501 West Georgia Street (1)

501 W Georgia

We don’t know who built this structure, although we know it dates from around 1908. The 1901 Insurance map of the city shows there was a house on a lot located 25 feet north of Georgia (just on the right edge of this picture). The lot had been owned by A K Stuart since 1886.

Mrs A K Stuart obtained a permit for a house on Richards Street in 1902, and A K Stuart obtained another for a house on Georgia Street in 1906. In 1903 James L Duff, a dentist lived here, and next door, to the west, was William Lonergan, a contractor, who stayed for a number of years. In 1905 the dentist had been replaced by Oswald Trowse, a dyer, and in 1907 A K Stuart, recorded as being a civil engineer, was shown living in the house.

Mrs A K Stuart would have been Margaret, who Allan Stuart had married in 1892. Stuart was a former CPR draftsman who helped bring the railway through the Rockies, and then settled in Vancouver in 1885 working for Thomas Sorby, helping design the first CPR buildings including the first Hotel Vancouver. From 1893 to 1901 he worked as Assistant City Engineer, before joining an engineering company supervising mines in Canada and Mexico.

By 1908 we’re reasonably certain this structure had been completed, as the building here housed the Cabello Cigar Manufacturing Company. (The Archives image is dated 1906, but we think it was probably shot a year or two later). A K Stuart had obtained two further permits in 1907 for alterations and remodelling on both Richards and Georgia, and it seems likely that this building was the outcome. The building lot was turned through 90 degrees and subdivided north-south rather than the original east-west alignment.

In 1909 Philip Timms, one of Vancouver’s leading photographers of the day was based here, to be replaced by Stuart Thompson, another photographer, in 1912. Timms had been born in Toronto in 1874, but had arrived in Vancouver with his new wife Lizzie in 1898. His first employment was working for S J Thompson, (no relation to Stuart Thompson), who was already established in New Westminster, taking high-quality platinum photographs of the scenery of the Rockies.

Timms was initially a picture framer, but by 1903 he was a photographer, deliberately trying to create a record of the rapidly growing city of Vancouver (a legacy we rely on for this blog). He produced at least 3,000 images, many of them printed as postcards by his brother, Art.

Stuart Thompson was born in Hampstead, England in 1881. He came to Vancouver via Australia in 1910, where he became a well-known professional photographer, noted for his aerial photography. Timms moved his business to his home address on Commercial Drive, but maintained his studio at 501 W Georgia until 1922 when Aras Pantages became the tenant.

Over the years the occupant of the building changed many times, including the National Cash Register Co who operated from here in the late 1930s, until today when a car leasing company operates from the building.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-592



Posted 4 March 2013 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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