1290 Homer Street

1290 Homer

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.

 

Posted July 14, 2014 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, Yaletown

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535 Homer Street

535 Homer 1975

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

136 Water Street

Smiths 136 Water

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).

 

 

Posted July 7, 2014 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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550 Beatty Street

548 Beatty

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

152 West Hastings Street

152 W Hastings

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!

Posted June 30, 2014 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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859 Thurlow Street

859 Thurlow

Today this is called ‘Le Guernsey’ and it’s an apartment building on Thurlow Street on the corner with Haro. It was built in 1912, although there was a house built here in 1896 occupied by M T Quisley, the assistant chief operator for the C P Railway. It started life with 20 units, but over the years they’ve been reconfigured to 34. A J Bird was the architect for owner Peter Agren, although the Permit (for $125,000) suggested Agren himself designed it. An earlier 1909 permit that wasn’t pursued would have only cost $50,000. When it was built it was called Victoria Court, and later it became known as Bush Manor, although not until some time after this 1935 Vancouver Public Library photo.

Agren was a contractor, so he almost certainly did build the apartments. He has a number of other permits for houses that he designed, including two still standing today in the Mole Hill development. He was a Swede, and in 1911 he was lodging with Charles and Hilda Anderson (also Swedish) with Manuel Agren, who was probably his younger brother, a carpenter (and probably really Emanuel). The two appear for the first time in street directories in 1904, although they disappear again until 1908 when they were at 1136 Comox. Charles Anderson was probably either a close friend or a relative, as he was the resident manager of this building later in 1911.

The  34 unit building was recently offered for sale for $8.5 million. Next door is the much smaller 1926 ‘Cameron’ apartment building designed by A E Henderson.

Water Street – 100 block (2)

Water 100 block 1

This is the eastern end of the north side of the 100 block of Water Street – so we’re looking from the corner of Abbott Street, and the picture is dated to 1906. The building closest to us is the Canadian Fairbanks Building at 101 Water Street, designed by E E Blackmore and W T Whiteway for McLennan & McFeely, and completed a year earlier. They only had half the building – the other half was for rent. Next door was the former Methodist chapel which was being used as a flour and feed store by Frederick Allen. The building was replaced in 1923 with the modest 2-storey building still there today, commissioned by Rainsford & Co and designed and built by Dominion Construction.

Next door is a two-storey building known as the Lovell Block. The Heritage Statement of Significance for the buildings says it was built in lovell 18881888-89, and that it was built “for pioneer Vancouver businessman John Badcock Lovell”. In that respect it’s incorrect: J B Lovell was a Victoria businessman, although he did have a number of Vancouver investments including another Lovell Block in 1900 and the Bodega Hotel. Mr Lovell bought the site of the building from the Methodist church in September 1888, but the construction, like so many at the time, was fast and not very well done. In December it had to be started again, as the Victoria Colonist piece shows, and it wasn’t completed until 1889. Perhaps the more careful reconstruction is why the building is still standing.

Mr Lovell was born in England in 1831 and had been in BC since 1858. He was a miner, ran the Express at Richfield, a number of trading stores and was Coroner in the Stickeen region in 1874. He managed the Victoria Co-operative Company store, although in 1881 he was listed as a miller, and in 1891 and 1901 as a merchant in Victoria. He married Margaret, 28 years younger, in 1873 and they had three children. He died in 1915, aged 84.

Next door was a 3-storey (and basement) building where J Y Griffin & Co wholesaled produce and provisions, managed by Robert Robertson. In 1908 their specialty was packing pork and beef. The building next door was occupied in this picture by F R Stewart, another wholesale produce firm, and Baker, Leeson & Co; wholesale grocers. Two years later Mr Leeson was running his business on his own and moved down the street a bit, and a year after that he had teamed up with two new partners from New Brunswick and built a much bigger warehouse on the next block for Leeson, Dickie Gross & Co. F R Stewart also built new premises after this image was taken at 129 Water St, seen on the edge of our earlier post; designed by Parr and Fee in 1910.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-270