A new piece of public art has been installed in Aldergrove to recognize a pioneer who helped develop and shape the community.
A cairn outlining the contributions made by Philip Jackman was placed across from the park that now bears his name. The cairn, located in Aldergrove Kinsmen Heritage Park, pays tribute to everything he did for Aldergrove during its formative years and explains the significance of the decision to rename the adjacent park Philip Jackman Park.
“Jackman was one of the Township’s early reeves or mayors, serving from 1895 to 1897,” said manager of parks design and development Al Neufeld.
“He led a fascinating life and is credited with naming the area Alder Grove.”
Born in Devon, England in 1835, Jackman came to B.C. as a sapper with the Royal Engineers in 1859. He searched for gold in the Cariboo, was a fishery guardian, and served as the one-man police force in New Westminster. Settling in what is now Aldergrove, he homesteaded 160 acres with his wife, Sara Ann Lovegrove, where the couple ran a store, and Philip took up politics.
The last survivor of the Royal Engineer’s Columbia Detachment of 1858, Jackman died in 1927 at the age of 92, and was survived by three of his six children.
In 2008, Township of Langley Council renamed the former Aldergrove Park at 32 Avenue and 272 Street Philip Jackman Park in honour of the pioneer. Changes were made to park signs to reflect the new name, and a steering committee was formed to develop a public art piece that would explain who Jackman was and educate visitors about his achievements during Aldergrove’s formative years.
Township staff worked with the committee, which included Jackman’s great grandsons Keith and John, as well as Alder Grove Telephone Museum manager Erik Simonsen, to look at the type of memorial cairn that could be used, where it could be installed, and the wording that would be appropriate.
Details were finalized over the past year and the cairn was installed in the beginning of September.
On October 5, members of Township of Langley Township council and staff joined Jackman’s descendants for the official unveiling of the cairn.