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Fort Langley Yesterday

The original Fort Langley, built in 1827 at Derby Reach as a Hudson's Bay trading post, was the first permanent European settlement in the Fraser Valley. Derby was the name used for this early site, when at the time, it was intended to become the capital of British Columbia. Taken from the Earl of Derby, who was then Prime Minister of Great Britain. (Akrigg).

In the 1830s, the Hudson's Bay Company began to develop approximately 810 hectares (2,000 acres) in the area known as Langley Prairie as a mixed company farm producing dairy, root crops and grain for local and export use. This made Langley the first major agricultural centre in British Columbia. Salted salmon and timber were shipped to Hawaii and England. The barrels were made of wood harvested from trees along the Stave River. 1836 brought the first visit of the paddle wheeler, "The Beaver" to the Fort. In the 1839, the Fort was relocated upstream to be closer to the Hudson's Bay Company's farm.

Late in 1858, Governor Douglas proclaimed the Colony of British Columbia, making Fort Langley the birth place of the European settlement of the Province. Clearly, the Province was settled by the Sto:lo First Nations, several thousand years earlier. In 1896, the Company closed its store. Restoration of the fort began in 1957-8 as part of the centennial of British Columbia.

Fort Langley, which is part of Langley Township, is named after Thomas Langley, a Hudson's Bay Company Director from 1800 to 1830. Credit: Township of Langley and Akrigg.

Fort Langley Yesterday

Historic marker at Derby Reach. Photograph courtesy Maurice Jassak. Many more pictures may be found at See the Fraser Valley.

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