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Community Feature: Clayburn Village Heritage Day
By Doreen Jung. A celebration of Abbotsford’s history in the brick industry, Clayburn Village Heritage Day on July 15th attracted many visitors. [Click On Image For Full Story]Clayburn has retained its unique character as a turn-of-the-century village. Restored brick homes nestle in neat gardens, surrounded by white picket fences.
Clayburn Village came into existence because of a seam of high quality fire clay found at the base of nearby Sumas Mountain. In 1905 the MacLure family built a plant to produce bricks from the fire clay. They built homes for the men who worked at the Clayburn company plant.
The men brought their wives and families and soon services were needed for the community. A two room school with outdoor plumbing was built in 1908. In 1912 a church and village store were built.Strolling through the bucolic streets of the small village, visitors met some of the residents and admired the traditional architecture.
Inside Clayburn School, Jane Simpson welcomed people who came for the silent auction and the English tea complete with scones, Devonshire cream, and delicious jams.
The building was used as a public school until 1935. It is currently used as a community hall and houses a museum in the basement.
On Heritage Day, the public watched classes from the early 1900’s enacted in a small classroom with vintage desks and a chalk board.Outside, free guided village tours took place and visitors heard stories about the families who lived and worked in the village. Visitors could also take a self-guided tour of the brick factory. Nonie Larsen was working in the information booth, dressed in period clothing and chatting about life in the village. She lives in one of the foreman’s cottages on the main street. Five small brick houses were built across the road from the brickworks between 1906 and 1908. These were known as foreman cottages. They have brick detailing around the windows and doors, verandas across the front, and bell cast roofs. Tickets were sold for the heritage house tours which opened the doors to eight private homes and two of the historic buildings. Artisans and vendors set up booths outside the school and inside the historic Clayburn Church.
The church was built with bricks donated by the Clayburn Company and was home to a Presbyterian congregation until 1958.
It fell into disuse until it was restored in 1978.
Volunteer Christine Wiebe, was the president of the MSA Heritage Society when it took on the church’s restoration.
From 1977 to 1978, much of the exterior of the building was dismantled and rebuilt.
The stained glass windows, original chairs, and doors were salvaged and restored.
In the field next to Clayburn School, vintage cars were on display and hot dogs were being barbequed. Children enjoyed games and face painting. Abbotsford Community Stage featured performances by Dynamic Dance Studio’s Highland Dancers, Valley Echoes Chorus, Central Fraser Valley Fiddlers, and Evans Palmer.
A great place to be on Clayburn Village Heritage Day, it is also a lovely place to visit any other day.
Learn more about Clayburn Village at www.clayburnvillage.com.
Editor’s Note: All photos by Doreen Jung.
Editor’s Note: Doreen Jung is a member of the Abbotsford Arts Council and former Arts Administrator. Her columns appear here regularly.