Painter and paper hanger J C Rowley wasn’t in this building for all that long. We assume he is in the picture, presumably with his employees. We don’t know if bowler hats were required for painters, or just a fashion statement in 1894. We’re not sure when Mr Rowley took occupation of these premises as there’s currently no directory for 1893 available. He wasn’t around in 1892 when 508 Pender was occupied by T Prest & Co, real estate agents. In 1890 Mr Prest was still there, but the block was numbered as 408, and there was no 408 Pender in 1889 so that’s probably when it was built.
By 1896 J C Rowley had moved to 1 Pacific Street and 508 Pender was occupied by Andrew Armstrong who was a cleaner and dyer with a home in Mount Pleasant. That’s the last reference to J C Rowley in Vancouver – it seems quite possible that he moved on to New Zealand – there’s a painter called J C Rowley who won a contract in Auckland in 1898.
It looks as if the building stayed undeveloped for nearly 100 years. Here’s a late 1980s image that suggests it was still standing with surprisingly little change. In 1912 J P Matheson had designed an office for the North West Trust Co that took a slice off all three Pender Street lots, but that was a little way up Richards Street. Today it’s called the Lumberman’s Building, and it’s still standing.
In 1990 Kingsley Lo’s design for a 246 space parkade and retail building was completed – one of the last new parkades built downtown. It’s unusual in that it’s ‘L’ shaped, wrapping round the Richards Street office building.