Topic: The Town Centre, Rangiora

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The Town Centre, Rangiora

The Town Centre

Dust, mud, water, and fires were hazards afflicting the Rangiora town centre from its inception.

The town grew like Topsy, with buildings scattered, often at large intervals, over about three-quarters of mile along what was to become High Street.

The early roads were nothing but cart tracks that whipped into dust bowls in strong winds; in the wet they churned to mud; and flooding turned gullies to streams. Fires were a hazard for the timber buildings, and several large commercial premises were destroyed over the years.

Gradually the gaps between buildings filled as more settlers were attracted to Rangiora, many enticed by friends and relatives, and larger sections were subdivided to meet the growing demand.

Township roading developed slowly, however. The formation of the Mandeville and Rangiora Road Board in 1864 did little to speed the progress, with rural members reluctant to spend money to facilitate the township.

Mainly of timber construction, early commercial buildings were frequently combined with living accommodation. Gradually more pretentious and specialised buildings were erected, with brick and concrete gaining favour for added fire safety. Hotels were among the leaders in this, with the new Red Lion in 1873, the Junction in 1880, followed by the second Post Office in 1887, the Court House in 1893 and John Johnston's imposing building in 1896.


Extract from: "Rangiora - An early pictorial record"



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