The Maple Ridge Museum focuses on the local history of area, with displays ranging from industry to household items. 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.
On the stairs leading to the top floor and the museum’s administrative offices, take a look at the wooden planks with Japanese characters on them. A loose translation reads:
“The Sun Shines Equally On All Man”
A Short History of the Local Area
On the bottom of the planks in the smaller characters are the names of the people that helped build the Buddhist temple.
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.
This chair was made in China by a special guild of carvers and would have been very expensive. It was won at a charity raffle in Victoria by Alice Pichon Marc (1887-1987). She moved to Maple Ridge upon her marriage to Andre Marc. She kept it in her home and it soon became one of her favourites. There are lions on the arms and on the head rest guarding a lotus tree. The symbols on the seat stand for good luck, prosperity and long life. It is interesting to note that Alice lived to be 100 years old!
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 1970. It is important to point out what is missing, there are no electronics and minimal plastic.
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.
This train diorama was built by the Dewdney-Alouette Railway society. It has been worked on consistently since 1984. It displays the Canadian Pacific Railway along the Fraser River From Hammond to Ruskin in 1926. You can see both the Port Haney Brick and Tile Company and the Abernethy & Lougheed Logging Company on the diorama. At the front of the Diorama you can also see the old train station, which once stood where the West Coast Express Station is today. The members of the club use old photographs, to help them make the diorama as close to the original landscape as possible. The members are consistently adding new details as they discover new photographs and new information about the town during the 1920s. The members of the Railway club hold open hours on the last Sunday of every month, and they love visitors. They also open up the Caboose, which is behind the museum. It was built in 1944 for the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was a place for the train workers to eat, sleep and relax as they traveled across the country. On the inside the Caboose has two sections; the observation/storage area and the kitchen/sleeping area. There is also a small stove used to heat the caboose and to cook on.