History of Pitt Meadows
Understanding our history and heritage while respecting the lives of those who settled here before us, is an important consideration to shaping our cultural footprint and building a diverse community.
The Pitt Meadows area takes its name from the nearby Pitt River, which was named by the Hudson Bay Company’s James McMillian in the 1820’s. At that time the area was populated solely by the Katzie members of the Coast Salish people.
By the mid-1800’s, as an encouragement to the settlers, the government sold land in the area for as little as $1.00 per acre. While speculators made up a large percentage of purchasers, some agricultural settlers did arrive, and by the 1800’s, a small community had formed. Industry in the late 1800’s consisted primarily of logging and farming – particularly dairy farming.
Up until 1885 settlers in the area arrived by boat, using the waterways that surround Pitt Meadows on three of the community’s boarders. In 1885, when the CPR line was completed through the area, Pitt Meadows had its first land transportation link to New Westminster. Water based transportation became obsolete in 1914 when the first Pitt River traffic bridge was put in place.
Pitt Meadows was unincorporated territory up until 1874, when it became part of Maple Ridge, but reverted back to unincorporated territory in 1896 when its land owners petitioned for removal from Maple Ridge due to disputes over diking. Pitt Meadows became incorporated as a municipality in its own right on April 24, 1914. The community received its first post office in 1908, its first school in 1909, electrical service in 1928, and a water line in 1948.
In the early part of the 1900’s, Japanese-Canadian settlers arrived in the area, but their presence diminished after the internments of 1942. They were followed by Dutch settlers who arrived shortly after World War II, and farmed in the Pitt Polder area. Here, under the direction of Dr. Jan Blom and his company, Pitt Polder Ltd., the first truly successful attempts at diking the lowland areas were made, thus turning the once swampy land into prime, fertile farmland.
Pitt Meadows Museum & Archives
Thursday: 1:00pm – 4:00pm - General Store only
Sunday: 1:00pm – 4:00pm - General Store and Hoffmann Shop
Wednesday to Sunday: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Additional hours for research visits and tours and can be arranged by calling 604.465.4322.
The Pitt Meadows Museum and Archives is located in the Old General Store building on Harris Road. The main part of the building dates to the 1880's and was moved from its original location near Herring Road to its present site in 1908.
The building housed Pitt Meadows' first post office (in use until 1944) and one of its earliest stores (in use until 1931). After 1931 the building was used primarily as a residence and received municipal heritage status in 1988.
By the mid 1990s the building was vacant and had fallen into a state of disrepair. It was purchased in 1997 by the City of Pitt Meadows, and, after eight months of restoration, the Pitt Meadows Heritage & Museum Society became its new tenant.
Artifacts relating to the pioneer and agricultural history of the community are located on the first floor of the Museum, with offices, work and storage areas and a small community archives and reference library located on the upper floor.
To learn more about the services and activities Pitt Meadows Museum and Archives provide, please visit their website.