Monday, September 19, 2011

Stewart Farmhouse On A Rainy Day

IMAGES OF STEAMING hot cups of tea, a crackling wood fire and sweetly scented baked apples came to mind when visiting the Stewart Farmhouse in South Surrey, BC, last week. The heritage home is the perfect escape on a cold blustery day in my world.

Old lace decorating the windows is reminiscent of the curtains our great grandmothers might have crocheted. From furniture to cutlery, the 1890 - 1920 decor illustrates an era when physical labor was intense, workmanship exact and social life genteel.

The house located in the Elgin Heritage Park properties grew in disrepair over the years and needed a complete makeover. Thankfully the restoration was careful to duplicate its original beauty and simple country charm.

I wanted to explore the surrounding gardens and buildings as well as the waterway that flows near the backyard of this lovely home.

Beyond cover of the porch, I could see raindrops were starting to fall.

The welcoming guide in period costume graciously offered me an umbrella.

I gladly took it as the drizzle was fast becoming a downpour.

A soaked fly (click on photo for detail) flew under the umbrella to dry off. It kept me company for the entire walk.

Flowers seemed grateful for the dousing as they had experienced a dry spell.

It was nice to see this bent and mossy fruit tree was still producing apples.

A peek inside an adjacent building (Stewart Hall) that also serves as a museum on the grounds showed a delightful hand painted photograph of children under a blossoming tree.

The building also housed unique magic lantern slides with original art painted on each glass disc.

Magic lanterns are the earliest form of slide projection, illuminated first by candles, then kerosene and later electric light. By the mid-19th century, hand painted photographs were projected onto screens. The exhibit runs until November 6th and shows how Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) used slides depicting scenery and lush agriculture to entice tourism and immigration.

A rowing club also operates at the park site where colorful boats were at rest.

It looked as if this vessel at Ward's Marina (also at the site) was being repaired ...

while others lounged on the Nicomekl River waiting for owners to hoist their sails.

The water was a tranquil silver sheen in the rain.

Soon the sun would break through and recreational boaters would float along the river. Meanwhile, I could not envision a more pleasant excursion on a rainy day than to explore the house and its surrounding exhibits that are often accompanied by demonstrations. As the only intact farm unit left in Surrey from the late 19th century, it provides a precious window into the past.

To view more sights from around the globe visit Our World.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. Your words, "..physical labor was intense, workmanship exact and social life genteel" sum up my perception of life in the early 1900's and give me thought as to how our present day existence will be described down the road. I especially loved the old lace photo, and smiled to think of the fly taking shelter under your umbrella. Another favourite was the hand-painted photograph of the children, and the information about the earliest slide projections was fascinating. A lovely, genteel post:)

  2. I like to stroll around an old house and imagine how the people’s lives were back then. Without modern technology, housewives would have been busy to get things done. However I suppose we, modern people, might be leading busier life with cell phones and computers. I like the country-tone of the house with a lovely chimney, the carvings on the staircase, the old lace, the white terrace, and the period costume. I always like watery scene in your photography– water color is so special. Have a nice week, Penelope.


  3. A very interesting post, the house has been beautifully restored. Love the red umbrella and the hitchhiking fly too. The early projector is really facinating. I think that I will have to put the Stewart Farmhouse on my list of places to visit.

  4. So many memories of my grandparents and great-aunts and uncles came to mind with that phrase Carol quoted, even though none of them lived on a farm. I remember how hard Nanny used to work when she had an ice box, a wringer washer, a wood stove: but "genteel" describes her perfectly.
    Beautiful photos of the Stewart Farmhouse, the river and the marina. I love the sailboat out having its bottom cleaned.
    Luv — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  5. What a delightful place to visit. You did such a great job of taking us with you through your photography.

  6. Beautiful house with such lovely garden and interiors.

  7. What a terrific tour, Penelope! And such and interesting post for the day and it does stir the imagination of another time! Love your photos! I also love the lace curtains! Such a wonderful old house! Hope you have a lovely week!


  8. A delightful post and farm showing the charm of bygone days. I had to smile at the lace curtains, net lace, possibly, crochet, no. My mother was of the same era and taught me a few things too.
    It must have been a very well to do farm to have such a beautiful staircase. The setting, so near the river is ideal for the times where there was no running water on tap. It certainly was a time of hard physical labour but also a slower pace of life and connectedness to the land whereas most people nowadays stress out and run around like chickens with their heads cut off, in days of yore one was attuned to the pace of nature rather than the rat race.
    Love the pink umbrella complete with company and great magic lantern slide collection. There certainly seem to have been no idle hands in that household.

    Thank you for this insight ito your world.

  9. Here in the Los Angeles area, old Victorian homes are preserved and sometimes moved to our own Heritage Park. I am glad that these foundations generate some donations to restore these houses.

    The flowers bring life and beauty!

  10. What a dream ! Thank you for this journey into beauty. Please have a good Tuesday.

    daily athens

  11. That is a beautiful and big farmhouse - I love that front door! The magic lantern is really interesting, it is good that this one survived as the candles and kerosene sound rather dangerous!

  12. I couldn't find a speck of dust in that old farmhouse! How nice to walk through the house with a guide dressed in period costume.

  13. Such a well preserved house, I liked the ambiance. The picture of children under the tree pleased me so much.
    Lovely series.

  14. What a lovely stroll around this gracious home.

  15. Love the house You see here many houses like that. I especially like it because of the porch.I adore porches. It's my dream to have a little house one day with a porch and sit on it in a rocking chair with a good book and a glas of wine listening to the clashing of the waves from the nearby ocean
    Love the slides as well. Thanks for sharing your great pictures and experiences

  16. Nice photos, this looks like am amazing place.

  17. An interesting day, these old houses are fascinating.
    I like the handpainted photo of the children under the blossom tree.

  18. Maria, what a lovely post and photos. I am publicist for the Historic Stewart Farm, and am so please when community members help me do my job so beautifully! It is one of my favourite places in the Lower Mainland, and I rarely leave there without feeling less stressed than when I arrived. The house is located at 13723 Crescent Road in Surrey and is open Tuesdays-Sundays, by donation. Please come visit!

  19. I see you got a picture of the umbrella. What a delightful place to visit in your neck of the woods. I enjoyed the walk through photos with you.


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