From Royal Engineer to Reeve

Shea Wind (upper left) researched and helped design a new exhibit about Langley pioneer Philip Jackman (lower left) at the Langley Centennial Museum. Jackman was a young Royal Engineer with the Columbia Detachment who came to B.C. in 1859. The six month-long journey from England by ship was documented in the Emigrant Soldiers' Gazette, a newspaper written during the journey (middle left).   Jackman's life and work intersected with many aspects of the colony's development: he helped build the Cariboo Wagon Road during the gold rush, was a night watchman who transported drunks in a wheelbarrow, a CPR employee who mutinied, operated a saloon and a general store, and was fisheries guardian on the Fraser River. Phillip eventually settled in Aldergrove in 1886 (lower middle photo) with his wife, where Philip Jackman Park is today.  He served as reeve or mayor of Langley for three years (Council Minutes lower right) and [...]

December 19th, 2017|

Back on the Shoot

Langley Heritage Society is producing the next in a series of videos about local houses restored by the society. Betty Miller nee Lattimer and her daughter Marjorie taped an interview recently at Lattimer House in Milner. Betty's father David returned home from the Great War to settle into the house he bought near the end of the war. He and his wife Nellie were active members of the small farming community. Harrison Merkl and Brandon Yap, students from Brookswood Secondary School, handled cameras and sound for the session. We'll post the finished video early in the new year.  More on Lattimer House HERE.

November 24th, 2017|

Life at Sperling General Store

Marv Woolley shares memories of living at the Sperling General Store & Post Office, once located beside the BC Electric Railway tracks at Brown Road (240th Street) and 72nd Avenue.   His parents Art and Doris bought the store the year Marv was born in 1945. The store closed in 1962 when the new Highway 401 cut it off from a large part of the community. People then lived in the building for another 10 years before it was burned down as practice for Fort Langley's volunteer fire department in 1973.  Originally built around 1905, Sperling General Store & Post Office was a vital part of community life for decades. Mom was the postmaster and they both operated the store, Mom taking orders by phone, then Dad delivering groceries and hardware throughout north Langley until the 401 Freeway forced the closure of the store in 1962. Dad had driven the [...]

August 21st, 2017|

Our Shared History: What Next?

The Salmon River near Glover Road in 1938. Heritage consultant Don Luxton presented a report about Langley's evolution, development and identity to Langley Township council on Monday July 24th. Our Shared History is a thorough review of the township's history that could help guide community development decisions.  (After similar reports this is being done in some communities like Victoria, Vancouver and Campbell River.) Our Shared History explores five key themes -- habitation (pre and post contact), economies, governance, society and the arts. Some TOL councillors remarked that the report could be valuable in area schools, and used to enlighten newcomers and Langley Township residents about their own history.  The initiative was launched by the Township's Heritage Advisory Committee last fall. A special task force was then struck with representation from the Langley Heritage Society, community-based organizations, local historians and First Nations.  A summary of the report can be read HERE.  The [...]

July 25th, 2017|

Before GPS

It was a treasure hunt that paid off. The Township of Langley and its volunteer Heritage Advisory Committee have located the original concrete mile markers that once stood beside the Fraser Highway. Mile O began at the historic Main Post Office (1905) at Main & Hastings in Vancouver, and moved eastward through the Fraser Valley. Seven of nine original  mile markers erected in the early 1930s in Langley Township were located with the help of historic surveyor (and Langley Heritage Society board member) Jim Foulkes. The originals were restored and two replicas were created to replace the two missing markers. Nine mile markers now stand on the south side of the Fraser Highway between Murrayville and Aldergrove, a visible link to the region's transportation history.  For more information on the project, and specific locations for the mile markers, click HERE.  Thanks to Ellen Edwards for the photos from the dedication [...]

July 15th, 2017|

Building of the Week: Sperling Church

Saved from vandalism by the Langley Heritage Society. Read more HERE.  

July 8th, 2017|

Trattle Memorial Tree: The Second Hundred Years

Big Leaf Maple trees were planted almost a century ago to honour Langley's soldiers who didn't come home from the Great War. Many streets also bear the names of these fallen soldiers. In recent years the trees have been attacked by disease, and three of them have been cut down in Fort Langley. Earlier this year a hardy Sugar Maple variety was planted beside the bronze plaques previously created by the Township of Langley and Langley Heritage Society. The photo below pictures the tree and plaque for Alfred Trattle, killed in action 100 years ago near Vimy.   The new Trattle memorial tree with plaque at the corner of 96th Ave (Brenda Alberts Way) and Trattle Street  Historian Warren Sommer, author of the recently published Canucks in Khaki, writes: "Alfred William Trattle was serving with the 47th (Battalion) when he was felled by an enemy shell. His death on 27 May was [...]

June 25th, 2017|

The Last Run

"Chilliwack & Fraser Valley Way Points". Excerpts from a film shot by Ken Hodgson in 1948/49 and in 1950 including the last trip of the BC Electric Railway Interurban passenger service to Langley. (Hodgson's brother went on to become CEO of BC Transit). This short video includes narration by two former motormen, Frank Horn and Vic Sharman, and features wonderful scenes of an expanding Langley -- described by Frank as, "a pretty modern little town." Two trains serviced the run, one from Vancouver, the other from Chilliwack; they touched noses from opposite directions on that final day. Thank you to Michael Taylor-Noonan, librarian at the Transit Museum Society for sharing this with the Langley Heritage Society. Watch the video HERE.

June 16th, 2017|

Immigrant Shed

Between 1959 and 1966, CBC Radio's Imbert Orchard travelled the province, interviewing nearly 1,000 B.C. pioneers, and in the process created the largest oral collection in North America. Some 2,700 hours of recordings with homesteaders, gold miners, road builders and loggers are now housed at the Provincial Archives. Some of his interviews were later published in the Sound Heritage series, including this entry from 1983 about the arrival of the Williams family in Langley in the late 1880s, when Langley was mostly forest. Bert Williams was four years when his family started homesteading in the hill country east of the Langley Prairie. They lived on what is still known as the Brown Road (240th Street), but it was then little more than a trail through the primeval forest. Here and there a settler was struggling to let in the sunlight and get a few acres on which to grow crops. Otherwise [...]

May 25th, 2017|

All Aboard! New Season at CN Station

  May Day kicked off a new season at the historic CN Station at Mavis & Glover in Fort Langley. The site's new manager, Andre Erasmus, greeted visitors and also found time to pull weeds in the heritage garden, while SFU history student and volunteer Holly French showed kids how to tap out their names via Morse code. Gerry Landsman & his assistant Chris fired up the model railway in the vintage caboose, and kids enjoyed hopping aboard the speeder and velocipede parked on the tracks in front of the station. FLAG (Fort Langley Artists Group) have also started a new season of exhibits in the baggage room. CN Station will be open Saturday and Sunday from noon until 4 pm; the schedule later expanding to Thursday through Sunday. Watch this space for more details about upcoming events.

May 23rd, 2017|
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