Lantzville’s Fascinating History

Lantzville’s Fascinating History

“Without the coal Lantzville wouldn’t be here. We’d be just a bunch of farming communities.”
– 
Lynn Reeve

 

Lantzville is located just north of Nanaimo, but we often don’t discuss the interesting history of this area.  Did you know that Lantzville was originally part of Nanoose and was widely known as Grant’s Mine?  According to the District of Lantzville, the area derived its name from Mr. Fraser Harry Lantz, who was a director of an American company that purchased the mine and property in 1920.  Lantzville was incorporated on June 25, 2003 and Wikipedia states that it covers an area of 27.87 square kilometers.

In an NanaimoNewsNow interview with Lynn Reeve, a member of the Lantzville Historical Society, it was not until 1916 when the original coal operations began in Lantzville, which had been primarily farmland.  “Without the coal Lantzville wouldn’t be here. We’d be just a bunch of farming communities. There were people here before the mine but they were farmers and farmers don’t start stores and hotels and things like that,” said Reeve.

B.C. government records show that coal mining continued from 1916 up until 1943 and the annual Minetown Days celebration in Lantzville recognizes the mining influence that shaped modern Lantzville.  What is extremely interesting to note is that there are still two or three homes on a Lantzville property that was once home to over a dozen cabins built by Chinese mine workers near Wiles Creek, commonly referred to as the China Town neighbourhood.

Dean Finlayson, the developer of Woodgrove Mall and Frank Ney, the colorful Nanaimo mayor, developed and named the neighbourhood of Winchelsea in the 1970’s.  The road name “Benwaldun” is always a topic of discussion when Myles or I are showing homes in Lantzville.  Benwaldun is actually the compilation of names – Bennett, Walls and Dunsmore that were the names of Paul Bennett and his son-in-laws.  Mr. Bennett purchased the land in 1924 and the property included Eby Road all the way to the east end of Plover Road and to Comox Road (which is now Lantzville Road).

Mr. Bennett’s influence stretched much further than just Lantzville.  In fact, Bennett joined forces with Mr. Akenhead (whose name would later appear on its own road in Cedar), to operate the A & B Stables (the initials of the partners’ last names) on Wallace Street (now part of downtown Nanaimo).  Paul Bennett also operated the Paul Bennett Hardware Store (on Commercial and Wharf Street) for over 21 years.  The Bennett family enjoyed a strong friendship with the Wilson family, who were the proprietors of the Scotch Bakery, and together the families enjoyed countless summer days camping on Newcastle Island together.

What is so fascinating is the legacies that remain from these important figures in Nanaimo and Lantzville history.  Lantzville is a beautiful area that has many interesting residents and stories.  You can enjoy sharing a brief history with your friends and family.

If you are considering buying or selling, contact McCullough Marketing.  Get the real estate team with proven experience and expertise for Nanaimo, Lantzville and Vancouver Island working for you.  Contact us today at 250-751-1223.

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