Photo Credit: Anjela Godber
2020 SW Marine Dr, Vancouver BC
This grand Tudor Revival style residence was built in 1927 for $25,000. Commissioned by J.H. Roaf, it was designed by the well-known firm of McCarter and Nairne who also designed the intricate Art Deco Marine Building and the now demolished Georgia Medical Dental Building. They later designed the General Post Office in the 1950s. The expansive house features a brick façade, half-timbering, a hipped roof and two large brick chimneys visible from the front. According to building permits, J.H. Roaf owned several buildings, including properties on Harwood Street, Granville Street and Richards Street. Roaf was also an avid motorist. In 1912 he is listed as owning vehicle licence 1587. In 1947, 2020 SW Marine Dr. was listed under his wife, Mrs. Marjorie Roaf, who according to city directories was widowed and living with John L. Roaf.
In 1945, Roaf was President of Clayburn Co., manufacturer of bricks and clay for sewer pipes. The clay was sourced from Sumas Mountain, in the traditional territory of the Sumas First Nation. The Village of Clayburn, established in 1905 by John Charles Maclure, was the first company town in British Columbia and many of its buildings still stand today. Houses for staff and local community facilities were designed by Samuel Maclure, John Charles’ brother. The Clayburn plant closed in 1931. In the following years, Clayburn moved their production to a site called Kilgard on Sumas Mountain and later Abbotsford, where they operated on Pine Street until 2011. The company continues to operate but no longer produces clay and bricks locally.
SW Marine Drive, located in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood, has a storied past. Estate properties were developed on expansive lots with views of the Fraser River for some of Vancouver’s wealthiest, including the sugar magnate Rogers, and the Reifels, who were liquor distributors.
Heritage Vancouver Building Permits Database, VPL British Columbia City Directories 1860-1955, VanMap, Mills, K. “Clayburn to permanently close Abbotsford manufacturing plant in July” in The Abbotsford News (March 29, 2011)