The warehouse on the right of the shot is the H S Griffith designed building built in 1910 for W R Arnold that we featured in the previous post. Inexplicably, there’s a vacant site in this 1981 image that isn’t the result of a demolition. No building was ever constructed between the 1948 warehouse on the left of the picture (1250 Homer) and the 1910 warehouse/factory.
Today Rafii Architecture’s ‘Alda’ building is here; completed in 2002 with a combination of 59 residential strata units, office space and retail along Homer. It also incorporated the warehouse on the left of the picture, with a completely new façade.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.17
We saw the building on the right of this 1981 picture in the previous post. It was built in 1910 as MacPherson & Teetzel’s hardware warehouse and designed by Parr and Fee.
The more substantial building next door was built in the same year for W R Arnold by Adkinson and Dill for $48,000. It was designed by H S Griffith and described in the permit as a reinforced concrete warehouse. The first tenant was Hamilton Smith’s ‘Smith Biscuit Co’. Mr. Smith lived in the Hotel Europe, on Powell Street, along the street from one of his rivals, the Mooney Biscuit & Candy Co, based in Stratford, Ontario. In 1907 Mooney’s advertisement claimed they were ‘the fastest growing business in the Dominion’, and had added a fleet of their own rail cars to ship their ‘Perfection Cream Soda’ biscuits around the country.
H S Griffith was based in Victoria, having moved from England, and he established his Vancouver office in 1910. This warehouse, and another in Yaletown, were both issued with permits on the same day, and appear to be the first issued to Griffith. William Arnold was, in 1910, the Managing Director of the Dominion Trust Company who had also built a West Pender building through another subsidiary, also designed by H S Griffith, as well as the Dominion Building that they took on when the Imperial Trust ran into financial problems. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Arnold developed this warehouse as a personal project, or on behalf of The Dominion Trust Company. In a later court case (after Mr. Arnold’s death), the judge described him as ‘a man of endless speculations’.
A couple of years after the construction of Dominion Trust’s portfolio of buildings the economy went into a ‘severe financial re-adjustment’ (as it was described at the time). The final straw may have been over-extended company finances on a planned harbour scheme on Lulu Island (that was never built), and the company’s liquidator concluded that Mr. Arnold had advanced a series of unauthorized loans that were very risky. The $5,752,232 of book assets were estimated to actually be worth under a million dollars. W R Arnold shot himself, aged 31, in 1914 in what was initially reported as ‘a bad accident’. An initial court judgement agreed that it was an accidental death, and his insurance company was to pay $100,000 to the Dominion Trust. However, the insurance company won on appeal, and the death became officially a suicide.
In 1912 the Mooney Biscuit & Candy Co acquired the Smith Biscuit Co as part of their Canadian-wide expansion, allowing them to bake their branded biscuits in the west coast market, rather than having to ship them from further east. The First World War may have caused something of a problem for Mooney’s – by 1916 they were in receivership (which may be the reason for the VPL having a photo of their empty ‘melting pots’ from that year). The building was apparently vacant for several years, but in 1919 the Canadian Nut Co were here, and in 1920 they were joined by the Mainland Confectionery Co, managed by Chas. Rimmer.
By 1924 the confectionery company were still here, but the nut company had been replaced by Ogilvie Flour Mills Co. Ltd. The Montreal-based millers retained the location (and soon replaced the confectionery company) for over two decades. (The archives have some great images of their delivery trucks for Royal Household flour at the warehouse). By 1944 they shared the building with a wholesale confectioners, McBride Jackson Ltd, and a commercial artist and printers, R H Storer & Co.
By 1981 when these images were shot, Moore & Middleton occupied the building. The company was a manufacturer of knitting yarns for Cowichan and Icelandic sweaters and North American distributor of knitting yarns, needlepoint, sewing supplies, laces, trims and hobby crafts; it was dissolved in 1985. Today the building has office space on the upper floors and Yaletown’s last billiard hall on the Hamilton Street loading dock side of the building.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.16
This modest warehouse has been around in Yaletown for over a century. Inaccurately labeled in the archives as 1090 Homer Street, when it was photographed in 1935 it was already a 25-year-old building. It was built in the flurry of construction when the CPR released the area near their tracks for new wholesale facilities for the fast-growing city. The permit says it was designed by Parr and Fee for MacPherson & Teetzel and built for $2,500 by Smith & Sherborne. Undoubtedly it cost more than that – so either that was just the foundations, or a digit was missed by the clerk.
MacPherson & Teetzel were a relatively new company, formed in the fall of 1907, but founding partner D MacPherson had already sold out to his partner in 1908 – although Archibald Teetzel didn’t change the name of the business when he took sole control. He was a fairly young entrepreneur, having been born in western Ontario in 1880. He worked at a general store for 8 years, before moving to Vancouver in 1901 when he became a traveling salesman for a firm of wholesale grocers for six years. He was married in Revelstoke in 1906, and settled briefly in Nelson in 1907 before selling out a few months later and moving to Vancouver where he shifted to the wholesale hardware business. In 1912 he added a new business to his portfolio, the Pacific Rubber Tire & Repair Company Ltd on Granville Street. By 1928 MacPherson & Teetzel still occupied this building, but were now known as Elliot, Teetzel and Wilson Ltd. They seems to have gone by 1930, when the building was empty, replaced briefly by Dominion Canners (wholesale) before Dunlop took the premises.
Today, unusually, there’s still a 2-storey office building (3 storey on Hamilton) - with no additions to the height or conversions of the space on the loading dock to restaurant.
The permit for this building was approved in 1914, and it says the address of the building was 531-537 Homer Street. The 1914 Street Directory says the address was 515 Homer Street, but two years later it was listed as 535. The building was identified from 1914 on as the Eagle Temple, and the permit was issued to Eagles Hall Building Co for a $55,000 building designed by Emil Guenther. It replaced a pair of houses that pre-dated the turn of he 20th century. The Fraternal Order of Eagles was one of many in the city; the roots of the organization go back to a meeting of six theatre owners who met in Seattle to discuss a strike, and agreed to form “The Order of Good Things”, later changed to reflect the bald eagle emblem. Today the organization’s aims are “to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.” The Vancouver Aerie #6 was founded in 1898-9.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles were still identified with the building in 1933, but a year later it was known as Victory Hall, a name it retained through the Second World War. (The Canadian Channel Island Society collected items of clothing here to help support evacuated Guernsey children living in England for example). The main floor tenant changed often: in 1933 it was Remington Typewriters; in 1945 an estate agency.
From 1946 to at least 1955 it was known as the Parsons Brown building, the offices of an insurance company with a series of other office tenants including manufacturers agents, an insurance map maker and an advertising agency. By 1975 when this picture was taken it was known as the Vancouver Resource Building. The building was still standing in 1981, but had been demolished by 2001. It was replaced in 2004 by Belkin House, a completely new facility for the Salvation Army with over 100 rooms but capacity to have over 200 people sleep in the building. The scale of the new building is more appropriate to the adjacent West Pender Building designed by H S Griffith in 1912.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-39
Here’s a rare warehouse building on Water Street that isn’t there any more. Built in 1912 for McLean Bros, and designed by Thomas Hooper, it fell victim to Woodwards expanding empire – in this case to add a parking garage. It cost $60,000 and n 1920, when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, a company called Smiths occupied enough of the building to have their name over the door. Robert S Smith was president of a dry goods company, and he lived on Burrard in 1920. The other tenants in the building were Matthew H Hartley, a tea importer, the Standard Silk Co, the National Paper Box and Carton Co Ltd and the Vancouver Trading Co. The Trading Co wholesaled produce, and was run by S O Turner and Archibald Baillie.
The McLean Brothers were Scottish islanders – Lachlan, the eldest, was born on Islay, and Hugh and Norman on the Isle of Harris. All three worked in farming and lumbering in Ontario in the 1870s, but Lachlan spent a year building bridges on the Cariboo road between Hope and Lytton in 1875. The brother bought the Au Sable Mills on Lake Huron in Bruce County in Ontario in 1879, and ran the business until 1890 when they headed west. Initially they created a contracting business, introducing mechanized dredging to build dykes in the area to allow the development of Richmond farmland. They followed up with a series of contracts heading east up the Fraser River and out to Chilliwack. They also built railway embankments, roads and bridges across the province, and in 1896 their 1914 biography says they formed a syndicate to build a road across the Hope mountains from the east to the Pacific coast, “being the first to ever propose such an undertaking”. With no government subsidy being available, that project was never built. Newspaper reports suggest it became a railway project, which was eventually replaced by a rival route. In 1906 they were ‘contemplating the erection of a sawmill’ on one of the islands near Delta. By 1908 they had left the contracting business and concentrated on their timber and investment opportunities, including the construction of this warehouse (which appears to be their only significant building investment in Vancouver).
Many, but not all the warehouses along the 500 block Beatty Street have been converted to residential use over many years. Here’s the first conversion, carried out over 30 years ago by architect Bruno Freschi. This 1974 image shows it when it was probably still Johnston Terminals’ warehouse.
The architectural intervention for the residential conversion was significant – there are balconies punched into the façade held up by the heavy timber frame. The frame is far more visible as a result – much more than is true of most of the buildings from this period. That’s especially true on the main (and basement) floors where the widows and brick bases were completely removed. The conversion didn’t go smoothly – there were unexpected problems with the warehouse foundations (probably the lack of them!) and completion was delayed. The original partnership ended up forfeiting the building to a finance company, once the original bank financing was pulled. The contractor withdrew, and eventually completion of the project was only possible once liability had been settled by the courts.
Curiously, no architect has been identified as the designer of the 1906 building, originally used by developer Mainland Terminals, part of C P Railways operations. In 1914 Mainland created Vancouver Warehouses Ltd who operated the building until at least the mid 1950s with a variety of other tenants in the building, especially in the offices on the top two floors added in 1928. In 1932 they included the Columbian Consulate, the Chilean Consulate and the Northern Alberta Dairy Pool.
We’ve seen another of the Johnston Terminals buildings, a business created by Elmer Johnston described as “One man, a team of fine horses and a wagon” in 1913. Johnston Terminals went on to become the largest and most diversified physical distribution organization in Canada.
Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-4
We’ve looked at the history of the development of this building last year. It’s half of two structure with an identical design and different architects. This is the 1904 building designed by William Blackmore for Elizabeth Rogers although he didn’t have to do a lot as it’s a copy of the 1901 building to the west designed by Parr and Fee. This closer shot shows the stonework on this building doesn’t exactly match the construction of the older building.
This 2004 image shows the condition of the building ten years ago, before new owners restored the building and introduced office uses to the upper floors, replacing a variety of arts and music groups who paid low rents in the run-down space. Concerns about fire safety eventually led the City to close the building, which in turn led to the sale and restoration of the property. We weren’t able to exactly match the angle the older picture was taken, as we weren’t willing to stand in the middle of West Hastings to replicate the perspective of the adjacent building!