To the settlers of the late 1800s, it was a bountiful land of thick forests, spacious pastures, a crystal like river, an expansive lake on what is now Sumas Prairie, and a spectacular view of the surrounding mountain peaks. By 1867, a farm at Sumas was producing tobacco, milk and butter. Local growth was particularly stimulated when the Canadian Pacific Railway built a line from Mission to Sumas, Washington in 1891, intersecting the only roadway through the valley, the Old Yale Road. A station setup at this point would later become the Village of Abbotsford. By the turn of the century the Clayburn Brick Plant and the Community of Clayburn were established on the eastern side of Matsqui Prairie.
The promising economy of the village was affirmed when the Canadian National Railway passed through Matsqui and the BC Electric Railway passing through Abbotsford by 1910. The railways allowed fast and effective transportation for shipping products to the market and at the same time carried many new settlers. While the Village of Abbotsford was planned prior to incorporation of the Municipalities of Matsqui and Sumas in 1892, it was not incorporated until 1924.
Laid out in 1889, Abbotsford takes its name from Harry Abbott, the general superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Credit: Abbotsford.com, more information is available at Abbotsford.com's History Page and the MSA Museum's history page.
Clayburn Village was established in 1905 when a large deposit of fireclay was discovered on Sumas Mountain in Matsqui (now Abbotsford). Founder, Charles Maclure, built a brick manufacturing plant at the base of the mountain and a small town site to house the plant employees was laid out. The unique, brick-faced homes built in Clayburn were designed by Charles’ brother, well-known BC architect Samuel Maclure. Most of these homes as well as the church, the old schoolhouse and the village store have been carefully restored and are still standing.
The brick manufacturing plant in Clayburn supplied brick all over the province. The plant was shutdown in the village in 1930; however, its’ successor “Clayburn Industries” continues to manufacture bricks as well as other clay products in Abbotsford. Clayburn Village is one and a half miles east off the Abbotsford-Mission Highway (Highway 11). Take the Clayburn Road exit. Credit: Clayburn Village Community Society. Clayburn Villiage Historic Photographs.