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Sullivan District

Sullivan has been known as the Johnston Settlement, Sullivan Station, as well as Sullivan. It is the district that is centered on 152nd Street and 64th Avenue. It is a heritage centre and former economic heart of Surrey. At one time it was a major logging, lumber milling, and shingle manufacturing community that had an important station on the BC Electric Railway. This page will provide some background on Sullivan.

Johnston Settlement

The original settlement was known as the Johnston Settlement when James Johnston and sons William and Issac preempted land in 1866 on the uplands west of the Serpentine Valley, south of Mahood Creek and between Mahood Creek and Bear Creek. They were joined by the other sons Billy and John. They cleared the land and homesteaded the area, but as the region developed the name Sullivan dominated.

Mr. and Mrs. James Johnston

James Johnston preempted land and settled north of Mahood Creek on what became Johnston Road. He and his wife raised four sons who joined them in the settlement. The homestead extended from Panorama Ridge (Hwy. 10), north to Newton Road (72nd Ave.), east to the line of 160th Avenue, and west to the vicinity of 144th Street.

The Johston Family

This group photo is the Johnston family with William, Isaac and John and their wives and children.

Sullivan/Sullivan Station

The Sullivan area had been a center for logging operations after 1898. Henry Sullivan was a timber cruiser operating out of Everett, Washington. The timber he saw in the Sullivan district was some of the best he had seen. Henry brought his brothers Tom and Jeremiah(Jerry) into the operation along with Tom Hiland. Tom Hyland's family name had a "y" but early in his association with the Sullivan Brothers the "y" was dropped in favour of an "i", thus Hiland. The Sullivan's acquired the Johnston family quarter section south of Mahood Creek. Initially the Sullivan's and Hiland hand logged the immediate Sullivan District and exported the logs via the Alluvia Station on the Victoria Terminal Railway. Lumber and shingles were hauled by sled along a skid road from the logging operations to Alluvia. In 1909 the Sullivan logging crews built the B.C. Electric Railway right of way from Newton to Cloverdale. The junction with Johnston Road became Sullivan Station, and to the west the next station was Hyland Station(west of 144th St and south of 68th Ave, along the present Hyland Avenue). After 1910 lumber and shingles were moved via the B.C. Electric Railway.

The opening of the Station at the BC Electric Railway junction with Johnston Road saw Sullivan develop as a regional focus.

Sullivan Station

Sullivan Station provided an important link for the district eastward to Cloverdale and into the markets of New Westminster and Vancouver. It was vital for the movement of product from the Sullivan mills.

Kids at Sullivan Station

Sullivan Station became the hub of the community. Here a group of children are enjoying themselves around the station.

Hiland and the Sullivan brothers acquired property and timber rights east towards Cloverdale and west along Panorama Ridge. With a secure timber supply they opened two mills. The Hiland/Sullivan Lumber Mill and the Surrey Shingle Manufacturing Co. mill were located a 100 yards west of what is now the northwest corner of 64th Avenue and 152nd Street. Between 1910-1920 Mahood Creek was dredged for the Dyking District from Sullivan to the Serpentine River. Logs and shingles bolts could now be floated up to the mills at Sullivan.

Hiland/Sullivan Lumber Mill

This photo is looking north towards part of the Hiland/Sullivan lumber mill and the Surrey Shingle Manufacturing Co. This is now the northwest corner of 64th Avenue and 152nd Street.

Early in the new century, 1901 or 1903, a store at Sullivan began operation. It was operated by Jerry Sullivan who was the mill's timekeeper and office manager. The store began as a small stock of goods stored under the counter of the mill office. However, when the BC Electric Railway line (BCER) was being constructed in 1908, a two-story building was built south of the right of way on the west side of Johnston Road. The store occupied the ground floor, with the upper floor used as a hall. Community gatherings, meetings and dances were held in that hall for many years, until the present Sullivan Community Hall was built in 1928.

Sullivan Store

Sullivan Hall Sullivan Hall Addition

The original Sullivan Hall, built in 1928, is shown on the left with the Hall and an addition shown on the right.

Map of Sullivan

A post office opened in 1913 in the store building with Jerry Sullivan the postmaster. There was a blacksmith shop on the east side of Johnston Road opposite the store, and next door was the pool room, confectionery, barber shop and brick yard. The heyday's of Sullivan were 1920 to 1922 inclusive. Pacific Highway was being surfaced and was closed to traffic. For two years all traffic south from Vancouver to Blaine went via Johnston Road and Sullivan. A garage was built and operated by the Johnston brothers, Bill and Albert, who later formed Johnston Motors in Vancouver in 1923.

Johnston Road School

To meet the needs of a growing community a two room elementary school was built in 1912 and was named the Johnston Road School. By 1950 it accommodated 81 students.

The School in flames Johnston Road after the fire

On Friday afternoon January 13, 1950, in the middle of a blizzard, fire started where the chimney went through the roof. The building was entirely gutted. The 45 pupils were led to safely. The school was replaced later that year with a new facility which was located further south than the old school. This is the present Sullivan Elementary at 60th Avenue and 152nd Street. The name was changed from Johnston Road to Sullivan Elementary in 1975.

Sullivan Fire Hall

Sullivan Fire Hall has been a vital part of the Sullivan Community. The volunteer brigade operated as a service during the Second World War. The fire hall was opened after the war and most of the equipment was war surplus.

Sullivan May Queen Sullivan May Day Parade

Annual May Day parades took place down the main street of Sullivan. Community spirit was very evident. In more recent times this event has developed into "Sullivan Days".

The BC Electric Railway was the mainstay for Sullivan District. From 1910 to the 1940s it provided transportation to New Westminster and Vancouver, carried the mail, and was used by the mills to ship shingles and lumber. Sullivan students attended Surrey High School in Cloverdale by riding the interurban. The railway also ran a branch line from its mainline, about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile west of 152nd Street, and south east to the vicinity of 60th Ave. and 152nd Street. From this line the railway mined gravel to ballast its line east towards Langley.

The closure of the mills due to fires, the opening of Pacific Highway, and later King George Highway, and the ending of passenger service on the BC Electric Interurban saw Sullivan eclipsed by other centers.

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