Brian Croft
Painting the History of Vancouver and British Columbia

070. Murrayville - Winter Eve

Limited Edition Watercolour Lithographic Print (unframed) sn450, ap15, pp10

11.74x18 (inches) sn $100, ap$120, pp$130

From a Watercolour painting by Brian Croft

In the early days Murray’s Corners on Langley Prairie was an important centre for local families who relied on the many businesses that sprang up there over the years. “The Corners”, being roughly halfway up the Fraser Valley and one-days-journey from Vancouver, was also important for travelers as a natural overnight stop; Billy Murray’s Traveler’s Hotel, at the far left of the painting, fit that bill nicely. For many years the little hamlet thrived on pioneering growth.

It was not to last! In 1910 the BC Electric Interurban Rail line was completed and bypassed Murray’s Corners in favour of a route through Innes Corners (soon to be named Langley Prairie and later Langley City). At the same time Murray’s Corners become known as Murrayville. For many years the village remained viable by providing jitney service to and from the Langley Prairie station but it wasn’t long before Langley Prairie, with large new hotels and stores, outgrew Murrayville as the local center.

This scene captures the snowy charm of the “declining” village of Murrayville on a winter evening sometime between 1924 and 1928. I have not included people, cars or carriages although ruts and footprints in the snow mark their passing. All of these things are for the next time my paintbrush visits Murrayville on a winter evening.

Brian Croft