history of clayburn village church schoolhouse company town in abbotsford british columbia canada

Clayburn Village in Abbotsford: History of British Columbia’s First Company Built Town

Nestled in the picturesque Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada, is the quaint Clayburn Village, a testament to the region’s rich industrial past. Established in 1905 as a company town by the Clayburn Company, a leading manufacturer of bricks and clay products, the village has a unique history and culture that has stood the test of time.

The Clayburn Village is well-known for its distinctive style, featuring brick buildings and well-maintained streets. It’s hard to imagine that the village was once just a small hub for the local brick-making industry, with the Clayburn Company providing housing for its employees, as well as amenities such as a company store, school, and church.

The community’s culture was shaped by its diverse population, with workers coming from various backgrounds and ethnicities. The village was known for its strong sense of community, with residents often gathering for social events and activities. The community was also deeply religious, with the Clayburn Church serving as a focal point for many residents.

The brick-making industry was crucial to the local economy, providing jobs and driving growth in the surrounding area. However, the industry faced challenges in the mid-20th century as newer building materials began to gain popularity. As a result, the Clayburn Company eventually closed its doors in 2011, marking the end of an era for the community.

Today, Clayburn Village is recognized as a heritage site and a reminder of the region’s industrial past. Many of the original buildings have been preserved, allowing visitors to explore the village and learn about its history and culture. The community’s legacy is celebrated through events and activities that honor its heritage and the contributions of its residents.

One of the earliest structures built in Clayburn Village to support the families living in Canada’s first company-built town was the Clayburn Schoolhouse. The first section was built in 1907-1908 and operated as a school on and off until 1983. The schoolhouse is of heritage value, reflecting the central role of the provincial government in setting educational standards and the reliance of local school boards on the province’s assistance.

The standardized design of the Clayburn Schoolhouse represents the historical significance of the province’s educational standards. The original portion of Clayburn Schoolhouse was constructed by prominent Fraser Valley contractor Robert Harvey Brock, following the standards of British Columbia public school architecture laid out by the Provincial Department of Lands and Works, which provided the plans and specified the orientation of the building. The banked windows allowed abundant natural light but also sufficient wall space for large blackboards.

The Clayburn Schoolhouse is significant for its continuing role in the community. During the Second World War, the school served as a community hall, and it was later used again as a school until 1983. The Clayburn Village Community Society purchased it in 1991 and has been responsible for its ongoing maintenance.

Today, the Clayburn Schoolhouse remains a popular wedding venue and is frequently used for scenes in the film industry. The Clayburn Village Community Society maintains the Clayburn Village Museum in the lower level, which houses a collection of artifacts, photos, and models of Clayburn Village in the 1920s. Local volunteers provide walking tours and interpret local history and the nature of early education in the village.

In conclusion, Clayburn Village is a remarkable example of how a small community can preserve its unique heritage for future generations. The village’s historic buildings, events, and activities offer visitors a glimpse into a bygone era while also honoring the contributions of its residents. If you’re in the Fraser Valley area, be sure to visit Clayburn Village and experience its rich history and culture for yourself.

Citations for blog post article

Google Maps
Mission City Record
Clayburn Village CS
Canada’s Historic Places
Clayburn Middle School
Clayburn Village Store

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