Ever stopped to think of the origin of street names in Chilliwack? I pondered this recently as I gave directions to a hotel guest. Sure, every city or town has a Main Street or streets named for indigenous trees like Maple Street or their proximity to water such as Ocean or Lakeshore Drive. But what can be said about “Kipp” or “Reece” Avenue or “Ashwell” Road? Lots, actually.
This is the first in a series of where did that name come from? A brief history on street names in Chilliwack and why they matter.
Kipp Avenue was named after a prominent pioneer family led by Isaac Kipp. Isaac was born in Ontario on November 1, 1839 and with the lure of gold, headed west in 1858. First stop for Isaac was California, where thousands of men overwhelmed the area searching for their fortune. Hearing word of a gold discovery north of the US border, Isaac packed up his belongings and headed north to the wilds of Yale, joining his cousin, Jonathon Reece in the quest for gold. Jonathon Reece ran a butcher shop in Yale but kept his cattle in the Chilliwack area. Isaac acquired land and settled in Chilliwack in 1862. His wife to be, Mary Ann Nelmes, arrived from Ontario in 1865. Isaac and Mary Ann were married March 22, 1865 in New Westminster and would have ten children. Mary Ann was the first white woman in Chilliwack and also served as nurse and midwife for many years. Isaac Kipp died May 17, 1921. Mary Ann passed away in 1931.
Kipp retirement home on Wellington (still standing) near corner of Wellington and Corbould
Kipp family home on Hodgins (now home to the Chilliwack Hospice Society)