This photo of what became known as Darby Farm dates back to 1910. The signature water tower in the centre is a landmark still seen by today’s visitors to Tower Point Park in Metchosin.

Metchosin Then and Now: Darby Farm

Iconic water tower remains from the early days of property

Some places may be iconic while not having a very clear story attached to them. Darby Farm’s long drive leading to the water tower is familiar to anyone who has enjoyed Tower Point Park.

The Dukes bought the land from a Mr. Rosman in the middle 1800’s and in the 1890’s, an engineer from Victoria by the name of Invaraity bought the approximately 65-acre parcel. He designed and built the 30-foot tower to store water piped from Bilston Creek. The pipes were laid on pilings across Witty’s Lagoon, some of which are still visible. The house he built in 1904 has been enlarged and renovated many times to achieve its substantial beauty today.

In 1911 F.F. Higgs, a Victoria realtor, bought the property and it is probably he who named the property Darby Farm. Like most farms in Metchosin at that time it produced fruit, vegetables, poultry and dairy products.

I remember in the late 50’s attending yearly fetes. The sun always shone on the pony events and children’s races, ice cream dripped and the St. Johns Ambulance attendants patiently waited with the ocean and Olympic Mountains making a spectacular backdrop.

• Metchosin Museum’s Old Barn Books is open Sundays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; your donations of good used books are most welcome as their sale helps to preserve Metchosin’s heritage. Please email wendyncmitchell@shaw.ca to share your stories or make additions, amendments and suggestions.

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