Letter to the Editor giving details of the Barber family farm.
Hipwell home Editor, The Progress: I would like to supply some further footnotes to the story of the Bill Hipwell house (The Progress, September 1), having had close family ties with the house through my first marriage to the late Leslie Barber, whose parents reconstructed the house in the early 1930s. The house was built in 1908 by Mr. Seward, comptroller of Edenbank Creamery. Mr. Seward married a Sardis girl, Miss Ogle; planted the giant rhododendrons which are still breathtakingly beautiful almost 70 years later; built the Edenbank Trading Co. building which now houses Towler Realty; and as a further distinction was a great-uncle by marriage of B.C's Premier Bill Bennett. (Genealogical details supplied upon request.) After Mr. Seward departed from Sardis, the home with its 10 acres was purchased by the Mallory family, who operated it as a fox farm during the 1920's After the onset of the depression the Mallory family moved to the Okanagan, and the house stood empty and dilapidated for two years. The picture shown in the September 1st issue of the Progress with the caption "Barber Home in the 1920's" shows it at this stage, and is inaccurate historically. In 1931 the late Mrs. Mary A. Barber began to dream about this wreck of a house. A woman of great taste and determination, co-publisher of The Progress with her husband Mayor Charles A. Barber, she looked at the fallen-in roof overgrown with honeysuckle, the broken windows, the garden gone back to wilderness. She persuaded her husband to buy the property for a song. Enlisting the help of architects (McCarter and Nairne) and interior decorators (Gervan, Inc.) from Vancouver, she completely remodelled the house. The old bay window was replaced with french doors leading to the patio off the dining room; a wing was added to the living-room, which included a beautiful fireplace and new chimney at the front of the home; a port-cochere was added to improve the proportions of the old square building. The garden was reclaimed, pruned, planted and formally landscaped, and the home became a show place in the best sense of the word. The Barbers, through their connections in journalistic and public affairs were hosts to people from all over the world who fell in love with the house and its surroundings. This tradition of hospitality was carried on by the next owners, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Worthington. (Mrs. Mary Barber died in 1936; Mr. Charles Barber and his second wife, the late Mrs. Laurie Barber, sold the house to Mr. Worthington in 1948 and moved to Chilliwack.) Mr. Worthington, a gentleman farmer with a famous team of Clydesdales, added to the property by purchasing further farmland surrounding it. With regret, he cut down the acres of apple orchard behind the house inow a subdivision) because the 'trees were too old. Mr. Worthington died in 1956 and his widow, the late Mrs. Toge Worthington, lived there until 1961, when she sold the property to Mr. Bill Hipwell, who has owned it since then. Constance Newby (Mrs. W. G. Newby) ABANDONED FOX FARM IN 1931 Questions about real estate Editor, The Progress: Not so much by what your investigative reporter Mike Doyle has said, but rather by what, in my view, he has left unsaid, the impression lingers with me that lawyer Joe Erickson, Wheeler Realty Ltd., Fred George Realty Ltd., and especially real estate salesman Ernie mystery behind Mrs. MacGregor's apparent irrational behaviour in first exposing the whole matter to Action Line and now seemingly being unwilling to comment further. Until these questions and perhaps others are fully and beneficially answered by the four professionals involved, the inference is left, at least in my mind, that these professional people may have degraded their morality, their professional code of ethics, and their consciences. Fred Tossell C. A. BARBER HOME IN 1933