The Maple Ridge Museum focuses on the local history, with displays ranging from industry to household items. The museum has over 15,000 objects in its collection, all of which are donations from the community. As you walk around the building you can see that it was once a family home. The front bedroom is the temporary gallery, with exhibits changing seasonally.
A Short History of the Local Area
The museum is located in Jim Hadgkiss Park, the original site of Haney Brick and Tile, which opened in 1907, until its closure in 1977. With the locations close proximity to the river and the available clay, and wood to use in the kilns, along with access to the railway, made this the perfect venue to have a brick plant.
The building you are standing into today was built in 1907 for the manager of the brick plant. The other brick building was built in 1930 to house the offices of the brick plant. Both buildings are built out of Haney Brick and Tile Brick.
Haney Brick and Tile Company
The biggest export of the plant was clay drain tile, used in agriculture and in building. Haney Brick and Tile Co. operated out of this property until 1977. It was then plastic piping replaced the need for clay drain tile. The plant made bricks for buildings such as the Empresses Hotel in Victoria, as well as the “Red Brick” schools in Vancouver, which still exist today.
In this corner you can learn more about the pioneering members of Maple Ridge. First, it is important to note that originally there were multiple settlements that were incorporated under the name Maple Ridge in 1874. These settlements were; The Ridge, Port Haney, Hammond, Albion, Whonnock, Ruskin, Webster’s Corners and Yennadon. The post office wanted all of the areas under one district, so local families were asked to come up with a name that encompassed all the neighbourhoods. This meeting took place at the McIver family farm; the property with its ridge of beautiful maple trees stretched for miles along the river was the source for the name Maple Ridge. Many of the local streets parks and schools are named after original settlers to the area such; as Webster`s Corner, named after James Webster who settled there in 1882, and Haney is named after Thomas and Ann Haney who settled there in the early 1870s.
Robertson was the first white settler in Maple Ridge. He worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Langley as a carpenter and builder. When his contract was up he moved across the river to Albion. He was known locally as “Johnny Appleseed” as his apple trees were the first in BC to bear domesticated apples. The grind stone you see to the left belonged to him. He brought it all the way from the Orkney Islands, as he was unsure if he would be able to get one the same quality here. It was transported to B.C. by boat, travelling around Cape Horn.
The Katzie First Nation
The Katzie First Nation or Katzie Nation is the band government of the Katzie people of the Lower Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. The Katzie territory is identified as the entire Pitt watershed, including the Alouette watershed, to the height of land surrounding the Pitt and Alouette drainages. The Maple Ridge Museum is the Katzie First nation’s repository. It is important to understand that the natives performed all the same tasks as early settlers but with different technologies, based on stone, bone and wood. Locally basketry took the place of metal, and ceramic containers. They made and used baskets for all sorts of jobs, such as water-tight baskets for cooking or cradles for babies to sleep in.
Thirty percent of the early settlers in Maple Ridge are where Japanese. They contributed to the community by working in the logging camps, on the railway, on fishing boats and in the factories. They also owned and operated a large number of the local fruit farms. The Japanese Agricultural Association developed new and effective ways of shipping fruit without it being destroyed in transit. Japanese children provided a boost to the local schools with many expanding to accommodate the growing number of children in the District.
The center display unit showcases toys and games that pre date 1950. It is important to point out what is missing, there are no electronics and no plastic. Everything within the case is fabricated out of wood, paper, metal or porcelain. Take a close look at the doll in the velvet cape, she even has teeth. On the bottom shelf is an early home version of pinball. Snakes and Ladders is one of the older board games, it was first produced as a buyable game in 1889 and has been in production ever since. It can also be called Chutes and Ladders, which is the American version of this British game and was introduced to North America 1943 by Milton Bradley.
In Maple Ridge logging is an important industry. At one point, there were multiple logging camps and saw mills. Large forests close to the river were the ultimate place to build logging camps, as it enabled the loggers to transport the logs swiftly to the saw mills. Logging and millings were the major employers in the district. One such company was Abernathy & Lougheed Logging Company. At its peak in 1925 A&L employed over 700 men in four camps throughout the Alouette area. The company’s main camp was called Allco Camp which was located were the Alouette Regional Correctional is located today. A&L was a state of the art operation, using rail lines to transport lumber from the camps to the mills.
Farming was another big industry in the Maple Ridge, most families had small farms and raised their own chickens and other animals. Fruit farms were abundant, growing raspberries, apples, and peaches. In this display you can see different types of small farm implements; such as rakes, axes, picks and shovels.
Blacksmiths were historical very important, as they fabricated and repaired tools. Each town would have its own blacksmith whose job it was to make items out of metal, fix implements and keep tools sharp, as well as shoeing horses.
This is an original Telephone Exchange. It was the first automatic telephone exchange in B.C. It started working in February of 1928 and it was used until 1966. It was restored to working order by Len Harrison and Ray Ranta in 1967. When it first installed it served 125 subscribers with operator services out of Haney. BC Tel, or TELUS has been working in the Maple Ridge area for more than a 100 years having opened an office in Hammond in 1900.