Home From The Great War: When David Andrew Lattimer returned home after serving with the Canadian infantry in the Great War, he moved into this simple wooden house at Milner. It was built in 1910 by Robert Burns Hutchinson, on land that was once part of the 2,000 acre Hudson Bay Company Farm. The house was constructed just as the B.C. Electric Interurban rail line reached this part of the Fraser Valley. Farmers shipped milk, hay, fruit and vegetables to markets in New Westminster and Vancouver, and as a result, many small communities like Milner sprang up alongside the BCE tracks. (Milner was named after the British statesman and colonial administrator, Lord Alfred Milner.)
Hutchinson was a farmer/developer with big plans for his 40 acres, and Milner itself. Warren Sommer quotes Hutchinson in his book Nothing Without Effort: A History of Langley : “Milner…will eventually become a place of homes for the brain-weary city man, who, as soon as his day’s work is done, will board a fast train and be at a quiet country home in less than an hour’s time.”
The house was purchased in 1917 on Lattimer’s behalf by his friend Andrew Veitch while Lattimer was in the thick of it, serving with the 47th Battalion in France, where he was twice wounded. After demobilization in 1919 he moved into his new home. (His daughter Betty told the Langley Times in 2016 that her father changed the spelling of his name because the military had added an extra “t” to his pension cheques, and he wanted to keep cashing them.) The family lived in the house until 1961.
The Langley Heritage Society leased the house from the Township of Langley in 2012 and spent a year-and-a-half giving it a complete makeover. The house was raised and moved 7 metres back from the road. A crawl space was added to accommodate a furnace, new wiring, plumbing and insulation completed the project. LHS president Fred Pepin remembers discovering that the board & batten siding was put on when the house was sagging, which meant it was crooked. It was all torn off and redone. Today Lattimer House is occupied by caretaker tenants with a love for heritage preservation.