Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Heritage Chilliwack Society - Saving the Past for the Present

Okay I was nervous, but, I don't do a lot of public speaking. Real estate is largely a person to person business. The room at Chilliwack's Royal Hotel was packed.  It was pretty obvious that Heritage Chilliwack Society was doing a good job "getting the word out". A ceiling fan circulated the air in the old downtown hotel dining room, black and white photographs framed and appropriately hung with wire from a picture rail along the walls. There were 4 speakers scheduled for Tuesday's evening event and I was the last. That worried me. If you are last, you carry the burden of the meeting. How are people going to leave the meeting? Happy? Disappointed?  I wanted to do a good job for the Heritage Chilliwack Society and was honoured that they had contacted me.

Same House, Three Different Time Periods

I had arrived early to make sure that my slide presentation would work and then relax.

I spent the time talking and meeting with the people around me. I recognized a face distant from high school days in Sardis and said "hi". Others had stories about their heritage homes to share with me. The meeting began.

Earlier speakers covered aspects like: what is a heritage inventory; the Chilliwack Heritage Designation process (now up to 14); and Jennifer talked about the restoration of the Brock House on Gore Avenue. Then it was my turn, I was to talk about real estate issues. 

There are a lot of topics that can be covered when discussing "real estate" and heritage homes.  I should know I grew up in one on Higginson Road long since destroyed but that is where I decided to begin. Talking about my parent's "first home", not rented, a creaky old 1914 two storey house in need of a lot of TLC. 

Now my parents did not buy the place because of a love of architecture or some romantic notions about the past. Rather, like many people, it was because it was all they could afford. They were hard working, capable people and saw me as a teenager in need of some chores to keep out of mischief. So, a renovating we went and gradually our labours transformed the old darling.  I began to appreciate the place more and more. The hand forged nails, the wood beams, turned with time, as solid as iron, the fireplace mantel, the 8" wood baseboards and especially the beautiful doors and frames.  I always loved the detail at the top of the doors, a thin neck board, followed by a flat board about 5" wide and then capped off with a curved header that extends beyond the flat board to taper back to it. Simple elegance.

This was the start of my fascination with older Chilliwack character homes.  I brought all this up also to establish some credibility with the audience, that has, for sure, faced their own similar discoveries and challenges. One gentleman, interrupted, surprising me with the information that some of old doors and frames from our Higginson road house had been salvaged and installed in his heritage home on Spadina Ave. Good news and a bright spot for me in the evening. They were and I guess remain beautiful wood doors. In my mind, I can see them now.

As a Realtor© I am especially happy when an older character house finds the right buyer. This has happened a number of times now in my 35 years of local work. Because of my deep experience, that evening now a week ago,  I was able to bridge the transformation of one such dwelling to three time periods, 1909, 2000 and 2014.  Before and after pictures were presented to music and I for the most part just shut up and let the photographs tell the tale. You can read an earlier post of mine about this special house by clicking here

So, I was nervous and worried but preparation, first hand experience, energy and the love of the subject all came by to help me. I left satisfied what more can you ask?

Links to find out more about:

Heritage Chilliwack Society

The Royal Hotel, Chilliwack

Brock House, Chilliwack

Heritage Designation in Chilliwack

FAQ - What is Heritage by Heritage BC

Imagine living here....

Stephen Mullock
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.