Asbury/Erskine Farm

4769 112nd Street
Delta, BC

Built: 1904
 

The Asbury/Erskine Farm consists of a one and one-half storey, wood-frame Edwardian farmhouse with a heavy timber barn to the east, located in the Mud Bay area of East Delta. Still an active farm property, the site also contains several agricultural outbuildings and associated landscape features.

Status: Still Standing

The Asbury/Erskine House - 2005
click photo for more pictures

Heritage Value

Set within a neatly landscaped site, complete with agricultural outbuildings, gardens and an orchard, the Asbury/Erskine Farm is an excellent representation of a turn of the twentieth-century Delta farmstead. It reflects the presence of the early farming pioneers that settled in the rich agricultural floodplains of the Fraser River, and serves as a testament to the success and persistence of the agricultural community in Delta. Originally a small agricultural settlement, the population in the Mud Bay area expanded with the growth of the lumber and salmon canning industries and the ability to export its products directly to market by way of the Mud Bay Landing. This is one of the largest of the few remaining agricultural properties on the east side of Highway 91, and is located on historic Oliver Road, on a site acquired by William Asbury Senior in 1887. The prominence of the house illustrates the unusual fertility of this area's alluvial soil, and the success and prosperity of its settlers. Typical of the history of developing farm sites, the Asburys' original, modest pioneer house was replaced circa 1904 by this larger, more impressive residence, and was later expanded as resources became available. After William Asbury Senior's death in 1908, the property passed to his daughter Elizabeth Asbury, and was acquired by Sam Chorlton in 1927. The farm was subsequently purchased by the Erskine family in 1942 after their Sea Island farm was expropriated to provide room for the wartime expansion of the Vancouver Airport. The rectangular barn predates the construction of the house and features a double-height loft and broad gabled roof.

With its cross-gabled roofs, wraparound verandah and decorative shingling at the gable peaks, the Asbury/Erskine House is significant as a well-preserved example of Edwardian-era architecture, and displays a variety of stylistic influences popular at the time. The linear additions to the rear of the house indicate a functional expansion over time, and reflect the practical nature of farmstead construction.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Asbury/Erskine Farm include its:

  • landmark location on a flat property in the historic Mud Bay agricultural area in East Delta, set back from the road with views of the coastal mountains and Mount Baker
  • associated site features such as agricultural outbuildings and associated landscape features such as mature poplar trees flanking the driveway off 112th Street, gardens, orchards and surrounding fields

    Asbury/Erskine House

  • residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its cross-shaped, one and one-half storey plan with complex projections, and cross-gabled roof
  • wood-frame construction with: v-joint wooden drop siding and cornerboards; eaves with wooden tongue-and-groove soffits; and dentil moulding frieze
  • Edwardian-era architectural details, including open wraparound verandah with lathe-turned columns and balusters and scroll-cut support brackets; gabled entry porch; decorative coursed shingles and dentil mouldings in the gables; window trim with expressed crowns; lathe-turned wooden finials at the gable peaks; and tall corbelled, internal red-brick chimneys
  • additional exterior elements including: double-height side rectangular projections to the north and south, with an angled lower level on the north side that includes a ground level door from the dining room
  • fenestration, including: narrow double-hung 1-over-1 wooden sash windows in single, double and triple assembly; transom lights over original, unpainted wooden doors; and irregular staircase windows

    Asbury/Erskine Barn

  • vernacular form, scale and massing expressed by its rectangular plan and extended height
  • salt box roof, clad with cedar shingles; later addition of round arch truss roofed structure on west elevation
  • heavy timber construction with double-height interior loft shingle and board-and-batten siding