Although the new student residence hall at UCFV’s Abbotsford campus does offer its tenants a spectacular view of Mt. Baker, the building does not take its name — Baker House — from the American volcanic peak. Rather, it honours a hardworking Abbotsford pioneer family that once owned the land where the new building now sits.
As children, Karl and Minnie Baker emigrated from Bukovina (then part of the Austrian Empire) to Saskatchewan with their respective families. They married in 1905 and resided in various locations before settling with their five children on a property at 1317 McKenzie Rd. in Abbotsford. For $3,500, the Bakers purchased the lot, which had previously been assigned by the Soldier’s Settlement Board to a WWI veteran.
From 1929 to 1959, the Bakers farmed raspberries on the 44-acre lot, which ran from McKenzie Rd. to McCallum Rd. The berry farm was one of the city’s largest and featured cabins, a bunkhouse, and a cookhouse for the 110 pickers that the family employed. Three of the Baker children would grow up to marry berry pickers.
The Bakers sold the McKenzie Road property after 30 years of raspberry farming. Karl died in 1963 at the age of 79 and Minnie passed ten years later at 86.
On November 7, 2007, UCFV will proudly welcome their descendants at a ceremony to celebrate the naming of the student residence building and the heritage behind it. Among those expected to attend are Clara Baker, a former picker on the farm who married one of the original Baker sons (Carl), and five grandchildren of Karl and Minnie.
UCFV gratefully acknowledges the MSA Museum Archives for their assistance in the original search for early landowners in the campus vicinity.
Baker House officially opened in September 2007 and is currently home to more than 140 students from the Fraser Valley and around the world.
For more information about the Baker House, please visit www.ucfv.ca/residence .