History of Langley

The first European settlers in what is today the City of Langley, were William and Adam Innes, two brothers who came to British Columbia from near London, Ontario with the intention of freighting to the Cariboo goldfields. The early pioneers had to settle in a semi circle to the east, south and west between the Hudson Bay farm and the foot of the highland.

The original settlement at Langley City was known as "Innes Corners", and later was called "Langley Prairie" when the post office was transferred there in 1911. This was one of the many small communities established in the area, separated from other settlements by large tracks of farm land and bush. The construction of the Inter-Urban railroad (BC Electric Railway) in 1910 resulted in significant growth in the community.

The area along (Old) Yale Road developed into a major business and service centre and attracted trade from all over Langley. Continued growth resulted in the demand for higher levels of service in the community and on March 15, 1955, the City of Langley, with its current boundaries, was incorporated as a separate municipality.

In the years since incorporation, the population has grown from an initial poplulation of 2,025 to an estimated 26,000 today.

Historic Photos

history hotel
c. 1920's. B.C. Electric Railway "Langley Prairie" station at Yale Road (Fraser Highway).

history wagon
c. 1910 Harvest on the Robert J. Wark farm, Langley Prairie

history meat
c. 1915. Dan Cummings (r. of wagon) with Harvey Fulton (a friend of the family) 1910-1915. Delivering meat. Animal head going to a customer in Fort Langley. Picture taken at 200th Street and  Yale Road (Fraser Highway).

history innes
Adam Innes was a prominent homesteader with an abounding love and spirit of community. The City's Coat of Arms, conferred by the Chief Herald of Canada, incorporates the blue star of Innes at the crossroads Old Yale Road (Fraser Highway), Glover Road and the B.C. Electric Railway.

In 1875, Adam and William Innes owned property on Old Yale Road (Fraser Highway) and 56th Avenue, south-west of the Hudson Bay farm (both sides of Glover Road - formerly Smuggler's Trail).

The Innes brothers had come to British Columbia from London, Ontario with the intention of transporting freight along the Cariboo Wagon Road to Barkerville, but ended up on the land, although they did some bull punching on the Cariboo Road after they purchased land.

They were both signers of the petition for the incorporation of Langley as a municipality. Adam brought his wife and family, and their daughter Belle was claimed to have been the first white child born in the municipality. Nothing is known about William Innes.

Adam was a founder of "Innes Corners" and served as Reeve of Langley between the years 1877 and 1887. He was elected secretary of the School Board. He was the postmaster for two years. Church services were often held in his home. He donated the land for the first Prairie School at Innes Corners.

By 1876, Innes owned 300 acres but when he tried to sell and leave, no one bought so he stayed in Langley Prairie.

History Book: From City to Prairie

history book 
In 1998, City Council commissioned Warren F. Sommer to research and document the history of the City. In October, 1999, "From  Prairie to City- A History of the City of Langley" was launched.

"From Prairie to City  " is an attractive 200 page, well written 'table top' book containing an abundance of historic photos and fascinating stories which makes it an ideal gift not only for our founding citizens but also current and future residents. The essence of the book is best captured in the paragraph on the back cover of the book:

"She was always growing, even through the Depression years. I never understood how the old town came to grow so big."

Jeweller Uriah Ward, who spoke these words later in life, settled at Langley Prairie in 1924. By the time he died in 1981, he had witnessed his chosen home grow from a hamlet at the corner of Fraser Highway and Glover Road, into a thriving city. Long part of the Township of Langley, Langley Prairie became the City of Langley, a separate civic jurisdiction in 1955. At the turn of the Millennium, the City was home to over 25,000 residents, had a well-developed infrastructure, enjoyed extensive community services, and possessed a remarkable sense of its own identity. History is an integral part of community identity.


"From Prairie to City", historian Warren Sommer takes the reader on a fascinating 175 year journey through Langley Prairie's past, from the First Nations People to the first homesteaders, from the coming of the railway to the "complete, compact community" of the present. "From Prairie to City" balances historical facts with careful analysis and colourful anecdotes. It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on one of British Columbia's oldest communities.

Copies of  "From Prairie to City" are available for $10.00 plus tax at Langley City Hall, 20399 Douglas Crescent.

Heritage Road Markers

The City has installed Heritage Road Markers. The roads and their history is contained in the following sections:

history heritagemarker

GUEHO ROAD (203RD STREET)

Gueho Road is now called 203rd Street and runs south of Michaud Crescent, west of the present Langley Mall.

It was named in 1919 after Marcel Gueho, a French settler, who was killed in World War I.

SIMONDS ROAD (48th AVENUE)

Simonds Road is the road now called 48th Avenue, between 208th Street and 216th Street.

After World War I, the Trigg Road was renamed the Simonds Road after Hazelette Simonds, who was nicknamed Hazy. He was part of the Princess Pat Light Infantry and was killed at Vimy Ridge in April, 1917.

Hazelette was in the first High School class at Belmont School in 1909. He was the son of Thomas Simonds, who farmed just east of Murray's Corners from 1891 to 1917.

Simonds Elementary School was built on 48th Avenue in 1959 and is also named for this family.

LEWIS ROAD (50th AVENUE)

This road is now called 50th Avenue and runs east and west off of 200th Street. It was named for an early settler in the area. This road meets Grade Crescent just west of 200th Street.

PHILLIPS ROAD (55 A AVENUE)

This road is now called 55 A Avenue.

NEW MCLELLAN ROAD (56TH AVENUE)

New McLellan Road is now called 56th Avenue and runs east from Delta through Surrey and Langley.

A.J. McLellan was the Surrey contractor for 13 miles of this road when it was built east from Delta into Surrey in 1875. When it came to 164th Street, it ran north to Surrey Centre and then east along 60th Avenue.

In the 1890's, the road was continued from 164th Street straight east through Cloverdale. At that time "Old McLellan Road" was used for the original road through Surrey Centre, and "New McLellan Road" was used for the one going through Cloverdale.

It was 1914 before the road was completed to Langley.

ROBERTS ROAD (56th AVENUE)

Roberts Road is now called 56th Avenue and runs from 200th Street to 264th Street. McLeod Road was renamed Roberts Road after World War I for Private Fred O. Roberts of the 48th Battalion. Fred Roberts enlisted at age 17 and was killed in action at the Battle of Mt. Sorrel in 1916.

Fred Robert's father, F.W. Roberts, bought the first store at Innes Corners from the owner, Alphonse Prefontaine, in 1914. It was known as "Prefontaine and Roberts." He was the Langley Prairie postmaster from 1914 until his death in 1934.

CARVOLTH ROAD (200TH STREET)

The part of 200th Street north of Fraser Highway was named Carvolth Road after World War I.

Jack L.B. Carvolth was raised in England. On coming to Langley, he began farming and later bought a place of his own which he rented out when he enlisted in the 121st Battalion.

He was serving with the 54th Battalion when he was killed in action in a raid at Vimy on
March 1, 1917.

TOPPING ROAD (204TH STREET)

Topping Road is now called 204th Street and runs south off Fraser Highway.

It is named for J. Topping of the 47th Battalion. He lived with his parents in Langley Prairie and worked for Timm's Langley Greenhouses, owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Timms, before he enlisted. These greenhouses were located where Langley Mall now stands and faced Topping Road.

Topping Road is the street that Langley City Hall now stands beside.

J. Topping was killed in World War I.


BERRY ROAD (208TH STREET)

Berry Road is the part of 208th Street that runs south of Old Yale Road. The road was renamed after World War I for William Elton Berry, a cadet with the Royal Flying Corps who died at Camp Borden on October 27, 1918.

William's father, John Walter Berry married Lydia Bowman in 1890. John Berry had taught school in Ontario, but after coming to Langley in 1897, he owned two stores in Langley together with David Coulter. Berry ran the one in Murray's Corners and Coulter ran the one in Fort Langley. John Berry sold his Murray's Corners General Store to Hugh A. MacDonald and in 1902, Berry started Belmont Dairy Farm, which is still a working farm in the Berry family.

John Berry was the Municipal Clerk for Langley in 1898 and 1903 to 1909, Chairman of the school board from 1912 to 1936, and M.L.A. for the Delta riding in 1925.
Milner Station was named in honour of Lord Alfred Milner, but John Berry decided that "Berry's Station" would be a better name. He even put up a sign. Local residents, however, voted on whether the name should be Berry's Station or Milner Station, and Milner earned the highest number of votes.

John Berry was also founder and later President of the Fraser Valley Milk Producers' Association. In 1910, this organization was formed to make sure that farmers got a fair price for their milk. When Berry put in his first milking machine the original form of energy to run it was bull-power. Their 2000 pound bull walked a tread mill which ran the machines to milk the 50 cows. For years, Berry's Belmont Farms was known as the "farm where the bull milked the cows."

William's brother, Edward Weldon (Ed), also served in World War I first with the Canadian Artillery, and latterly, with the Royal Flying Corps. While with the Artillery, Ed was severely gassed at Loos, Upon his return back to Canada he confided to his father that his heart had been so damaged that he might die at any time. Ed was Langley's first Rhodes Scholar. He died on January 23, 1920, at age 26 in Oxford as a result of being gassed.

TRANS CANADA HIGHWAY (FRASER HIGHWAY)

In 1933, the new Trans Canada, now called Fraser Highway, bypassed Murrayville, leaving the Yale Road at the Nicomekl River bridge at the east end of Langley City. It went through land purchased from J.W. Berry and Dr. Saunders, the owner of the farm which became the Langley airport. It went up what is now known as the "Hospital Hill", meeting the original Yale Road at Brown Road.

In 1962 to1964, the Provincial Government built the new Trans Canada Highway Number 1 from Vancouver to Hope, and the New McLellan Road from Langley Prairie to Ladner became B.C. Highway Number 10.

Fraser Highway was improved and widened, and major streets were re-ditched and repaved with a smooth "hot-mixed" asphalt rather than the cheaper grade mix used in the past.

MOSSEY ROAD (46 A Avenue)

While visiting BC from Ontario in 1947, Antonio (Tony) Mossey purchased 20 acres on Berry Road in Langley Prairie. In 1952, Tony, his wife, Gladys, and their three children, Marie, Victor and Lorne moved to Langley; they build a small ranch style house on the property with the help of Tony's brother, Walter. This house is considered by some to be the first ranch style home built in B.C. and is still at its original location which is now 4617 208 Street. Tony soon started clearing bush to accommodate a roadway which would allow him to subdivide the property. This road became known as Mossey Road and is now 46 A Avenue. The subdivision that ensued became known as Mossey Heights. After selling off a few one-half acre lots, Tony and Gladys sold the bulk of the property to a consortium of buyers. A couple of acres then remained with the house. After a few years, this remainder was also subdivided and sold off, leaving the house with its current lot size. Gladys was the last of the family to move from the property. She sold the residence and move to an apartment on 204th Street in Langley. Antonio Mossey died in April, 1989 at the age of 79 on Vancouver Island where he had lived the last 20 years of his life. Gladys Mossey died on February 27, 1993 when she was 89. Their daughter Marie was just 62 years old when she passed away on August 18, 200 in the Interior community of Logan Lake. The two sons, Victor 62 (retired) and Lorne 59 (retired) still live the Langley/Aldergrove area.

HUNTER ROAD (200TH STREET)

Hunter Road is now called 200th Street and runs south of Fraser Highway to 36th Avenue.

In the early 1900's, Griffith Road was changed to Hunter Road, the same name as Hunter Station on the British Columbia Electric Railway where it crossed 200th Street.

George Hunter married Jennie Worrell and had one daughter, also called Jennie. They lived on 200th Street where the Nicomekl River crosses at 53rd Avenue.