Looking Back: The day fire destroyed Five cents to $1
Shopping opportunities were looking up for Haney and Maple Ridge residents in the fall of 1959.
There were many small stores and businesses, but no malls or large stores aside from Fuller Watsons.
On Oct. 15, 1959, the Haney Gazette reported the grand opening of the Haney 5 Cents to $1:00 store, on 8th Avenue (224th Street).
There had been a smaller store by the same name on Lougheed Highway. Owner and manager Carroll McClure announced it was to be the first cash and carry store in town. As well as a wide range of household merchandise, fabric, sewing notions and clothing, it contained a Dutch bakery and a coffee bar, all on one floor. People soon found that if this store didn’t carry an item, you really didn’t need it.
In the same issue of the Gazette, the first ever mall in town was announced, Haney Plaza on Dewdney Trunk Road near 222nd Street. Safeway was to be the anchor tenant, with several other businesses in the process of moving in. The mall soon included the Plaza Western Drug Store, a café, laundromat and a real estate office.
Other evidence of growth in town was the addition of a new wing on the Haney Hotel. It contained a coffee shop, two small dining rooms, a banquet hall, cocktail lounge and new rooms for hotel management and public use.
In the same Gazette article, the opening of the new Bank of Commerce on 8th Avenue was announced, along with and the new premises for McDonald Fuels and Appliances in the former Saywright building on Lougheed Highway.
Many people gathered to witness flames leaping into the air as the 5 Cents to a Dollar store burned down on Feb. 22, 1962. The Gazette described it as the worst fire in Maple Ridge.
Today’s photo shows curious people staring into the empty shell of the building. Insurance adjusters estimated the total value of the building and contents at $200,000. The fire seemed to have started in the lunch counter.
Even though the volunteer fire department, located across the street, arrived to fight the fire within minutes of the alarm, they were unable to save the structure. Every effort was made to save adjoining buildings, with firefighters on the roof while it was still safe, pouring water into every area. They were still at it 12 hours later.
Al Clark and Bob Kilsby were able to save the barbers chairs from their shop next door. Both the barbershop and Paul Desbrisay’s sporting goods were not destroyed.
Later, in 1962, the store was rebuilt and open for business. McClure announced that the unique roof of poured cement panels, with its hills and valleys, would be the first part to be constructed. The new McClure-Snyder building also included spaces on 8th Avenue for two stores, including the barbershop that still operates there.
Around the corner on Menzies Street (119th Ave.), were five additional rental spaces.
This structure still stands in downtown Haney, now occupied by the Maple Ridge Gaming Centre. When this agency moves to the gaming centre under construction on Lougheed Highway, the future of the former building is unknown.
Sheila Nickols is past president of the Maple Ridge Historical Society.