March 15, 2015 Deborah Groom

Wescraft – Remembering the Past

 

 

Memorial Trees

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At Wescraft we call Langley and Fort Langley home.  We are B.C born and raised and this is were we live and work.  We’d like to share some of what makes the community we build in so unique and honour its heritage.

Fort Langley is a town known for its historical charm.  The Fort itself with its re-enactments, festivals and tours is a constant draw as are the store fronts, vintage train station and waterfront.  On a weekend afternoon it is a perfect place for a stroll, enjoying the heritage properties, but have you ever noticed this house?

In Fort Langley on the corner of Trattle and 96th sits a small colonial house.  If you look closely you will realize that besides its historic beauty it is impossibly small.  It is in fact one of four such houses placed in Fort Langley for a very special purpose.

According to the Langley Heritage society in the summer of 1914, a local group known as the Langley Volunteers went off to serve in the great war, World War One.  Two of the returning members, Dr. Benjamin Marr and and municipal collector Archie Payne, wanted to create a legacy to commemorate those who had fallen in battle.   Streets like Glover Rd. and Berry were renamed for local soldiers who didn’t get to come home.

In 1923 it was decided to plant a tree for each soldier at their renamed street.  According to the Society these trees were meant as a living reminder of how such events affected everyone in the community.  Over time most of the trees died and the original white fences and plaques disappeared.

In 2003 the Langley Heritage Society placed four house shaped cement monuments at the feet of the remaining trees to commemorate the soldiers lost in the war and those who planted the trees.  In speaking with Bays Blackhall of the Langley Heritage society, she shared some more info about the markers.  “Fort Langley is a unique with its village feel.  It is the birth place of B.C.”.  She said that as time went on they wanted to protect these trees, safeguarding the tribute to those soldiers.  When asked about the choice of a house as a marker she said that they represent our heritage.  “The men lived in this area, made their homes here.”  The house was the fitting symbol to represent their part in the community; where they came from and all the lives affected by their passing and sacrifice.

At Wescraft we build homes to last far into the future but we never forget our past.  “We appreciate and stand behind the men and women that sacrificed so much to give us the community we have today.  Thank you.”

If you have not seen these unique tributes here are the locations you can visit ( as quoted from the Langley Heritage Society Facebook page).

Trattle St. and 96th – planted for Alfred Trattle, former CPR worker and farmer, who died at Vimy Ridge in 1917.

Wright St. and 96th – planted for Jesse Wright, who came to Canada in 1911, enlisted early, and died overseas.

Wilson Townline Rd. (96th Ave.) and Glover Rd. ,  believed planted for A.W. Wilson, listed as killed in action.

Johnston Townline Rd. (216th St.) in Milner, planted for Arthur Johnston, grocer and local leader, who died in France in 1916.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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