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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Saved from vandalism by the Langley Heritage Society. Read more HERE.
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 [...]
"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.
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 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.
If your vintage building is included in the Township of Langley's Inventory of Heritage Resources, you could be eligible for a grant to help restore, repair or maintain the building. Township is taking applications from property owners until the Friday May 26th deadline. For more details, click HERE or contact the Township's Heritage Planner, Elaine Horricks at 604-533-6176. Work must start within six months of the application and be completed within one year of the grant approval. Porter's General Store is a landmark at Murrayville (the third one built on this site in 1939) is just one example of a Langley building that has benefited from this grant. Heritage BC has more information concerning conservation of heritage buildings HERE.
Brookwood Secondary student Harrison Merkl prepares to film an interview with Anja Ridder. Langley Heritage Society's next video production is underway at Dixon House. Anja Ridder's family (the Vander Vegtes, who immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands) acquired the farm property in 1958, and operated a dairy and cattle farm for five decades. She has fond memories of family gatherings, lots of hard work and play on the farm. The farmhouse and crumbling barn were sold to Langley Township in 2008, and Langley Heritage Society took on the two year project to restore both buildings, which today are in full use and lovingly cared for by tenants. LHS president Fred Pepin will also be featured in the video, describing what it took to save the stately home and unique timber framed barn. This is the fourth production with Brookswood Secondary School's Backstreet Studios students. To see other videos in the series, [...]