It takes time, money and tender loving care to save the past.
Scraping the mortar off a bunch of old bricks, or removing old, weathered siding, reconditioning it and putting it back on are some of the chores in restoring the Turnock-Morse residence, a big blue house that’s been at corner of 223rd Street and St. Anne Avenue for almost 80 years.
The task also requires gently lifting this old house off its old foundations, shunting it to the back of the property, then once a new foundation is built at the front of the lot, carefully moving it on to the new concrete.
The renovation of the old Turnock-Morse residence at the foot of 223rd Street, just across from Anita Place Tent City, is well underway under a heritage renovation agreement with the City of Maple Ridge.
In return for preserving and restoring the house, the developer will be able to build an adjoining apartment building, using two other adjacent lots.
A property tax exemption for five years on the restored house, which will be turned into an duplex, is also part of the agreement.
Joe Barkovich is managing the restoration as per designs by Donald Luxton Associates.
During the gutting of the home’s interior, he found old newspapers dating back to the 1940s that were used as insulation, stuffed into the cracks between the wall and the window.
“It’s a lot of work restoring a heritage home,” he said.
But, he added, it’s important.
“If you start mowing it down, you start mowing down history, right?”
Recent history has revealed hundreds of used needles from when the house was a drug den, just a few years ago.
Police raided the house several times.
Building site safety officer Mike Winbow has collected them all, enough to fill three sharps boxes.
The Cape Cod style home was built in 1938 by Joseph Turnock and is on the Maple Ridge heritage inventory.
He and his wife, a few years later, gave the home to their daughter Iris, who had just married Garnet Robert Morse, ancestor to past Maple Ridge mayors Bell and Kathy Morse.
Val Patenaude, with the Maple Ridge Historical Society, said it’s nice to have an article in the local newspaper from that time that confirms the dates and times of construction.
A notice in the Haney Weekly Gazette from August 1938 says that “Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Turnock are erecting a lovely new home on St. Ann, just across the corner from J. Nightingale. They expect to take up residence there some time in September.”
The same issue of the Gazette, Aug. 1, 1938, notes that it had been a dry summer so far in Fraser Valley, with only 2.5 centimetres of rain.