Back in 1967 this rather large house was for sale for $63,000 (offers). The owner wanted to sell as an apartment site, and if the new owner wanted to keep it as a revenue opportunity (the tenants paid $600 a month in total) then the purchaser had to carry out an internal inspection – but couldn’t disturb the tenants. A rather classy past was suggested from the driveway for five cars, and five garages.
The house dated back to 1912, when it was built at the not inconsiderable sum of $3,300. It was designed by noted and prolific local architects Dalton and Eveleigh, and the client was the younger half of that partnership, S M Eveleigh. Sydney Morgan Eveleigh was born in Bedford in England, and appears to have studied architecture at school, arriving in Vancouver aged 18 and immediately starting work for N S Hoffar, the new city’s premier architect at the time. Eveleigh returned to England to study for two years, returned to Vancouver and from 1895 worked initially for W T Dalton and soon after as a partner.
Eveleigh was involved in the city’s literary scene from early on, and was an active member of the library board. It was he who contacted Andrew Carnegie, and the five $10,000 cheques that helped build the new library were personally made out to Eveleigh. As architects Dalton and Eveleigh designed dozens of buildings in the city including many featured on the blog, including the Alcazar Hotel, the Wilson Block on Granville and the Masonic Temple at Seymour and Georgia, (Eveleigh was very active in Freemasonry). Eveleigh’s membership of the Vancouver Automobile Club no doubt helps explain the garages.
The family lived in the house until 1927, when Miss A MacRae moved in. Over the years a variety of owners and later lodgers lived there and by the 1960s it had lost much of the charm that it must once have had. The wooden addition with the stone printed asphalt sheeting didn’t help with the appearance (although no doubt it added to the rent roll).
Despite the hope that it would be torn down for apartments, that wouldn’t happen for several more years. In 1987 Charlotte Gardens, designed by MacDonald-Hale Architects was built on the site.
In 1968 this 15 unit apartment building was for sale for $63,000. The MLS details says rent was $777 a month. At first we thought that was a bit high – then we realised it was from all 15 suites. The building is described as being in a Hi Rise zone, and built with a stone exterior. The agent selling the property was unsure how old the building was. We know from the building permit that it dated back to 1909 when Vancouver Construction Co Ltd designed and built it for Mrs Jennie McLeod. Unusually for the period it was described as being a concrete dwelling house.
There were hundreds of McLeods in British Columbia in 1911 – there were three called Jennie, and none were likely to be property owners. Fortunately the street directory from 1910 gives the owner as Alex Macleod, timber cruiser, and the 1911 census confirms that Jenny Macleod aged 42 lived with her husband Alexander and their son, and a servant, Jensen Ange, at this address. Both were of Scottish decent, but Jenny was American while Alexander had been born in Scotland. In 1920 there’s still a MacLeod, Allen, listed at this address.
During the 1930s Mrs E Milloy is listed in the directories as the owner, and in 1936 the directory adds the word ‘rooms’. Looking at the picture it appears that behind the facade there’s a house which was added to, and the style suggests this could well have been in the 1930s as the economy of the day saw big houses becoming rooming houses, a common occurence in the West End.
Despite the ‘hi-rise’ zoning, in 1982 a 6-storey apartment building, Barclay Place, was completed on the site. Although it’s stratified, for the time being at least the 42 units are rentals.
Here’s a somewhat battered house on Comox Street in the West End in 1968. Our image is from the MLS listing which offered the house for $62,000, although the listing suggests ‘Try all reasonable offers’ as the building ‘Should be sold as apartment site only’. It was heading towards demolition as the West End saw ramped up densities and rental and condominium towers replacing older housing.
We know who built the house – it was E R Squair who designed and built it in 1912 at a cost of $1,000 for Mr Koenigsberg. Ernest R Squair only seems to have been in the city for a few years, and 1728 Comox was one of his first works as a contractor. Squair designed and built a number of houses in the city, although this is the only one we know of in the West End. Ernest was born in London, emigrated to New Brunswick in 1907 and died in Victoria in 1962 at the age of 86.
His client was Maurice Koenigsberg, manager and presumably proprietor of the Koenigsberg Jewelery Co who were wholesalers and manufacturers of jewelery on West Cordova Street. He must have been doing well in business; in 1911 he was living on Thurlow Street aged 35 with his 22 year old wife Etta and three month old daughter Ruthlene. Both Maurice and Etta were from American Jewish families, Maurice was from St Paul, Minnesota although Etta had been born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Etta died young, aged 49 in 1937 and Maurice died in 1948.
Today the site is the relatively huge private gardens of a 19 storey condo tower, the Sandpiper, built in 1976 by Daon Developments. The tower’s architect was Jim White, a long-time architect with Thompson Berwick Pratt and Partners. Over twenty years earlier White had designed the Dal Grauer Substation on Burrard Street with Ned Pratt.