Mark and Louise Rawlins Farm aka "Avondale"

2349 52nd Street
Delta, BC

Built: 1915
 

Avondale is comprised of a symmetrical two-storey wood-frame Foursquare house located in a rural context with a large barn and remnant fruit orchard. Set back from the road, it remains prominent within an intact farm context and setting.

Status: Still Standing

Rawlins Residence aka 'Avondale' - 2004
click photo for more pictures

Heritage Value

Avondale is of heritage value as an intact example of an historic Delta farmstead, which serves as a reminder of Delta's important agricultural past, and for its association with early Delta pioneers, as well as for the architectural merit of the farmhouse.

This farmstead possesses an early twentieth century house and barn amidst a rural, agricultural landscape, separated from modern housing and industrial development. The relationship of the farmhouse and the barn, located within an agricultural setting, illustrates the character of an early working farm complex.

This farmstead is also of value because it typifies the growth and development of agriculture in Delta. This site was originally part of a much larger parcel, Thomas McNeely's Imperial Farm. After McNeely's death sections of the farm were sold off at auction, and Mark Rawlins purchased this property in 1903. The barn was built at that time, and in 1905, Rawlins brought his wife, Louise, from Ontario and constructed a three-room dwelling for their use. The First World War was a time of exceptional prosperity due to wartime food production, allowing the Rawlinses sufficient resources to commission this grand new house in 1915. The Rawlinses moved to Westham Island in 1926, at which time their son, Neil Rawlins, took over operation of this farm.

Additionally, this farmhouse is valued for its architectural merit. It is an excellent example of a Foursquare plan with superior design and carpenter detailing, and retains virtually all of its original features and character. The Foursquare was commonly used for farmhouses, and unlike urban houses that were constrained on narrow lots, these farmhouses tended to be less frontally-oriented as all sides were highly visible. This house exhibits typical features of the style such as symmetrical massing, a broad, low-pitched hipped roof and a prominent front verandah. The Foursquare style provided a rational way to build that suited the needs of farmers, especially those with large families. It maximized the volume achieved within the building envelope through a logical floor plan with central access to all rooms. The broad hipped roof covered the rectangular plan with a minimum of framing. Although utilitarian, this basic form could then be decorated with stylistic elements that gave the building more architectural pretension. This handsome house was built by local contractor Edward Churchill.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of Avondale include its:

  • setting within a rural context, with wide open vistas across agricultural land
  • ongoing use as a working farm
  • residential form, scale and massing of the house as expressed by its two-storey plus basement height, and symmetrical, rectangular plan with rear extension
  • exterior elements of the house, such as: its symmetrical design; wood-frame construction with horizontal lapped wooden siding; broad hipped roof with deep eaves; regular fenestration with double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows; full open verandah with square columns and scroll cut frieze; lattice-clad foundation; original single-paned wooden front door with sidelights; one-storey projecting bay window on south side; and twin internal corbelled brick chimneys
  • vernacular, agricultural form, scale and massing of the barn as expressed by its gable-on-hipped roof and rectangular floor plan
  • elements of the barn, such as its post and beam, heavy timber frame structure and vertical plank and board-and-batten siding
  • landscape features such as orchard remnants, agricultural fields and a significant Camperdown Elm