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Historic Clayburn Village

Updated on February 9, 2015

A Charming Heritage Village in British Columbia

Nestled at the base of Sumas Mountain in the Fraser River Valley is a charming spot called Clayburn Village. One of the things that makes it so special is that the people who live there understand its history and the importance of preserving it.

Clayburn Village was the first company town in British Columbia. In 1905, the Maclure family built a plant to produce bricks of fireclay taken from the nearby mountainside. The village was created by the Maclures to provide homes and services for the men employed in the Clayburn Company plant. Of the thirty-five original buildings in the village, nineteen remain intact. Two of them are on the Federal Register of Historic Places in Canada. Many have been lovingly cared for and restored. A stroll through the village will take you past all of the buildings I have showcased here.

This lens, Historic Clayburn Village, has been awarded a purple star.

Image credit: Author's photo

Clayburn Village Church
Clayburn Village Church

The Red Brick Clayburn Church

This church was built in 1912 from bricks donated by the Clayburn Company, and was home to a Presbyterian congregation until 1958. The Clayburn Village Community Society bought it in 1969 and it was restored in 1978. It was an important part of the life of the village and is still a sought-after location for weddings. The sign in front of the church says:

This lovely pioneer church served the community from 1912 to 1958. The cornerstone brick was laid by Margaret Cooper, the first bride to walk down the aisle. Margaret's uncle James, a Presbyterian missionary, performed the wedding ceremony and remained as the first minister. After 1958, the church was not used as a place of worship until it was restored in 1978. The building was dismantled brick by brick and board by board, with the bulk of the interior brickwork remaining intact and 20% of the original exterior bricks used to construct a feature wall in the new extension to the old building. Stained glass windows, original chairs, two sets of double doors and the altar rail were also salvaged and restored, but the belfry had to be rebuilt from new materials.

The restoration of the church was undertaken by the Matsqui-Abbotsford Heritage Society, assisted financially by private donations and grants from the Provincial Government and Heritage Canada.

Image credit: Author's photo

The Schoolhouse

Clayburn School was built in 1907 as a one-room schoolhouse, but in 1925 a basement was added to double the classroom space. It operated as a public school until 1983. As well, it was an important gathering place where the villagers could attend concerts, plays, Saturday night dances and other social events. The Clayburn Village Community Society purchased the schoolhouse in 1991 and started restoration work on it in 2000. A museum in the basement is open on Saturday afternoons in the summer by donation.

Image credit: Author's photo

Visit Beautiful British Columbia

Frommer's British Columbia (Frommer's Complete Guides)
Frommer's British Columbia (Frommer's Complete Guides)

Clayburn Village is only one of many, many reasons to visit British Columbia. Diverse regions all offer their own delights from ocean to mountains, lakes, rivers and valleys. There's lots to explore and Frommer's is ready to help.

British Columbia Road Atlas
British Columbia Road Atlas

British Columbia is a great place for a road trip. It's a big place and you'll need a map so you don't get lost. The classic road atlas will help you plan your route.

The Manager's House
The Manager's House

The Brickworks Manager's House

Built around 1906, this is one of the earliest houses of the village and Clayburn Company owner, Charles Maclure, lived here until 1909. Like a number of the other houses, this was designed by Charles' brother, the well-known architect Samuel Maclure.

If you would like to experience Clayburn Village more intimately, you might like to stay in this house which is now a bed and breakfast.

Image credit: Author's photo

The Accountant's House
The Accountant's House

The Accountant's House

This lovely house was designed by Samuel Maclure and is the second largest in the village, reflecting the important position the accountant held in the Clayburn Company. The walkways and gardens are delightful as I hope you can see from this photo taken from the laneway behind the house.

Samuel Maclure is known for his Tudor Revival house designs. He was influenced by the Arts and Crafts style of architecture. He completed over 450 commissions in his career and designed many beautiful and important buildings in British Columbia, possibly the most impressive being Hatley Castle in Victoria.

Image credit: Author's photo

The Foremen's Cottages

Five foremen's cottages were built directly across the road from the brickworks in 1906 to 1908. They seem very small compared to today's houses.

At the height of production, the brickworks employed up to 180 men and had become the largest producer of bricks in the province of British Columbia. Clayburn bricks were shipped to such distant locations as Hawaii and Mexico.

Image credit: Author's photo

Clayburn Village General Store
Clayburn Village General Store

The General Store

Every visit to Clayburn Village must include a stop at the general store. You have never seen so many kinds of penny candy - jars and jars, including some you've only read about in books. You can browse the specialty foods or have a light meal at one of the tables by the pot-bellied stove. If the weather is pleasant, you could sit outside in the trellis garden and enjoy tea and scones. The store was built in 1912 and belonged to the original owners until 1972. Recently it has been restored and serves as a wonderful reminder of life one hundred years ago.

Image credit: Author's photo

Green House Clayburn Village
Green House Clayburn Village

The Last Green House

Six of these lovely Victorian houses were built in Clayburn Village. They were made of wood on a brick foundation and painted pale green, which is how they became known as the green houses. This was the last one built, completed in 1911. It is situated directly behind the general store.

This is the only one of the six green houses that is still in existence. Fortunately it was restored by its owners in the late 1980s.

Image credit: Author's photo

Clinker Bricks
Clinker Bricks

Clinker Brick Houses

I was fascinated by these strange, lumpy and mishapen bricks. It turns out that there are two houses in Clayburn Village made from these clinker bricks. The odd shapes were caused by overheating in the factory kilns, Although the clinker bricks were rejected by the Clayburn Company factory, they actually became popular in other parts of the world during the first decade of the 1900s and were used for architectural detailing.

Image credit: Author's photo

The brick factory site
The brick factory site

The Brickworks Ruins

Bricks from Clayburn were highly valued by architects for their color and quality. They were used in such buildings as St. Paul's Hospital and the World Building in Vancouver, and the Armories and Empress Hotel in Victoria.

But times changed. By the end of the 1920s, the brickworks' production had been merged with their plant in Kilgard, so by 1931 the Clayburn site was no longer in use. Residents of Clayburn Village were paid half a cent for each reusable brick they could salvage. Before long, there was nothing left of the factory but its foundations. The remains of the brickwork plant can still be seen at the undeveloped historic site on the north side of Clayburn Road.

Image credit: Author's photo

Clayburn Village businesses
Clayburn Village businesses
Clayburn Village, Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Clayburn Village, Fraser Valley, British Columbia

The Trans Canada Trail goes directly through Clayburn Village.

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    • Squidpress profile image

      Squidpress 5 years ago

      clayburn looks very cute

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love reading about old villages and Clayburn interests me.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I love old buildings and antique furniture so historic Clayburn Village looks like a glorious place to visit. You did a great job showcasing this heritage town.

    • jballs6 profile image

      jballs6 5 years ago

      I love reading historical pages, very interesting and some great photos.

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I'll be delighted to help out the Clayburn Village Society. An email is on it's way.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love your pictures - I live in one of these houses! Any chance you could email me at the bed and breakfast as I want to ask your permission to use some of these photos for our upcoming Clayburn Village Heritage Day....

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      I've lived in BC for almost 20 years and admit I have not heard of this town. It sounds like the kind of place I would enjoy though.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      The village looks very well preserved, I wonder if it looked the same in the town's heyday.

    • patriciapeppy profile image

      patriciapeppy 5 years ago

      Hi there. I was really surprised to see your lens on Old Clayburn Village. I've been there many times as I lived in Abbotsford for over 20 years, now residing in Chilliwack. Lens is very nicely done.

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Really nice lens! I want to walk around right now! Shop in the "Soap" place. So nice! Blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Terrific lens! Clayburn sounds lovely. I'd really like to visit it. All the best.

    • PattB LM profile image

      PattB LM 5 years ago

      Very nice lens! I was just thinking a map would be great and found one thought of everything!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      How beautifully presented with such love...blessed with a smile!

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Beautiful lens and fascinating history. So glad to hear it is being preserved. Blessed and featured on "Wing-ing it on Squidoo," a tribute to the best lenses I've found since donning my wings.

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 5 years ago

      @chezchazz: I am honored by your tribute. Thank you very much for including me on Wing-ing it on Squidoo.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      What a beautiful lens! I lived in the interior of the province for six years, but never knew about this historical village. Maybe I can visit next time I travel that way to visit Grandma

    • Holysheepskin LM profile image

      Holysheepskin LM 5 years ago

      Look like a lovely, quaint little favorite type.

    • parwatisingari lm profile image

      parwatisingari lm 5 years ago

      I love these kind of houses.

    • parwatisingari lm profile image

      parwatisingari lm 5 years ago

      @TripleTK LM: wow, can you post a picture of your home?

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Nice lens for a place I otherwise would not have known about.

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 6 years ago

      @TripleTK LM: Seriously? That is too awesome. Did you live in one of the heritage houses?

    • TripleTK LM profile image

      TripleTK LM 6 years ago

      My home town :) Nicely done!

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 6 years ago

      Looks like a charming place! I'd love to visit if I ever travel to that area.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      Useful and Informative Lens!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 6 years ago

      Really nice lens. Love the photos and the story.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      I love historic places. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Cool! I think the foreman's house is cute! I was very close there about a year or two ago driving through the Fraser River Valley. It's too bad I missed it :(

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm sorry you missed it too, but that's not too surprising. It's quite small and not well publicized. That's one of the reasons I wrote this lens. Knowing the history makes it so much more interesting.

    • profile image

      MyDestination 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens

    • LeopoldBlatt profile image

      LeopoldBlatt 6 years ago

      Very interesting historic lens. I enjoyed the lesson, thank you.

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 6 years ago

      Beautiful and historic ! Love this lens. Not sure which state though. But will look it up. I vote "like" on this one . Thanks

    • vendexo profile image

      vendexo 6 years ago

      It's great to see the village being preserved. Thanks for writing about it.

    • profile image

      davida007anderson 6 years ago

      I loved first one picture above in the blog. Its like a my dream home.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this - looks like a lovely place. :)

    • profile image

      andrebreynolds1 6 years ago

      Great lens. Love the idea of clay!

    • profile image

      aussieremovals 6 years ago

      Wow it's very beautiful. Thanks for sharing great lens.

    • yano jl profile image

      yano jl 6 years ago

      What a beautiful place, I wonder why it is named "Clayburn Villiage"? I guess its because "Shangri-La" was already taken.

    • talkies lm profile image

      talkies lm 6 years ago


    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 6 years ago

      I cn imagine I live there :)

    • profile image

      dakota17 6 years ago

      What a beautiful place! Fantastic images.

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 6 years ago

      Oh, what a lovely description! After reading this, I feel as if I've actually visited Clayburn Village an' I'm anxious to return. I so appreciate the people who, for all these years, have taken care of such an important an' delightful town. An' I'm very grateful to you for writing this review, which definitely makes me wanna' run next door an' visit the neighbors. Yes, you have written such a fine article as to make me feel like I even live there. Again, I thank you for your charming description. Your choice of photos puts jus' the right touch to make history come alive. I'm so glad I visited.

    • creativeinc lm profile image

      creativeinc lm 6 years ago

      Beautiful place!!!

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 6 years ago from France

      Lovely brick, it reminds me of my hometown in York. Nice lens.

    • SueM11 profile image

      Sue Mah 6 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      Great lens to introduce Clayburn Village. You get to learn about so many new places in Squidoo even though you may never visit them.

    • HeatherTodd1 profile image

      HeatherTodd1 6 years ago

      The images are really great...Thanks

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 6 years ago from Florida

      I especially like the Church and the Clinker bricks. Thank you for sharing this special village.

    • fionajean profile image

      Fiona 6 years ago from South Africa

      Looks like a really cute village - blessed

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      What a cute village, the kind of village I'm fond of! I love villages and country living and chose to leave the big town for a small village in the countryside. But Clayburn looks more like the type of village I dreamed of.

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 6 years ago

      This village looks absolutely gorgeous. Great lens!

    • profile image

      Jennifer_Glennon 6 years ago

      I love historic places. Thank you for sharing.

    • LadyCharlie profile image

      LadyCharlie 6 years ago

      Beautiful place thank you for taking me on a tour... Nice lens!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Great introduction to Clayburn village - I'd love to visit the General Store and enjoy tea and scones outside! Blessed.

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 6 years ago

      @GeorgeneMBramlage: Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing how this lens affected you. Exploring the village, taking the photos and doing the research was an enriching experience. As a result I feel even more connected every time I drive through it.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 6 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      What a very neat lens this all senses of the word. The writing is coherent and interesting, the modules are attractively arranged, and the pictures add significantly to not only the lens' attractiveness, but also its educational value. I felt as if I were walking through this village. Thank you so much for illustrating how a lens maker can utilize one area to its fullest. Cercis

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 6 years ago

      This looks like a beautiful place to retire to!

    • hessa johnson profile image

      hessa johnson 6 years ago

      I'm from Kelowna and would love to visit the Clayburn Village. The general store looks wonderful.

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 6 years ago

      @NicholasLore: I have added a link to the Clayburn Village Bed & Breakfast in the module called Manager's House. Hosts Leslie and Ramsey are lovely people and you'd be in the heart of the village.

    • zimbali2011 profile image

      zimbali2011 6 years ago

      I wanted to visit this place... I love the vintage look

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I love hearing about a town that has been preserved like this. Your photos and descriptions were quite appealing

    • profile image

      Track29 6 years ago

      I've never heard of Clayburn so I was glad to find this lens. Love the photos

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 6 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Thank you for the tour.

    • profile image

      NicholasLore 6 years ago

      Do you know of any good bed and breakfasts, hotels here?

    • TheBestGadgets profile image

      TheBestGadgets 6 years ago

      Looks like a lovely place and the history is interesting too.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very interesting little town. Blessed.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 6 years ago

      looks very peaceful!

    • profile image

      gjmmie 6 years ago

      Your lens caught my eye and as I scrolled I found the foreman's cottage.Wow fall season and cozy cottage is a happy thought for me Thanks

      Angela Smith

    • DavidCzajka profile image

      DavidCzajka 6 years ago

      People instead of leaving these type of houses are shifting these houses with the help of home movers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It looks like a place, well worth visiting. Very mice houses! :)

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Very pretty place. Interesting about the bricks.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 6 years ago from Guatemala

      Very cool! I'm from BC, but never visited this village.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      beautiful home indeed.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 6 years ago

      Very educational lens! Great job! Sundae ;-)

    • profile image

      djroll 6 years ago

      It is such a joy to visit historical towns. Nice lens. Thank you.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      It's worth visiting. Thanks for sharing.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I love preserved buildings. Walking through any historic town is very calming. Thanks for the walk.