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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Craigflower Manor

Photos: Above, Craigflower Manor. Below, Craigflower Manor on the left, Craigflower Bridge in the centre, Craigflower School on the right. Bottom photo: Manor house rear porch window.

Craigflower Farm was established on land purchased in 1850 from the chiefs of the Kosapsom people, who had lived in the area for millennia. Throughout the farm’s existence, the Kosapsom continued to live on adjacent land, and many became involved in the farm operations, being employed in land clearing, construction, housekeeping and other duties.

The farm was one of four original farms set up by the Hudson’s Bay Company as part of their obligations in settling Vancouver Island. The farms were managed by a subsidiary company, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, with the expectation that they would not only meet their colonizing objectives, but would also reap a profit from the sale of livestock and produce.

In 1853, Kenneth McKenzie and his family along with 18 farm hands and their families arrived in Victoria aboard the "Norman Morison", following a strenuous six month journey around Cape Horn. They soon took up residence on the farm site, and began clearing land and building accommodations. McKenzie oversaw the construction of the farmhouse, which was modeled after his ancestral home in Scotland. On May 1st, 1856, the McKenzie family moved in.

During the 1850s and 1860s the farm site continued to grow and develop. The school was opened in 1855 with 26 students. The first teacher, Charles Clark lived upstairs in the schoolhouse with his family and a number of children from outlying areas who boarded with them.

At that time, there were 20 other dwellings on site, as well as a saw mill, a flour mill, a blacksmith’s shop, a brick kiln, slaughterhouse and a general store. Seventy-six people lived at the farm during this period, but many of the original farmhands chose not to renew their contracts after 1857. The McKenzie family stayed on at Craigflower until 1866, at which time they moved on to their own sheep farm.

The farmhouse was subsequently rented to a series of tenants, but the farm itself did not succeed. The school was closed in 1911, and was subsequently re-opened as a museum in 1931. Eventually acquired by the Province of BC for protection as historic sites, the farmhouse and schoolhouse were declared National Historic Sites in 1967.
(From The Land Conservancy Website.)

There is also an excellent description and backgrounder by Maureen Duffus HERE and anaother great source of information from BC Heritage HERE.


Babzy.B said...

thank you for all the explanations about this place ,the photos are beautiful ,and what a blue sky ,here grey... grey... grey ;)

raf said...

Good history here, Ben, on your Gorge series. Thanks for taking us along on your explorations.
Like Elaine, I really like that image of the blue door and knob for the same reason. :)

Laurie Allee said...

Lovely. Reminds me of English manors with all those straight little windows and lack of ornamentation. Thanks for a great post on the history, too.

Kathreen said...

I really like the window picture particularly the reflection in the glass. You have inspired me to visit Craigflower Farm!

Hilda said...

Fascinating history for a beautiful house!
Please vote for the March theme, if you haven't yet. And please help spread the word too! :)