12265 Harris Road, Pitt Meadows, BC.
Statement of Significance:
Description of Historic Place:
The Hoffmann and Son Shop and House consists of a one-storey wood-frame machine shop, a one and one-half storey, wood-frame house, and a Quonset hut. Located on Harris Road, the historic commercial centre of the District of Pitt Meadows, these buildings form part of a grouping of Pitt Meadows’ most significant heritage sites. The buildings are situated within what is now Hoffmann Park, with a backdrop of mature trees.
The heritage value of the Hoffmann and Son Shop and House is associated with the early twentieth century development of the original town centre of Pitt Meadows. The built form of the area dates from the time when Pitt Meadows was developing rapidly as an agricultural service centre, and Harris Road, the main north-south road, was its commercial and administrative core. In addition to its central location on Harris Road, this site was close to the local stop on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), which enabled the shop to receive material and transport equipment.
The site is additionally significant for its associations with the Hoffmann family. Ladislaus Hoffmann (1872-1952) and his wife, Emilie (1874-1970), came to Pitt Meadows in 1933, after they traded their orchard in Aldergrove with Jack Fairfield, who had operated a garage and blacksmith shop on this property. The shop that presently occupies the site was built in 1936 on the site of the old building. The Hoffmanns operated a machine shop and later a drainage business. Their son, Hans Hoffmann, was the first Fire Chief, built Pitt Meadows’ first fire truck, and allowed his building to be used as the town’s fire hall. Hans Hoffmann was also known for the development of three ditching machines, which by 1955 were used to drain the land in the north of Pitt Meadows, as well as other communities in the Lower Mainland.
The site is valuable for its utilitarian architecture, as one of the last remaining intact early twentieth century machine shops in British Columbia and a representation of the functional requirements of such a business. The Hoffmann and Son Shop is a distinctive, open-plan structure with several large garage doors, and a flat roof with raised rounded parapets on three sides, which is reminiscent of a frontier-style false front building. The roof extends over a service area at the front. Typical of family-operated businesses, the Hoffmann House was located on the property adjacent to the shop. Built in 1946, it is a modest one-storey structure with a cross-gabled roof. At the back of the site is a Quonset hut, which was placed on the Hoffmann property in 1956, as storage for large machinery relating to the Hoffmanns’ ditching and drainage business. These huts were all-purpose, lightweight, portable prefabricated buildings that could be shipped anywhere in the world and assembled by unskilled labour.
Additionally, the site is now valued for its interpretive and educational value as an integral part of the Pitt Meadows Museum and Archives. In 1999, Hans and his sister, Elfriede Hoffmann, donated the property, building, equipment, and a vintage engine collection to the Museum Society, and in 2002 the family home was donated to the municipality to be used as a caretaker’s residence. Behind the workshop and house, land donated by the Hoffmann family is now called Hoffmann Park, a prominent community landmark that preserves a splendid stand of mature trees as green space.
Source: Department of Development Services, District of Pitt Meadows
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Hoffmann and Son Shop and House include its:
– prominent location on Harris Road, close to the CPR track
– relationship with the Pitt Meadows General Store and Post Office, which is located across Harris Road
– location within Hoffmann Park, with a backdrop of mature trees at the rear of the property
– commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its single-storey rectangular plan and low horizontal scale with one-storey rear addition
– flat roof with rounded parapets, an encircling shed roof on three sides, and a gabled roof on the extension to the rear
– wood-frame construction, including wooden drop siding with flush-set window surrounds, stucco cladding on rear addition; and concrete foundations
– additional architectural details, such as front covered service area with square support columns, chamfered office entrance on the northeast corner, large vertical, tongue-and-groove panelled garage doors on the front facade and on the rear extension, closed eaves with tongue-and-groove wooden soffits, and internal red-brick chimney
– regular fenestration including double-hung 6-over-6 wooden sash windows
– interior features, such as its clear span interior space, unfinished plank walls and ceiling, v-joint tongue-and-groove wooden panelling in the front office
– residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one and one-half storey height and regular, rectangular plan
– cross-gabled roof with whalebone bargeboards
– wood-frame construction and board-formed concrete foundation
– additional architectural details, such as internal red-brick chimney, open eaves with tongue-and-groove wooden soffits, concrete front stairs, unpainted, glazed wooden front doorway with sidelights, and multi-coloured broken-glass stucco cladding with pink base coat
– fenestration: double-hung 3-over-1, 4-over-1 and 5-over-1 wooden sash windows in single, double and triple assembly; awning windows in the basement; and a circular window in the front gable
– utilitarian form, scale and massing, as expressed by its single-storey height and rectangular plan
– semi-circular roof, covered in corrugated galvanized steel
– double door and two windows on the front elevation
– board-formed concrete foundation, with ‘1956’ impressed on the front