Brackman-Ker Warehouse

4849 Chisholm Street
Delta, BC

Built: 1892
 

The Brackman-Ker Warehouse is a wood-frame warehouse located on the north side of Chisholm Street in the commercial core of Ladner village in Delta. The building is located on the Fraser River waterfront, supported on concrete and wooden piles, and is associated within a collection of commercial facilities that supported the local agricultural and fishing industries in Delta.

Status: The Brackman-Ker Warehouse collapsed on December 13, 2010.

Brackman-Ker Warehouse - 2008
click photo to enlarge

Heritage Value

The Brackman-Ker Warehouse is associated with the late nineteenth century commercial development of Ladner village, Delta's original town centre. The distinctive built form of the area dates from the time when Delta was developing rapidly due to booming agricultural, canning and fishing industries, and Ladner village was its commercial centre. This building is a significant component of a historic group of early commercial buildings, and reflects optimistic growth and development prior to the outbreak of World War One. Its functional vernacular design facilitated the storage and shipment of goods for transport via the Fraser River, as many local farms - and other urban centres - were still reached primarily by water.

Built in 1892, the Brackman-Ker Warehouse is significant for its continuous use as a commercial structure in the downtown core of Ladner Village and for its long-term association with Delta’s thriving agricultural industry. The building was originally owned by J.A. Paterson, who owned a farm on Ladner Trunk Road, and H.D. Benson, who farmed on 72 Street. It was sold in 1904 to the Victoria-based Brackman-Ker Company. This successful milling business was founded prior to 1878 by Henry Brackman, who made his fortune in the Cariboo Gold rush, and James Milne, a Scottish miller. Established originally as a rolled oats manufacturer in North Saanich, the company dissolved in 1879 but was resurrected when Brackman partnered with David Russell Ker in 1881. Upon Brackman’s death in 1903, Ker took over leadership of the company and began an ambitious expansion throughout Western Canada, with headquarters in Victoria. The Brackman-Ker Milling Company remained prominent until it was bought out by Maple Leaf Mills in 1965. This warehouse was used as a storage facility for its goods, until, coinciding with the sale of the company, it was sold to Buckerfield’s Limited. Buckerfield’s, established in 1927, was the largest animal feed company in the province, and was well-known among Fraser Valley farmers.

Built as a utilitarian warehouse, the Brackman-Ker Warehouse is also valued as an extant example of the heavy timber architecture typical of those used for Fraser River commerce. The front gabled building features an open floor space fitted and braced to support heavy loads, designed without centre posts in order to maximize interior storage space. Board and batten siding, fastened with machine cut nails, and sliding wooden doors at the rear compliment its rustic, functional style.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Brackman-Ker Warehouse include its:

  • location within a compatible urban/industrial area on a waterfront lot in Ladner village, with the rear portion built on concrete and wooden piles over the water
  • continuous commercial use
  • vernacular commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its open massing with no central support beams, single-storey height, rectangular plan, front-gabled roof and elaborated front facade
  • heavy timber construction, measuring up to 30 by 30 centimeters, on timber and concrete pilings
  • board-and-batten wooden siding with machine cut nails
  • partially intact painted sign on the north facade