West Pender Street – 1100 block, north side (1)

We’re looking east on West Pender, and the building on the left is still standing, although with a new screen of windows. In 1981 it still looked the same as when it was first built, in 1956. It was developed for Macmillan and Bloedel, the fast-growing forestry and pulp business. It was designed in-house by Dominion Construction, who had their structural engineer J McLaren, sign off on the design. Dominion’s president, Charles Bentall, also an engineer, had been in trouble with the AIBC for exactly the same issue, but the company continued to design their own perfectly well-designed buildings (without an accredited architect) for several years.

DA Architects designed the building seen next door today, the new Coast Hotel, opened just in time for the 2010 Olympics. The 1966 Shorehill Building beyond it (designed by McCarter, Nairne and Partners) can be seen more clearly in 1981 than it can today but it’s effectively unchanged. While the low buildings beyond from the 1950s have today been replaced with a hotel and office buildings, the United Kingdom Building, another 1950s tower, designed by Douglas Simpson, is still standing on the corner of Granville.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W19.16

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Drake Street – 500 block, north side

These four small cottages were replaced in 1980 by a two storey office building, designed (we think) by James K M Cheng. In 1997 it was converted to a residential facility by Covenant House, for at risk street youth. It started with 12 beds, and in 1997 expanded to 18. It’s due to be replaced soon with a much larger facility, and Covenant House have already completed a new building across the street to ensure continuity of operation, where they have replaced a 1908 building last used by the Immigrants Service Society.

The four cottages pre-date building permit records; numbered as 529 to 545 Drake, they first appeared in the street directory in 1892 as 515 to 527 Drake, (although, confusingly, 517 Drake was located across the lane to the east, which accounted for the need to renumber). These can reasonably be described as laborers cottages; the first residents were John McCarthy, a mariner in 515, George and John Telford, laborers at 519, Rich Vincent at 523 and John Morrison at 529, also listed as laborers. While Mr. McCarthy remained, by 1894 the other three were occupied by Charles Goodwin, (a tinsmith at the nearby CPR workshops) Arthur Sayer, a laborer and Hannah Morris, a widow. It looks like these were rental properties, as 515 was vacant a year later, and Mrs. Goggin and Thomas Dodge (both cooks) and Mrs Morrison (a laundress) had replaced the three residents of 1896, (although we suspect Mrs Morris and Mrs. Morrison are the same person). Thomas Dodge and Mrs. Morrison stayed another year, and Mrs Morrison, now listed as a widow was still here in 1898. Victor Turgeon, a ship’s carpenter lived in 515 that year.

In 1901, when we can discover a little more about some of the residents (as it was census year) Eugene Robinson, a carpenter was in 515. Victor Turgeon had moved to 519, Chong Hee’s laundry was at 523 and Hanna Morrison, widow of John was still at 529. We were reasonably certain we wouldn’t be able to trace Chong Hee – almost no Chinese residents had any information in the census beyond their name, as very few could speak enough English to answer the questions. Victor Turgeon was recorded; he was French, but his age was not listed. Either the cottage was amazingly crowded, or Victor was inaccurately recorded (or had a side job). He was a laborer, and so were many of the 24 lodgers and 2 Chinese cooks listed under his household. As several seem to have been listed in the street directory as living at the Golden Gate hotel nearby, (which would make much more sense) we suspect the census collector made an error on his forms.

Strangely, Hannah Morrison is missing, but Eugene Robinson, aged 41, from Ontario was listed, with his American wife, Alice, and their three children; Ina (17, a milliner), Arthur 9 and Zeeuma who was 5. All three children were born in the US, and the 1911 census tells us they had arrived in 1897 (and the youngest child is recorded as Zele). Hannah Morrison continued to live here until 1905.

Names associated with the houses continued to come and go, and in 1955 (the year before the picture was taken) the residents were Alphonso F Felder on the right in 529, (he was porter with the CPR, and married to Patricia.) William M Wright, another porter,  was next door at 531 and the London Laundry was where the Chinese Laundry had been over 50 years earlier, managed by Ying Mark. Jay M McAdow who was retired was in 545 on the left.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P508.90

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Posted October 17, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Granville Street from the air

The alignment of these aerial shots isn’t quite perfect – although the streets match up almost ideally, we’ve had to tilt the ‘after’ shot to make the streets match. The contemporary shot is on the website of aerial photography company Peak Aerials, taken in siummer 2016, while the before shot was taken ninety years earlier, in 1926 – one of the earliest aerial images available of the city.

There are only a handful of buildings still identifiably the same in both images. Two thirds of the way up, and to the right, the Lightheart Brothers apartment building, today called Brookland Court, is still offering apartments, these days as affordable non-market units. There’s a row of warehouse buildings on the right hand edge of the image which were all built in a few years in the early 20th Century when Canadian Pacific released the land for development. The building on the corner of Helmcken was developed by Leek and Co in 1910.

Along Granville Street there area series of early 1900s hotels and rooming houses, all still standing today and almost unchanged from when they were built. The majority were designed by Parr and Fee, who recycled the design with a side light well or two, and a façade of white glazed bricks and centre pivoted windows. There are several construction cranes showing in 2016, and the towers they were associated with have mostly been completed. There are three or four more already under construction or in the planning stage, including a series of three towers along Hornby Street in the bottom left of the picture, including one 54 storeys tall. A new office building is under construction as part of the same project, across the lane on Burrard Street. In future there will be more change, and more towers, as the intent is to remove the two loop ramps (although not the main offramps) and replace them with an at grade standard junction, creating two large development sites.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Van Sc P68 and Peak Aerials.

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Posted October 14, 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Davie Street – 1100 block, north side

Davie Street has seen a significant change since this 1928 image, when it was basically a row of houses, (with, on this block, one exception, the store at 1135 Davie). Remarkably, one of those houses is still standing today, which was all we had to line up the picture. Today it’s the Ghurka Kitchen restaurant upstairs (a use added in 2005), but as a house it was built around 1900, numbered as 1141 Davie (although soon after it became 1139 which it still is today), and it was a matching pair with 1137, the house to the east. They were the only two houses on this side of the block in 1901, although there were three more to the east, off the edge of the picture. A Davis, an engineer was in 1141 that year, joined by Captain Frank B Turner at 1137, later that year.

Archibald Davis was originally from New Brunswick, was aged 53, and married to Alice, who was 15 years younger, and they had three children. He was an engineer with the Canadian Pacific Railway, and he seems to have newly arrived in Vancouver when he moved into the house. He lived here until 1906, and a year later D A Williams of the Woods Hotel moved in.

Captain Turner was aged 41, lived with his wife Nellie, who was ten years younger, and he was captain of a steam boat. He was Irish, and Nellie was German, and they arrived in 1901. Captain Turner had previously been in Oregon, captaining The Wonder, a steamboat on the Columbia River used by the logging industry. He also captained the Bailey Gatzert, ‘the finest sternwheeler on Puget Sound’ when she was launched in 1891. Captain Turner, and his wife seem to have left Vancouver around 1903, and The Daily Oregon published two adjacent notices in 1904, announcing the birth of a daughter, on December 28th, and her death on the same day. In 1906, William Barnard, a jeweller was at 1137, but the occupant in 1904 (possibly tenant, given the turnover), was Irving Young, a clerk.

Alfred Wallace, a carpenter was living on a lot down the street, and a big house was completed in 1902, (1165 Davie was the only double width lot on the block), built by Thomas Hunter (for an inaccurately recorded W Wallace) and costing $3,000 – which was a lot of money tp spend on a house in 1901. Alfred was shown in the 1901 census as a shipbuilder, and had arrived in Canada from England in 1887. In 1891 he moved west and following his father’s profession, starting a small False Creek shipyard in 1894. By 1906 he had moved his business to the North Shore as Wallace Shipyards, and in 1921 as Burrard Drydock. His son Clarence took over the business on his death in 1929, and the Lonsdale yard became one of the largest shipbuilders in the province. The family continued to live on Davie after the shipyard had moved across the Inlet.

Four more houses were added to the block in 1903 – 1143 to 1157 were four almost identical houses, developed by ‘Mr. McGinnis’ at a cost of $8,000 and built by ‘C Mills and Williams’. The clerk who filled in the permit wasn’t too familiar with the builders, as they were actually Mills and Williamson. Charles F Mills lived two blocks from here in the early 1900s. He was born in Nova Scotia and arrived in Vancouver in 1888. It appears he lived and worked at Hastings Mill for a few years, but by 1894 was living in Fairview and had established his business as builder and contractor. By 1911 the Mills family had moved to West Point Grey, with five daughters and two sons at home aged between 3 and 16, his wife Jane and his sister, Margaret. Charles died in 1919. George E Williamson was from Ontario, and started as a carpenter before becoming a contractor. Mills and Williamson must have employed a sizeable workforce; in 1905 they completed 75 different building projects. The partnership lasted for several years, and Mr. Williamson then continued as a contractor on his own, and in 1914 built the new Main Street post office known today as Heritage Hall.

Their employer remains a mystery. John McGinnis was recorded by the census (although not by the street directory), and he was a ship’s carpenter, so is unlikely to have had $8,000 to commission four substantial houses. There was briefly a famer called McGinnis living on Robson Street around 1902, but we know nothing more about him, and he wasn’t shown in 1901. The other two McGinnises in the early 1900s were a moulder and a logger, so equally unlikely developers.

The house that was a store in 1928, 1135 Davie, was built around 1905, and initially Irvin Joyce, who was retired, moved in. He was still living there five years later, which suggests he may have had the house built for him. He was 57 when he moved in, and the 1911 census said he was a retired merchant. His wife Lizzie was twenty years younger, and they had two daughters at home. We can find Irvin in Tyendinaga, Hastings, Ontario in 1871, aged 27, with his Bible Christian family, led by his Irish farmer father, Valentine Joyce. We can’t trace the family before arriving in Vancouver, and they weren’t elsewhere in the city before moving in, but both Lizzie and their teenage daughters were born in Ontario. The Daily World recorded that ‘Irvine’ Joyce died in 1922, having moved to the city in 1904, and the death notice said he had been a contractor. In 1921 Irvin and Elizabeth were shown living on West 12th Avenue, and one daughter was still at home; in that census Arleyo Belden, who that year was described as his step daughter.

It looks as if the addition of the store took place in 1923, when 1135 was shows as vacant. Owner James Blackwood hired Gardiner & Mercer to design $2,500 of alterations to the building. In 1924 Louis Rosenberg was running a cleaning business at 1133 and Mr. Rose was living upstairs at 1135. The cleaners was still in business in 1928, when the picture was taken.

Today to the right is a drugstore, built in 1982 and set back on the lot with parking in front. The retail units beyond the Ghurka Kitchen (which was a rooming house in 1970) were built in the early 1970s. In the foreground is the street patio of Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna, converted from street parking spots.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N266.1

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41 East Hastings Street

We looked at the small 2-storey building developed by C E Robinson in 1909, and now demolished, (almost hidden behind the tree on the left), in an earlier post. Next door was a three storey building that was recently home to ‘United We Can’, the bottle and can recycling business that works with street binners. (We saw this street looking the other way in 1905 in an earlier post).

The three storey building has proved elusive. It included numbers 33 to 49 East Hastings. It first appears around late 1899 or early 1900 as the ‘St Clair Lodging House’, run by Daniel H McDougall. The 1901 census says Dan McDougall was from Ontario, as was his wife, Margaret, and their 15-year-old son, Percy. We can find the family in 1891, where Dan was a merchant in the town of Perth. He first appears in Vancouver in 1900, spelled out as Daniel Howard McDougall, to distinguish him from the Dan McDougall who was a milkman and who had lived in the city for several years. A few years later he was living at 320 E Hastings, and he was there until 1910. Whether he is the retired Daniel H MacDougal who was listed in the street directory at Parker Street in 1911 we can’t be sure, especially as the 1911 census apparently didn’t find him.

The building changed names, and proprietors, on a regular basis – more than almost any other building we’ve looked at. In 1905 this had become the Kootenay Rooming House, run by Frank E Woodside and in 1910 Batchelor’s Rooming House, run by Margaret Kroll. By 1914 it had gone back to being known as the Kootenay Rooms, run by M Brown, and after the war the Glengarry Rooms, run by Mrs Margaret Stewart. The building briefly disappears from the street directory in 1920, following an auction in April 1919 that saw the entire contents of the rooms sold off, including the cookers, heaters, furniture and linoleum flooring.

It reappeared as the Dundee Rooms, run by Miss E Fenton, in 1920, although in 1926 it was run by Mrs E A Rippey. (We don’t know if Miss Elizabeth Fenton married John Rippey and became Mrs Elizabeth Rippey in 1925, but it seems possible). She managed the rooms into the 1930s. By 1935 Ted Kreutz was running the rooms, and when the war started Stan Fox was in charge. By the end of the war Wong Foo was proprietor, in 1949 T H Malahoff was running the building. The Vancouver Sun reported “Thief who raided Dundee Rooms, 41 East Hastings, was successful. Thomas Melahoff reported to police that $200 in cash was stolen from a hiding place in the office”. This wasn’t the only loss; throughout the 1940s there are reports of residents losing money from their room – sometimes as they slept. Some of the tenants were also in court on charges of theft – but stealing from other rooming houses in the area rather than from the building they lived in. (This wasn’t a new situation – there were similar reports when it was the Glengarry Rooms in the 1910s).

These aren’t likely to be all the changes of proprietor – we sampled on a five year basis. In 1955 there was another name change, to the Edmonton Rooms, and another manager;  Q F Wong. BC Assessment indicates that the building dates from 1945, although it had continuity of ownership through that period (with Woo Fong) and no newspaper reports to suggest any sort of change in status – and this 1925 Frank Gowan image also shows the same building here (beside the Interurban tram). It’s possible there was an extensive rebuild to justify the revised date, but the façade stayed the same.

When the photograph on the left was taken this was home to the clothing store of William Dick, who a year later moved to his new store further west. He appears to have owned this building – and much of this block – in the 1910s, carrying out a number of repairs and remodeling exercises.

His store was replaced by ‘The Hub’, another clothing store. The store catered largely to loggers and miners, and Max Freeman, a leader in Vancouver’s Jewish Community, was the firm’s proprietor from  around 1910 (when he was on Carrall Street) until his retirement in 1958, when his son-in-law Morris Saltzman became manager. B.C. historian Cyril Leonoff notes that Freeman “acted as trusted ‘banker’ for the loggers and miners who came to town, leaving their ‘stakes’ in a big safe at the rear of the premises.”

To the east was the Princess Theatre, (later The Lux), initially owned by Italian hotel owner Angelo Calori. Both feature in this Fred Herzog image from 1958.

By the time it closed in the early 2010s the building was known as the Universal Rooms. However, the building was in such a poor state that the 37 SRA-designated rooms on the second and third floors had not been occupied since the mid-1970’s.

It was replaced by Olivia Skye, a mixed tenure building developed by Atira with financial support from BC Housing and The Street to Home Foundation. It has 198 units of rental housing, with a mix of market, subsidized and welfare rate apartments.

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Posted October 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Homer Street – 1100 block (2)

We looked at the other end of this block in a post from a few years ago. This 1981 view shows some of the warehouses constructed on CPR land near their freight yards and roundhouse, in the area known as Yaletown. Many of the buildings have heritage designations these days, although none are used as warehouses or for manufacturing any more. The third building down the street from Helmcken is the Frank Darling warehouse, built in 1913 by Irwin Carver and Co for Frank Darling, an electrical equipment supplier. Honeyman and Curtis were the architects of the $40,000 structure.

The two and three storey buildings closer to us were both designed by the same architects for the same client, although two years apart. The Empress Manufacturing Co commissioned the lower building in 1909, with Grant & Henderson designing the $20,000 structure, built by Smith and Sherburne. Two years later they designed the three storey neighbour that cost $29,000 and was built by Barker, Campbell & Whipple. Yaletown was created because the warehouse district along Water Street in Gastown was full.

Walter Taylor was the founder and managing director of the Empress Manufacturing Co., Ltd., which dealt in imported coffees and local jams and jellies and one of the early successful local food supply companies. He also built a five storey building on Water Street in 1911, (with Edward C Taylor, his son), hiring Grant and Henderson to design that too.

Empress sold their jams and jellies under the Empress label, spices as ‘Seneca’ brand, with a sailing ship on the label, and Beverly brand peanut butter. Walter Taylor had been an early business leader in the city, and the family first appeared in 1890, living at 1006 Nelson street (where they stayed for several years). Walter was initially manager of the Vancouver Fruit Canning Co; a newly established business in 1890. It appears that the business also operated as the B.C. Fruit Canning Co and were based at 1107 Homer Street (across the street from here).

All the Taylor family were born in Ontario; Walter, his wife ‘Elisa’ (on the 1901 census, although she was actually Eliza), son Edward and daughter Ethel. In 1901 their household also had two of Elisa’s sisters living with the Taylors, Louisa and Theresa M Eastwood. Edward was a bookkeeper, and no one else in the household had an occupation shown. Walter was 55, and Elisa was 52. The previous census in 1891 showed Walter aged 44 and his wife was shown a year younger aged 43. Their marriage certificate shows Walter was 29 when he got married in 1872, and Eliza was 24, so it appears that Mr. Taylor felt the need to shave a few years off his age in both census records. (His 1915 burial record in Mountain View Cemetery confirms he was actually born in 1841). They were married in Lloydtown, in York, Ontario, and Mr. Taylor was a merchant in Albion. When Edward was born in 1873 and Ethel in 1876 the family were in Bolton, Peel, Ontario. Two other children born in 1880, and in 1881 (Francis, in Toronto) but they apparently didn’t survive.

Edward, Walter’s son, had joined BC Fruit Canning Co by 1904 as secretary to the business, and he retained that role when the company was established as the Empress Manufacturing Co in 1905. Walter was manager of the BC Fruit Canning Co, and had the same role at the Empress business. In 1914 a biography of William Hunter, president of the Empress business that year claimed he had moved from Ontario and founded the business in 1900, but he wasn’t in the city in the early 1900s, so that seems to be an attempt to overlook the Taylor family role in the company. A 1912 history of the company acknowledges that it was founded by Walter Taylor (with Edward Lindsay) but inaccurately puts that in 1880, (Walter was still an Ontario merchant in the 1881 census). It explained that “the original capital of $20,000 was increased to $100,000 to enable the firm to cope with the business. At that time their manufactures were mainly canned fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, and imported coffees and spices, which were put up in suitable form for the market. Later the firm began to import teas and a few other commodities, but the maximum of development was not reached until 1910, when the business was sold to Messrs. Hunter & Son, and was formed by them into an incorporated company with a capital of $250,000.” So the two Empress buildings were constructed by different owners of the same business.

Unlike so many buildings we look at, this one continued to be occupied by the same company for decades. Empress were still using the building in 1955, although in 1939 the business had been acquired by Safeway Stores. Today, like almost all of Yaletown, the buildings house restaurants and retail spaces.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E12.36

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West Pender Street east from Bute

This image was taken around 1910, and is titled “View of Pender Street looking west, showing Elysium Hotel and Hoffmeister Bros. garage” Actually it’s looking east – because the Elysium Hotel was on the south side of Pender. We looked at the history of the hotel in a recent post. It was designed in 1909 by Sholto Smith, with the developer described as ‘C C Smith’ in the permit – although we haven’t found anyone with those initials in the city at the time.

On the left is another 1909 development, but this one more modest. Fred Hoffmeister developed the $5,000 repair garage here, designing the building himself. (His brother Henry also designed and developed repair garages, and the Hoffmeister family had extensive real estate holdings, both as investments, and associated with their engineering and car repair businesses). Although other Hoffmeister family members were in the city in subsequent years, Fred appears to have moved on. The garage flourished, with the Hoffmeisters (whose office was in the prestigious Winch Building) selling a range of both electric and gasoline powered brands.

Here’s a 1911 image from the Vancouver Sun showing both the electric powered Waverley and The Marmon and Thomas Flyer gasoline vehicles. The Waverley was produced from 1908 to 1914 in Indianapolis although it had been built for a few years before that as the Pope-Waverley. It used Edison batteries, and the models shown here could seat two. The cars were popular with lady drivers, as they didn’t require hand cranking to start them. The Marmon was produced from 1902 through to 1933, and was also built in Indianapolis. The first Indy 500 was run in 1911, and a Marmon won. The company introduced a variety of new features, including the first rear view mirror. The Thomas Flyer was a big car, seating seven, built in Buffalo, New York. The company existed from 1902 to 1919. A 1907 Model 35 with 4 cylinders and 60 horsepower won the 1908 New York to Paris Race, the first and only around-the-world automobile race ever held. (The car is on show in Reno, Nevada these days).

After the war the building was used by the Soldiers Civil Retraining establishment. Canada was one of the first Allied countries to implement a system of retraining for its wounded soldiers, and by 1920, when they were using the premises, 26,000 wounded ex-servicemen were being retrained.

On the right in the foregroound is a house designed by Crowe and Wilson for Mrs Lipsett, who apparently built it herself, if the permit is to believed. It cost $3,200, which was a substantial sum. her husband, Edward, was originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and became an important manufacturer in Vancouver, making sails on Water Street. He added to his business over the years, by 1914 working from a larger building and described as manufacturers of canvas goods – sails, tents, tarpaulins, aprons, coats and overalls.

On the right today are a row of office buildings. Closest to us is 1166 West Pender, built in 1974, designed by Paine and Associates, and already proposed to be demolished and redeveloped with a building over twice as tall. Next door is a 1985 office designed by Hamilton Doyle in 1984, and there are two red brick clad buildings from 1980 and 1960 beyond that.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 1577

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Posted September 30, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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