The Surrey Historical Society was founded in 1968, and incorporated in 1969. This Society is an important resource for Surrey’s history. Its mandate is to promote Surrey’s heritage; to support the preservation of Surrey‘s historical materials, artifacts and sites that are deemed to be of historical value; to support research and documentation; and to publish materials on Surrey’s history. An extensive volume of research material is available on the Surrey Historical Society website. Visit us at www.surreyhistory.ca The Surrey Historical Society meets on the second Saturday of each month from Sept. to Nov. and Feb. to June, in the lower meeting room of the Surrey Archives. Enter at the east lower door. The Surrey Historical Society acknowledges the Surrey Archives for photographs used, and surreyhistory.ca for the information on Hugh & McKinnon.
Modern day Cloverdale reflects well over 140 years of growth and development. Many repurposed, older buildings stand alongside modern structures, giving Cloverdale its unique homespun character. The historic "then and now" photographs on this page exemplify the long history, change, and growth of this pioneer community. An agreement with the City of Surrey, highlighting Urban Renewal, culminated in three figurative sculptures, carved in granite. Carved by award winning sculptor Paul Slipper, these stand out as guideposts along Cloverdale’s historic main street. Granite markers engraved with historic facts are inlaid at the base of each sculpture. Each eight ft high work celebrates three aspects of Cloverdale’s past: Farming, Transportation, and the Cloverdale Rodeo. Cloverdale Town Centre has been used in several movie sets including "Smallville". The sign Murray Motors on the side of the Surrey Leader building is a reminder of recent filming sites. The small town character makes Cloverdale an ideal film location.
Surrey’s first Pioneer Settlement began at Surrey Centre with Abraham Huck in 1872. Surrey Centre was the first seat of Local government at incorporation. Brothers Joseph, William and Thomas Shannon settled in the area one mile further south–east of Surrey Centre in 1874–1875. Early roots tied together farming, logging, and transportation. Blacksmith Shops and Boarding houses flourished in abundance in the early nineteen hundreds. The coming of the railways changed the demographics, and the new center of commerce further east needed a name. The abundance of wild clover gave William the impetus to call the area Clover Valley. The area was soon renamed by the Railway Engineers as Cloverdale.
A Walking Tour of Cloverdale
The numbers on the map correspond to the descriptions of the buildings described below.
The Museum captures Surrey’s history through artifacts from First Nations to modern technology, including early logging, transportation and farming. The museum offers permanent exhibits, as well as a wide variety of programs for all ages. These include School Programs, Tea & Tour, Special Events and Lectures. An integral component is the Hooser Weaving Section. Hands–on weaving work–shops round out a unique cultural experience. Online research: surrey heritage
Documented as Surrey's oldest building, the home of Eric and Sarah Anderson. Open during regular Museum hours, this dwelling demonstrates early pioneer living. Eric jumped ship after enduring unbearable working conditions on a Swedish whaling vessel. Working his way with another companion, they travelled by foot from Burrard Inlet to Mud Bay. At this point they split up, and Eric travelled up the Nicomekl River. He finally settled on a tract of land at the eastern edge of Surrey. This first home, built in 1872 with hand–hewed logs, stands the test of time. Once the home was completed, he travelled to Chilliwack, where eventually his new bride accompanied him to the home in the wilderness to start a new life. The Anderson cabin was donated to the Surrey Museum in 1970.
Located on Veterans' Square between the Museum and Archives. Originally dedicated in 1921 to commemorate those brave soldiers fallen in the Great War of 1914–18. This monument was moved and re–dedicated in 2006. The original setting, featuring a German Field Gun, has been refurbished commemorating Peace, as well as remembering battles. It also commemorates those who have served in World War II, Korea, as well as U.N. Peacekeeping missions. The statue "Kneeling in Remembrance" honours those who lost their lives in battle, as well as those that returned to a much different world than what they had left.
This, the second Municipal Hall, was built in 1912 to replace the 1881 Town Hall. This Craftsman style building made of locally manufactured brick, now houses the Surrey Archives. For many years, all the city services operated out of this building: Town Clerk, Council Chambers, Public Works, Surrey Police/Jail, Court House, School Board, as well as Health and Welfare. This building had been repurposed for use as a Police Station, Library, and Seniors Centre, before extensive renovations (including earthquake stabilization). This beautiful building now houses the historic records of Surrey using state of the art environmental preservation technology. Operated by Surrey Heritage Services, many of these records are available online at Surrey heritage
With a humble beginning as the Fraser Valley Milk Producers' Association, a new Fraser Valley Co–Op was started in 1921. It became an independent Co–Op in 1938, changing its name to the Surrey Co–operative Association. Beginning as a feed mill, it expanded to become the largest consumer co–operative association in Canada. Its diverse operations included bulk feed deliveries, grocery, hardware, cold storage, tin smith, petroleum bulk oil sales, service station, tin shop, as well as chicken processing plant. An expanded feed mill in 1945 necessitated building a water tower for fire protection, as there was no water supply, or fire hydrant in Cloverdale. This was made necessary as no insurance company willing to take the risk. The expanded Association took over both the Ladner as well as Chilliwack Co–Ops. The Association fell on hard times, and was closed in 1982. The site on Highway 10 between 176th and 177B which contains many of the newer Co–Op buildings was redeveloped as Clover Square Shopping Centre.
The authentic replica of the Cloverdale Station of the B.C. Electric Railway was built in 2012. The passenger/freight service ran from 1910–1950. The historic railway is operated by the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society. It took 20,000 hours of volunteer service to restore 1225, and the restored Interurban Car 1225 runs from Cloverdale to Sullivan, Saturdays & Sundays, May through October. Thousands of volunteer hours go into operation and further restoration. Visit Fraser Valley Heritage Railway
This monument commemorates the completion of the Pacific Highway, which opened on 3 August 1923 by W.H. Sutherland, Minister of Public Works; P. Phillip, Chief Engineer; and E.H. Verner, Dist. Engineer. It was constructed as one of the first concrete roads by A. B. Palmer Co. Contractors, providing easy access to the American Border. During prohibition in the USA, profits from the Government operated liquor store helped pay for paving the new highway. This monument was erected in 1923 one block south of its present location. It was relocated in 1971 from its original site through "Cloverdale Urban Renewal", a joint project by Canada, British Columbia and Surrey; assisted by Cloverdale Board of Trade.
A more modern building, housing automatic telephone switching equipment, now stands where the original telephone office was located. The original office served twelve phone lines. Each line had five to eight families sharing the single line. Each customer had a distinct ring. Only the person with that ring was expected to pick up the receiver. Some eavesdropping did take place, however. Nerves were frazzled as some customers over–extended their time on the line. There was only one telephone repair man for the whole area. Switchboard operators relayed fire calls to who was on duty.
Transportation served a vital link in the early development of Cloverdale, as the area became a transportation hub. Early rail lines included New Westminster Southern (1891), Victoria Terminal (1903), Vancouver Victoria & Eastern (1909). They all amalgamated as the Great Northern in 1909), and finally, BC Electric Interurban (1910). And we must remember Old Curly, the steam locomotive hauling logs out of the bush.
Constructed in 1920 this building, with living quarters above, was the first Royal Bank in Cloverdale. When banking competition arrived, the Royal Bank leased this building out as a liquor store from 1923–1931. Business boomed as Prohibition was in force in the USA. Local businessman Ernest Dann, who had operated a bicycle repair and radio shop next door, bought the building in 1931. The business evolved as son Alan Dann took over in 1973. In its heyday, Dann's sold radios, televisions, bicycles, lawn mowers, and household appliances. Mrs. Dann Sr. (Doris) continued to help with retail sales, which also included phonograph records. While shopping, you might get some surprises, as beside modern household appliances, you may find a radio built by Alan's father Ernest. The business was closed and the building was sold in 2013, thus ending 82 years of the continuous family run business. Several antique items have been donated to the Surrey Museum. When Alan was born, his family kept him in a cradle at the back of the store. He worked in the family business until he was 88. Sadly, Alan passed away in January, 2016, leaving a lengthy family legacy.
The Bank of Montreal, was the first bank in Surrey. One of the oldest commercial buildings in Cloverdale, the Pemberton Building, was built by Pemberton Real Estate with locally manufactured brick. It was once covered with false walls, but these bricks are once again a showcase of early building construction. Some of the original glass is still in the front door entrances. Various businesses shared this art deco building after the Bank of Montreal moved to larger quarters in 1958. Loving care has preserved this building which now showcases Trish's Gems, and Ye Old Piggy Bank (a costume rental business, serving movie production companies).
As well as Logging, Farming soon became a predominant way of livelihood in the early days. Land had to be cleared, sometimes using pigs to assist in rooting out the stumps. Blasting powder became a common means of clearing land. The Surrey Farmers' Institute was established in 1888. Licensed to sell stumping powder, the Bose family served farmers from many parts of the Fraser Valley in the distribution and education of this new resource. Early farmers regularly took their produce to the New Westminster City Market once a week. This was an all day adventure, sometimes arriving back home late in the day, knowing that chores still needed to be done. A great deal of trading/transport utilized the river systems, the Nicomekl, and Serpentine. Roads were cut out of the bush, and reinforced with corduroy (logs laid crossways), with gravel, or mud to smooth out the ride.
In 1904, Henry Parr opened a General Store in this location. In order to serve the needs of the growing community, the shelves were well stocked with preserved and fresh food, clothing, hardware, and a variety of household items. He also operated stores in Hazelmere and Aldergrove. In 1928, Parr sold this store, which changed hands a number of times. Other operators were Armstrong & White, as well as Dermodys, who specialized in dry goods.
1885 saw the arrival of Edwin Carncross. Early farming, plus employment as Municipal Clerk, evolved into Carncross Insurance. Brother Charles and Fabian Hugh joined the Co. along with Frank McKinnon. Both brothers left to operate other businesses, and the Co. changed its name to Hugh & McKinnon. Alan Davidson joined the firm, and by 1977 the Company had 125 staff members. Expanding to White Rock, Langley, Vancouver and Fort St. John, service included Insurance, Real Estate, conveyance, Mortgages, Finance and Investments. They were also the registered office of the Surrey Dyking District. The Company was sold in 1978, ending 93 years of continuous service to the community.
Built by Charles and Ed Hamre in 1925, and leased to Charles and Rose Staley as a restaurant and bakery. Daughter Rose married Harry Parr, son of pioneer merchant Henry Parr. The building was sold to Sid Saunders, who operated a chicken hatchery at this location. In 1945, it was purchased by G.W.A. Smith for the expanded operations of the Surrey Leader Newspaper, which was published here until 1983. This building with living quarters above, was damaged by fire, but remains as a symbol to the Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Dept. This is now the home of La Belle Vie – Home Décor & Jewelry.
Built in 1919 as a livery stable, within a year this building was acquired by Charles Hamre and Frank Carmichael. With the increased use of automobiles, this business evolved into being a garage/service station. In 1923, the Pacific Highway was completed, along with demand for petroleum products and repair services. In 1938 Carmichael sold his share to Hamre, who then went into partnership with his brother Edmond. Both brothers served as Fire Chief, Ed taking over when Charles passed away. Ed served in this capacity for 30 years. As the garage was also home of the Fire Dept, the siren was on the roof of the garage. During the Second World War, the Fire Siren was blown daily for testing purposes. The siren also sounded weekly, calling volunteer fire fighters to practice. Following the death of Ed Hamre, the business was taken over by Orville Nielson, a long time employee. This building now hosts Elements Canines, Abode Furniture.
Construction date unknown. This hotel was built on the former site of Fornie'’s Hotel & Livery Stable, which burned down. The new hotel and restaurant was built and operated by Arthur and May Moore to serve transient workers who were involved in logging and building of the railway. Lunches had to be made for the workers, and this evolved into setting up a bakery. A son–in–law took over the bakery, and soon realized it was not for him. His brother Percy took over, and the business grew. Another location was chosen, and they soon outgrew that.
A larger bakery was constructed in Cloverdale, as well as an additional facility in Abbotsford. This harkens back to the days when door to door bread delivery was common. Following the death of Mr. Moore, the hotel was sold to Margaret White, who served delicious apple pie. The Thai Delicious eatery now occupies part of the facility.
Constructed in 1929, it was owned by McKay & Flanagan Hardware. They also owned a sawmill in Hazelmere Valley. In 1934, it was purchased by Mr. Duckworth, who opened a dry goods store here and also in Langley Prairie. Many a young lady found employment at Duckworth's upon graduation. The building, now owned by Crossroads Church, is home to a Learning Centre.
The first Cloverdale Rodeo was held in 1945 with many volunteer hours going into its organization. The importance of women in community affairs was high–lighted. The first Rodeo Queen Patricia Kronebush was crowned in 1950. Early womens' organizations included the Kings Daughters, and Royal Purple.
Spearheaded by local resident Frank McKinnon, and financed by bonds backed by local residents, the theatre opened in 1947 with Lester Toffee as manager. Prior to the opening of the first movie theatre in the area, residents travelled to White Rock, or Langley Prairie, often by bicycle. The Grand opening on 26 May 1947, showed the movie "Dead Reckoning" with Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Scott. Arranged by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the proceeds went to the Surrey Memorial Hospital Society. The single screen movie house was shut down, and then reopened, only to succumb to modern technology. This jewel has been restored by the new owners, Crossroads Church, and is available to rent for special occasions. We may be in for a surprise, as from time to time, a movie may be playing in the theatre.
Built as a Methodist Church in 1891, this building stands out with its high peaked roof above newer false front additions. Amalgamated into the United Church of Canada in 1925, the congregation worshiped in this building until 1950, when a new church was built on 58A Ave. The building has been used as stores selling plumbing supplies, shoes, and antiques. The building was even pressed into service as a temporary Canadian Legion, after a fire destroyed the Legion building in 1956. This building now owned and cared for by the Mason family, and even survived a fire in the adjacent furniture store building.
The original Hall was chartered in 1891 by the independent Order of Odd Fellows as a Fraternity Lodge. This first Hall burned down in 1904. The Lodge provided sickness and death benefits to its members, in addition to various community services. It was rented out for numerous events, hosting weddings, and banquets. It provided facilities for the Roger Bose Training Centre. The Lodge continued to operate until 1986. The property was sold to B & K Grocery Store in 1951. The Hall was moved twice, and is now owned by the Surrey Beaver Athletic Club.
This new church was built in 1950 onto the former 1891 Church Hall moved from 176 St.. It is accessible off 59th Ave from the Cloverdale By–Pass. The new Bell Tower played chimes welcoming worshippers to the service. Many banquets were served, with two sittings being sold out. Community Service was a mandate of the local congregation hosting Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and CGIT. Recent renovations include a ramp, as well as an elevator for those with mobility issues.
Public Library service came to the communities in the Fraser Valley, by Book–Van in 1930. With the funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a project was undertaken to serve the rural population of the area. Through the creation of a library district made up of twenty–four separate governing units, service was to be provided through a combination of community libraries and scheduled stops of a book van. Surrey was one of those original member municipalities, and in November 1930, a library opened in a tiny rented structure. This inadequate facility was replaced by another which served from 1941–1945. This third library constructed as a community project with local service clubs support, served from 1954 to 1976. From 1976 to 1988 the library called the 1912 Municipal Hall Building its home.
Surrey withdrew from the Fraser Valley Regional Library system to create its own independent municipal Library in 1983. Moving from the small brick building on 58 Avenue to larger quarters in the 1912 Municipal Hall provided temporary relief to the overcrowding. Then the recently–vacated Justice building became available. After extensive renovations, the refurbished building was opened in 1988. This two–story building in a strategic location beside the Museum and Archives, affords the opportunity for research on many levels. Cloverdale Library stands alone as one of the leading centres for genealogy research, with the largest Canadian family history collection.