Palace Hotel, 3 West Hastings Street

The Palace was a very short-lived structure. It appears first in 1898, a wedge-shaped building facing the rail right of way that cut through the heart of Vancouver’s centre (as it still was then). This image was shot a year later. The first proprietor was John Unsworth, who doesn’t seem to have been in the city before the hotel opened, and isn’t in the city after 1900. Mr. Unsworth is a bit of a mystery; his one appearance in the Vancouver Daily World was in October 1899, when he was the witness who complained about the proprietor of the Louvre Hotel (next door to the Palace) selling liquor on Sunday. By that point he was the former proprietor of the Palace, but it’s possible he wasn’t too happy that the Palace had just had it’s licence revoked for having the dining room in a different location than the licence permitted. In 1896 he had taken over the Waverley Hotel in Chilliwack.

In 1901 the proprietor was Joseph Caron, but by the time the census was taken that year he was boarding elsewhere and listed as ‘Ex Hotel Prop’, although the street directory doesn’t identify a new owner until 1903 when Schmehl & Muller are listed. They took the name with them when a new hotel opened a bit further west, in 1907. By 1908 the Merchant’s Bank had taken over the premises, and had leased upper floor offices to a variety of mostly medical tenants: an osteopath, two physicians, an auditor, a specialist (Dr Joseph Gibbs, who had moved from Victoria and became BC’s senior surgeon), and Madame M Leo’s massage parlor. Over the next few years some tenants changed, with more real estate related businesses, then in 1912, everything changed again. The Montreal-based Merchants Bank hired the locally-based established architectural firm of Somervell and Putnam to design a new building. It was stone clad, in a classical temple style, but on a steel frame that could have permitted several more floors to be added. However, the economic downturn and the westwards shift of the city’s businesses meant it has never been increased in height.

Once the rail tracks were removed in 1932, a small park, officially Pioneer Place bur also known as Pioneer Square, or Pigeon Park was created. Unloved and unoccupied (on the upper floors) for many years, the building was in a very poor state a few years ago, with ornamental stonework crashing onto the park. Restoration to new office use has been slowly proceeding for some time, and the building should once again contribute to a rapidly revitalizing neighbourhood.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-27

Advertisements

Posted December 14, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Tagged with , ,

Hornby Street – 500 block, west side

We’ve seen the building on the corner (on the right of the picture) in an earlier post. It’s the Yorkshire Trust building built in 1952 and designed by McCarter and Nairne. The Yorkshire Trust Company was established in the 1880s and existed until 1988. It’s backers came originally from Huddersfield, hence the company name. Founded by George Pepler Norton as the Yorkshire Guarantee & Securities Corporation, the Yorkshire connection was lost in 1965 when the company was acquired by Credit Foncier, and in 1988 the Yorkshire name was lost when it was amalgamated with others in the creation of the Central Guaranty Trust Company.

Today there’s an office building occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. Initially we think it was developed by Montreal Trust.

To the south in our 1981 image was a parkade – one of many that have disappeared. Here it was replaced in 1995 by the new YWCA, designed by Charles Bentall Architects. It was built here to allow the previous (and larger) YWCA building to be replaced with the Bentall V office tower.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W04.26

Posted December 11, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with

Thurlow and West Georgia Street – se corner

This image dates back to 1973, just before these buildings were demolished to be replaced by the new office tower designed by Musson Cattell Mackey for Prudential Insurance. Don Docksteader’s Volvo dealership occupied the corner, while to the east was a 1912 3-storey building originally built for Begg Brothers, another car dealership. Costed at $60,000 and built by Dominion Construction it was designed to be a 5 storey structure originally by a relatively unknown architect, M E Williams. Four years later Begg’s added the single storey addition for $15,000, described as ‘Garage & repair shop; lot to the west of the present building & will occupy all of the space btwn this building and Thurlow St., and Georgia to Alberni Street’.

We saw the same corner view in an earlier post that showed the Begg showroom around 1920. In 1924, Begg sold Chevys, Cadillacs and Nashes. Fred Begg was president of the Vancouver Motor Dealers Association when he died in 1939. Fred’s three sons, Roy, Lloyd and Stuart Begg continued running the family business. They sold Chevrolet vehicles for many years, before switching to become a Chrysler dealership up to 1950, still located here. In 1951 they added another showroom a block away in another early vehicle dealership location, but continued to use this location as well for several years.

Posted December 7, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

Chinese Nationalist League of Canada

In 1920 the Kuomintang, also known as the Chinese Nationalist League, built themselves a new headquarters on the edge of Chinatown. Dr. Sun Yat-sen had lived in Vancouver for protracted periods and had raised substantial sums in support of the Chinese Revolution that ended the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Sun Yat-sen was appointed to serve as Provisional President of the Republic of China when it was founded in 1912. A year later the Kuomintang party was formed in China with him at its head, but the party was removed from power in a coup. In 1917 they established a rival government in Guangzhou, and the Kuomintang became a powerful political force in all the overseas Chinese communities. The Vancouver branch was built in 1920 to house the Western Canadian headquarters. Edwardes Sproat, a Glaswegian, designed the $60,000 building. He was an odd choice in some ways as he mostly designed classy houses in Shaughnessy Heights and Point Grey.

Our 1920s image shows that some of the top floor featured an open balcony on the Gore Street façade, and a corner pagoda on the roof, now lost. In 1927, after a civil war, (and two years after Sun Yat-sen’s death) the Kuomintang gained control of all of China. At the time, the Kuomintang was probably the most prestigious Chinese organization in Vancouver. In 1949, they lost control of China to The Communist Party of China and retreated to the island of Taiwan.

The building for a while was also the location of the “Chinese Public School”, one of several Chinese schools operating in Chinatown. Today the Chinese Nationalist League still operate from the building along with retail tenants including a  herbal medicine store and a Filipino restaurant.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99 – 3202

 

Posted December 4, 2017 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

Tagged with

1249 Granville Street

Our 1978 image shows the Morrison-Crawford Block. In 1912 it was the home of the Winton Motor Car Co, with two residential apartments (presumably upstairs). Winton were built in Cleveland, and were one of the earliest motor car companies, starting production in 1897. This wasn’t the only car dealership on this block; Dixon Motors were here to the south a few years later.

In the early 1900s the only occupants of this block were a blacksmith and a carriage maker. By 1908 the Morrison-Crawford Block had been completed, with a company of the same name (a sheet metal worker) occupying the premises, shared with P W Orr, a plumber. Hector Morrison and Stanley Crawford had both previously worked for Forbes Hardware, before forming their own company by changing the Forbes name to Morrison, Crawford & McIntyre Limited in 1906. By 1911 they had moved on, with Hector Morrison running the Western Sheet Metal Works, and Stanley Crawford the Vancouver Sheet Metal Works.

The Winton Motor Car Co moved in a year later, with the owner of the building identified in their alterations as F Pike. Frank Pike, who managed the Merchant Bank, and lived in Burnaby, is the most likely investor owner. R P LeFeber managed the Winton Motor Car Co, selling and servicing the Winton Six. Winton didn’t last long in Vancouver, and by 1915 the BC Tire & Rubber Co had moved in, managed by William Logan. They were replaced a year later by the Vancouver Auto Wrecking Co., run by Abe James and Ben Shapiro. They added a single storey store in 1919 (presumably at the back of the site). The company also had premises on West Pender, and advertised that they had ‘Complete engines, transmissions. Bosch Magnetos, second-hand parts; reanonable’. The company stayed here for many years, well into the 1950s.

They started in business in the 1910s, buying 12 Model T’s that had been rejected by the Ford dealership in Vancouver. The train transporting the open cars had broken down in a mountain tunnel, and the smoke from the coal burning locomotive had left them covered in soot. Abe and Ben cleaned them up and started Vancouver’s first auto rental company downtown on Granville Street. It didn’t take long before they found themselves robbing parts from one to repair another, and eventually none of the 12 were running anymore. However, other motorists were stopping by to purchase parts for their own vehicles. That was how this location, in around 1917, evolved into the first auto wrecking business in Vancouver, if not in all of Western Canada. Abe’s son Ralph, and his older brother Morton, began working for their father in the 1930’s, evolving into Ralph’s Auto Parts; still in business today.

In 2003 a new retail and rental building was completed here, The Lex, designed by Norman Zottenberg.

Posted November 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

112 East Hastings Street

Today, a 1989 retail building has been converted to multiple art studios, operating under the catch-all name of the Acme Gallery. Inside various individual and collective artists occupy a warren of spaces, along with the accurately titled ‘Labyrinth Gallery’. Before the artists moved in a few years ago, the building had stood empty for 14 years.

Before the current building there was an early wooden building. That too had been repurposed, starting life as a Livery Stables, the Fashion Stables, run by Chas Leatherdale, around 1894. Previously Leatherdale, who a carriage builder and painter from New Westminster, had bought out his partner, Mr. Smith’s interest in Leatherdale and Smith.  In 1893 the Daily World claimed ‘The Fashion Stables are almost as famed as is Vancouver itself, and they have been doing a rushing business of late.‘ The census of 1891 suggests Mr. Leatherdale’s name might have been Robert, and that he came from a Scottish family, but had been born in Ontario.

By 1898 Rose Brothers had taken over the livery stable, and a blacksmith, William Johnston was also working here. In 1901 Rose Bros still had the stables, and J W Bland, a veterinary surgeon who lived on Richards Street, also operated here. For the next few years Findlay Rose operated the stables. Like Mr. Leatherdale he was also from Ontario from a Scottish family. He lived nearby with his wife, Jessie and their son Donald; George Walker, a customs officer lodged with the family. The stables had closed by 1904, and a year later White & Bindon, stationers, moved in. That would seem liklely to be when the building was altered to the appearance seen in our 1972 Curt Lang Vancouver Public Library picture. As a stables there was probably a hoist to a doorway in the upper floor, which would have been used as a hay loft.

Posted November 27, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

900 West Pender Street

The building on the left, on the corner of Hornby and West Pender, was completed in 1952; one of a number of modest new office buildings that were constructed in this part of Downtown in the years following the end of the war. It was developed by the Yorkshire Trust, a UK based organization when it was founded, which built a portfolio of investment properties in the city. This 1952 office was designed by McCarter and Nairne. The site was once the soda water manufacturing premises of Cross and Co, in the early 20th century, and in 1909 was vacant, and a year later the City Produce & Dairy Co Ltd were here.

The adjacent building was older, and a low cost hotel, the 43 room Midtown. In 1909 this was listed as a ‘new building’, which a year later were identified as the Benge furnished rooms with the Benge Café was downstairs. Later they were listed as the Benge Apartments, and by 1930 the Benge Rooms. When they opened John W Pattison was running the rooms, and it’s quite possible that he developed the project; he almost certainly named the building.

We saw John’s later business, a car dealership, in an earlier post. John was married in 1909 to Eva Brown, a widow, born in Govenor, New York. In 1911 John and Eva were living with their sons, James and Gordon Benge, listed as aged 15 and 14. Although we haven’t been able to trace the marriage, we’re pretty confident that Eva previously married a Mr. Benge, and had two sons before being widowed and marrying John Pattison. Gordon Benge, born in 1897 in Govenor, New York, was drafted into the US Army in Minneapolis in 1917, and died in King County (Seattle) in 1972. James Benge, born a year later in New York was resident in Minneapolis in 1940. John appears to have named the apartments after his wife’s first husband.

The building in 1974 when this picture was taken also included the Yokohama Japanese Restaurant, One Hour Martinizing, and Principal Trust. One Hour Martinizing was pioneered by a New York chemist named Henry Martin in 1949. At the time, dry cleaning was done with flammable solvents, so the cleaning was dropped off at a storefront and then transported to the cleaning facility, and returned a few days later days later for pickup. By using Martin’s non-flammable solvent, dry cleaning plants could be located much more conveniently, and the process could be carried out in a much more timely manner.

Today this is part of the office occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. Initially we think it was developed by Montreal Trust.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-312

Posted November 23, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,