Elgin Heritage Park
Links and documents
1894/01/01 to 1920/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Stewart Farm comprises a two storey wood-frame farmhouse with a deep veranda on the south and east sides, surrounded by seven associated farm buildings: root cellar, wood shed, pole barn, bunkhouse, machine shed, threshing machine shed and garage. The complex now forms part of Elgin Heritage Park.
The heritage value of the Stewart Farm lies in its interpretive value, as the only intact farm complex from the late nineteenth century remaining in Surrey. Stewart Farm provides a valuable illustration of pioneer life and demonstrates important aspects of Surrey's agricultural heritage to the public. Originally a two storey log structure was located just to the north of the existing farmhouse. The success of the farm operations allowed for the construction of a new farmhouse in 1894 and the earliest outbuildings the following year. The large and elaborate farmhouse and the surrounding buildings demonstrate both the wealth and way of life that could accompany a farming livelihood in the late 1800s. The farmhouse is a good example of the Queen Anne Revival style, which was popular at the time of its construction. The farmhouse is furnished as it would have been at the turn of the century, demonstrating a typical farming lifestyle.
The outbuildings are significant in demonstrating the functions of a traditional farm. The root cellar, built into the ground and conveniently close to the house, was used for storing perishable produce through the winter and illustrates the lack of refrigeration in the late nineteenth century. The large open woodshed demonstrates the need for self sufficiency in fuel. The necessity for a bunkhouse for farm labourers points to the labour-intensive nature of farming, even though the farm boasted a threshing machine and other machinery. The garage was likely a later addition to the site in the 1920s, when John Stewart owned a Model T truck. The pole barn is one of the oldest and largest remaining barns of this type in the region. It is framed with minimally worked peeled logs, plank walls, board floors and a hand-split cedar shake roof. The raised midstorey allows a fully loaded hay wagon to enter.
Stewart Farm is important for its association with John Stewart, who was active in social and municipal affairs. John Stewart came to the area in 1880 and served on the Municipal Council for a number of terms in the 1880s and 1890s. He made a substantial contribution to farming in the area by leading in the construction of dykes to drain the low lying land of Mud Bay. The Stewart family ran a successful hay farm operation at this location for six decades, which was then owned by the Ward family from 1944 until the City of Surrey purchased the farm in 1984.
The location of the Stewart Farm, on the banks of the Nicomekl River, is a demonstration of the importance of water transportation to the development of the area. The river is tidal and sternwheeler boats originally travelled up the river to collect produce from the local farms. In the 1950-1970s era, the Ward family created a small boat launching marina and boat repair area. The wharf, boat moorage and launching ramp for non-motorized vessels have now been reconstructed.
The municipal ownership and restoration of this site demonstrates the commitment of the City of Surrey in preserving and interpreting its built and natural heritage. The main restoration works took place between 1987-93: the farmhouse was restored and adapted to museum use in 1988-89; the Machine Shed was renovated and adapted for re-use as public washrooms in 1986; the Threshing Shed and Bunkhouse were restored and adapted for exhibition and public programming use in 1987-1988; the Pole Barn was restored for exhibition purposes in 1990-91; the orchard landscape was recreated in 1994 from heirloom specimens typical of the 1880s and sourced from several heritage orchards of the Fraser Valley; and the kitchen garden has been replanted.
Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Stewart Farm include its:
- proximity to the banks of the Nicomekl River;
- spatial arrangement of all eight buildings;
- form, scale and massing of each individual building;
- exterior elements of the farmhouse such as the veranda with its lathe-turned columns and decorative brackets, turned finials at the gable peaks, the bay windows on the first floor, double-hung 1-over-1 wood-sash windows, and cedar shingle roof cladding;
- interior elements of the farmhouse such as fir floors, pocket doors, turned newel posts, leaded windows, and panelled entry doors typical of the later nineteenth century;
- structural and finishing elements of the pole barn, such as the peeled log frame, plank siding, board floors and hand-split cedar barn shake roof cladding;
- vernacular characteristics of the remaining outbuildings; and
- a small wharf, boat moorage and launching ramp for non-motorized vessels reflecting the former commercial use of the river.
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
1990/01/01 to 1991/01/01
1984/01/01 to 1984/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Exhibition Centre
- Food Supply
- Farm or Ranch
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey
Cross-Reference to Collection