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Awards handed out for heritage building restorations
In 1897, Henry Leaf, a blacksmith who had emigrated to Canada from his native Yorkshire, England, built a house with square hewn logs. With his wife, Louisa, he made the one and a half storey home the base for a successful dairy farm.
At 114 years old, the Leaf House is significant to Langley’s heritage as a surviving house built in a time when transportation links were few and far between. Situated at 5458 272 St., the homestead was nestled in an isolated corner of the municipality, the rough and bumpy Telegraph Trail its closest transportation route.
Despite the isolation of their home, Henry and Louisa Leaf developed a successful dairy farm and became quite prosperous. An important pioneer family, they are remembered for hosting an annual May 24 weekend picnic for their neighbours.
Today, the Leaf House is surrounded by the industrial enterprises of Gloucester Estates.
Occupying the home today are owners Ted and Lynda Lightfoot, who were recognized by Township council on Monday for their contribution to retaining the heritage aspects of the home. They were presented with plaques by Mayor Rick Green.
Gene and Cheryl Krecsy were recognized for their heritage preservation of the Marr House, 9090 Glover Rd., Fort Langley. This was the home of Benjamin Butler Marr, the Township’s first resident physician. Marr arrived in Fort Langley in 1910 to care for the construction crews working on the Canadian Northern Railway.
The northern portion of the house was constructed on his arrival in 1910, and was completed in 1913 in preparation for his marriage to Isabel Drew MacIntosh, daughter of the local blacksmith. Since further remodeling in 1923, the exterior of the house has remained virtually unchanged.
Dr. Marr and his family remained in this house until 1928 and played an instrumental role in the preservation of the Fort. He became the principal doctor for the area and, along with another physician, eventually served more than 9,000 patients.
After the Marrs moved out, the house became home to other families, and by a number of commercial ventures that have continued to serve both residents and visitors to Fort Langley for the past 100 years. The Marr Residence was added to the Community Heritage Register in 2008 by the Krecsys and is currently known in the community as the Little White House, comprised of the Salon Cafe and specialty retail.
A company was also honoured. On behalf of Quadra Homes and HJ Developments, Shawn Bouchard accepted the plaque which recognized efforts to conserve the 1922 Willoughby Methodist Church.
The modest structure was once regarded as ‘substantial’ for such a small community. Built on donated land with volunteer labour under the direction of Jack Bray, funds for the materials were obtained from the Board of Home Missions of the Methodist Church. The church became known as the Willoughby United Church following church union in 1925, and brought a sense of identity to this rural neighbourhood.
Many social gatherings were held here, making it the focus for both community and spiritual activity until the church was decommissioned in 1966. After that time it functioned as a residential dwelling.
It is being converted into a unique and attractive residential home which is situated on the west side of 208 Street at 83 Avenue, opposite another heritage building, Willoughby Community Hall.
The church has been a landmark in the Willoughby area since it was built, and as a result of its revitalization will continue to have an economically viable place in the Willoughby Yorkson neighbourhood in the years to come.