Archive for the ‘W T Whiteway’ Tag
When this image was taken in 1961, our address in the title was correct. When the building was commenced in 1886 it was described as being at Carroll and Oppenheimer as Carrall Street was often spelled differently and Cordova was only the western half – David Oppenheimer gave his name to the eastern half. Designed by W T Whiteway for Alexander Gilmore (although he may have been christened Gilmour) and Robert Clark, it’s another example of the first brick buildings to be built after the fire (and at least one source claims it to be the first completed). The style matched Whiteway’s other building on the north end of the same block
Alexander Gilmore was born in Ireland in 1824 and made his way to Vancouver via Philadelphia (in 1849), San Francisco (in 1852) and Victoria (in 1858). He established a tailoring and clothing business there, and when the Canadian Pacific Railway came through, partnered with Robert Clark to open another store in Yale in 1881. They established a Granville store in 1885, ahead of the railway’s arrival, and then lost it to the 1886 fire. They built the structure in the picture on the north-east corner of Carrall and Cordova, and a year later Gilmore retired, handing his active role to his nephew, Alexander Gilmore McCandless. Never married, he seems to have lived in Victoria even when investing in Vancouver. He was still in Victoria when he died in 1910.
Robert Clark was the younger partner, born in Scotland in 1845. He apprenticed as a grocer and then as a shipwright. He left for Toronto in 1870, building ships through a bitter winter and then heading west, walking to Winnipeg. A 1906 biography described his experience building steamers on the south shore of Lake Winnipeg. “He built the first steamer that sailed on Lake Manitoba. Going into the forest he picked out the trees, hewed the timber and with help whip-sawed the lumber. He then built and launched the boat and delivered her to the owners, a craft one hundred feet in length. The woods were infested with mosquitoes so numerous that they occasioned great trouble to the men. Their supply of provisions also became exhausted and Mr. Clark found it difficult to retain his helpers until the work was completed. They made a boat to cross the lake two hundred miles for provisions, but the day they intended to make the start help came to them, bringing them needed supplies. They had made sails out of their blankets and thus they sailed the boat across the lake.”
He moved on to Grand Forks (where his brother was ill), again building ships. The brothers headed to San Francisco in 1875, then in Seattle, up the Skeena River and then to Alaska and finally to Victoria in 1879. Partnering with Gilmore saw both men acquire land individually and jointly, as well as running the Yale business, which burnt out in the 1881 fire soon after they established it. Something similar happened in Vancouver, but after the Vancouver fire they rebuilt in brick. Clark is shown living at the Carrall Street address in 1887, the first year he was elected an Alderman. (He was re-elected on three further occasions) 1890 saw two big changes in Robert Clark’s life – his partnership with Alex Gilmore was ended, and his marriage to Frances Gilmore took place. We don’t know if she was related to Alex (she was 38 years younger) but she was also from Ireland. They had two children, Robert and Cuthbert who were aged 16 and 14 when their father died in 1909. Frances died in Vancouver in 1946.
The building was torn down around 1963, probably not long after the closing out sale shown in the picture. It stayed as a parking lot until the mid 1990s when Carrall Station was designed by Kasian Kennedy, a 81 unit condo project with five floors of lofts, completed in 1997.
Photo source: City of Vancouver Archives, Walter E Frost CVA 447-344
We have already seen the Metropole Hotel when it was the Traveller’s Hotel, developed by Dr R C Boyle and designed by W T Whiteway. Here it is back in 1978 when it had a substantial canopy over the entrance. This picture also explains the full height doorways that run down the southern face of the building on the lane. Although it looks as if there was some sort of warehouse use, that isn’t the case. Back in the earlier 1923 image there was a fire escape that ran down the outside of the building, which was still there over 50 years later, but not today.
This building started life as the Traveller’s Hotel, as it was in this 1923 image. It only acquired the Metropole name when the original Metropole, which was on the other side of the street, was swallowed up by the ever-expanding Woodwards store in 1924. The Travellers was built in 1910 for Dr R C Boyle at a cost of $45,000 and was designed (like so many of the city’s buildings at the time) by W T Whiteway.
Dr Boyle was an active developer, but continued working as an MD as this 1909 cutting shows. He seems to have arrived in Vancouver around 1900, initially living at 811 Thrlow Street and in 1903 at 1076 Robson Street.
He was born in Ontario, but trained in Manitoba at the Medical College, then had a practice in Morden (where his daughter Mildred was born) before the family moved on to BC.
In the 1901 census he was aged 32 and living with his wife, Margaret, (apparently known as May), his five year old daughter, Mildred, a servant, Annie Davis, and his sister, also called Margaret. Dr Boyle’s wife was also born in Ontario, (in Ottawa) but Annie was from England, By 1911 the family had grown with the addition of 10 year old Bidwell – who must have been born within days of the 1901 census, and 3 year old Edward (who had been born in England). Annie has gone, replaced by Mary Smith who had just arrived from Scotland and 17 year old Nellie Stephens acting as nurse. (Nellie had arrived from England aged five).
In 1903 the doctor had Bedford Davidson build four frame dwellings in the 1100 block of Thurlow at a cost of $6,400 and another four on Broughton Street. In 1904 Davidson built a $6,000 home for the doctor on Robson Street designed by Honeyman and Curtis. After the hotel was built, in 1911 Dr Boyle appears to have been the joint developer of 1023-1027 Granville Street, a Parr and Fee designed hotel (The Royal) costing $60,000.
He was First Vice-President of the General Securities Co, capitalised at $300,000 in 1911 and active as brokers and bankers in the Lower Mainland.
The Boyle family was active in the city’s life. The Ladies Musical Club was formed in the Boyle home in 1910, and Mrs Boyle was also a member of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire. In 1906 Dr Boyle was part of a large group of dignitaries from western cities (including Seattle and Tacoma) who toured California by train to identify opportunities for greater development of the north west. Dr Boyle died in 1935, and a rather inaccurate obitiary in the Winnipeg Free Press (wrong age, wife identified as neing from Winnipeg) suggests two of three of his brothers also headed to BC, to Penticton and Revelstoke, with another in San Francisco. At the time of his wife’s death in 1955 aged 86, her daughter was living in Seattle and her sons in Eugene and Portland, although two sisters were living in Vancouver.
Today the Metropole, like many of the remaining early hotels in the Downtown Eastside, is a single room occupancy hotel.
Image Source, City of Vancouver Archives Str N48
Today, this is the St Regis Hotel – as it was in the 1940 when this image was taken. The building acquired the St Regis name as a hotel in 1913. It started life proposed as “apartments/rooms” to be built at a cost of $85,000 to W T Whiteway’s design for Leon Melekov. The initial description of the building in July 1912 said it would be 2 storeys, with offices on the second floor, but designed to have a further three storeys added later. By August the local newspaper was reporting that the building was going to be five storeys from the outset and costing $100,000, and by September there was a further floor to be added at a cost of an extra $20,000. It was originally going to be called the Standard Building, presumably reflecting Melekov’s position as Managing Director of the Standard Trust & Industrial Co Ltd.
Leon Melekov was Jewish, and almost certainly born in Russia – possibly in 1874 (at least, that’s what most census records show – later in court and in one census he claimed to be a British born Russian). His wife Mary was born in Germany. They probably arrived in Vancouver in or around 1902. He seems to have had extensive business interests but his main position was as Vice-President of the British Columbia Refining Company Limited, one of only four refining oil companies in Canada at the time (and the only one in the west), with a facility in Port Moody.
By 1911 Leon was well established with his wife, two daughters, Rose and Martha, and their servant, Joy Robinson. (Martha was aged 10 months, and had been born in BC, but Rose, who was eight, had been born in Germany). Melekov was pursuing other opportunities – he was head of a $500,000 consortium proposing to create the BC Steel Corporation to be based in Coquitlam, but that didn’t happen. Instead Melekov started visiting the US (he already looks to have had some business interests there as a director of a Michigan theatre, apparently run by a brother).
There are almost no references to the Melekovs in any profiles of the time, although they were important enough to be noted when they stayed in other cities. However, Leon must have helped support the Vancouver legal profession substantially, as there are numerous claims and counter claims where his name appears in court cases, often in connection with investments where he was acting as a broker.
Whether it was one of these cases, or more likely the significant economic slowdown that accompanied the First World War, by 1920 Melekov was in California where he was listed as Secretary of the General Investment Co, with an office in the Van Nuys Building in Los Angeles. He built a home to his own design close to Wilshire Boulevard in 1922. In the 1930s he was President of an Oklahoma City based oil company, the Donleon Refining Co, although he seems to have done that from Los Angeles. That all went very wrong when he was accused of embezzlement (but was not found guilty), and he then attempted to counter-sue. His attempt to pursue further litigation entered the legal textbooks when the case was not brought to trial as the Oklahoma based parties he was pursuing were served papers in California - thus negating the entire case against them. Much later – in 1953 – Melekov wrote a book about the petroleum industry – “The Greatest Fraud Ever Perpetrated in America” He died in 1963, still in Los Angeles.
Image source VPL, Leonard Frank, photographer
The building on the corner of Hastings and Carrall is the Woods Hotel, which we looked at already. The building under construction a little further east is the Holden Building, completed in 1911 (so this must be 1910). Like the Woods, it was designed by W T Whiteway. The developer, William Holden was a real estate developer and broker and the building was expensive, $250,000 for the steel framed structure.
William Holden was born in Stirling, Ontario, in 1872, and moved to Vancouver in 1898. He worked for seven years in insurance, then in 1905 started in real estate. A 1908 Calgary newspaper reported that Mr Holden had given up the job of provincial superintendent of the Federal Life Assurance company, and was making thousands every week out of real estate. He’s described in the heritage description of the Holden Building as ‘the man who built Granville Street” – which isn’t really true, as he dealt in realty there rather than developing. More important was his securing of the necessary False Creek lands that allowed the Great Northern Railway to build their facilities.
In 1911 Holden lived on Barclay Street and had offices in the Jones Block on Homer Street, although in 1913 he gave the Hotel Vancouver as his address. He carried out repairs to the ‘Irwin Hotel’ in 1910 – except there doesn’t seem to be an Irwin Hotel – but there was an Irvine Hotel on East Hastings, which seems a likely candidate. Holden also co-developed and later owned the Pender Hotel on the 600 block of West Pender. He married in 1911 and transferred the hotel property to his wife, Lillian (also born in Ontario), in 1912 – at which point she was aged 25. Lillian was the daughter of Arthur Buscombe, an English-born merchant (although her mother was from Ontario), and the family had lived in Sault Ste. Marie before arriving in Vancouver. Sadly, she died only ten years later.
The office building was leased to the City Council from 1924 to 1936 as City Hall, with A J Bird making substantial alterations to allow it to operate in this role. In 1988 it was refurbished for residential use, and renamed Tellier Tower, and it retains the role of providing non-market housing today.
The Woods Hotel – as it was called when it was built in 1906 – sits on the location of the start a trail that ran through the forest to George Blacks’s slaughter house on the edge of False Creek. (His butchers shop, built on piles over the beach, was on Water Street) That was in the early 1870s. By 1890 the street directory shows a tobacconist, the offices of W A Cumyow, and the store of Zebulon Franks, a Jewish immigrant who ran a general store. By 1901 there were five Chinese owned shops (including Tai Chong & Co, merchants, and Yee Ah and Yick Lung Jin, both tailors. By 1905 some of the businesses had changed, including a barber and butchers, but they were still Chinese. And then in 1906 John Woods and his wife Eliza commissioned the Woods Hotel, designed by W T Whiteway.
The Woods family had lived in Vancouver from at least 1899, living on Hastings Street, and John’s occupation was hotel keeper – although it isn’t clear which one. John (like George Byrnes, who built the Alhambra Hotel) was Australian by birth but had moved to Canada aged four. In 1901 they had a 7 year old daughter, Ermine, John’s brother William and a male domestic servant, James Wishart in the household.
The hotel was well positioned for the BC Electric and the Great Northern train station at Pender and Carrall which opened in 1910, so it catered to travelers rather than residents, describing itself on opening as “Newest and only Modern hotel in B C”. It charged between $2 and $3 a night on American Plan, and the proprietors were Woods, Williams and Woods. Dr Sun Yat Sen stayed at the hotel during at least one of his visits to Vancouver. John doesn’t seem to have been associated with the hotel too long – the family have disappered from the 1911 census, although Mrs J S Woods is still living on Hastings in 1911 and William Woods is running the hotel – so presumably John died.
In 1927 when the photograph was taken the hotel was still holding its own, but over time as the building aged it became more run down. The corner turret was lost; the travellers became residents, the name was changed several times, eventually being closed as the Portland Hotel when a New Portland Hotel opened on Hastings. Then in 2008 a $12m refurbishment saw the hotel reopen for low income residents, but in a totally restored building rechristened with an earlier name, the Pennsylvnia, and a fabulous reproduction neon sign to complete the transformation.
We’ve already referenced the Wilson Block on the corner, owned by real estate broker W B Wilson. He had a series of important tenants including Rand Bros real estate (who initially set the development of the Alhambra Hotel going before George Byrnes took it on), a barrister, D S Wallbridge and the Vancouver Gas Co (C D Rand secretary-treasurer). The building behind it, up Abbott Street is the first Metropole Hotel. built in 1892 to N S Hoffar’s design. For 1894 and 1895 there’s an odd Directory entry “Hotel Metropole vacant” but by 1898 Hodson and Dempsey are proprietors, and in 1900 when this photograph was taken William Hodson is the proprietor but George Parker is the Manager. By 1905 Woodwards Department store has been established on the corner, next to the Hotel Metropole (now owned by Atkins and Johnson) . The Hotel remains until 1924 when Woodwards expanded southward, and the Metropole name transferred to an existing hotel, the Travellers Hotel on the opposite side of the street. W T Whiteway designed the 1908 expansion of Woodwards based in part on George H Wenyon’s original design. Today Henriquez Partners were responsible for the heritage retoration of the 1903-1908 wood-framed portion of Woodwards, and the 32 storey tower on the corner that replaced Whiteway’s later phase of expansion in the 1920s.
Here’s a 1908 shot that shows the 1903 store on the Abbott and West Hastings corner and the restored (and seismically rebuilt) Woodwards building, now mostly used as offices. The Metropole Hotel can be seen a bit further down Abbott Street.
Here’s the Hotel Winters on a postcard, probably from around 1910. It’s a hand coloured black and white photograph, so the bricks haven’t really changed colour. You can see that most of the building looks as solid today as when W T Whiteway designed and supervised the construction in 1907. These days it’s a Single Room Occupancy residence for low-income residents.
There’s some confusion over who built the hotel. There’s general agreement it was a Mrs Winters, and Avis Winters, wife of Richard was living with her husband in the city in 1891. In 1906 she’s listed as the widow of Richard, and living on Hornby Street. Some references suggest her husband, William, built the hotel for her, but there’s no sign of a William Winters in the city – it’s probably a confusion with William Winter who owned the Granville Cafe.
Richard Winters was from Nova Scotia, and Avis was from Ontario. Richard was a barber in Victoria in 1884, but was on the Vancouver voting list in 1886 as a tenant of Jonathan Miller, and in 1888 applied for a licence for a saloon on Dupont Street (today’s East Pender). A further confusion is created by the adverts for the new hotel which suggest the proprietors were C N Owen & Co - but they probably just ran it on for Mrs Winters. In 1908 and 1909 she ran a tobacco shop and a pool room in the retail space under the hotel with her nephew, Thomas Stevenson.
Mrs Winters seems to have done well enough with the hotel, which was $1 a day on the European Plan but $2 on the American Plan (with meals). In 1911 she had Somervell and Putnam design a house for her in Point Grey.
We’re on the 500 block of Beatty Street in 1928, looking north to the World Building which is now covered in the advertising for the Bekins moving and storage company. There are a series of warehouses coming up the hill, ending with one designed by Parr and Fee for Robertson-Godson in 1909. That building was removed to make way for the SkyTrain station and public plaza and steps down to International Village, but the rest are still there, often with alterations.
These days the bottom of the hill has the Sun Tower (as it’s been known since the Sun newspaper moved in in 1937). The steel dome is painted to look like copper, and although W T Whiteway gets the architectural credit it was suggested by G L Sharp that he actually drew the initial design. Storey and Campbell’s 1911 warehouse also designed by Whiteway is next up the hill, converted to apartments in 1996. The Bowman Lofts were converted in 2006 and the Crane Building next door two years later. Both have extra new-build floors added on top as part of the residential conversion. The Bowman building was built in 1906, added to in 1913 and then rebuilt to Townley and Matheson’s designs in 1944, while the Crane building had Somervell & Putnam as architects and cost over $120,000 in 1911.
At 548 Beatty Bruno Freschi took a 1904 warehouse and radically reinterpreted it in 1983 by pushing the front wall back leaving a front windowless screen as balconies. 560 Beatty is a bit of a mystery, although it dates back to 1909. Next door at 564 Beatty the original architect is also a mystery up to the top of the first floor. It was also built in 1909, but in 1912 J P Matheson added two more floors. This view will change if an approved four storey addition by IBI/HB gets built, with new windows replacing the never-meant-to-be-seen side of the building, and a cafe added to the plaza.
Here’s the corner of Pender and Howe in 1947. That’s the Pender Hall, which was sometimes called the Acland Hood Hall (although it got spelled in a variety of inaccurate ways). It was almost certainly built by William Acland Hood, who dropped the Acland in Vancouver, and was half of Hood Brothers (with Robert Hood) who were Real Estate, Insurance and Financial Agents on Pender Street.
The building was erected in 1903 to the design of W T Whiteway. Mr Hood built another Pender development in 1906, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh. These days it’s another mid-height (15-storey) office building from 1978, designed by Underwood, McKinley, Wilson and Smith.