Archive for the ‘Woodwards’ Tag
Here’s another corner that has changed significantly, and not necessarily for the better. We’re pretty certain the 1940s picture here shows the 1911 stores designed for the Allan Brothers (who also built them) by W P White. White only practiced architecture in Vancouver for two years – he was basically a Seattle architect – but he designed a lot of buildings in that short period, including the Sylvia Apartments (now the Sylvia Hotel). The magazine stand anchored the corner, and way off down the street you can see Woodwards store with the tower and the replica Eiffel Tower – but no ‘W’ so it must be before 1944. Today there’s a parkade designed by Reid Jones Christopherson back in 1969. Parkades are starting to disappear across the Downtown – three are already being redeveloped (on Richards Street and on Thurlow). This one may join the list of ‘gone and best forgotten’ soon as a proposal has been submitted to replace it with an office tower.
Image source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-3272
In 1898 the Klondike gold rush was in full swing, and having a doubly important impact on the 12 year old City of Vancouver. While successful prospectors were already returning with enough money to commission investment buildings (like Thomas Flack), Vancouver merchants were making money equipping the miners scambling to catch the tail end of the boom. William Kerfoot ran a clothing and furnishing business with his brother-in-law James Johnston (who had married William’s sister, Deborah, in Emerson Manitoba in 1881). They opened their store in G W Grant’s 1887 Wilson Block in 1890 or 1891 (when they appear in the street directory for the first time).
Like other city businesses they quickly cashed in on the massive upsurge in demand that accompanied the would-be miners, and this 1898 image shows a mule train about to head out loaded with supplies. In the background is Dougall House, built in 1890. Today this corner of the Woodwards development, designed by Henriquez Partners, is partly occupied by the Nesters Market supermarket, part of Jimmy Pattison’s retail empire, reintroducing a food store where Woodwards Food Floor used to be.
The three significant buildings seen in the view from Victory Square in 1927 are still there. On the left is the 13 storey Dominion Building. Started in 1908 by the Imperial Trust Company it was designed by J S Helyer and Son. John Helyer handled the architectural aspects of their projects, while his son Maurice was more involved with the engineering. An over optimistic belief that the necessary $600,000 would be easy to raise led to a shotgun merger with the Dominion Trust Company, and the building was completed in 1910.
The Dominion is said to be the first steel-framed building in the city, and on completion the tallest in the British Empire. When it was built it was across the street from the Courthouse, which was replaced in 1913, and later transformed into Victory Square with the Cenotaph, which can be clearly seen in this 1927 photograph. Several books and websites carry statements like this “Tragically, the Dominion Building’s architect, J.S. Hellyer, is said to have tripped, fallen and died on the interior staircase during the opening party for the building. His ghost reportedly haunts the staircase.”
It may well be true that Mr Helyer (not Hellyer) did fall at some time during the building’s construction, but the fall was not fatal and father and son went on to design other buildings. John Helyer finally died in 1919, having seen the building suffer further financial crises, with the Dominion Trust Company selling the building to the Dominion Bank, the Trust Company President W R Arnold commiting suicide and the main financial backer Count Alvo von Alvensleben bankrupt.
The smaller building in the centre, the Flack Block was completed in 1899 to William Blackmore’s design for Thomas Flack who made his money successfully prospecting in the Klondike. On the right is the Carter-Cotton building, also steel framed and completed in 1909. Designed by Cox and Amos, it was home to the News-Advertiser newspaper. Later acquired by the Province newspaper, it continued as editorial offices until 1960. The Flack Building has recently had an expensive and superb restoration designed by Acton Ostry Architects that has added a new fifth floor. And the only significant addition to the picture? The 43 storey Woodwards W Tower designed by Henriquez Partners and completed in 2010.
Here’s another building on the block where the new Woodwards project sits. This is on the Cordova side, and back in 1889 when the photograph was taken Mr Kurtz sold his cigars here. In 1887 Mr Kutz had his Pioneer cigar manufactory on Westminster Avenue (Main Street today) and in 1888 he was shown at the corner of Water and Abbott at #4 Abbott, but by 1890 his business has moved to Cordova. The other businesses were A. Godfrey and Company Hardware and Davidson Brothers Jewellers.
John Kurtz was an American, born in Pennsylvania in 1831 who had followed the stories of gold from San Francisco to Yale around 1858. In San Francisco he’d been well off “He was dressed in the height of fashion and was one of the leaders of society there-a club member, a poet, a noted wit a contributor to the press, and one of the most popular and amiable young fellows in that big city”
In Yale he was in business, owning interests in several mines, and along with other local businessmen operated a sternwheeler steamer to break the monopoly of high freight fees. (The owners included Hugh Nelson, who for a time part owned Moody’s Mill in Burrard Inlet). Kurtz also knew the Oppenheimer family – he was a partner with them in a coal syndicate in 1883. In 1878 he established The Pioneer White Labor Cigar Company, based in Victoria, and it would seem a Vancouver operation as well.
Kurtz died in 1891, although Kurtz & Co remained in business. In later years Woodward’s expansion swallowed up the site, and this was where their gas station was located. Now it’s the pointed end of the 43-storey W Tower of the Henriquez Partners designed Woodwards complex.
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.
We’re looking west up West Cordova Street from the junction with Abbott in 1889. Somebody at the studio of Bailey and Neelands took the photograph – both families moved west from the same small area of rural Ontario that a number of other successful Vancouver pioneers came from. The only building in common in both pictures is right at the end of the street. That’s the Arlington Block, developed by Dr James Wetham in 1888 using N S Hoffar as the architect. The block on the left isn’t easy to positively identify – best guess is that it’s G W Grant’s first known project in Vancouver “commercial block for W B Wilson, 1887″.
There are several businesses that will be very successful on this side of the street including G E Trorey, whose business was later bought by Birks jewellers. (When Birks took over they also got the clock Trorey bought in Boston for $2,000 in 1905. When they moved their business to its new location they also moved the clock, which became the Birks Clock). Johnston and Kerfoot are there, who outfit many Klondike excursions in years to follow, and McClennan and McFeely, who will grow a trading empire in the city. Bailey Brothers, the photographers, are based about half way up the street, just before Kurtz and Co’s cigar factory. On the right is the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the Savoy Theatre (designed by William Blackmore), a Chinese company, Kwong Hang Chung Co (showing they weren’t all confined to Chinatown) and Rae’s Boot and Shoe Co, among others.
In between the two photographs Woodwards took over the entire south side of the street, and these days it’s the base of the 43-storey Woodwards W tower by Henriquez Partners with a mix of condo and non-market housing above retail, including Nester’s Market. Most of the right side is Henriquez’s redesigned Gastown Parkade, but the Cook Block from 1901 and the 1911 Runkle Block designed by G L T Sharp are both still standing.
Here’s the Hotel Astor in 1910. The Ormidale Block is just to the west, Woodwards Department Store is to the east, and it was probably designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for Crowe and Wilson and finished the year before. Swain Sherdahl, who also owned the Dominion Hotel on Water Street, had a controlling interest in the building. Until recently we hadn’t realised that the hotel use took Thomas Hooper’s 1890 YMCA building and converted it for hotel use, adding a canopy but removing the fancy cornice.
By 1917 it was owned by Mr Frank McIntyre of W H Malkin and Co decided to have the hotel remodelled for store purposes, and T A Fee got the design job.
Now it’s the western end of the huge redevelopment of the Woodwards property, and part of the Simon Fraser University presence in the scheme. Developed by Westbank and designed by Henriquez Partners it was completed in 2010