Monday, December 5, 2011

Hendry House

From 1912 to 1914 this Tudor Revival style home was built for the Hendry family. It was designed by architects Maclure and Fox.

John Hendry was born in Belledune, NB on January 20, 1842 as the second son of a family in the sawmill and flour milling business. After a short time running the family business after his father's death and travelling through the Western United States,  Hendry moved west to British Columbia in 1872.

He arrived to find the lumber industry in BC in a slump. For two years he worked as a log and timber surveyor and millwright for sawmills on the Puget Sound. IN 1874 Hendry was hired to work in the rebuilding of the Moodyville Sawmill which was on the north shore of the Burrrard Inlet. He also worked as nightshift superintendent before travelling to Winnipeg in 1875.

Hendry found Manitoba in an economic decline so he moved on to San Francisco. But BC enticed him back and during the winter of 1875-76 he built a sawmill in Nanaimo and one in New Westminster in 1876.

Like many of our city's pioneers, Hendry found the arrival of the railway in 1887 to be fortuitous. He promoted the New Westminster Southern Railway-NWSR- which was granted a federal charter in 1888. Hendry had served as on the city council from 1879-80 and he was elected mayor of New Westminster in 1889. H resigned the position in July however because he felt that his business involvement with the NWSR and his official duties would be in conflict.

There were problems shipping forest products from New Westminster. Hendry solved some of those when his company bought the Hastings Saw Mill in Vancouver in 1889. Since the mill was located between the Burrard Inlet and the CPR line it provided convenient access between land and sea.

The purchase of the mill gave way to a new company, The British Columbia Mills Timber and Trading Company - B.C. Mills of which Hendry was president and the manager of the mill, Richard Henry Alexander was the secretary. The company became quite successful and in the next ten years it employed 1,100 workers and had a sawing capacity of 400,000 board feet per day.

In 1902 BC Mills purchased the Moodyville Land and Saw Mills Company. They then began calling themselves  “the largest lumber manufacturing establishment in Western Canada or on the Pacific Coast, and one of the largest in the world.” The head office was moved to Vancouver and Hendry moved into a home in the West End in 1903.

Although timber was proving to be very prosperous for Hendry he also speculated on the railway and was involved in several business such as Nicola Valley Coal and Coke Company Limited and a director of the Hendry Land Company Limited, the British Columbia Sugar Refinery Limited, the Dundee Gold Mine Limited, and the West Shore and Northern Land Company Limited.

Hendry also made various trips over to England between 1910 and 12. During a visit to a nerve specialist in London he was advised to  slow down so Hendry sold some of his holdings though he did hang on to the Hastings and Moodyville mills which were the core of his lumber empire.

Hendry's daughter Aldyen Irene wed Eric Werge Hamber in the spring of 1912 in London. This event forced Hendry to cancel his passage on the Titanic. Isn't it weird how things work out?

The house that was built on Angus Drive features a porte cochere, or a porch with a covered entrance which protected visitors from the elements as they visited.

This private residence is a beautiful building and was a fitting home for one of British Columbia's first lumber barons.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. Thank you for the History.

    "Between 1904 and 1910 the Vancouver based British Columbia Mills, Timber and Trading Company marketed a patented system of prefabricated sectional buildings in western Canada. Initially this system was devised as a means of supplying small inexpensive huts to incoming settlers in newly opened agricultural regions. Such structures were prefabricated, prepainted, packaged and shipped by rail to local distributors in towns and villages throughout western Canada. With a set of accompanying instructions, the purchaser could erect his dwelling in a minimum amount of time with little assistance or equipment.

    - Allen, Robert S.; Mills, G.E.; Holdsworth, D.W.
    Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History #14

    I've created a collection of BC Mills prefab photos at

  2. Thank you for adding to my entry. I loved the photos too.