Pacific and Granville – ne corner

Granville & PacificFranklin 1918

There may have been a war on, but that didn’t seem to slow the rapid growth of Vancouver’s prestigious ‘auto row’ – the southern end of Granville Street near the Granville Bridge. In 1917 a new garage was built as a salesroom for the Little Giant Motor Truck Co on the north-east corner of Pacific and Granville. A year later another showroom was built immediately opposite, this time for F T Andrews and designed by Robert Matheson, a year before he went into partnership with Fred Townley. Reo Speedwagons could be seen a couple of doors up the street just past the Bayview Rooms, a hotel designed by Parr and Fee in 1911.

It soon became apparent that the garage was for George G Barrons who was going to sell the Franklin automobile. This was a luxury vehicle, manufactured in Syracuse, New York. The Franklin was popular with doctors as it was very reliable, being air-cooled (and so unlikely to be frozen up in the middle of the night). It also had extensive use of aluminum in the body, and some models offered better gas mileage than many vehicles today (over 32 mpg).

Before the show room opened a new owner was announced; W O Webster, the sales representative for Canadian auto builder Gray-Dort announced he would be taking over the franklin agency and adding Mitchell, Lexington and Premier brands as well. The Mitchell came from Racine, Wisconsin; the Lexington from Connersville, Indiana and the Premier from Indianapolis, and was one of the few other companies (like Franklin) to air cool their engine. As the photograph shows, Gray-Dort were the main brand, and they were shipped from Hamilton, Ontario. The company folded in 1923 when the US designer J Dallas Dort decided to retire, and the Canadian builder couldn’t persuade him to stay in business. Granville & Pacific 1926The garage in the late 20s and early 30 was the McCulloch motor Co and had switched to selling Oldsmobiles, using the Continental Hotel (as the Bayview had become) as a giant billboard. The depression saw car sales plummet and In 1935 the garage was Granville & Pacific 1943empty. Curtis Motors had moved in by 1939, (although they didn’t stay long and in 1950 they were  selling Hillman cars a little further up the street). The last  company in the building were Neolite who made neon signs. they were there from the early 1940s until the early 1950s.

And then in 1953 they built a new Granville Bridge.

Image Sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-700, CVA 99-2260 and CVA 1184-2733

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Posted August 27, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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