One of Milner's oldest residents reminisced about growing up in a farming community nestled in what was then a sleepy, agricultural Langley.
Hugh Davis, who is the third generation to farm his family's land in Milner, spoke Thursday at the dedication of a cairn to mark the original site of the Milner Church.
The church still stands, but it was moved in 2006 to the nearby Milner Community Park, where the restored building hosts community meetings and events.
Davis's grandfather Henry arrived in the district before the church was built in the 1880s, and was one of the locals who helped see it constructed.
An orphan from Ireland, Henry Davis was convinced to move west by a friend, John Oliver, who would later become the B.C. premier known as "Honest John."
With land bought in what had once been the Hudson's Bay Company Farm, Davis hoped to attract a wife from back east to join him.
He had a girl in mind, but her family wouldn't let her move to the distant wilderness of B.C. unless there was a church nearby.
"So Henry rode around on horseback with several other pioneer families," Davis said. "They rode as far as Matsqui and all the way to Mud Bay, collecting a litte over $110 to build Milner Church."
Davis recalled a childhood spent around the church, where Sunday sermons had to pause when a train noisily passed by.
Originally, the church was dubbed Langley Prairie Methodist, and was then named Milner Methodist, and Milner United when the Methodists joined with other churches in 1925.
The location, at the corner of Glover Road and 216th Street, put it squarely in the midst of what was once a bustling village of Milner.
However, over the years other communities overshadowed Milner, and the expansion of roads edged closer to the building.
It was designated a heritage site in 1983, decomis-sioned in 1994, and moved a dozen years later.
The church is now cared for by the Milner Community Association, which restored the building.
The cairn sits close to the busy intersection. It was ordered in 2011 to mark the 125th anniversary of the church.
While Milner is today a small community still surrounded by farms, it is one of the most historically significant areas in B.C. The Hudson's Bay Company farm was located there from the 1830s, and it was the first large-scale farming operation in what is now British Columbia.
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