Archive for August 2013

Hastings and Homer – ne corner (1)

Hastings & Homer

This 1906-07 postcard includes another of Harvey Hadden’s investments in Vancouver. In 1896 he commissioned John Parr (three years later partnering with Thomas Fee) to design a building on another of his Hastings Street corner sites – this one the north-east corner of Homer Street. At the time S M Eveleigh was apparently working for Parr, so as with Hadden’s earlier Arcade building down the street, he may have had a hand in the design. Harvey’s Chambers were initially the home to McDowell Atkins Watson Co., Chemists and Druggists, but by this Phillip Timms photograph G S Forsyth’s Book Shop was on the corner, with medical offices upstairs.

From the building permits records it appears that Hadden had sold the building not too long after its construction; in 1904 Martin & Robertson were the owners who hired Parr and Fee to design $3,200 of alterations to the building. The new owners were a Klondike outfitting company who hired W T Dalton to design their Water Street warehouse in 1899 (still standing today) and Parr and Fee to design another on the same street in 1908.

Hadden’s building didn’t last very long, although what replaced it wasn’t as impressive as the Royal Bank or the Dominion Building. In 1926 William Dick’s new clothing store designed by Townley and Matheson was built here.

Next door is another example of Parr and Fee’s design ability, a narrow 3-storey block for Thomson’s Stationers, completed in 1898 and altered (by no means for the better) in 1949. When this photograph was taken it looks as if Cuthbertson & Co a ‘men’s furnishings’ company were tenants. The two-storey building to the east (behind the tram) is The Mahon Block, designed by W T Dalton and built in 1902. In 1913 it was altered by W F Gardiner, which was possibly when an additional bay was added to the east, again for Thomson Brothers.


The Arcade – Hastings and Cambie

Arcade 1

Here’s another of Harvey Hadden’s Vancouver investments – possibly his first. The corner of Hastings and Cambie was important – across the street from the courthouse and near the newspaper offices. C O Wickenden designed the new Hadden investment, a series of retail stores and offices called ‘The Arcade’. S M Eveleigh was working in Wickenden’s office at the time, and knowing that Eveleigh subsequently designed a number of other buildings for Hadden, he may also have been involved with this one.

Major Matthews, the city archivist, recorded his impressions of the corner. “On the corner, a wooden building is the famed “Arcade,” with thirteen small shops, cutting through corner from Hastings to Cambie St. The first office of the “Great Northern Railway” is on the corner… The “Arcade” was built about Dec. 1895. “Meet you in the Arcade” was a common expression.”

Donald Luxton, in Building the West, records the impressions of the Arcade when the economy was in the doldrums despite the arrival of the railway “the enterprise betokened temerity for what prospect was there for Vancouver? What was there to lead one to suppose that this far city in the west would ever develop into anything worthwhile?“. Just twelve years later the building was torn down and replaced over a two year construction period with, for a while, the tallest building in the British Empire; the Dominion Trust Building. Undoubtedly, as with the Royal Bank site, Harvey Hadden made a substantial profit on the sale of the site.

Arcade 2

Designed by J S Helyer and Son, the unusual Beaux-Arts triangular terra cotta clad Dominion Building remains a landmark today, now set in the context of Victory Square across the street (the Courthouse having been removed many years ago). Our Archives images were both shot around 1900 when the city was growing, but at a slower pace than many had hoped. We already blogged an 1896 image of the street that showed how slow things were (there are cows being driven up the street)

Image source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-2097 and CVA 371-2103


Granville and Hastings – ne corner

Hastings & Granville  ne

J & H Hadden & Co were a successful hosiery company in Nottingham, England, from around the turn of the 19th century. Frederick John Hadden died in 1881, leaving his estate to his children including his son, Harvey, who took over running the family business aged 30. He obviously was successful enough to travel, and in the course of his travel visited the relatively new city of Vancouver. If the anecdote recounted by city archivist Major Matthews is to be believed, he was on a train leaving the city when he got into conversation with Harry Abbott, Superintendent of the CPR who persuaded him to return an invest in the fast-growing city. Whether this really occurred is impossible to verify, but Mr Hadden undoubtedly returned at some point and acquired considerable property, including corner lots on the north side of West Hastings at Cambie, Homer and Granville. (A different version of his history says he arrived by steamship from San Francisco in 1891. Both could, of course, be true).

It is suggested that the land started to lose value, and Mt Hadden decided to develop buildings to generate a return. The choice of architect to develop the property was Sydney Eveleigh, who had worked initially for N S Hoffar and then C O Wickenden, although he is said to have had the main hand in designing the Hadden buildings. Eveleigh was originally from Bedford, another Midlands English town that, like Nottingham, was noted for its lace industry. We know of at least three other Hadden buildings built before this 1901 commission for a substantial building (for the time) on the much-photographed corner of Granville and Hastings. This time he attached his name to the Hadden Building, (as he had before when developing Harvey’s Chambers).

It appears that this might be the first building erected on this site – there’s nothing obviously bearing the street address in the 1899 Street Directory. Although Eveleigh is said to have designed the building, he was working at the time as a draftsman for W T Dalton, who is therefore credited with the building. A year later Dalton and Eveleigh became partners, hadden halland went on to design a series of important buildings across the city. One of Eveleigh’s designs was for a palatial mansion in 160 acres of North Vancouver, set in dramatically landscaped gardens with 500 roses imported from France. This was Harvey Hadden’s Vancouver home, Hadden Hall, built in 1903 when he had been married just two years to Madelina, a woman less than half his age. “The nature-loving industrialist built Hadden Hall as his country home on a solid rock ridge 700 feet up Hollyburn Mountain near the current location of Capilano Golf Club, and enjoyed many summers at his idyllic west coast retreat before the outbreak of the First World War. Hadden returned to Vancouver just once more after that period, and the beautiful home he built was left unoccupied for 15 years before burning to the ground in an accidental fire.”

Hadden sale 1912 Montreal gazetteAmong Mr Hadden’s tenants, as this early 1900s image shows, was jeweller George Trorey who placed his famous clock on the sidewalk in front of the building. In 1912, just 11 years after its completion, Mr Hadden sold the Hadden Building at what must have been a tremendous profit. We haven’t found the cost to build the Hadden Building, but it couldn’t have been over $100,000. The Royal Bank paid $725,000 for the site for their new headquarters.

And then they sat on it. The First World War interupted the city’s economy and the pre-war boom (in fact things fell apart from 1912 on). So the Hadden Building stayed on the extraordinarily expensive site right through to 1929 when it was eventually demolished, and the Royal Bank’s art deco skyscraper – or more accurately, half a skyscraper, was built to the designs of S G Davenport, a Montreal based architect who was the Royal Bank’s staff architect.

Although designed to be built as a wedding cake tower, Vancouver still has only just over half a cake as the eastern second phase was never built – although you can’t tell that looking from the west.

Mr Hadden’s marriage apparently didn’t work out well; despite the addition of two children, Doris and Harvey, in 1920 Madelina sought a legal seperation, and the ensuing case was reported widely, owing to the rather unusual grounds. “Mrs. Hadden said that while they were staying a Budleigh Salterton her husband was absent from her a good deal.   “He was away all day golfing,” she added.   Mr. Justice Shearman – That raises a serious question whether continued absence on the golf course amounts to legal cruelty.   Mr. Holman Gregory, K.C. M.P., who appeared for the husband – If so, I am afraid some lawyers are bad husbands.   The Judge – I know the golf course at Budleigh Salterton, and it has considerable attractions.”  We don’t know the outcome, but it would seem that the separation went through as there is no mention of his family following Harvey’s death in 1931 when he was living in Claridge’s Hotel in London. Despite his absence from Vancouver over many years, he spent $44,000 in 1928 to fund the purchase of today’s Hadden Park in Kitsilano (the home of the Maritime Museum) which he handed over with an additional $5,000 for its completion.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-647


Posted August 4, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with , ,

Lee Building – East Pender Street

100 blk E Pender

Here’s a 1925 postcard by Frank Gowan of the north side of the 100 block of Pender Street. Many of the buildings are still the same today, although one has been effectively rebuilt (although you would hardly notice at first glance).

The Lee Building is in the centre of the image; the central arcaded ‘Chinese style’ building. It was built in 1907 or 1908 by the Lee Lung Sai Business Company, although there’s no record of who designed it. This was a ‘family association’, but seems to have been purely a money-making venture rather than a family support building. It was one of the earliest Chinatown family buildings, and all the money raised to build the structure was provided by people with the name Lee. While many of the Chinese family buildings had accommodation and a hall for meetings, the Lee building only held a small office for the organisation’s own use, with the rest of the space leased out.

Around 1920 the building was sold to Lee Bick, (Ron Bick Lee) and his family still owned the property in 1971 when all the buildings in the picture were recognised with heritage status as part of the area’s historic area designation. The building was occupied over the years by a number of importers, retail merchants, restaurants, and clan associations. Lee arrived in Victoria at the age of 18 in 1910, working at a local restaurant in Victoria’s Chinatown.  He moved to Vancouver in 1916, working in various restaurants, hotels and import stores. Lee opened the Foo Hung Company in the Lee Building in 1921 and the import-export business went so well that he expanded into the greenhouse business, operating the Grandview Greenhouse on 50 acres in East Vancouver during the Depression. Lee was actively involved in the community through different associations, including the Chinese Public School, the Lee Association, Chinatown Lion’s Club and the Toi San Benevolent Society.

A year after the heritage designation the Lee Building was almost completely destroyed in a fire, and Robert Lee decided to rebuild. The city’s Historic Area Advisory Board initially advocated reconstruction but then, because of building code constraints, accepted the restoration of the facade as a free-standing frame and the construction of a new building behind it, which was completed in 1973 to designs by Henriquez and Todd. Today the facade has a modern building behind it (set back so that it resembles the balconies of the original structure), an open courtyard fronting the third bay of the building on the west side, with parking space off the rear lane.

The arcaded building to the west of the Lee Building is the 1921 Wong’s Benevolent Association building. There was a 2-storey building here in 1910 (and some reports suggest 1904), but in 1921 two more floors were added, designed by J A Radford, (G A Southall and W H Chow are both also associated with the rebuilt design). From the mid 1920s the Mon Keang School was in the building, providing language lessons to the Canadian-born children of the Chinese community.

The narrower building to the east of the Lee Building was designed in 1923 by A E Henderson for Lung Kong Kung Shaw, replacing one designed by W H Chow in 1914. Closer still is the 5-storey 1913 building designed by H B Watson for William Dick. Originally four floors high with the Kwong Fong grocery on the ground floor, the Mah Society acquired the building in 1920 and added a fifth floor in 1921 designed by E J Boughen.