On your way to Pitt Lake, you are likely to drive north on Harris, then right on McNeil roads.
As you do this, have you ever noticed a house hidden behind the trees?
Vancouver promoter and investor Alvo von Alvensleben built this home in North Pitt Meadows (1912). The house he built, a craftsman beauty at the southeast corner of Harris and McNeil roads, is on the Pitt Meadows Heritage Register (2006). This house has a lot of Edwardian-era features, with a wraparound verandah and craftsman style details.
Alvo von Alvensleben was the son of a Prussian count born July 25th, 1879. He embarked on travels around the world and wound up in Vancouver in 1904. He was highly successful in real estate ventures, and this made him wealthy. He was one of Vancouver’s most influential promoters and he brought millions of dollars of German investment capital into the province.
By 1913 due to the economic crash, he was nearly bankrupt and had wiped out much of his fortune. Unfortunately during the first World War, Alvensleben was visiting Berlin and was unable to return to Canada once the war broke out. This was because he was given status as an “enemy” so he would never return to Canada. During the war, the government confiscated his property. He relocated to Seattle where he was interned in 1917 on suspicions of being a wartime spy for the German.
Alvensleben would die in Seattle in 1965 having never returned to Canada and having left behind a large legacy of beautiful buildings and promise. Although Alvensleben never occupied this house, it was loved and appreciated by the many families that lived in its walls including the Kinchler, Ashley and Veltin families.
Unfortunately, many years of wear and tear have caused this once beautiful home to fall into disrepair. Luckily, the developers allowed Museum Staff to remove several items of historical significance from the home (including two stained glass windows) and take photographs which can be viewed below.