Many of the historical items on display at the Aldergrove Legion Branch on Saturday, Sept. 19, were getting their very first public viewing.
Alder Grove Heritage Society (AGHS) president Tami Quiring said it took volunteers three months to put together the indoor walk through local history
“We have boxes and boxes and filing cabinets full of local history,” Quiring commented.
“Some of it has never been put on public display.”
Among them, “a lot of the business items [from past eras], a lot of photos and a lot of maps,” Quiring elaborated.
She also cited the detailed genealogical records maintained by the local Elks Club, which she described as a “gold mine” for people tracing family trees.
“We would like to get people excited about local history,” Quiring commented.
Society volunteer volunteer Brenda Haid, a third-generation Aldergrove resident, said it was a “small sample of what we have.”
It was the first-ever Community Heritage Day, a free family-friendly way to explore artifacts and photographs and learn how Aldergrove has changed over the last 150 years.
It ended up being held on what would have been the 108th anniversary of the first Aldergrove Fall Fair, rather than the originally-scheduled April date, thanks to the pandemic that forced a postponement to September, along with a reconfiguration to respect COVID-19 safety protocols.
Visitors entered in one door and exited by another, and were only able to walk in one direction in order to maintain social distancing. Masks were required.
Haid explained that a Scout leader uniform on display was from the “First Aldergrove Troop” in the mid 1950s.
“It belonged to my father, Wilfred Haid,” she said with pride.
Quiring, whose has one branch of her family that goes back to 1888 in Aldergrove, noted the historical photos included one of her great-grandmother, part of a display devoted to he early days of telephones.
“It’s kind of a sense of pride, knowing my family has a history,” she observed.
All the history in the archives needs a new, more roomy home, Quirin told the Langley Advance Times.
“We need space. We have nowhere to do research and archiving.”
AGHS has proposed using the former fire hall, located at 2900 272nd Street, which was purchased by the Township with plans to demolish it to make room for a connector road adjoining 29th Avenue and 273 Street.
However, the Township did approve a motion to consult local community members, as well as independent appraisers, to estimate the value of the fire hall – which was first built through largely donated goods and services in 1958.
Among the visitors who attended the Legion display on Saturday was John Jackman, an Abbotsford resident whose family has deep roots in the community.
“My great-grandfather founded Aldergrove,” he said with pride.
“Philip Jackman Park is named after him.”
More details about the Alder Grove Heritage Society (AGHS) are available at www.telephonemuseum.ca.