The Silverhill hall committee is marking its first 100th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 12.
It’s not the 100th anniversary of the hall being complete – but rather a century since planning and construction of the handhewn log community hall began.
The hall was built in what was at that time a remote area of Mission. It was even distant from nearby Silverdale, as it was located over the hill. Silverdale was on the railway line and the Fraser River. Access to Silverhill was largely over primitive paths.
Silverhill was primarily settled by people who immigrated from Sweden, attracted by the opportunity to have homesteads in B.C. The property had been owned by members of the Donatelli family, who had relocated to Silverdale.
The hall was not opened until mid-summer’s day in 1919, largely because there was also a need for a school, which the community had to build. It was opened in 1916 on what is now School Road. While the teacher’s salary was paid by the province, it was the responsibility of the residents to build the school itself.
The hall was largely built of logs from the surrounding forest, with finishing lumber from a mill in Ruskin. The main building hasn’t changed a great deal, although a kitchen added in the 1960s took away the necessity to cook on a wood stove. A metal roof was added in more recent times.
It is still used regularly by the community, and is a designated heritage building.
At the event on Sept. 12, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., Val Billesberger of the Mission Archives will be in attendance. The original minutes (in Swedish, with translations), other minute books through the years, and a copy of the Silverhill history book will be placed into permanent archives storage for posterity by Karin Edberg-Lee, whose grandfather donated the property it stands on. Her great-uncle David Shugge was the first secretary of the first hall committee.
Edberg-Lee’s mother Stena Lowe Edberg, a former community reporter for the Fraser Valley Record, retained the hall records prior to passing them on to her daughter.