The restoration of the Hope Carriage House in Fort Langley was recognized by Langley Township on Monday (Feb. 16), National Heritage Day and the start of Heritage Week in B.C.
The owners of the house, Dale LaVerne and Margot McKenzie, were presented with a community heritage plaque by Mayor Jack Froese, for the work done to the two-storey timber frame structure located behind the Fort Langley Community Hall.
The Hope carriage house is the only surviving structure from the early and extensive Charles Edward Hope estate.
Called Illahie, the estate was built around 1912 and spread out over five acres in what is central Fort Langley today.
The carriage house sheltered the horses and carriages that were used to get to the Great Northern Railway Station at Port Kells.
The upper level was used for feed storage and as a residence for the caretaker and gardener.
Although the Hope residence burned down in 1929, the carriage house and some of the trees from the elaborately landscaped grounds still remain.
The property’s current owners added the structure to the Township’s Heritage Register in 2008.
In 2014, it was restored with the financial support of Lanson Foster of Lanstone Homes, who built the adjacent McBride Station housing development, and John Tilstra of Centra Windows.
Restoration work included the repair or replacement of the wood windows and doors and stucco repair on the west wall.
The interior of the carriage house is still largely intact with a grain silo and cattle restraints in place, reflecting a past way of life in the Township of Langley.
“Owners of registered heritage sites invest a lot in preserving, restoring, or adapting their historic buildings for new uses,” Mayor Froese said.
“The Township of Langley values where we have come from and it is important that we continue to honour our past. We truly appreciate the efforts taken to conserve these sites that convey our unique story as a community.”
In 2010, the Township created a Community Heritage Register Plaque Program to recognize the commitment that owners of heritage buildings make to ensure the continued use of their structures.
To be eligible, buildings must be on the Township Community Heritage Register, which officially recognizes the heritage value of a site under the Local Government Act.
Since the program started, close to a dozen projects have been recognized.