Henry and Sarah Benson Residence

3610 72nd Street
Delta, BC

Built: 1889
 

The Benson Residence is a one-and-one-half storey farm residence that is a result of turn-of-the-nineteenth century additions to an earlier house. The original portion stands to the north, with a projecting bay facing west. The addition to the south displays Gothic Revival influences, including a central gabled wall dormer and front verandah. The house is located in its original rural setting and continues in use as a working farm.

Status: Still Standing

The Benson Residence - 2014
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Heritage Value

The Benson Residence is valuable as part of one of the oldest pioneer farmsteads in Delta. Born in St. John, New Brunswick, Henry Dean Benson (1842-1924) was one of the earliest settlers in East Delta. Benson arrived in British Columbia in 1860, and in 1874 pre-empted 260 hectares of wild land east of 72nd Avenue and north of Boundary Bay. In addition to his success as a farmer, he was also a prominent municipal politician. When Delta was incorporated as a municipality in 1879, Benson was on the first council. In 1881 he was elected reeve, an office he held on and off until 1913. Benson was also known for the use of his dredge, in 1895, to build the dyke that extended along the edge of the Fraser River; since it was built, Delta has never had a general flood. Benson married twice, first in 1889 to Sarah Jane Fisher (c.1860-1901), and then after her death, he married Carolyne W. Fisher (1868-1962) in 1902. Descendents of the Benson family continue to own the house today.

The Benson Residence is a typical example of many early pioneer farms and represents the evolution of early farmhouses, which expanded as families prospered and grew. A small house was originally built by Benson when he pre-empted the property. In about 1889, this was replaced with a two-storey gabled structure that now forms the northern portion of the house. A later addition, which reflects the Gothic Revival style popular in Eastern Canada at the time, was attached to the south. Once completed, the house included five bedrooms, a living room, dining room, parlor, kitchen and a pantry. The existing form of the house is largely as it was completed over a century ago.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Benson Residence include its:

  • compatible agricultural setting, with a deep setback from 72nd Street
  • continuous use as a farm dwelling
  • residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one-and-one-half storey height and compound gabled roof, clad with cedar shingles
  • wood-frame construction, with original wooden drop siding under later vinyl
  • interior features, such as wooden floors and trim, and lath-and-plaster walls
  • landscape features, such as mature trees and grassed yard