The Rhodes family (left to right) Susan, Cheryl, Bev, Barb and Barbara, show off a painting of their great-great grandfather Joseph Rhode’s former property on Happy Valley Road. Rhodes is considered a pioneer of Happy Valley. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Remembering the family that pioneered Happy Valley in Langford

Joseph Rhode’s great-great granddaughters want road named after him

Standing outside a grey-coloured house on Happy Valley Road, it looks like an eyesore in a sea of new duplexes, townhouses and single-family homes.

Trees have overgrown the Langford property, making it difficult to see the house from the road. The bright blue front door and window can be seen peeping through the bushes. The home doesn’t look like much, but to the Rhode’s family it means the world.

But the 105-year-old home was recently sold by its former owner to a developer and is facing the wrecking ball, said the family.

While they can’t do much to save it, they would like the developer or the City of Langford to consider naming a road after their great-great grandfather, Joseph Rhode (AKA Rhodie).

“With these last two houses going, it just hit us that that’s it for any acknowledgement,” said Bev Rhode, one of Joseph’s great-great granddaughters.

“It’s always been a big part of our family history … It just means that after this house is gone, that’s it for any physical sign of our family.”

Joseph Rhode was one of the pioneers of Happy Valley. Originally born in Germany in 1840, Joseph found his way to Victoria at a young age and opened a bakeshop on Store Street.

During his second marriage, Joseph and his wife, Angelina had four children – Joseph, Frank, Albert and Paulina. The family moved to Happy Valley and purchased 1,200 acres of property at Dicker Road, which ran on both sides of the road to the intersection of Station and Jacklin roads.

The Rhode farm was not only a producing farm with sheep and cattle, but it was also known as a halfway house for travellers to Metchosin and Sooke. But, following Joseph’s death in 1907, the land was sold off.

Joseph’s sons later returned to the valley, purchasing the land that was formerly owned by their father. Albert built a home at 3467 Happy Valley Rd., while Frank built one at 3344 Happy Valley Rd.

Since 1911, Frank’s home has changed hands several times. It was put on the market a few years ago, but the high price tag prevented later generations of the family from purchasing it back.

Despite the impending demolition of Frank’s home, Joseph’s great-great granddaughters (and last generation of the Rhodes family), including Barbara, Susan, Cheryl and Bev Rhodes, are hoping to keep the family name and the history of Langford alive.

“I hope it doesn’t get forgotten. They [the Rhodes] played a major role in the area as pioneers,” said Cheryl. “We’re disappointed and sad that there’s no history being carried on for an old family that goes way back.”

Mayor Stew Young said the City is open to naming a road after the family.

“We would definitely look at something like that,” Young said, adding the family can put in a request or write a letter to council, and the fire department will ensure there are no roads with the same name in the municipality. “We always like doing heritage-type stuff, things that show our history … I know the [Rhode] name and most people on Happy Valley would.”

Young noted he could potentially touch base with the developer to have the request completed as well.

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