Archive for the ‘East End’ Category
The building on the left hand side of this picture is the end of the Templeton Block that we already featured here. Two doors to the east is the 5-storey Dodson Hotel. Unusually the building was indeed built by Mr Dodson and his name is still associated with it. Joseph Dodson arrived in Vancouver around 1889 and he was listed as a labourer in 1890, living on Powell Street. A year later he appears on the 1891 Census as a butcher, aged 47 with his wife, Jane and their four children including 18 year old Mary Jane, and Joseph who was 13. Joseph and Jane had lived in Barrow in Furness in Lancashire - that’s where Mary Jane was christened and where they were in the 1881 English Census. The 1911 Census suggests Mary Jane had arrived in 1891, so her father may have been getting established before the rest of the family arrived.
By 1894 Joseph had set up the Old England Bakery at 17-19 East Hastings – the same location that he later built the hotel and bakery we can see in this 1978 picture (and that’s still there today). In 1903 he had some work carried out to an earlier bakery on the site designed by T E Julian.
In the 1901 Census all four children were still living at home. The new bakery and rooming house was designed by Sharp & Thompson in 1909 costing $55,000. Dodson opened a new bakery in the new building and a couple of years later George Peters was running the Dodson Rooms upstairs. In 1909 August Kolle appears as a baker at the Dodson Bakery, joining both Joseph Dodson senior and junior – one a baker and the other a pastry chef at the bakery. It looks as if at least one of Joseph’s other sons, Robert, was a clerk in the business. In 1910 Joseph senior had retired and Joseph and August are joint proprietors in the business. August had American citizenship but was born in Germany, arriving in Canada in 1899 (according to the 1911 Census).
We don’t know exactly when – but August Kolle married Mary Jane Dodson some time before 1905. In 1911 they have three children, Robert, Mary and Wilhelm (August’s middle name). There’s no sign of them in the city before the 1909 Street Directory, and their two older children were born in the US in 1905 and 1906, so presumably that’s where Mary and August were living before returning to join her father.
Next door, the smaller two-storey building between the Templeton and the Dodson with the intact cornice was built in 1914. The permit refers to Mrs Cole Dawson, who had the Gray Brothers design the $11,000 project built by D G Gray. Mrs Cole Dawson had the Grey brothers repair a house in 1902, carried out repairs to the house that preceded the new Dodson Hotel in 1903 and Mrs C Dawson carried out repairs to a Main Street house in 1911.
We’re not at all sure who Mrs Cole Dawson is. There’s nobody of that name in the city directories or any census. Logically it’s a misprint for Kolle Dodson – and indeed, the family used the anglicised spelling of Cole for a while during the sensitive period leading up to World War One. Throughout 1913 there are newspaper references to a 6 storey building to be built by Mrs Cole Dawson on East Hastings, designed by J Dawson. John Dawson was an architect who seems to have had partnerships with two different partners, as Campbell and Dawson from 1910 to 1916 and with William Pentecost around 1911 and 1912. (Campbell and Dawson designed the Cobalt Hotel in 1913). We’re pretty certain that biographical references that suggest he’s John Wilding Dawson, who designed the City Market in 1891 are wrong. That’s because John Wilding Dawson left Canada for Mauritius and died there in 1914. We think he was more likely to be the same John Dawson who was a contractor in 1910. it’s likely that the plans for the 6 storey building never materialised as the economy went into a nosedive and the more modest Grey Brothers building was built instead.
We know Joseph Dodson died in his 80s in 1928, five years after his wife. August Kolle died in 1941, and Mary a year later. Today the Dodson is a privately owned Single Room Occupancy residence. Owned by The Dodson Foundation, the Community Builders Group operate the building. Dodson tenants, staff and volunteers have adopted a Whole Life Housing approach to wellness which features: affordable rent; assistance with addictions and medical issues; a breakfast and community kitchen program; housekeeping services; employment services; free laundry; and, an advanced pest control and room maintenance program.
The pair of black and white painted buildings were constructed at the start of the city’s greatest building boom in the early 1900s. The owners were the Rogers family, long time Vancouver developer Jonathan Rogers, and his recently married wife, Elizabeth.
156 W Hastings (to the west, closer in the picture) was built first in 1901 for Jonathan Rogers , cost $10,000 and was designed by Parr and Fee. 152 West Hastings, next door, was built in 1904 and designed by William Blackmore and Son. It cost $8,000 and the developer was E Rogers – Elizabeth, Jonathan Rogers’ wife (who he married in 1902). Rogers built a number of other buildings in the city, and generally used either William Blackmore or Parr and Fee to design them. Initially the two buildings were different in appearance; this CVA image shows the Trocadero Grill in 1914 with a very shallow bay window on the Parr and Fee building. The first tenants were a bicycle dealer and Barr and Anderson, plumbers. A harness firm moved into the second stage when it was completed. The Vancouver Fancy Sausage Company was another long-term tenant of the building.
Our 1940 picture shows the buildings soon after they were remodelled to match the Blackmore design, with the Trocadero still in place. E. Chrystal & Co (a sash and door manufacturer) carried out the alterations in 1939. In September 1936, the café was the scene of a week-long strike after employees walked off the job to obtain higher wages. The management of the Trocadero Grill brought in strike breakers to staff the restaurant, but had to back down after customers refused to cross the picket line.
Tenants changed over the years, and once Woodwards closed the area went into decline. In the past few years a number of arts tenants occupied the building as the Red Gate, but the city eventually ordered the building closed until safety issues and code problems were addressed. After a comprehensive restoration by new owners, new tenants have occupied the building including a restaurant, a fitness centre and Appnovation Technologies, a fast-growing Information and Communication Technology company.
The biggest building on the unit block of Cordova was built by Thomas Dunn and Jonathan Miller in 1889 as a sort of loose alliance – one architect, (N S Hoffar) two owners and a variety of tenants. We’ve featured Wood, Vallance and Leggat who were in Thomas Dunn’s part of the building. There was also a hotel, a reading room, the headquarters of the Electric Railway and Light company and the Knights of Pythias Hall, located on the second floor of the building.
Today the facade says it’s the Lonsdale Block; North Vancouver property magnate Arthur Lonsdale acquired the building and had the facade plaques reworked with his name replacing the original. Despite Mr Lonsdale’s attempt to recast history, the building is still generally known as the Dunn-Miller Block. Arthur Pemberton Heywood-Lonsdale (as he became when he was allowed to change his name in order to inherit a fortune of a million and a quarter pounds under the will of his maternal uncle, John Pemberton Heywood, who died in 1877) used some of his funds to finance the Moodyville Mill in 1882 (several years after Sewell Moody’s untimely death at sea). He acquired property on the north shore and in the city, although he continued to live in Shropshire in England where he became High Sheriff in 1888.
The Army and Navy Store occupied their West Hastings premises from 1919 when San Francisco native Sam Cohen established the store, and the company purchased the Cordova buildings later. Through the 1940s there were a variety of restaurants, a barbers school and two tailors shops as well as the Skidrow Store grocers. Army and Navy restored elements of the Classical-style façade in 1973-74 in a remodelling of the entire store. What you can see here is the original building in the 1960s, before it became effectively a facade in front of a more modern (although now 40 year old) interior.
Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-768
The Empress Theatre was built on the corner of Gore Street in 1908. It was funded by a real estate and financial partnership known as G A Barrett & Company, and the first operator was the Del S. Lawrence Stock Company, who at various times also played the Avenue Theatre and the Opera House in the city. His company worked the west coast, from his native California to Vancouver, with stops in Seattle, Portland and Victoria. The house was managed by Walter Sandford, another American actor (whose wife was busy running the Hotel Stratford up the road). As far as we can tell the architect was E E Blackmore.
The theatre only lasted until 1940. Between the wars it saw a number of stock theatre companies tour through the city, and it was popular for the size of its stage – one of the largest in the west. It was demolished in 1940 (the year our photos were taken) and from other pictures that exist it appears to have remained a cleared site used for parking for over 40 years until the unremarkable 1983 retail building that stands today was built. The only slightly unusual thing about it is that it appears to have a second storey – a pretence that’s somewhat blown by the two ‘window’ openings where the infill panels have gone, revealing a view through to the sky.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N134
By 1941 the Templeton Block was over 50 years old, but was still in a busy part of town, across from the BC Electric headquarters of the streetcar system. When we last saw it in 1926 it had a huge hoarding on the roof. By 1941 it was almost back to how it looked over forty years earlier. Dr Harry Dier had his offices here from the early 1930s – in 1935 his nurse was a relative (perhaps his daughter), Enid. That year there were five other doctors still here (as in the 1920s) but Dr Dier, a dentist, was the only one to advertise his presence.
The Seven Little Tailors and the Baltimore Cafe were in the building to the end of the 1930s, and the tailors were still there in 1941 right on the left edge of this picture. The cafe has become D Handel’s barber shop, and just as in 1926 the United Cigar Stores is still on the corner. Along East Hastings G A Govier is selling hats and the Howard Jewelry store had closed in 1940, replaced by H Frome’s OK Exchange Jewelry store. As well as doctor Dier there were two doctors and the ship’s chandler’s office of H T Nelson.
In 2001, much of the building was renovated by the Portland Hotel Society to provide a gallery space called The Interurban.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P297
In 1926 this corner was buzzing. In the 25 years since 1901 (when our previous blog image was taken) the city’s population had risen from 29,000 to 200,000. The Seven Little Tailors had competition from the 3 Big Tailors in the next door building two doors down, while William Dick had paid for a huge billboard to try to get customers to his East Hastings store just to the east along the street on East Hastings where he had 4,000 suits ready-to-wear. The pull westwards from this earlier business district to the CPR’s Granville Street hub was still apparent – by the end of the year Dick’s clothing store had moved five blocks westwards.
The building on the corner was already 35 years old when this picture was taken. We last saw it when McTaggart and Moscrop’s hardware store and the Mint Saloon had moved in around 1901, Both operations were still there in 1906, and William D Wood was still running the Mint. By 1911 Knowlton’s Drugs had moved into the building, and on Carrall there was a branch of the Bank of Toronto. In 1916 it was the Olympic Confectionery store with a taxi office for the Big Five Auto and Taxi Service to the north, and Knowlton’s Drugs were at No 9 E Hastings – a location the we think the same company still occupy today, although the numbering has changed a little). Upstairs were doctor’s offices as well as the Shipmasters Association. By 1920 Albert Doane’s clothing store was next to the Blue Funnel Motor Line, the Confectionery store and Knowlton’s Drugs are still there, with six doctor’s offices on the upper floors. Beyond Knowlton’s was a shoe store and the Hastings Lunch.
Our 1926 image shows that between the Seven Little Tailors (who also offered cleaning and pressing) and the United Cigar Store (who had replaced the confectionery store) the Baltimore Oyster Saloon had opened. The Dairy Maid was next door on East Hastings, the Howard Jewelry Company were next door and then Knowlton’s Drugs. The doctor”s offices were still upstairs, although one was vacant. Beyond Knowlton’s was the Acme Clothing Co. While the Seven Little Tailors appear to be owned by Philip Pearlman, his height (or his six partners) was not disclosed in the Directory.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-2257
In 1886 33-year old William Templeton (possibly with his friend Joseph Northcott) built a grocery store on the north-east corner of Hastings and Carrall. It was lost in the fire when it burned with the rest of the city. Templeton and Northcott were then reported in the 1886 Vancouver Herald to be erecting a two-storey brick building to replace it. Templeton was born in Belleville, Ontario; Northcott was Joseph Northcott from Bristol in England whose family had also settled in Belleville. Northcott had fought in the US Civil War in the New York Heavy Artillery Volunteers, married, had seven children and then moved to Granville in 1885. He and William Templeton paid $1,800 for the corner lot, and theirs was said to be the second brick-built structure completed after the fire.
Quite soon the former partners went separate ways, although we can’t tell for certain who was in this building – William Templeton and Northcote and Palmer were both shown as operating a grocery stores on Carroll Street (sic) in 1887. However, it’s likely to be Templeton as he had the Ontario Grocery at the corner in 1888, another relative (presumably) J Templeton ran his bookmaking operation from the Ontario Grocery and Northcott had returned to Belleville. A year later just William was in town at the same address. In 1891 he commissioned C O Wickenden to design a new building on the same site – presumably the one still standing – (somewhat earlier than its Heritage Designation suggests). That same year he failed to unseat David Oppenheimer as mayor after a particularly unfortunate episode where he mocked the mayor’s accent.
Six years later Templeton successfully stood as mayor. Vancouver’s sixth mayor died a year later - it is suggested he committing suicide by drinking too much sleeping potion after losing his bid for re-election. This is partly based on a somewhat ambiguous statement by Dr Robert Matheson to archivist Major Matthews “Mayor Templeton’s death was due to the excitement and disappointment of his defeat, in the election, and an overdose of sleeping potion” The successful candidate for mayor, Mayor Garden certainly seemed to think he was in some way responsible for Templeton’s death, issuing a statement suggesting if he had known this was the outcome of the election he wouldn’t have opposed Mayor Templeton. Templeton was aged 45 and left a widow and four children. At this point he had become a pork packer, with premises on Carrall and Water Street as well as a house on Barclay Street in the West End.
Following Templeton’s death a fruit and confectionery business was run by Sinclair Harcus in the corner building. In 1901 Mrs Templeton (who was still living on Barclay Street) hired G W Grant to enlarge the building at a cost of $3,000. Following completion McTaggart and Moscrop’s hardware store moved in, and the Mint Saloon (which you can see in the picture) was established, run by W D Wood.
Image Source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-640
These days 514 Alexander is dressed a little like one of San Francisco’s ‘Painted ladies’ – which is not inappropriate, given its early history. Miss Alice Bernard was the first owner back in 1912, when a surprising number of houses were built on Alexander Street. The names of several of the owners appear in the Street Directory a year earlier in an entirely different location, on the 100 block of Harris Street – Miss Bernard among them.
If her census entry is correct, Miss Bernard had arrived from France in 1890. Her first appearance in Vancouver is in 1901, when she was resident at 11 Dupont Street. She’s recorded in the 1901 Census as Alice Bernhardt, aged 31, single and living alone. Quong On Chong Co were operating from the same address - Miss Bernard presumably lived upstairs. About half the buildings on the unit and 100 blocks of Dupont street were Chinese businesses – the other half were ladies, including Dolly Jones, Hattie Stewart, Miss Frankie Preston and Dora Reno. Dora, who had probably arrived from Fairhaven in 1889 (where she owned the best of the 21 establishments that catered to the needs of visiting sailors) had retired by 1904 when she was prosecuted for owning a house used for prostitution – 140 Dupont, one of four she owned on the street. Her lawyer successfully persuaded the court that the by-law wasn’t legally within the purview of the city authorities.
Despite this setback the authorities found other ways of moving the ladies from Dupont, and by 1910 they had scattered to several locations including Park Street and Harris Street. The 100 block of Harris was a small spur to the west of Main Street, and by 1910 all the owners of property were women, including Alice Barnard who is recorded as altering a house at 112 Harris in 1909 and in 1910 (as Alice Bernard) hiring H B Watson to design a $14,000 rooming house. In 1911 the census recorded Alice Barnard (now born in 1873 and therefore only 38 years old) living on Shore Street (the name now attached to the spur of Harris Street). Alice (whose employment was listed as landlady) was not alone – she was head of a household of eight – her lodgers (all of whom had no identified employment) were 34 year old Blanche La Livre, Blusta Driand (29), Carmen Wilson (26) and Monet DeLoue aged 30 (all from France), Lena, Dachamp (31) and Ruth Scurry (26) from Quebec and Violet Desmond aged 25 from the US.
Clearly the Shore Street / Harris Street location caused the authorities a problem – despite the significant investment that Alice had made in her new property, in 1912 she was building the 514 Alexander Street property (listed at the time as 538 Alexander) designed and built byW McMullen at a cost of $14,500 as apartment/rooming house. A month later Woolridge & McMullen carried out significant repairs to a house at 620 Alexander for Miss Bernard, whose name is recorded at both addresses in the 1912 Street Directory.
A year later Alice has disappeared. The Alexander Street houses continued to be exclusively occupied by women for a few more years, but Alice Bernard (or Barnard, or Bernhardt) seems to have died or left town. At the end of 1912 she hired A C Howard to carry out alterations to a store at 634 Granville Street, but there’s no sign of her there either in 1913. By 1915 almost all the houses on the 500 and 600 blocks of Alexander were vacant – only four were occupied by women and a year later only two were left (and most of the women seem to have left the city). By 1920 the block was exclusively occupied by Japanese – none of the ladies remain.
Our 1978 image shows the building lived on as a rooming house, as it had for at least 50 years. Today the Lookout Society operate the Jeffrey Ross Annex (in association with the 1993 building next door) for residents whose home community is the Downtown Eastside and who live with a disability, although able to live independently with appropriate supports.
Fred McElroy and his wife, Orlena, first appear in Vancouver in 1901 when they were both about 28 years old. Both were born in the US; Fred was barman at the Balmoral Hotel, and while we know Orlena was one of nine children, born in King County in Washington, we haven’t been able to trace Fred’s origins. In 1901 they were living in Mrs Alameda McCluskey’s rooming house at 139 1/2 Hastings Street.
In 1903 Fred partnered with a Mr Smith as proprietors of the Horseshoe Hotel at 83 E Hastings. Two years later Fred’s partner was John Scuitto, and Mrs McElroy was running a rooming house at 75 E Hastings. Scuitto had previously run the City Hotel, and before that the Klondike Hotel in 1899. Before that he had been a grocer, and in 1888 a baker. Reports of his death in the 1901 San Francisco press had obviously been greatly exaggerated. A year later Fred was running the Horseshoe restaurant at 75 E Hastings as well as the hotel (on his own), while he and his wife lived at 75 which she was still running as a rooming house.
In 1910 Fred had moved up in the world. He’s living at 1763 Nelson Street, a house he has obtained a permit to build in 1909. The Horseshoe Hotel has new proprietors and Fred is in real estate. He’s still there in 1914, although by now it’s getting confusing as there are two other Frederick McElroys are listed in town, one a bartender (whose name is really Frank) and one who owns the Clarence Hotel. In 1911 (when fortunately there was only one F McElroy in town) a building permit for 123 E Cordova was issued with the owner being F McElroy. It was for a 3 storey brick & stone hotel, designed by architect Hugh Braunton, it cost $50,000 and was called the Madrona Rooms. (Fred had also developed a store and dwelling house on Victoria Drive in 1910).
In 1913 the rooms were run by Mrs Katherine Newell, who was still in charge in 1917 after the McElroys had left Vancouver. We know that by 1916 Fred and Orlena were in Seattle because Orlena’s father, John S. Alexander, died that year. He was a former Klondike gold miner who had moved to a very young Seattle, having taken the Oregon Trail to Portland and then the Schooner ‘Exact’ to reach the new city. He was Sheriff and Assessor of Island County, went to the Legislature in 1881 and was appointed collector of customs at Seattle in 1889. At least two other married daughters ended up in the Vancouver area.
By 1923 Fred was in real estate in San Francisco (coincidentally, perhaps, another Frederick McElroy was managing a large hotel in the same city in the same year), and Fred and Orlena are still there in the 1930 census. We haven’t been able to trace Fred’s activities after that, but Orlena lived until 1952 when she was living in Los Angeles. By 1944 the Madrona Rooms were renamed the Rancho Rooms and later the Rancho Hotel.
Our image must have been taken around 1984. The City’s parking garage was completed in mid 1981, and the Rancho Hotel was still standing then, just behind the ‘P’ sign for the parkad entrance, but by 1987 the Salvation Army’s Harbour Lights complex, designed by Davidson & Yuen, was completed. The facility offers a meal service, detox and non-market housing for Downtown Eastside residents.
Image souce: part of City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-479
J M Spinks was an early Vancouver pioneer. We’re pretty certain he had the dubious distinction of getting embroiled in legal argument to land claims even before the city was established. It doesn’t seem to have been an impediment to his later success, although he seems to have rewritten history a little by claiming in the 1901 census to have arrived in Canada in 1887. John Manly Barrington Spinks was born in his preferred version in 1853 in Liverpool (that’s his birth year on the 1891 and 1901 census forms). One version of his story is that he arrived in Victoria in 1884 and lived briefly in Duncan before moving to Granville in March 1886. Unless there were two J M Spinks in the city at the same time, he was probably here a little earlier. While there are two different birth dates for a John Manly Barrington Spinks in Liverpool (suggesting an earlier child died, and a second was given the same name) his birth date record in the UK was 1850 (Although in the 1881 English Census – where he was a butcher – this had already slipped to 1851).
A Select Committee of the Provincial Legislature heard evidence in 1884 “About fifteen years ago two Indians, named Charlie and Jim, squatted on said land and made improvements thereon (including building two houses), several clearings, &c., and resided continuously upon the land until the sale presently mentioned, and one of them is still upon the place, it having been arranged that he shall receive the year’s crop of potatoes. On the 23rd June, 1884, the said two Indians conveyed their right and title to said land (with the consent of the Indian Agent) to one J. M. Spinks“. In further evidence it became apparent that Mr Spinks had a partner, Sam Greer (later of Greer’s Beach – now Kits Beach) who had paid the Indian Agent for transfer of title to the land, but put the land in Spinks’ name as he thought it more likely that Spinks claim to title would be accepted.
Having had Greer carry out the legal transaction on his behalf, Mr Spinks then sold his interest on, but the Province was not willing to entertain the idea that he ever had anything to sell. F G Richards Jnr, on behalf of the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works replied to a request to recognise the new owners title to land:
“In reply, I am to inform you that your application cannot be entertained, as the Chief Commissioner cannot admit that the Indians ever acquired a claim to the land in the slightest degree.
“The land in question, among others, was leased to the British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber, and Saw-Mill Company (Limited), by Indenture dated 13th November, 1865, for a term of twentyone years.
“According to the terms of the agreement no portion of the lands so leased could be pre-empted or entered upon by bona fide settlers or pre-emptors without the written sanction of the Governor and Superintendent of the Saw-Mill Company.
“No such sanction was ever given in this case. Furthermore, the existing Land Laws, at the time you claim the land was entered upon by the Indians, does not permit any of the aborigines of this Province, or the Territories neighbouring thereto, acquiring or holding any land by pre-emption.”
In further evidence it was clear that all the purchasers were unhappy with Mr Spinks. As well as he having successfully sold on a claim that he probably didn’t have legal rights to sell, it was also suggested that the claim as staked was 160 acres, but as sold was 400. Sam Greer was probably the least happy – he was out of pocket and he was then accused of (and taken to court for) forging the document claiming title in the first place. This is the simple version of the story – there are even more twists in other people’s memories of the ‘deal’.
This didn’t seem to cramp Mr Spinks style at all. Initially he was partner with Walter Graveley – who in 1932 remembered rescuing the metal ‘Graveley and Spinks’ sign and putting it behind a stump as he ran, only to find it melted from the fierce heat of the 1886 fire. For no obvious reason, Mr Graveley recalls Mr Spinks to be called ‘Bob’. Later Spinks partnered with R G Tatlow in real estate promotion, although the year that this building was built, 1891, that partnership was dissolved and he continued in the real estate business alone. He and Tatlow developed at least one property near Seymour Street. He had a house built on Seaton Street in 1888, designed by Henry Bell-Irving. Later he partnered with R C McKay and Dr Israel Powell on a commercial block on Pender at Richards, designed by Fripp and Wills. John’s brother, William also moved to British Columbia. A barrister by profession, he was practicing in Kamloops by 1884 and was sworn in as a judge in 1889. He had Fripp and Wills design a house in Swan Lake in 1892, and was obviously an aficionado of the Arts and Crafts style as he hired Greene and Greene to design his retirement home in Pasadena in 1909.
According to the 1891 census 38 year old John M Spinks was married to Jane (originally from Paddington, and possibly a year older than he was, depending on when he was really born), and had a son, John M, another, Richard and a daughter, Mary, as well as their domestic, May Austin. Jane died, along with her new born baby, in 1892 and by 1901 John was married again to a Danish born wife, Ursula, 17 years younger than him (and only seven years older than his son, Richard). In 1903 he apparently moved east, to Toronto and in 1911 had a wife 19 years younger, Ella, recorded as having been born in Ontario.
For the building, Walter Graveley, who owned the lot, partnered with Spinks to develop a triangular building on the awkward lot created where the rail right of way cut through the street grid at forty-five degrees (behind the building in this 1939 image). Designed by the Fripp Brothers, the building became well-known as the home of the Oyster Bay Cafe. In 1913 Fripp was again hired by Gravely to work on the building. At the time it wasn’t called Cordova, but rather Oppenheimer Street.
Gravely was born in Cobourg, Ontario, in 1853. In 1873 he worked in Toronto in the marine insurance business for eight years, then two years in Winnipeg as a real-estate and financial broker, and finally Victoria where he opened an office with F C Innes while they waited to see where the Canadian Pacific terminus would end up locating. In 1885 they separately moved to Vancouver, as did C D Rand, and set up rival real estate sales offices. Graveley had the receipt for the first piece of land sold by the Canadian Pacific in 1886 (which miraculously survived the 1886 fire), and continued to acquire and sell land. As far as we can tell this was his only foray into property development. He married in 1888 and his first daughter was born in San Fransisco (his wife’s home town) in 1890, followed by a second in Vancouver in 1900.
As well as his real estate activities, Graveley was known around town as the first Commodore of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (he was responsible for getting the ‘Royal’ label. He also dabbled in a railway company that was to build a spur to Chilliwack, although nothing came of that scheme. By 1913 he had retired, although he lived on until 1939.
Today the site has another curious triangular building, the retail component of a condo project called The Van Horne completed in 1996 and designed by Kasian Kennedy as a partner to Carrall Station on the opposite side of the street, finished a year later.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-290