Maple Ridge Museum Site History
The Port Haney Brick Company opened on this site in 1907, and was located here because of the abundant clay resources on the property. Baynes & Horie, Vancouver builders, bought the operation from an earlier small operator to provide bricks for Baynes & Horie projects in Vancouver, particularly the big red brick schools you can still see there.
This building was built in about 1910 for Harold Burnet, the manager of the then newly formed Port Haney Brick Company. It was fairly common in the olden days for companies to provide housing for some of their staff on site to provide night time security. Labourers, some of them Chinese living in bunkhouses on the property, dug the plentiful blue clay into wheelbarrows. Horse drawn carts brought slabs from the sawmill across the road to fire the early kilns.
In 1935, the Brickyard office was built on the same property using the company's own brick and tile.
In 1976, the company ceased operations and in 1978 the plant closed down, demolishing sheds and kilns, and selling the equipment. Both the Manager's house and the Brickyard Office were later moved during construction of the Haney Bypass and refounded on full-height basements.
James Hadgkiss, previous resident manager of Haney Brick and Tile, said about the donation of the land to the Municipality of Maple Ridge, "The original owners would like the land maintained as a monument to an industry that was originally very important to the growth of the area."
In early 1982, the land and remaining buildings were given to the municipality as a heritage site.
Many volunteers helped to prepare the Brick & Tile buildings for a summer opening and on BC Day, August 6th, 1984, the Maple Ridge Museum opened in its current location. A very large crowd was present for the opening ceremonies.
The Arts Council operated out of the brickyard office building from 1989 to 2002 and then moved uptown to the ACT Theatre after 13 years in Port Haney. The Museum took over the building in 2002 and moved most of the community archives into that structure.
In 1991 a 1944 CP Rail caboose, numbered 437115, was turned over to members of the Dewdney-Alouette Rail Society. It took more than 12 hours to move the retired caboose from the rail tracks near the Billy Miner Pub to its new home next to the museum. A local company, Supreme House Movers, donated its time and effort to move the new tourist attraction to a small stretch of railway tracks that had been laid down near the museum. The caboose was built during World War II with siding made of tongue & groove wooden slats because of the shortage of metal.