Cloverdale – 1913

Cloverdale — 1913 Fraser Valley Collection From an original painting by Brian Croft In the mid 19th century, Surrey’s virgin landscape had it all: highlands, lowlands, floodplains, scrub, tall timber and much of it, available by pre-emption. As Europeans began settling in the region to be known as Surrey, many folks tended to favour a particular hillock. It was a fine highland for a community looking down and southward to the Nicomekl River, which meandered its way through Clover Valley. The townspeople called this place Surrey Centre. By 1881, this hilltop community had the municipality’s first town hall and the area’s first church, completed in 1884; for a long time this was the natural centre of things. In 1887, New Westminster businessmen formed the New Westminster and Southern Railway (NWS) with rights to build a rail line between Brownsville, on the south shore of the Fraser River across from New Westminster to the International border. The NWS joined forces with a similar American company and this amalgamation attracted the interest of JJ Hill and his Great Northern Railway (GN). With GN backing, the line was built from Brownsville, east along the river adjacent to Barnston Island and then veering south, seeking the lowest grades through Port Kells, Clayton, Cloverdale, Hazelmere and then on to the border. The alignment through “Cloverdale” was along the east side of 176th Street. The first GN train ran in 1891 and JJ Hill’s vision of a northern service from