Billy Miner here in Maple Ridge?
Originally the pub was a Bank of Montreal. In fact, the wall behind the bar is where the old vault used to be. As you look out the front windows you see the railroad tracks and beyond that the Haney Wharf and the mighty Fraser River. When Don and Bernice Gehring purchased the building in the 70’s they had the intent to create a neighbourhood pub and chose the name because the tracks he rode on and stole from run east-west right across the street. As you sit and enjoy the great craft beers you can “hear the train a comin’ ” and feel the rumble of the big engines while eating your pub lunch!
Billy served time in lots of jails including the New Westminster, BC jail after getting caught in the Interior of BC.
Dead and gone…
According to ‘FindAGrave.Com’ at the age of 63 Billy died and was buried
Birth: 1843, Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, USA
Death: Sep. 2, 1914, Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia, USA
The Mary Berry Charlton Storey “Story”
Alfred T. Charlton was born in Ontario in 1875. In 1901 or 1902, after becoming a general merchant, he married Mary Berry. Mary was born in Bruce Country, Ontario, where she became a school teacher and later, a principal. After she married Alfred Charlton, the couple moved to Maple Ridge in 1904, with their son, David.
Charlton’s first store in Port Haney was located right on the bank of the Fraser River, where he built a wharf to allow the steamships to dock. In addition to operating the general store and��handling freight and ticketing for the CPR, Alfred was also a postmaster, a dock master and an agent for the steamships.
Alfred died on January 9th, 1907, while crossing the Fraser River. He was skating across to Fort Langley, although some say he was trying to rescue a young boy who had fallen through the ice. As the story goes, they were crossing together to meet with others about starting a soccer team the following spring. Alfred was only thirty-two years old, leaving two young children. The boy who drowned with Alfred, initially thought to be his son, was Tom Carleton.
After her husband’s death, in a move that showed a true strength of character, Mary Charlton took over all of her husband’s responsibilities in addition to raising their two young sons. Mary was well suited to business and expanded the family’s holdings to include Haney’s first bank, the Bank of Montreal,����������a building she built and owned. It opened October 01, 1911. It was strategically positioned close to the Fraser River in the commercial district core of Port Haney, to take advantage of the river boat landing, the CPR Station and the services in the area, including postal and retail outlets.
In a touching letter to her mother, Mary wrote,
“I cannot tell you how lonely I am. Such a black darkness over everything. If it were not for our two boys, I could not go on. Then I try to remember that if I do not bravely, do the best I can, it will only cause more sorrow, and I must not be selfish. I must think of others but it is so hard.”
In 1917, Mary Charlton married her husband’s cousin, William Storey, who had come from the East to help her with the store. He took on management of the General Store and changed its name to the somewhat whimsical ‘Storey Store,’ while Mary continued in the role of postmistress in the building next door to the Billy Miner Alehouse, known today as the Alehouse Café . This was a role Mary continued to hold in various Haney locations for another 40 years. She was also the president of the Haney Women’s Institute at one time.
Mary Charlton Storey, the first of Maple Ridge’s women entrepreneurs, died in 1960
The large two storey wood framed structure, with its decorative parapet, was a typical main street commercial building back in the day. The Bank Manager & his family were housed on the spacious second floor apartment, which is still in use today. This was the third Bank of Montreal built in British Columbia and it operated as such until the entire Port Haney was ravaged by its third and final fire in 1932. The fire of 1932 is believed to have started in the Knox café due to a motor in a refrigerator. Businesses lost included the Barber Shop, Café, Dr’s Offices, the CPR Stations and the Freight Sheds. The Bank suffered minimal damage and the post office only lost the Mail due to water pumped off the Mighty Fraser River. Previous fires along the waterfront town were in 1910 and 1926. This last fire was the needed excuse for old Port Haney Businesses to move lock, stock and barrel to Upper Haney along both Sides of the newly built Lougheed Highway taking the Bank of Montreal with it. The building was later used for multi-residential purposes including Post World War II housing for veterans and their families awaiting new homes.
The Building had no cement foundation and had seriously deteriorated over the years, until it was purchased by the Gehrings for $11000.00 in 1973. It underwent a lengthy, labour intensive restoration by Don Gehring himself. With restoration complete, a sympathetic addition was built and the structure was opened as the Billy Miner Pub in May 1981, lovingly owned, named and operated by Don and Bernice until 2002.
Resold and undergoing another transformation in 2009, restored the Old Billy Miner Pub into the Billy Miner Alehouse. With an emphasis on reclaiming a Neighbourhood that steeps in history the building was Deemed and Protected under the Heritage Act of British Columbia in 2011.