Langley’s 124-year old heritage home, popularly known as the Henry Leaf House, recently received two coats of paint and “the house has never looked better,” according to its owners.
Constructed in 1897 by Henry Leaf, a blacksmith from England’s Yorkshire, the property is significant to Langley’s heritage.
Leaf first immigrated to Ontario in the 1880s but later moved to B.C. to start a dairy farm with his wife Louisa. He successfully ran the farm until 1940 and even became a prominent personality in the neighbourhood.
The Leafs were well-remembered for hosting an annual weekend picnic on May 24 for their neighbours.
Leaf’s house, a private property which Ted and Lynda Lightfoot purchased in 2004, has been renovated multiple times and even featured in several Hallmark Channel movies.
The property’s journey to fame began in March of 2000, when the Township of Langley placed an advertisement in the local newspaper asking for suggestions on how to preserve the heritage property.
Ted, who has spent more than 35 years in the property-renovation industry, responded quickly with a proposal expressing interest in owning the property.
Six months after, the couple was notified that their proposal was accepted, but it took the Township four long years to create a title for the property, do the paperwork, and grant permission to move the property a little away from the creek.
The spring of 2005 was when the Lighfoots finally began the renovation process, for which they were awarded for in May 2017 by Langley Heritage Society. The couple was recognized for their efforts to preserve a designated heritage building.
“The house was totally unlivable when we bought it, and our main concern was… how to prevent the property again vandalism,” said Lynda, who was a real estate agent for more than 15 years.
“We were constantly replacing padlocks on the fencing that was around the house… there were no doors and very few windows… it was pretty badly treated. We probably bought more than six padlocks over the course of four years,” she added.
The house was renovated multiple times to enhance safety and add extra features like a two-car garage that sits behind the house.
The couple even paid a local security company to get their house on the list of locations the company would keeps an eye for security purposes.
“Luckily nobody set fire to it, and the vandalism was minimal,” joked Lynda.
Lynda said curiosity in history is crucial for individuals and families interested in renting or owning a heritage property. She further added that people would have to get creative to make improvements compatible with the house’s original character.
Langley Heritage Society’s president Fred Pepin also urges residents to preserve and foster conservation of Langley’s heritage resources for present and future generations. He further encourages people to reach out to the heritage society for assistance, if needed.
Langley Heritage Society can be reached out at 604-513-8787 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Henry Leaf house is located at 5458 272nd St. in Aldergrove.
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