Dunsmuir Hotel (2)

We’ve visited the Dunsmuir Hotel before, but here’s slightly different angle, and in colour (on a postcard). Parr and Fee designed the building for David Gibb and Sons, but it was soon acquired by Abraham Grossman, a successful Jewish businessman who from 1893 to 1908 ran the city’s first clothing store, ‘The Hub’. Abraham Grossman was originally from Poland, born in 1820, arriving in Canada in 1884 and his wife Minnie was Russian, arriving in 1880 aged 14. Mr Grossman owned, repaired and had a number of buildings constructed (as well as running a dry goods business), usually employing W T Whiteway as architect. However, when he altered the Dunsmuir Hotel in 1913 he used the classier firm of Russell, Babcock and Rice. Originally from Tacoma they were responsible for one really significant building in the city, the Weart Building (now known as the Standard Building and still standing today).

They had also designed a $500,000 office for Grossman that was announced in the Contract Journal as if it was actually built, at Abbott and Hastings in 1912. (It wasn’t). Mr Grossman did well enough from his real estate and land dealing that by 1914 he was living in Shaughnessy Heights on Osler Street in 1914, the only Jewish family in that neighbourhood. One of Mr Grossman’s three sons, Max, was a lawyer and very active in Jewish affairs. His greatest contribution to the Jewish community in Vancouver was as Chairman and driving force for the building of the Schara Tzedeck Synagogue.

Abraham moved to Los Angeles, as this notice of his wife’s death in the Jewish Centre News shows, as did two of their three sons, but Max Grossman remained in Vancouver.



Posted 21 February 2012 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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