In 1863, our ancestors Fitzgerald and Samuel McCleery were the first Europeans to build Vancouver’s first house. The McCleerys settled on a 160 acre piece of land within the area presently called Southlands. The northern boundary was formed by the present day Marine Drive with the southern boundary of their acreage lying on the banks of the Fraser River. It was near the southern portion of these lands where the brothers built a simple log cabin, starting on April 1, 1863 and finishing the next day.
In January 1864, Fitzgerald McCleery undertook an expedition to Eugene, Oregon to purchase cattle. He finally returned home in April after leading the herd over land and using primitive sloops over waterways. After selling off some of the cattle stock, the remainder formed the basis of his dairy farm. They also planted crops, including, potatoes, peas, turnips, cabbage, barely, oats and carrots becoming true farmers. The McCleery farmhouse, shown in the photo above, located just below Marine Drive, faced south towards the Fraser River and was the first substantial building constructed on the site of what would become the City of Vancouver. The house was demolished in the 1970’s to make way for the McCleery Golf Course. Today, the 11th tee is located where Vancouver’s first house stood.