delf cabin
Newsletter 1
Volume I Issue I
August 1996

Welcome to

Crystal Water Beach

by Bob Culbert

Crystal Water Beach is a unique twenty-five acre enclave situated in the middle of the South coast of Point Roberts. Even though it is located in Washington State, Crystal Water Beach is arguably the best piece of real estate in the entire Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

   Point Roberts was originally thought to be an island by Spanish explorers in the late 1700s, but they soon corrected their error and named it Punta Zepeda. Captain Vancouver came along not long thereafter and gave the place its present name, after his friend Henry Roberts. A treaty in 1846 established the border along the 49th parallel to the sea between the mainland and Vancouver Island. Point Roberts was inadvertently cut off from the continental United States and physically attached to Canada.

The Point then became a military reserve and a smugglers haven. Its shores and beaches were long used for fishing by the native people from across the straits. Around the turn of this century, the United states opened the Point to homesteaders, predominately Icelanders, attracted by the moderate climate and the sea.






            Crystal Water Beach was part of the homestead of a family named Taylor from the eastern United States. Mr. Taylor, of English descent, established a home and orchard near the present junction of Robert Drive and Waters Road. Many of his trees are still producing fruit in the south-west corner of the subdivision. Immediately to the east of Taylors homestead is the land settled by the Thorstenson family from Iceland, who were later to play an important role in the development of Crystal Water Beach.

      In the 1920s, a syndicate of four families from New Westminster bought and platted the original subdivision including the common waterfront lands. The Simpsons, Pollards, Reids, and Scotts built cottages on front lots in the present location of Rantas, Russells, Culberts (Fred) and Jones houses—Rantas and Russells are the two remaining original houses. A well and water tank were established on high ground at the present location of Maguire's property. Unfor­tunately for the syndicate, no further lots were sold because of the depression and the second world war.

      Laugi Thorstenson bought Crystal Water Beach in 1945 and, a year later, sold a lot to Bill and Doris Culbert from New Westminster. This transaction marked the beginning of the present development. Fortu­nately for Laugi, lots sold quickly beginning with the lots on the front. In those early days the Thorstenson family dairy cattle roamed the area, the last evidence of their idyllic exist­ence being the metal post at Culbert's front yard which was part of a turnstile to keep the cows out of the garden.

      The remainder of the subdivision north to Waters Drive developed quickly with access from Vancouver vastly improved in 1959 when the tunnel replaced the Ladner ferry. Meanwhile Laugi increased the size of the subdivision to include the pasture lands north of Waters Drive and development increased over the years to its present situ­ation. The original water supply was eventually replaced with a Point Roberts well and finally in the late 1980s a supply from the Lower Mainland water system.

      Crystal Water Beach has maintained its unique character largely because of the commonly-owned foreshore and bluff. All property owners have equal rights and access bluff picnicto the beautiful view and beach. The Crystal Water Beach Community Association has been established for almost forty years to maintain the lands and facil­ities. The first treasurer was Norm Landahl and the dues in 1957 were $5.00. Events such as the launching of the raft, work parties and the annual picnic now have a tradition of almost half a century.

Today the annual dues are $40 (Canadian) and the picnic is always held on the Saturday of the August first long weekend. Bingo cards are a dollar, either Canadian or American.

Bob Culbert has been in CWB since day one. He is on the mend after a serious fall from his horse and had time to write this article.