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
This 1940 image was taken not too long before the building was demolished. We’re not completely sure when it was built, (and we don’t know who designed it) but it was early in the life of the city. The early history is a little confusing; in 1887 A Boehlofsky was listed as the owner of the International Restaurant at 135 Cordova. In the 1890 and 1891 Directories it’s listed as the International Restaurant and Hotel, proprietor F A Boehlofsky. In 1892 it has become the St Lawrence Hall, with waiters but no mention of a hotel operation. From 1894 to 1897 it’s the Hoffman House, and the Hoffman House Restaurant, although in 1897 it appears the restaurant may not have been operating, although there are a few residents at the address. In 1897 F A Bochlofsky is running the Boulder Restaurant at 7 Cordova Street. In 1898 The hotel is called the Savoy for the first time, and that same year William Blackmore designed the Savoy Theatre, the smaller building to the right of the hotel in the photograph.
In 1899 it was listed as the Savoy Theatre, Hotel and Cafe. A G Ferrara was in charge of the restaurant, Cesar Ferrara was chef de cuisine and Antoine Ferrara was a waiter (one of many . Chas McNiffe was manager of the Savoy Theatre with S D Nesbitt. The Savoy Hotel was being run by Steve O’Brien and W R Jackson.In 1901 the Insurance map references the Savoy Hotel, with the Savoy Theatre to the east.
Major Matthews, the city’s Archivist recorded his memories of both the Theatre and the Savoy Restaurant.
“When I came to Vancouver in November 1898 there was a small theatre called the Grand Theatre on Cordova Street, in the middle of the block between Cambie and Abbott Street—north side. It is still standing.
This theatre was a small affair. Its frontage was twenty-five feet, and its depth presumably about one hundred and twenty. In 1898 the Imperial Opera House was still in use, but as a Drill Hall. The only two theatres at that time which I recall were the “big” theatre, and the “little one,” the former being the Vancouver Opera House, and the latter, the “Grand,” and it was customary to go first to one, and then to the other, for there was no other one to go to; we alternated.
The stage was very narrow. There were boxes on both sides. The boxes were just wide enough for one person to squeeze into, and were entered by a passage way, very narrow, from behind which led to the stage. Box holders sat one behind the other. All the formality of etiquette was observed by those using them; dress suits with white bosoms, and the ladies in low necked dresses. In the middle of the theatre were seats for the “common crowd” distant from the elite by a few inches only. In all, the boxes on each side of the small theatre probably held six persons (twelve persons in all) and these of course could reach down to those sitting in the seats in the middle of the theatre.
In the back was a very small gallery of some sort.
In the front was a tiny ticket office—about the size of a telephone booth.
In latter years the building was used, first as a moving picture house. I am under the impression that the first moving pictures regularly shown were shown there; afterwards half a dozen cheap nasty moving picture houses sprung up on Cordova and Carrall Street in several disused stores. After the war I think the building was used as a commercial warehouse—butter and cheese, etc.—and finally I think A.R. Gun and Co., the confectionary wholesalers, used it as a distributing warehouse.
In 1898 and for some years after, A.G. Ferrera, later the Italian Consul, conducted a restaurant about three doors west of the “Grand Theatre.” It was an excellent restaurant with small boxes, hung with heavy curtains. The cuisine was perfect, and it was famed far and wide. As with the theatres, so with restaurants; it was either the Hotel Vancouver or the Ferrera restaurant, known as “The Savoy.” It was a tiny affair as restaurants go now, built on a 25 x 120 foot lot, but it was exceedingly well conducted and the food was the best money could buy.
It followed then that the leaders of Vancouver society would drive up in their carriages, or perhaps hired broughams or hansom cabs, step daintily to avoid any little mud there might be on the macadam road, and sail into the boxes, where they observed all the forms of a more resplendent edifice, and after the “show” was over, would repair to the Savoy in all their finery for supper; and there, too, the waiters and others performed their parts with equal delicacy. It was a pretty performance of good manners in primeval surroundings; they lived to fare better, but not with greater grace.”
The Ferraras apparently didn’t stay at the hotel for many years, by 1903 the Savoy Restaurant was being run by Thomas Strange, and the Hotel by Jackson & McDonell. Two years later A G Ferrara has a Restaurant on Granville Street, and the Savoy is now called the Hotel Quinte, with C Jarvis as owner and Mrs E Jarvis as proprietress, while Bentley Johnson was the bartender.
By 1912 the Insurance map shows the building has become the Cordova Hotel, a name it retains right through to 1935. George Nahrgang was running the hotel in 1916. By 1920 Arthur Worsley had taken over the theatre for his wholesale confectionery business, and the hotel was being run by George Smedley and John Martin. By 1930 much of the rest of the block was vacant except for Woodward’s auto parking just down the street – with space for 500 cars; the largest garage in Canada (the company claimed). After 1940 the building was demolished and later (in 1957) Woodwards expanded their parking garage onto the site - a use that’s still there today, although totally rebuilt by the City of Vancouver in 2004 to Henriquez Partners Architects design.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N128
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
In 1931, when this picture was taken, this was the home of Wrigley’s Directories, a company we rely on for their careful recording and cross referencing of every resident and address in the city. But as the sign between the first and second floors shows, this started life as the ‘Odd-fellows Hall’ (as their literature of the day called them), designed by Hooper and Watkins in 1904. The fraternal order in Vancouver (or more accurately Granville) dates back to 1871, and Western Star Lodge #10 was initiated in May 1889, and their new building was completed in 1906. It’s a simple but massive Richardson Romanesque building, and it’s still with us today in remarkably unspoilt condition (apart from the lost cornice).
Not long after completion the main floor was leased as the Lyric Theatre, while the Odd Fellows retained the upper floor, accessed from Hamilton Street. Richly furnished and decorated, the Lyric Theatre is said to have “operated in accordance with the most modern developments in theatre construction of the time”, with proprietor and manager George B. Howard and his stock company presenting high class comedies and dramas for the city’s entertainment. That didn’t last long. By 1912 the Lyric name was associated with a movie house on Cordova Street and Howard went on to run the Avenue Theatre on Main Street. The Lyric name was revived much later on a theatre on Granville Street that replaced the Opera House. The main floor in 1912 was associated with the National Finance Co, who advertised their involvement in ‘Timber Limits, Real Estate, Stocks, Bonds & Debentures’.
Tenants changed again by 1920 when Waghorn Gwynne & Co, Finance and Insurance Agents were on the main floor. In 1925 the Board of Trade had taken over occupancy of the Main Floor, and they were still here in 1930, although in 1931 (according to the Wrigley’s directory) it was vacant and by 1932 Wrigley Directories Ltd had moved in. Throughout this time the Odd Fellows Hall was on the upper floor.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4107