William Struthers Jr. came to Pitt Meadows in 1921 with his parents William and Jeanne and his brothers Jack and Robert. Together they operated the Pitt Meadows General Store and Post Office on Harris Road just to the south of the C.P.R. tracks. William Jr. built the house around the time he married Maggie Cutler and moved in with his bride in 1931, the same year his family opened a new and improved store building just to the south of the original old store. The Struthers' house was known for its beautiful gardens including stones edging the garden beds and what would become an amazingly large rhododendron bush. While the house was constructed during the early years of the depression, William Struthers still managed to add a number of refinements including leaded windows, beautiful hardwood floors and millwork and what was a spacious and, for the period, well appointed kitchen. Many of these features remain today, only somewhat the worse for wear.
William Struthers never had children but he is fondly remembered by his niece Jeanne Abbott (nee: Struthers). In 2008, she recently recalled: “It was our habit, in the 50’s, to go adventuring, which meant that we walked to the back of our three acres of woods (we lived on 5 acres at 19027 Ford Road),and made our way through neighboring tracts of forest until we came up through the back of Uncle Bill’s property on Harris Road… On this particular day, Uncle Bill was outside, puttering about, and he told us that he had something special to show us. He told us to stand very, very quietly, and to watch what would happen. Then he called softly, “C’mon, Chip”, and out from the woods dashed a little chipmunk. As we watched in astonishment, Chip swarmed up Uncle Bill’s pant leg, and disappeared momentarily into the pocket of his old burgundy-colored sweater-coat. Then up popped his little head, and there he sat, comfortably nibbling on a peanut. Needless to say, we were absolutely delighted, and this became, for a while, a great novelty for us. We loved to stop in and see Chip doing his pocket-pal routine. It said a lot for Uncle Bill’s patience, that he was able to earn the absolute trust of this beautiful little creature.”
After William passed away Maggie Struthers stayed in the house for a number of years, but eventually moved out leaving renters to fill the rooms. The property was sold to the municipality in 1994 and soon after the Ridge Meadows Women's Centre became its tenant. In 2007 the house again became vacant but took on new tenants in early 2008 when archaeologists working on the Golden Ears bridge site used the space for documenting their work.
The home's location on Harris Road at the south east corner of what is now Hoffmann Park is both a blessing and a burden. When built the home was central in the community and very close to William Struthers' family business. With a forest for a back yard it was private and serene. Today the park still offers a green view from the home's back deck but it also offers refuge to loiterers and vandals. However, with continued good tenants the house continues to show evidence of its once genteel past. This building was added to the community’s heritage register in 2006.
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This project funded in part by:
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