SOOKE HISTORY: Malahat Farm had long history as guest house

SOOKE HISTORY: Malahat Farm had long history as guest house

Elida Peers | Contributed

This photo taken at Malahat Farm during the decade-long tenure of David and Frances Stocks combines both historic and recent history of the farm, which is located on Anderson Road, east of the Otter Point and Shirley border.

In 1998, David and Frances Stocks bought the historic farm. Standing with the Stocks in this image are sisters Hazel and Evelyn Clark, who liked to stop by to visit the farm periodically as it was the home their mother, Margaret Anderson, grew up in.

The beautiful farmhouse which still stands on Anderson Road was built in 1914 by William H. Anderson, a journeyman carpenter from Yorkshire. He and his wife Azuba had arrived here in 1895, and bought the large heavily-forested property, part of the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway land grant.

The pioneer Andersons were diligent workers, developing a fine farmstead and orchard in the wilderness and raising two daughters, Margaret and Lavinia, and a son, Herbert.

The two senior ladies centred in this photo are daughters of Margaret Anderson and Percy Clark. When Margaret, the lively eldest daughter of the Andersons of Malahat Farm married Percy, the youngest son of the pioneer Clark family of Shirley, it was a community celebration.

The young couple lived in a home at the top of Shirley Hill, built by Percy of lumber milled at Malahat Farm. The couple raised seven children, but sadly, Margaret was widowed young, and the Clark children all grew up learning how to pitch in and do their share. At the time of this photo, c2002, Hazel was Mrs. Herbert and lived in Vancouver, and Evelyn, (with cane) was the wife of Elmer “Smoky” Stolth of Sooke River Road.

Malahat Farm has a long history as a guest house, with artist Emily Carr visiting there around 1920. Later owners who have operated a bed and breakfast in the finely crafted farmhouse have included George and Diana Clare in the 1980s/90s, and David and Frances Stocks.

An added feature during the time when the museum was taking farm tours to the site was a hefty Angus bull fenced in the yard; I have to admit I was intimidated by it.

When management consultant David Stocks was owner, the property also housed his collection of classic cars.

Though the Stocks now make their home in Colwood, they keep in touch with their associates in Sooke. With the passage of time, it seems that all second and third generation descendants of the Malahat Farm Anderson family are now gone.

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.