11550 Ladner Trunk Road
The Oliver Barn is a dismantled Gothic arch-roofed barn, designed with a rare laminated roof truss system. The barn was of heavy timber construction and was clad with vertical plank siding. It has been dismantled pending the construction of a new, similar structure within which the original elements of the Oliver Barn will be re-assembled.
click photo to enlarge
Built in 1930, the Oliver Barn is valued as an early and
rare Gothic arch-roofed barn. The specialized and
sophisticated roof structure was built of an unusual
laminated truss system, which eliminated the need for
internal supports on the top floor and gave it this
characteristic shape. The Oliver Barn was one of the few
true arch-roofed barns built in the lower Mainland. It was
also a notably tall structure and a landmark in the area.
The Oliver Barn is additionally valued for its historical
associations with the Oliver family. ‘Honest’ John Oliver
was an early Delta pioneer of the Mud Bay area and British
Columbia politician, serving in the provincial legislature
for many years before becoming Premier in 1918 until his
death in 1927. His son, John Oliver Junior (known as
'Jack'), purchased this property adjacent to his father's
property in 1920. His farm was never very successful, but
he was known for his eccentric and progressive ideas, such
as his radical design of this barn. Jack Oliver designed the
barn himself, and built it in his spare time with the help of a hired labourer. A sawmill was set up on the farm to cut
the lumber for this structure.
The Oliver Barn illustrates the continuing developing of
Mud Bay farms and is a significant link to Delta's historic
agricultural past. It is particularly valuable as many of
Delta’s barns have been lost due to the decline in
traditional agricultural production, modern industrial and
residential development, and general neglect, combined
with the loss of their original agricultural context. The
barn’s reconstruction within a new building to preserve its
structure and historic fabric, illustrate an innovative way in which redundant agricultural structures can be adapted for new uses.
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Oliver Barn include:
Gothic arch roof, with a slight point at the peak and a
slight bellcast flare at the eaves.
Nail-laminated bent lumber arched ribs.
Mortise-and-tenon heavy timber construction
Open-span upper floor hay loft space, without interior
Vertical board-and-batten plank cladding.