Part of Surrey's Heritage Resources
The first permanent structure in Elgin was the Elgin Hotel (1870). It was built as a convenient stop-over point for travellers between New Westminster and Blaine.
In 1875, four years before the incorporation of the District Municipality of Surrey, the first public church service was held in a simple log cabin built by John Brewer, who had settled in the area in 1870.
William Brewer is attributed with building the first community hall in 1878. Built on the banks of the Nicomekl River, it was known as ?Misery Hall' because at low tide you had to climb over a muddy dyke in order to reach it.
Elgin was also the site of the first commercial logging operation in Surrey. In 1875 Alexander and William McDougall started a logging camp in the Elgin area. The Nicomekl River was an essential link in towing logs to New Westminster for sale to the Royal City Planing Mills.
From 1862 to 1875 a pioneer trail was built between Semiahmoo Bay and the Fraser River at Brownsville. This wagon road was the only passable land route south from New Westminster to Blaine. In 1865, Western Union augmented this communication route when it surveyed a telegraph line which passed through Mud Bay. Where the telegraph trail crossed the Nicomekl River, near its junction with the Semaihmoo trail, a community known as Elgin emerged.
The first recorded homesteaders in Elgin were Hugh McDougal and Samuel Hardy in 1861. They both preempted land, built log cabins and began to clear land. However, they appear to have left by the time of Municipal incorporation in 1879.
Other early settlers in the area included William John Brewer (1870), Alexander McDougal (1872), Harry and John Chantrell (1873), Daniel Johnson (1880) John Stewart (1880), and Ed and John Loney (1890).
The pioneer homes evolved from simple log cabins to elegant Victorian farmhouses. Few of these historic buildings remain in Elgin today. As a consequence, the buildings that have survived are highly treasured reminders of the community's heritage.
Historic Elgin in the 21st Century
The historic buildings of Elgin include the Stewart Farm (1894-1920), the Daniel Johnson House (1904), Elgin Hall (1923), and Elgin Centre School (1921).As you visit these buildings and sites, please respect the contributions of past residents in creating these legacies. Preserved heritage symbolizes the people and community spirit of the City of Surrey.