Bolters Chicken and Turkey at 5523 Pacific Highway – pictured in this undated archive photo – predated the former Maple Leaf Foods processing plant on the same site that was recently torn down.

Bolters Chicken and Turkey at 5523 Pacific Highway – pictured in this undated archive photo – predated the former Maple Leaf Foods processing plant on the same site that was recently torn down.

A processing plant with roots

The recent demolition of the former Maple Leaf Foods plant in Cloverdale takes Roger Bose on a historic journey

Historian, writer and life-long Cloverdale resident Roger Bose recently spent a couple of hours at the Surrey Archives pouring through photos when he finally found what he was looking for.

It was a black and white picture of Bolters’ Homestyle Chicken and Turkey plant at 5523 Pacific Highway, taken in the 1960s or 1970s.

“It was the last thing I looked at,” before giving up, he said, explaining he’d been searching for records using the wrong spelling of the last name of Alton Bolter.

Bose decided to dig up more information after learning that Cloverdale’s former Maple Leaf Foods plant that stood on the location more recently has just been demolished (“Maple Leaf plant torn down,” June 1, and see also ‘Maple Leaf plant winds down,’ 2011).

The plant was prevhttp://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wRogerBose.jpgiously a Schneiders processed meat plant, he confirmed, but the story goes further back, according to Bose, who remembered the Bolter family and their home-based business, which grew into a major operation in Cloverdale.

The business literally started as a cottage industry at their home, located not far away in Cloverdale, Bose said.

The couple started delivering chicken to grocery stores and decided to open a cannery so they could expand.

They purchased land that was part of a farm owned by Ted Molyneux (coincidentally a founding member of the Surrey Historical Society, of which Bose is a member), south of Highway 10 at 176 Street, or Pacific Highway.

Eventually, they sold the business. By then it had grown into an operation that employed up to 15 people and filled a two-storey building.

The Bolters’ son opened up a grocery story by Lord Tweedsmuir High School – now Cloverdale Traditional School – on Highway 10. He turned the grocery store into a restaurant that’s now the site of Elizabeth’s Chalet, a fine dining restaurant.

Historic walking tour

Bose is meanwhile updating his Cloverdale Walking Tour, a brochure that will be available for visitors looking to take a self-guided tour of the historic sites and landmarks in the downtown.

New stops will include the Surrey Cooperative Association, the Pacific Highway marker on 176 Street at Highway 10, and the three statues on 176 Street. They’ll be available at the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association, the Surrey Museum and Surrey Archives, and from the Surrey Historical Society. He’s also working on an updated driving tour of Cloverdale.

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