project-365-fall-seven-20101109-1In 1924, the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society was formed by the Fort Langley Women’s Institute under then President Mrs. Hector Morrison. The Fort Langley Community Improvement Society’s first project was to replace the insufficient town hall. With an end goal in sight, the society worked hard to raise the $137.13 to buy the property from the Municipality (This amount was owed in back taxes.)

Upon completion of fundraising, the society hired prominent Vancouver architect Archibald Campbell Hope to design the hall.   Construction began October 15, 1930.  With the help of hired carpenters and unpaid volunteers alike, the hall took shape.

On March 6th, 1931, as the building was near completion, a formal opening and inaugural ball was organized, and attended by civic dignitaries and the local Member of Parliament. Photochrome reprints of paintings by John Innes decorated the walls.

Soon after, the iconic maple trees were planted on the property by board of directors; men planted trees on the north end of the property, and women on the south.

project-365-fall-seven-20101109-2To this day, the Fort Langley Community Hall remains the heart of the community. Hosting events from community meetings and antique auctions, to weddings and the Cranberry Festival, it is a rare occasion to pass by the hall on a weekend, and see it unoccupied.

We shall forever owe a great deal of gratitude to the original directors of the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society, and the Fort Langley Women’s Institute. A plaque in memory of their contributions to our community is in place, cemented into the pavement in front of the entrance to the Fort Langley Community Hall.

For History sake, it’s worth mentioning the 4 main carpenters who did the actual construction work:

William (Billy) M. Brown

Alex Tewinion

Joe Sales

Wilfred Muench

The words of Rudyard Kipling were quoted in a hall report in 1953, and may still be quoted as essential to the success of this momentous project:

“The everlasting teamwork of every bloomin’ soul.”