In the late 1800s survey maps show there was a small fire-house and bell on Devon Street, close to the intersection with Gover Street. A right-of-way is also pictured nearby. Eventually the fire-house was removed and replaced by commercial buildings, but the right-of-way remained.
One of the businesses that would become prominent in the area was Boon Brothers Ltd. This New Plymouth building firm was founded in 1895 and went on to construct commercial and residential buildings in New Plymouth for many years. By the 1920s the company's operations were established in several old wooden buildings near the corner of Gill and Gover Streets. The company also operated there as funeral directors. In 1926 they built a two-storey concrete building on the corner, designed by the architects Messenger, Griffiths & Taylor, which still stands today.
Another business nearby, L.H. Johnson Motors, also built new premises on the corner of Devon Street at about the same time. This building is probably better remembered as the Para Rubber store.
Through all this construction work, the right-of-way survived. Finally, in the 1950s the lane was formally surveyed and named. Like most family businesses, Boon Brothers wasn't to last forever, the construction company finally closing down in the 1980s. But Boon Lane remains, a reminder of the company's presence in New Plymouth.
This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.
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