Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The von Alvensleben House is a one and one-half storey Edwardian-era wood-frame house with a wraparound front verandah. Located north of the Pitt Meadows town centre in a rural setting, the house is set close to the corner of a large agricultural property, facing Harris Road, the major historic north-south road in the area, at the corner of McNeil Road.
The von Alvensleben Residence is significant for its association with Constantin Alvo von Alvensleben (1877-1963), who owned this property and was heavily involved in the promotion of German investment in the Lower Mainland prior to the First World War. In 1904, von Alvensleben left Prussia for Vancouver and became involved in numerous promotional business deals, mainly speculative real estate ventures. Through his efforts, developments such as the Dominion Trust Building was built in downtown Vancouver, docks and fish processing plants were constructed, and the Wigwam Inn was built on Indian Arm. Extremely successful for a few years, von Alvensleben, along with most of Vancouver's business elite, went bankrupt in the economic crash of 1913. He returned to Germany to seek new financial backing, but the Canadian government refused him re-entry after the outbreak of the war in 1914. This house was built around 1912 on a huge rural property that von Alvensleben acquired in north Pitt Meadows. At the time he resided in North Vancouver and never occupied this farmhouse.
The von Alvensleben Residence is also valued for its Craftsman-influenced architecture, and was one of the more significant farmhouses built in Pitt Meadows at the time. The house dates from the time when Pitt Meadows was developing rapidly as an agricultural town, after the construction of the dyking system allowed farming in the area to flourish. Like many Edwardian-era houses, the von Alvensleben Residence displays a wraparound verandah, but is detailed with Craftsman style elements such as the exposed rafters. Notably, von Alvensleben's North Vancouver residence (1913), though more grand, features similar hipped wall dormers, recognizable as 'Germanic', linking von Alvensleben to the design of this house in Pitt Meadows.
This property is additionally significant for its association with the dyking of Pitt Meadows, which was the primary reason for its growth as an agricultural centre. Pitt Meadows had rich agricultural land, but was plagued with annual flooding caused by the rising of the Pitt River. Illustrating the high water-table on this low land, the house sits on a raised basement. An extensive series of dykes stabilized the agricultural potential of the area.
Source: Department of Development Services, District of Pitt Meadows.
Key elements that define the heritage character of the von Alvensleben Residence include its:
- rural location, set close to the street on a corner lot at the intersection of Harris and McNeil Roads
- residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one and one-half storey plus raised basement height and regular rectangular plan, ground floor bay windows, and hipped roof with open eaves and exposed rafter ends
- wood-frame construction with horizontal, bevelled siding and second-storey shingle siding; and simple wooden window and door casings
- additional exterior features, such as hipped wall dormers, wraparound, shed roof verandah with plain, square columns and balusters, and central doorway with glazed wooden door
- regular fenestration with double-hung 1-over-1 wooden sash windows
- associated landscape features, including extensive mature plantings and adjacent open fields
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Food Supply
- Farm or Ranch
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Department of Development Services, District of Pitt Meadows
Cross-Reference to Collection