Part One: The Millachip Family, 1913: Finding an Antique Postcard in Prince Edward Island, Finding A Lost Family

Have you ever been somewhere else and found an antique postcard from your hometown?

Several years ago when I was visiting my family on Prince Edward Island I saw an old Vancouver postcard in a rummage sale. It seemed completely out of context, and it was encased in a plastic sleeve and it was expensive.

I bought it and held onto it, without doing any research.

The postcard had a surprising subject~there is a house with a craftsman styled front door, ionic columns, stained glass upper windows and a family posed in front of it.

The family is dressed in Edwardian dress, with the mother holding a hand muffler and wearing a scarf. The father has a hat and wears a long suit with a stiff starched shirt collar. The child is in a sailor suit, the type that was very popular in the 1910 to 1920 period. At the family’s feet is a dog that looks like a brittany spaniel.

The card was a custom one, created for this family, showing off their prized asset, their house. And on the back of the card, there was a handwritten inscription:

“2825 Clark Drive E. Vancouver B.C. A glimpse of us and our new home with units. Kind love and best wishes for a very happy Xmas and New Year to you all. Edie, Arthur, Willie”

When I started to research the house I feared that it would be demolished. But it wasn’t. It is still there, near 13th Avenue on the west side of Clark Drive.

It has lost its elegant entrance way and fancy front columns, and the entrance way has been reconfigured to access from the side instead of the front. The fancy windows and stained glass are gone but the window placement and the bay on the north side of the building still exists. The shingled siding is now covered with pink stucco. From Clark Drive a shrubby tree hides the house from the street.

The view from the back of the property shows the bones of the old original house. The bay on the house is evident, and the dormer window on the house adjacent to 2825 Clark Drive can also be seen in both the old and the modern photo.

I did not expect to find the house still existing, and then decided to do a deeper dive into who lived there and to see if I could find Edie, Arthur and Willie who had produced the postcard and so proudly  posed with their house. I looked through Newspapers.com and also the Vancouver Archives.

In 1913 the house’s occupants offered a Metzler piano for sale for $250.00 in the Province, noting that this was a “real deal”. Today that $250 for a British made piano is equivalent to over $6,000. That same year there is an advertisement also in the Province offering a room for one or two  with an English family “three minutes from cars”

I found Mrs. Millachip who lived in the house in July 1917 and was part of the Western Star Trench and Hospital Club. There were no regular meetings of the club that summer but if people wanted to produce socks for the war effort, they could obtain yarn from Mrs. Millachip of 2825 Clark Drive.

Good works were still being done at the house in 1947 wen Mrs. B. Tolman held a homemaking meeting as part of the Women of the Moose chapter. Set up originally in 1913,the  women’s division of the Royal Order of the Moose was formed. This group still does  social, organizational and service work in the community.

When I first posted this story, I had no idea that I was going to discover not only the story behind who these people were, but a remarkable story of their descendants and the terrible cost this family bore during World War One. It was due to readers that I was able to get in touch with the descendants, and place this postcard in their possession.

And I also found out the sad story on how this branch of this family died out. Take a look at Part Two of the Millachip Family Story.

Published by Sandy James Planner

Vancouverite! City planner, writer, former master gardener, perpetual public space champion. I'm interested in pace, space and place. Micromobility and accessibility, best environments for free range kids. She/her. Dogs. I really walk a lot. Editor~ Viewpoint Vancouver Urbanism/Insight/Evolution www.viewpointvancouver.ca Managing Director of Walk Metro Vancouver, www.walkmetrovan. Twitter: @sandyjamesplan My current writing: sandyjamesplanner.wordpress.com www.walkmetrovan.ca

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