quickly expanded. John Norris had the home built across Glover Road from the BCER tracks during the Great War, and it was later purchased by Herbert Dixon and family. The trains were powered by electricity, and the Dixon home was one of first to be wired for power supplied from the station at nearby Coghlan (see photo below).
Herbert and Emily Dixon settled in the area during a time of upheaval, but managed to develop a successful dairy farm. They sold to the Cumming family from Manitoba in 1935. The Vander Vegte family purchased the property in 1958 and farmed here for 49 years. Eventually they sold to the Township of Langley in 2004.
Today the house is very much as it was 100 years ago, with original fir floors, wraparound verandah and elegant octagonal corner bay window on the second floor. Restoration by the Langley Heritage Society began in 2008 and included extensive work on wiring, plumbing, heating and floors. Even the original chandelier was returned to the dining room (see photo below).
The farm is one of just two in the Milner area that retain their early 20th century barns. Original fir and cedar beams, some of them 40 feet long, are still in place, as is the dowelling that holds it all together. Langley Heritage Society president Fred Pepin says the building was almost ready to fall down due to neglect and one-too-many snow storms. Five hundred feet of cable were needed to stabilize the building, which also required a new foundation and roof.
A caretaker tenant lives in Dixon House, which is leased to the Langley Heritage Society for a dollar a year by the Township of Langley. The society received an Award of Honour from Heritage B.C. in 2013 for its inspired restoration of the house and barn that took two years and more than $200,000. It also received an award from the Township of Langley for preservation of this important landmark which is a powerful link to Langley’s agricultural history and Langley’s built heritage. Black & White photos below of aerial farm view, hay load at barn and Vander Vegte family courtesy of Langley Centennial Museum.