We previously identified one important architect’s own-designed office that’s still standing last year. Here’s another that, given its modest size, is even less likely to be still standing. How much longer that continues to be true remains to be seen. This was Townley and Matheson’s office, built in 1941 (although not featured in the RAIC Journal until 1948, and so attributed to that date in some sources).
Fred Townley, born in Winnipeg and brought up in Vancouver, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s architecture department in 1911 and had his first designs built here a year later. Robert Matheson was born in PEI, but the family moved to Vancouver where Robert started work as a carpenter before he too headed to the University of Pennsylvania to study architecture, graduating the same year as Townley. On his return to Vancouver he joined his architect father in partnership, and they designed several buildings still standing today – some featured on this blog. Townley and Matheson joined forces in 1919 and became one of the most active architectural firms in the city. Although both were designers, Townley carried out more of the design work while Matheson was said to manage the business and liaise with their clients. They designed the Stock Exchange tower, several schools including Point Grey School, many commercial buildings Downtown and on West Broadway, houses – particularly in Shaughnessy – and of course the new City Hall on West 12th Avenue.
At the height of their success, as City Hall was nearing completion in 1935, Matheson fell ill and died aged only 48. Townley was forced to take over running the company as well as acting as head designer. Matheson’s name was retained on the business (right through to 1974 after both founding partners were dead). This new office was modest in scale but showed the company’s strength in designing clean, modernist structures – continued in many buildings designed by the firm for the Vancouver General Hospital. Townley died in 1966 having helped design over a thousand buildings, almost all in Vancouver.
Today the building is recently abandoned – last used for many years as part of Umberto Menghi’s il Giardino restaurant. Although that business is reported to be reopening elsewhere, it’s reported that the old premises have been sold, and rumours suggest redevelopment will be proposed, although the 1888 Leslie House (just visible on the edge of the photo) is on the Vancouver Heritage Registry.
Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-411
We’ve previously looked at this view as a postcard. We’ve found this slightly larger version of the image that shows the block in better context, in the early 1900s. The corner building was most recently part of the Vancouver Film School (apparently they’ve now moved on), but it started life in 1903 as the Royal Bank of Canada. Dalton and Eveleigh designed the first classical bank in the city at a cost of $27,000, built of poured concrete with steel reinforcements for the foundations – an innovation which allowed construction of secure vaults with walls over half a metre thick. It was constructed by Vancouver pioneer, Jonathan Rogers although the owner of the building was technically Jonathan’s wife, Elizabeth. In 1909 he hired Parr and Fee to carry out alterations that cost even more than the original building at $30,000, and again he was the contractor for the work.
Mr Rogers also developed the building next door, It was started in October, and a huge umbrella was raised over the site to allow work in the winter rain. The small building next is the 1904 Bank of Nova Scotia, covered in a recent post. At the end of the block is the Bank of British Columbia, designed by T C Sorby in 1891, and almost unchanged in over 120 years.
This 1974 image shows the block looks better now than it did 40 years ago, when it might have been expected to redevelop; at least in part. Fortunately, apart from a 1930s rebuild, the block is almost intact with early buildings.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-621 and CVA 780-22
This is the Bank of Nova Scotia building, built in 1904 and seen here not long after it was completed in a Vancouver Public Library picture. It was designed by Dalton & Eveleigh for Edward Lewis, a Welshman – or maybe he was from Quebec – whose history we detailed in a recent post. W T Dalton lived next door to the Lewis family. The builder was G Horrobin, who also built the Granville Street building designed by Mr Dalton for Mr Lewis in 1902.
There was also another Lewis development designed by Dalton & Eveleigh on the next block of West Hastings, developed in 1903. This building had the neo-classical details that it seems Mr Lewis liked – the Granville Street building had a similar classical pediment. It appears that the upper part of the building wasn’t as solidly built as the stone columns that held it up – which might be a consequence of the $9,000 budget. At some point it was rebuilt with the curved arch we see today.
When it was first built it appears this wasn’t just the Bank premises – they had a banking hall and the basement with their vaults. The street directory for 1904 shows Vancouver Hotel had their sample room here as well, and G A Roedde operated his book bindery here. (Mr Roedde moved around – we’ve featured two other buildings where he operated his business). By 1910 the street number had changed (from 418 to 422) and the Bank were still here, as they were in 1918. In 1920 the building isn’t included in the directory, and the bank had moved a couple of blocks to the west. In 1922 it had become 424 West Hastings – and it was still vacant. Finally by 1924 it was occupied by A G Spalding & Bros – the US athletic and sporting goods company whose Vancouver manager was W Bentham. The company stayed there until 1930, but by 1934 it was Goodman’s International Import jewelers and in 1940 it was home to Robinson’s Men’s Clothes store. A decade later it was still a clothing store – Bill Smith’s men’s wear. Today it’s still looking good, and occupied by the Bonchaz Cafe – a company who evolved from the Vancouver Farmers Markets.
This building has been tucked away beside another we’ve looked at in several earlier posts – the Johnston-Howe Block. This is the Georgia Street neighbour, the McLuckie Building, on the corner of Howe Street. It wasn’t built until 1931 and was designed by Townley and Matheson for Robert Macfarlane McLuckie, son of J M McLuckie, one of the city’s more prolific builders, and sometime developer. It doesn’t appear that there was an earlier building on the site until this one; almost unheard of for Vancouver. Once the Courts moved from today’s Victory Square to the Georgia Street Courthouse, the lawyers moved as well, and this building (like one earlier on Hastings Street) became known as the Inns of Court Building. As a two-storey building it didn’t warrant an elevator, so the lawyers and their clients had to climb the stairs.
This 1932 Vancouver Public Library image shows the building soon after its completion. The retail tenants were Norman G Cull (an opticians who also had a Victoria store), the Georgia Pharmacy and The New York Fur Co (who moved up the street from the next building). Cull’s opticians store moved here from Granville Street, and they stayed here until the 1960s. In the 1930s Norman G Cull was president of the company, and Frederick Cull was treasurer.
As well as lawyers including Lawrence & Shaw, and Soskin & Levin the Northern Pacific Railway had their office in the Inns of Court Building when it opened. R M McLuckie had his own office here, as well as the Knit to Fit Manufacturing Co. The Georgia Garage shared the same address, but were located at the back of the building. (There was another repair garage next door on Howe Street, the Madill Garage).
Tenancies here changed far less than most buildings we look at. As well as Cull’s opticians store, in 1950 the Georgia Pharmacy and New York Furs were still here, joined by the office of the Great Northern Railway and Anne Moloney’s ladies ware store. Upstairs Mr McLuckie still had his office, although now he was listed as being in real estate rather than contracting. There were six barristers with offices, but also the Picardy Beauty Salon and F C Bosman – a metaphysical healer.
The building was eventually acquired by the city for the assembly of the entire block that became the Pacific Centre Mall – at this point it’s the rotunda entrance to the retail part of the mall and the entrance to the Four Seasons Hotel.
This is the third time we’ve featured this corner, and this time it’s for Rebecca. This image was taken in 1933, when it was 33 years old and known as the Georgia Granville Building, rather than by the names of the developers. One earlier posts was taken after this, in 1970 when it was nearing the end of its life and the other in 1928. Many of the businesses have changed in only five years. In this corner shot it’s possible to see Con Jones’s ‘Don’t Argue’ tobacco store (Don’t argue: Con Jones sells fresh tobacco). Jones was an Australian; an ex-bookie who was successful in Vancouver in the tobacco trade, and sports-mad to the point of building Con Jones Park near the Pacific Exhibition Grounds for his lacrosse and soccer teams to play in. Darling’s Drug store ran around behind the corner store with entrances on both Robson and on West Georgia Street. Next door on Granville Street was Al-Walters, a men’s furnishing store. Al was Al Divire, and Walter was Walter Matoff. They didn’t last long here – in 1932 the store was vacant, and in 1934 it was I P Blyth’s optometrist store and Potter’s jewelers.
On Georgia Street there was Winifred’s Lunch, run by Paul Udesen, open at 7am and closed at midnight. Beyond that was the Georgia Hat Shop, and the Packard Taxi Co had the last store (the only business who were in the Georgia part of the building in 1928). Upstairs the sign on the window says Anabelle’s, but there’s no business with that name in the city that year or the year before, and although the top floor window says it is the Lilas Moore Dancing School, the street directory says that had relocated to Hornby Street. The Maxine Beauty Salon was operating upstairs, one of three locations run by Miss M MacGilvray, including the location on Bidwell Street in the West End. One unit upstairs was in residential use; the home of Henry J Hickey, and his wife Vera.
The building was designed by G W Grant for Benjamin B Johnston and Samuel L Howe, and we examined some of their background in the earlier posts. Ruddy-Duker had one of their many billboards erected on the roof of the building when painted signs and huge posters adorned many more buildings than they do today.
Today there’s a retail frontage that forms part of the Pacific Centre Mall, with bronze office tower that was known as the IBM Tower for twenty years.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4306
Here’s a 1939 image of Burrard Street looking south from West Pender. The street had turned mostly commercial by then, having started life as a quiet residential street, but there were still vestiges of the residential past. On the west side of the street was a two-storey building built in 1910 by E W McLean and Arthur McEvoy. The biggest building in the picture is the Third Hotel Vancouver – the one that’s still standing today.
Leading up to the hotel on the east side were a number of residential buildings, starting on the corner of West Pender with The Glenwood Rooms. They were built sometime around 1907, and W D Hansford was listed as the manager in 1908 clarified as William Hansford in 1910. William was aged 66, born in Clarksburg (West Virginia) in the USA when he married widow Alice Doster born in Wabash, Indiana, and aged 57 (Her father was Simpson Jones and her mother was Kezia). The wedding took place in BC in 1907, and there’s no sign of them in the city before the year they got married.
William almost certainly died before 1911 as the proprietor became A R Hansford and Alice Hansford was identified in the 1911 census living with her lodgers and niece, Marie Jones. In the census there were 40 lodgers living in the building, with a huge range of employment including an American capitalist and his wife, F W Liddle and R M Ward who were both musicians, Mr and Mrs T F Curror, from South Africa, who had no employment, Harry Davidson who was a brickmaker and Mr and Mrs M C McQuarrie – he was a barrister.
At the end of the block, on the corner of Dunsmuir, was the Young Women’s Christian association building, built in 1905, added to by Dalton and Eveleigh in 1909 and again by Coffin & McLennan in 1913. In between are a number of houses that were already built by the end of the 19th Century. Like Glenwood Rooms would be later, the houses were occupied by a range of professions in 1896: James Harling a cigar maker, A P Judge, a solicitor, Dr Mansell, a dentist, D M Linnard, in real estate, William Kent, who co-owned the Criterion Saloon in the Dunn Block and Captain Reveley and his family including his son, a clerk in a solicitor’s office. Captain Reveley was apparently an agent of marine for the Provincial Government before moving to Vancouver. He seems to have died in the late 1890s, but his widow, Kate, continued to occupy the house.
By the time this picture was taken in 1939 the Glenwood had become the Egremont House Rooms, run by George Robertson who lived there with his wife Marion. Some of the houses were also run as rooms – Mrs L J Shepherd ran rooms at 520. Mrs L Ritchie was living at 530, Mrs M Matthews at 534 and Mrs M V Adams had rooms at 540. W L Howie ran rooms at 544 and G H Stoneham at 552.
Today, closest to us is a Manulife office completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. Next door is Musson Cattell’s Bentall 5 tower, completed in two vertical phases (the top 11 floors in 2007 four years after the lower 23 floors). Across Dunsmuir Street is the rose coloured Park Place tower, also designed by Musson Cattell thirty years ago.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-155
We saw this corner in 1956, when there was still a building here. And we just posted the story of the garage that was built next door, to the south, in 1930. Here’s the view in 1965 when Walter E Frost recorded the mostly cleared site awaiting the construction of the Bentall Centre. The Marine Garage was Ltd was offering collision repairs, and down the road was 555 Burrard with a variety of mining companies in office space upstairs and Home Oil occupying the main floor (and the advertising space on the side of the building).
Beyond Eveleigh Street (which used to come through to Burrard Street) is an apartment building completed in 1912, designed by Kennerley Bryan for B T Rogers. Rogers was the Philadelphia born sugar magnate who created BC Sugar and also developed the Glencoe Hotel. As far as we can tell these were his only commercial investments; his only other developments were his home on Davie Street, Gabriola, and his later amazingly expensive Granville Street home, Shannon. He was said to have been a very cautious investor, and avoided jumping into Vancouver’s development frenzy – which might help explain the $1.2 million estate he had on his death.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-352