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PHOTOS: Historic home makes late night move to new location

After 143 years overlooking Matsqui Prairie, George Turner’s old house lands at nearby park

After 143 years overlooking Matsqui Prairie, the house built for royal engineer surveyor George Turner is now set for a second act in Clayburn Village.

The home, which is one of Abbotsford’s most historic buildings, was moved late Tuesday night two kilometres to the east to a new site at Clayburn Park, where it will be the centrepiece of an improved public space. It had sat on a ridge off of Clayburn Road immediately west of Highway 11.

The city has budgeted around $500,000 to build a foundation, relocate the home and start work on improving the site.

A committee previously tasked with cataloguing Abbotsford’s historic assets had Turner House “right at the top of the list,” The Reach Gallery’s Kris Foulds told The News last fall.

The home is unique for its age, condition, builder and resident. And its construction was meticulously catalogued by its builder, Alben Hawkins – Mt. Lehman’s first settler.

Turner and Hawkins were among many early Abbotsford settlers who were Royal Engineers brought to B.C. to help survey the U.S./Canada border and plan for the development of the Lower Mainland.

Moving the house was set to be a delicate process, with a request for proposals outlining how the home needed to be separated from a more-modern addition, and the chimney and other valuable parts protected.

The journey went without much trouble, taking less than two hours to get the home to its new site.

Before Turner House is moved, an addition at the back of the home (right) will have to be removed by hand. City of Abbotsford image.
Turner House’s chimney and fireplace may need to be taken apart brick by brick prior to the home’s move. City of Abbotsford image.