Surrey History Banner

Cloverdale

Clover Valley

A farming community developed between the Serpentine and Nicomekl areas in a valley heavily covered in clover. In 1873 George Boothroyd, with his family, and Albert Anderson took up land. They were joined in 1875 by Thomas Shannon and his family, and in 1877 by John Armstrong.


Cloverdale

Map of Early Cloverdale

Cloverdale developed as a north-south community along the tracks of the New Westminster Southern Railway. The town developed south of the intersection with McLellan Road. The NWSR Station was located across the road and slightly south of the Starr Hotel. Clover Valley Road ran north-south and the business community located on the west side of the road and railway. The three intersecting railways and designation of Clover Valley Road as the Pacific Highway stimulated the growth and development of Cloverdale. She became the hub centre in Surrey with its administrative and commercial activities.


On August 6, 1890 it was reported by a New Westminster newspaper that:


On the line of the Southern Railway, near the centre of Clover Valley, a number of well-to-do farmers have laid out 160 acres as a town site, which have been surveyed into town lots and these will be placed on the market in about three weeks time.

Cloverdale looking north

This photo was taken from on top of a New Westminster Southern rail car looking north. It shows Cloverdale around 1910, with the Cloverdale Hotel on the left and the Methodist Church in the background.


Thus was born Cloverdale. It developed south of the McLellan Road and its junction with the New Westminster Southern Railway. With the completion of the Victoria Terminal Railway in 1903, the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway in 1907, and the BC Electric Railway in 1910


BCE Clova Station

This is Cloverdale Station on the BCER Electric Railway in 1911. The station was located on the south-east corner of Milton Road and Clover Valley Road(Hwy 10 and 176th Street).


Victoria Terminal Railway Station

Cloverdale Station on the Victoria Terminal Railway and Ferry Company(VTRF) was located south of Cloverdale and west of the Pacific Highway. The current grade is that of BC Rail's Robert's Bank Railway. The Station was built in 1908 and retired in 1933. It became a Scout Hall for Cloverdale.


Cloverdale became an important railway hub, and developed as a thriving commercial core. Two sawmills, both operated by the Hadden family, operated in Cloverdale while timber supplies lasted. (See the Hadden Family) In 1912 Surrey's new Municipal Hall was built in Cloverdale and this established it as the District's administrative center. In 1912 Surrey High School came into being in one room of the Cloverdale Public School. Cloverdale became the focus for all Surrey students who desired an education above the sixth form. In 1913 Cloverdale acquired still another function when the Pacific Highway was opened from the Border to Old Yale road. In addition to being a railroad, administrative, and education center, Cloverdale was on the way to becoming an important highway focus as well. Cloverdale was the home of Surrey's Doctor - Dr. Sinclair, the Municipal Policeman, the Municipal Jail, the Star Hotel, a local creamery, an opera house, Surrey High School, and a number of churches.


Starr Hotel

The Cloverdale Hotel and its associated barn. Settlers could stay overnight in Cloverdale while making rail connections up and down the valley or north-south between New Westminster and the United States.


Methodist Church

North of the Cloverdale Hotel and its associated barn was the Methodist Church. Local residences marked the end of the commercial part of town. Clover valley Road has not yet been designated "Pacific Highway". Sidewalks were important to keep pedestrians out of the mud.


Hwy 10 looking east

This picture was taken in 1912 looking east along the New McLellan Road (Highway #10). The Hotel Columbia is in the foreground, with the newly opened Municipal Hall(the twin peaks in the background). The hotels in Cloverdale showed its importance as a railway and later a highway focus.


Clover Valley Road and New Mclellen

This picture was taken looking north along the Clover valley Road (176th Street). The buildings shown are on the west side of the road and the railway through the intersection links the New Westminster Southern to the BC Electric Railway. Both railways were subsidiaries of the Great Northern Railway.


Cloverdale continued to grow in stature even with the decline and abandonment of some of its railways. Between 1912-13, the former Clover Valley road was improved and opened south to the border at Blaine. This gravel road was finished and formally opened on July 12, 1913, being renamed the Pacific Highway. In 1917, the Great Northern Railway abandoned the remains of the New Westminster Southern Railway from Cloverdale to Port Kells after the local sawmills closed. However, in 1923 the Pacific Highway was graded and cemented from the Border to Old Yale Road. The latter road was also graded and cemented, thus providing a high quality all-weather highway between the International Boundary and New Westminster. Cloverdale thrived as a major road transportation service center on the Pacific Highway. In 1921 the Surrey Co-operative Association emerged from the local farmers need for a feed association. The Surrey Co–op, as it came to be known, grew to be the largest consumer co-operative in the Fraser Valley.


11963 Areal of Cloverdale

This areal photo was taken on October 18th 1963. It shows Cloverdale's two biggest employers the Municipal Hall and the Surrey Co-op. The camera is facing south east.


Cloverdale's relative decline from its preeminent position in the 1920s and 30s began with the opening of the Patullo Bridge in 1937 and King George Highway in 1940. This provided a shorter route with lower grades from New Westminster to Blaine. 1940 also saw the opening of Semiahmoo High School and Queen Elizabeth High School. Surrey High School was not the only secondary school in Surrey and Cloverdale was no longer the only secondary educational center.


Cloverdale in the 1950's

Cloverdale in the 1950s

The 1960s and 1970s saw other factors leading to Cloverdale's relative decline. The change of location of Surrey's Municipal Hall to its present location on Highway #10 near 140th Street. The movement of the RCMP headquarters to the general location of the Municipal Hall. The movement of Surrey's Co-op headquarters and operations to the Abbotsford area. The growth of the retail commercial centers east of Cloverdale on the Surrey Langley border. The 1980s and 1990s saw the Cloverdale region blossom as a residential area. The revitalization of its commercial areas has arrested its decline.



Next Page: Cloverdale Walking Tour

Return to Surrey's History INDEX





View My Stats