If you’re not looking for it, you’d probably miss it amongst the hustle and bustle that is Sooke Road near the Jacklin Road intersection.
But just past there – in the 2600-block of Sooke Road – is an old little white house with black trim. Its windows are boarded up, moss covers its roof and its paint is chipping. The lawn is overgrown and it appears abandoned. But if you look at the right time as you drive past, you’ll catch a glimpse of it through the shrubs.
Langford resident Shannon Ireland did just that and it caught her attention. In fact, there’s a number of old properties on the West Shore that have caught her attention while driving around. She’s been posting pictures of them in different Facebook groups in hopes of learning more about them.
“When you start asking questions people start weighing in,” she explained. “I want to find out more about them and the people who lived there.”
This little house, located at 2621 Sooke Rd., received several comments on different posts with several long-time West Shore residents noting it used to belong to the Bodman family with other members of the family living in neighbouring homes.
A number of the comments referenced the home from the late 1960s, early ’70s, and remember the home fondly as it was beautiful in its glory days. There was even mention of rabbits being raised in the backyard and neighbourhood children playing on the mountainside behind the home as it wasn’t developed at that time.
While it may not look the way many residents remember it from the ’60s, this house and the property it sits on is assessed at $1.695 million.
As of July 1, 2017, according to B.C. Assessment, this house was only valued at $1,000 but the land was valued at $1.694 million. B.C. Assessment has no sale records in the past three years for this property.
Real estate agent Lorne Tuplin, a member of the Re/Max Camosun team, has been selling homes on the West Shore for more than 20 years and has been in the business for a total of 40 years.
Back in the 1960s, he noted this house would have sold for roughly $17,000 or $18,000.
The house was built in 1941, according to B.C. Assessment, and is a one-and-a-half storey home with four bedrooms and one bathroom. It sits on 2.88 acres that backs onto Jacklin Road.
According to a City of Langford staff report regarding a nearby proposal, this site is zoned R2.
Originally, homes with R2 zoning only permitted one-family dwellings.
After Langford incorporated council drafted its own zoning bylaws and R2 was changed to permit both one-family and two-family dwellings.
Secondary suites were also added as a permitted use in 1997 in single family homes but not in duplexes.
But Ireland and others aren’t looking at these home because of their assessed values or their potential for development.
“The heritage part of it all is really interesting and how they’re all connected,” Ireland said. “If you really look and read all of the history, there’s four or five main families … and they all had giant chunks of land.”
A lot of that was slowly parcelled off or subdivided but there are still a few members of those families that, generations later, are still living on what’s left of those properties or in original homes.
“They’re being torn down … [and] I feel like we need to document all these properties before they’re torn down,” Ireland explained. “It’s just really sad … I think the mayors should reconsider some as heritage properties.”
With more development on the West Shore and more homes being built, it’s easy to see how some can become nostalgic for the days they spent growing up on the West Shore.
This is the first installment in a new monthly series featuring a look at some of the West Shore’s historical properties. Watch for a video on the Gazette’s Facebook page on the second Thursday of the month, followed by a feature in the following Wednesday’s paper. If you’d like to suggest a property to be featured, please send a message to the email below.