Fonds - Carl Grauer fonds

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Carl Grauer fonds

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  • 1881-2000 (Creation)
    Grauer (family)

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Physical description

18.5 cm of textual records
149 photograph prints

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Biographical history

The Grauer family has been contributing to the development of the municipality of Richmond ever since Jacob Grauer, a German immigrant, settled his young family on Sea Island in 1892. Jacob Grauer's farm soon encompassed 480 acres of rich delta soil and eventually became one of Canada's biggest dairy operations. Two of Jacob's sons also exerted their influence in local communities: Dal Grauer became president of B.C. Electric, the precursor to B.C. Hydro; and Rudolph Grauer served as the Reeve of Richmond from 1930 to 1949. Prior to serving on council, Rudolph Grauer left the family farm to open Grauer's in 1914, a general store at the foot of the first Hudson Street Bridge that provided the residents of Sea and Lulu Islands with meat, produce, dry goods, and hardware for over 50 years. After World War II, Rudolph's son Carl was joined by his brother Lester in taking over the family business.
By the early 1950s, the Federal Government decided it should secure more flat property on Sea Island for future airport expansion. In 1954 the Grauer family was served with papers informing them that they were required to vacate their land but that they would receive fair market value for their 47 acres. Unlike the majority of property owners, Rudolph Grauer fought the expropriation order until his death in 1972, when Carl and Lester continued the legal battle in their father's name. The Grauer's case against the Federal Government was strengthened in the 1960s when Lester uncovered evidence of negotiations between the Ministry of Transport and De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd., which agreed that the land adjacent to the original runway, purchased by De Havilland in 1953, would be traded to the Vancouver Aiport in exchange for the expropriated Grauer property.
During the lengthy 32-year litigation process, various solicitors and law firms represented the Grauers. Frank G.P. Lewis defended the Grauers in their Exchequer Court trials; A.K. Thompson and J.G. Wilson of Thompson, Wilson & Baker appealed the Exchequer Court decision to the Supreme Court; and Allan McEachern, Paul A. Cote, D.M.M. Goldie, and Chris Harvey of the firm Russell & DuMoulin were instrumental in getting the Grauer's case heard in the Federal Court between 1974 and 1981. In 1986, a judgement was finally reached when Federal Court Judge Frank U. Collier ruled in favour of the Grauers, awarding them $50,000 in legal costs and the right to keep their land after finding that the runway eventually built did not cross their property.

Custodial history

The records were donated to the archives in two accessions. In 1992 Carl Grauer donated records that pertained to his father, Rudy. The records of the 2008 accession were part of the estate of Carl Grauer and in his custody until his death March 20, 2008. Mr. Grauer directed in his will that the material be given to the City of Richmond Archives after his death. His son Jack arranged for the transfer of the record.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the correspondence, research materials, and ephemera of Carl Grauer. Also present are some records relating to Rudy Grauer and Lester Grauer.

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Arranged in five series: 1. Grauer Store, (1947-1981); 2. Correspondence, (1934-1960); 3. Grauer Family History, (1990-2000); 4. Lacrosse, (1925-1964); 5. Rudy Grauer (1937-1968); 6. Photographs, (1881-1969).

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For associated material see the Rudy Grauer fonds and the Grauer Expropriation Litigation Case Collection.

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