Archive for October 2013

Winters Hotel – Abbott and Water

Here’s the Hotel Winters on a postcard, probably from around 1910. It’s a hand coloured black and white photograph, so the bricks haven’t really changed colour. You can see that most of the building looks as solid today as when W T Whiteway designed and supervised the construction in 1907. These days it’s a Single Room Occupancy residence for low-income residents.

Province Oct 5 1906 WINTERSThere’s been some confusion in the past over who built the hotel. There’s general agreement it was a Mrs Winters, and Avis Winters, wife of Richard was living with her husband in the city in the 1891 census (he was aged 37 and she was 28). Richard Winters was from Nova Scotia, and Avis was from Ontario. Richard was a barber in Victoria in 1884, but was on the Vancouver voting list in 1886 as a tenant of Jonathan Miller, and in 1888 applied for a licence for a saloon on Dupont Street (today’s East Pender).

In 1906 Mrs Winters was listed as the widow of Richard, and living on Hornby Street. Some references suggest her husband, William, built the hotel for her, but there’s no sign of a William Winters in the city – it’s probably a confusion with William Winter who owned the Granville Cafe. Thanks to Patrick Gunn’s diligence we now know the December 1906 building permit confirms that Mrs Alice M Winters was the owner, William Tuff Whiteway was the architect and the 3 storey hotel would cost $45,000. From the postcard it’s obvious that the building ended up as 4 storeys. (We still don’t know why in the census she’s Avis, and in most other contexts she’s Alice).

The advert for the new hotel suggest the proprietors were C N Owen & Co – but they probably just ran it on for Mrs Winters. In 1908 and 1909 she ran a tobacco shop and a pool room in the retail space under the hotel with her nephew, Thomas Stevenson.

In 1908 the hotel was described in glowing terms in the Greater Vancouver Illustrated publication.

“Hotel Winters was designed and was erected specially for a hotel replete with every modern and up-to-date convenience known to the business. It is constructed of red pressed brick, with cut stone trimmings. The lobby, buffet and reading room are laid with mosaic tiling, the lobby having a lofty ceiling and being a spacious and well-lighted room. The furniture is of golden oak, with which the trimmings are In perfect harmony.

There are one hundred and twenty luxuriously appointed rooms in the hotel, a part of which are en suite, fifty of the apartments provided with private baths. All rooms are exceptionally well lighted and airy, are provided with steam heat, hot and cold water, telephones and such other modern conveniences as are usually found in the best and most modern hotels.

The dining room is large, beautifully lighted and elaborately decorated, and has walls and ceilings paneled with heavy plaster staff relief work. The service is of the very best, and guests pronounce this one of the most satisfactory places to dine that can be found In the city.

The hotel is conducted on the American plan and rates are reasonable, considering the high class accommodations secured. The proprietors of this excellent hostelry are A. M. Winters who built same, and after whom It Is named, and Thos. Stevenson, the latter being the active manager.

Mr Stevenson was for several years manager of the Dominion Hotel, Victoria. Of Scotch decent, he posseses many qualities which make him most popular with the traveling public, and there Is probably no hotelman In Western Canada who possesses a larger acquaintance. nor one more efficiently equipped to conduct a thoroughly modern, high-class hotel.”

Mrs Winters seems to have done well enough with the hotel, which was $1 a day on the European Plan but $2 on the American Plan (with meals). In 1911 she had Somervell and Putnam design a house for her in Point Grey, although successfully avoided the census that year.

A fire broke out in a suite in April 2022, spreading throughout the building, and gutting it. The building was subsequently deemed unsafe, and it was demolished a week later.



Posted 28 October 2013 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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McLennan and McFeely – East Cordova Street

McLennan & McFeely

McLennan, McFeely and Company Limited were the city’s most successful importer of hardware and building supplies at the turn of the 20th century. In 1906 they built themselves a massive new warehouse on the corner of Columbia and East Cordova,  hiring E E  Blackmore to design it; (the son of William Blackmore who designed the adjacent Commercial Block).

Both McLennan and McFeely were in the city before the 1886 fire: Robert Purves McLennan was from Pictou, Nova Scotia and had run a hardware store in River John before moving to Winnipeg in 1882 aged 21. Edward John McFeely was from Lindsay, Ontario, was two years younger than McLennan and also sought his fortune in Winnipeg in 1882. The future partners met there and worked together, but the boom ended quickly (his biography calls it ‘the real estate reaction’) and he headed to Minneapolis. McLennan had gone to Victoria in 1884, establishing an ornamental ironwork and tin cornice company that expanded rapidly. He invited McFeely to join him in business and they bought a lot on Powell Street in Vancouver to build a warehouse. The frame was up when the fire destroyed the town, but apparently the lumber it was built from was still wet, having been floated in a raft, so it didn’t burn and they were able to complete it quickly (covering it with corrugated iron) and cash in on the building frenzy that followed. During the 1890s the firm’s focus shifter from roofing and tinsmithing to wholesaling. In 1891 McLennan had 13 people working with him in Victoria and McFeely 17 in Vancouver.

McLennan & McFeely 1905Further buildings followed; in 1889 their business ‘stoves, tinsmiths and plumbers’ was in a 3 storey building designed for them in 1887 by Elmer Fisher, on the 100 block of Cordova, the main business street of the day. It was apparently extensively covered with the company’s own decorative metal trim,and the city’s library was for a while in a rented room upstairs. In 1900 GW Grant designed a new warehouse on Pender, and in 1905 E E Blackmore and W T Whiteway designed a new warehouse on Water Street that was completed, but never occupied by the company. Hardware and Merchandising magazine explained “McLennan, McFeely Company, Vancouver, have leased the block that Contractor J. McLuckie is erecting on the corner of Water and Abbott streets to the Fairbanks Company. The block will be three stories high, and the estimated cost is $30,000. It will have a private siding from the C. P. R. and, being right on the waterfront, is well located.” Instead they commissioned this massive (150,000 square feet) warehouse on Cordova at Columbia in 1906. In fact, they commissioned two buildings for this site – Parr and Fee designed the building on the left for Cordova and Columbia at some time before 1900 – as far as we know it was never built.

Our top image shows the building in 1910; the one below shows it in 1920. Both McLennan and McFeely became important members of the city’s business establishment. Both were associated with the Board of Trade, and Robert McLennan was also on the School Board, a member of the Board of Governors of UBC and President of the Bank of Vancouver. Edward McFeely owned a motor yacht, the ‘Jolly Mac’ in which he cruised the BC Coast. Robert McLellan owed a 330 acre farm on Gambier Island with extensive orchards and a prize dairy herd. McFeely was mostly responsible for running the Vancouver operation; McLellan supervised the Yukon operations for five years from 1898, his family joining him every summer. He even became mayor of Dawson for a year in 1903 (having sold the retail side of the business in 1902), but in 1904 the remaining operations were sold and McLennan returned to Vancouver. A third partner, E G Prior, was added in the late 1920s to create  McLennan, McFeely and Prior Limited as the company continued to expand after Robert McLennan’s death.

Edward McFeely was married in Victoria in 1889 and there were six children. Robert McLennan married in Nova Scotia in 1887 and had ten children, including one born in Dawson City in the Yukon. McLennan died in 1927, and McFeely in 1928, one month after retiring.

McLennan McFeely 2

In the 1970s the Koret clothing company from San Francisco occupied the building, and the residential conversion completed in 2006 still bears their name. The Koret Lofts has 118 live-work units with an extra floor added to the building with the conversion and restoration designed by Simon Bonnettemaker at Gower Yeung and Associates.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Str P419 and CVA 99 – 3275


Commercial Block – Columbia Street

Commercial Block

The Commercial Block was one of the most advanced buildings in the city – when it was built in 1893. Welsh entrepreneur Jonathan Rogers teamed up with Samuel and Thomas Hunter to build a two-storey and basement building on Columbia Street near Powell Street. It was the first building to have an electric elevator – and it had three of them. Each three bays of the building was a separate warehouse, although there was no indication of this arrangement on the facade. William Blackmore designed the building in a robust brick and stone design and once it was complete Thomas Hunter became the owner.

When it was first built the earliest tenant was a hardware company. By 1900 the building inexplicably took even numbered addresses (although it was on the odd side of the street) and had the Toronto Type Foundry, VW and FW Mitchell, brokers and merchants, and the Parsons Produce Co. In 1906 Cosens and Kindon, commercial merchants, had their warehouse here, along with the Terminal City Rice Mills and Western Oil and Supply Co. Sometime around that time a 3-storey extension was added to the north (although the architect is unknown). It was completed by 1908 when McLennan McFeely & Co (who had a massive warehouse next door) started using the rear of the property as well. M R Smith & Co were in front, manufacturing biscuits. McLennan McFeely would eventually use the entire premises in the late 1930s when they built an overhead link over the lane.

In 2002 Arcadian Architecture supervised the restoration of the building, and today it houses a variety of office users.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives LGN 481


Palace Hotel & Chelsea Inn – West Hastings Street

33 & 37 W Hastings

Today they’re the Palace Hotel and the Chelsea Inn – a pair of apparently mis-matched Single Room Occupancy Hotels. When it was built the whole property was one – the Palace Hotel (so the lack of symmetry is puzzling). In 1907 Schmehl & Muller were the proprietors – William C Schmehl and Charles G Muller. Muller lived at 1127 Robson and Schmehl at 1749 Davie Street. They were the proprietors of the Palace Hotel in 1906 as well – but then it was in a different location at the corner of Hastings and Carrall, with the Palace Restaurant at 345 Carrall. That building – although substantial – was demolished for a new bank. Muller was first seen in the city in 1901, a boarder living (presumably in the Palace Hotel) who had arrived from Germany in 1895 aged 21, and who already was listed as proprietor of the Palace Hotel in 1901 when he was aged 26.

That same year Schmehl appeared in the city for the first time as Schnell, and then Schnehl, in 1902, although he missed the 1901 census in Vancouver. As William has a grave in Mountain View Cemetery, we know he was born in 1876 so was slightly younger than Charles. In May 1901 he married Kathleen, eight years younger and born in Galway in Ireland, and from the marriage licence we know that William was born in Dodge County in the United States. Kathleen was living with her married sister, Phyllis Bailing, in Vancouver two months before her wedding, and had arrived in Canada with her family when she was only 3 years old in 1884. The 1891 census shows her family were already in Vancouver, and her father, Henry Avison, was the park ranger, living in Stanley Park. Kathleen’s early life must have been unusual; her father captured an orphaned black bear cub and chained it to a stump ‘for safety’ in 1888. Avison was subsequently named city pound keeper, and his collection of animals formed the basis for the original Stanley Park zoo. Some reports say he died in 1896, but a recent history of Stanley Park says he actually quit to go to search for Klondyke gold – in 1901 he was still living in the “Unorganized Territories”.

The 1911 census shows that Charles Muller has married Matilda, from Prince Edward Island, and they have three children aged 6, 4 and 1. They also have a domestic servant living with them, and William and Mata Schlitz (William was a grocer) were lodging with them. William Schmehl once again seems to have eluded the census takers, although he’s still listed in the street directory, in the same house on Davie. He’s no longer associated with the Palace; he has a new partnership with Lorenzo D Wright as Schmehl & Wright supplying liquor on E Hastings. Wright had previously been in the tobacco and cigar trade.

Palace 1912From 1912 the Palace hotel seems to have a new proprietor at least every year. Norman Herman was running the hotel in 1912 (and Albert Herman had architect J S Pearce design $10,000 of improvements that year).  The next year it was Pennebera and Masilotto; in 1914 it was D F Pennebera on his own who was proprietor. The only change to the advertisement in the street directory was the name of the proprietors – although in 1913 the Excellent Cafe was noted, with Marino’s Orchestra In attendance. In 1915 Samuel Albert was running the hotel, and a year later Horace Robertson was manager (for 2 years running) while it was owned by Lawrence Reda of North Vancouver. In 1918 it became the Palace Rooms, and John Cameron was managing, and in 1920 the owner was listed as Lorenzo Reda – the year that this VPL image was taken.

The Chelsea Hotel seems to have become Allen’s Rooms around 1912, the initial building operating under that name, managed by Robert Allen (who later owned Allen’s Cafe and Rooms at 814 Granville Street, run by his brother, Osro Allen). Robert was from Quebec, and showed up in the Vancouver street directory in the same year that he opened a Café in 1906, located a few doors away at 57 West Hastings until 1911. He obtained a $25,000 building permit to carry out work on this property in 1909 (when he was listed as R A Allan). Bedford Davidson carried out the work.

After a period when the building was apparently vacant, by 1930 the two separate operations were known as the Oxford Hotel and the Palace Hotel. Today both buildings are still rooms; the Palace owned until very recently by a controversial landlord who was prosecuted for a number of breaches of tenancy law. Our picture from 1978 below shows that there have been very few changes to the buildings over many decades.

33 & 37 W Hastings 2

Although there’s no known architect for the building, it’s quite possible Emil Guenther designed this version of the Palace – Charles G Muller hired him to design an apartment block in the West End in 1912 on Robson, near Thurlow. Guenther was almost certainly German (although he seems to have changed his name) and practiced in Vancouver up to 1907 when this building was designed, before heading to San Francisco for five years, returning briefly in 1912.


Edward Hotel – Water Street

308 Water

Here’s the Edward Hotel (or Hotel Edward when it was first completed in 1907). It replaced the Regina Hotel – the only substantial structure to survive the 1886 fire). We haven’t found an architect, but thanks to Patrick at Heritage Vancouver Society who dug up the details, we know it was built for Charles Edward Beckman at a cost of $21,000. He was a Swede  who arrived in the city in 1899. In 1901 he was a mining engineer, living alone (as a lodger at 512 Seymour Street). There are several other Charles Beckmans, all Swedish, scattered around BC and Manitoba at that time as well, and another engineer at a mill called C E Beckman. In 1906 he was still a mining engineer, with a house at 528 Seymour, but he appears in 1907 as proprietor of the Hotel Edward. A year later he’s no longer in the city and the hotel was being run by John W Deptford. It looks like Beckman may have returned to Europe as he seems to have emigrated to New York in 1913 via Hamburg.

Mr Beckman had initially run into a few problems with obtaining a licence for the new hotel as Mr Wallbridge, the previous owner of the Regina had apparently sold the licence with the hotel, but also transferred it to Thomas Foster who was the lessee of the Regina, and who therefore thought he controlled the licence. The Board controlling the licences appear to have agreed to grant two – one to Foster and one to Mr Beckman. In 1908 Mr Foster was running the Oxford Hotel at 38 West Hastings.

The new owner who bought the hotel from Mr Beckman, John Deptford, was a police officer before he took over the hotel, living on Barnard Street in 1907. He had the right background to run a successful bar and hotel. John came from Upwell in Cambridgeshire where his father (also John) ran a public house. His other advantage was that as a former Vancouver policemen he knew exactly what he should – and should not – do to avoid falling foul of the law. In 1906 the new board of police commissioners tried to enforce the observance of the Sabbath by hotel and saloon owners – in theory the bars were closed. The police were reluctant to enforce the law, claiming they couldn’t see if a bar was open or not. A new by-law was immediately introduced requiring a light over the bar and a peephole to view it from outside. It was suggested that the police – presumably including Constable Deptford – might have been helped financially to not look into the bars, but now they had little excuse. Nevertheless, when the proprietors of the Columbia Hotel were charged with supplying after hours drinks the charge was ‘providing an inadequate peephole – as the slot they created in the shutters didn’t allow a view of the bar. In their defence they suggested Constable Deptford could have seen in if he had stretched his neck – “only if I stood on a box” he is said to have replied. The magistrate remanded the case but required a bigger hole. When the Edward first opened it advertised its inexpensive meat, and an all-white kitchen – ‘no Chinamen kept’.

In 1909 J W Deptford hired E E Blackmore to make $700 worth of alterations to the hotel – so that might be who designed the building a couple of years earlier. J W Deptford and his wife Ellen both arrived from England in 1899, and the 1901 census shows John working as a labourer. The couple married in Vancouver in 1900; Ellen was from Salisbury in Hampshire, was five years older than her husband, and had no complications with changing her name as she was already Ellen Deptford before she married. In 1891 she was working in London as a servant. In 1911 Ellen was listed a hotel proprietor, and in the Street Directory John is identified as owner of the Alexander Hotel (at 1 Water Street – originally the Alexandra), and they were living on 7th Avenue. We don’t know what happened to John, but Ellen died aged 90 in Cambridgeshire. Both John and Ellen travelled out of North America, through Quebec in 1905 and New York in 1910.

Today the building looks much as it did when it was built. The Water Street Cafe is downstairs, and there are offices rather than hotel above. In 1919 it was given a new storefront, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh, and what’s there today looks very similar. Our 1920 VPL picture shows the building when R S Ford, importers, had taken over the building (around 1919 – presumably when the new store front was added).


Burrard and Davie

Burrard & Davie

We know who designed the older building in these pictures – or at least how it looked in 1958 when Cunningham Drugs had the corner lot at Burrard and Davie. The Daily Building Record in early 1912 reported the contract to alter and add to the existing buildings with stores and some apartments above, designed by J P Matheson for B B Brown at a cost of $5,500 and built by Alonzo Smith. A year later there was a further alteration to the stores at a cost of $1,000 by the same architect for the same owner. There was a house standing on this spot in 1901, one of four that faced onto Burrard Street, but by 1911 there were only three left, with three stores facing Davie, occupying the same footprint as this building.

B B Brown was almost certainly Bliss Blair Brown, a grocer who in the 1911 census was shown born in New Brunswick (as was his wife Ella) and who lived at 1193 Burrard, just across the street, and managed Brown’s Grocery at 1195 Burrard. The family included three children at home aged 8 to 14, all born in British Columbia, so the family had moved further west before the turn of the century – son Alvin was born in Vancouver in 1898. (Oddly, Bliss’s wife was called Alice in the 1901 census when the family lived on Hornby Street, but that’s an error as he married Ella in 1895 in New Westminster). Ella was an only child but Bliss was one of 14 children. There were several remarkable names in the family; as well as Bliss there were Arletta, Amasa, Tressa and Eldon.

The family apparently moved to the building, living at 1008 Davie in 1914, although there’s no sign of the grocery business. Bliss died in 1919 aged 56 and In 1920 Mrs E F Brown was still living at 1008 Davie, and died in 1938. Cunningham Drugs was started in Vancouver in 1911 by former Woodward’s pharmacist George Cunningham. This store appears to have been opened in the late 1920s and in 1939 the company absorbed rivals the Vancouver Drug Co. By 1941 there were 37 stores – and this was Store No. 4 – although it wasn’t the fourth store to be opened. Eventually there were over 100 stores and Cunningham became chair of UBC’s Board of Governors. He died in 1965 and in 1970 the chain was sold to Shoppers Drug Mart.

Today it’s an almost extinct Downtown species – a gas station. The Esso station here was built in 1995 – it’s one of only two left in the entire Downtown: there were once 99 gas stations on the peninsula.

Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P508.17


Posted 16 October 2013 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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The Yale Hotel – Granville Street

Yale Hotel

As you can see from this 1944 image, the Yale Hotel has been called by that name for many years. When it was first built in 1889 it was called the Colonial Hotel, and it was hooked up to the water system in July of 1889 a few months after the Golden Gate Hotel a block to the north, although the Yale wasn’t advertised as complete until 1890. It was designed by N S Hoffar who seemed to have designed eight or nine projects a year in the city at this time, and built for J W Horne, a keen investor in land and buildings with a close connection to the CPR. At one point his assets were said to be second in value only to the CPR themselves.

While it’s been stated that the building survived the fire having been built as a bunkhouse for the CPR, there’s no evidence that this is true. The construction of the hotels coincided with the construction of the electric streetcar on Granville Street. H P McCraney, in conversation with Major Matthews, recalled the first year of building the railway. “In the spring of 1889, I commenced operation in building the first street railway in Vancouver. The first track was laid on Granville Street, a little north of Pacific Street, perhaps a hundred feet north, where the slope runs up to a level. We started just at the level so that the horses may have an easy start when they pulled. The track was to run from bridge to bridge through the town. At that time, the Granville Street vicinity was mostly stumps, although down in Yaletown, a couple of hundred yards east or so, there was quite a little settlement.” When it was being built it was to be a horse-drawn railway; the decision to electrify the line was taken while construction was underway.

Yaletown was a small area with a collection of houses further east, on Seymour and Richards. It took its name from the town of Yale, the CPRs interim base while the tracks were being laid to the coast. Several of the houses were older than the city itself; 1371 Seymour for example was carried in pieces as lumber and re-erected. Some houses came ready-built on rail company flat cars. The CPR built their new Drake Street Yards and Roundhouse in 1887 – which was fortunate as the Yale machine shops burned down in 1887.

In 1907 the hotel name was switched to ‘The Yale’, which it has been ever since. The eastern addition to the hotel was built in 1909, designed by W T Whiteway for Marquis de Biddlecope, who we introduced when he built the St Francis Hotel.

Today the Yale has just undergone a comprehensive restoration and seismic repair that will see the SRO rooms upstairs and to the east reopened, and the bar noted for its blues back with a new sound system. The store fronts have been rebuilt to match the original building far more closely than before the makeover, and the 1950s neon sign reinstalled.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-624


Stark’s Glasgow House – Cordova and Cambie se

Cambie & Cordova 2

In 1887 James Stark erected a combined grocery store and residential apartment at 12 Northumberland Street, Ayr. That’s not so surprising as James, and his wife Julia, were born in Scotland. However, the Ayr that James built his store in was in Waterloo, Ontario. James arrived in Canada aged 20 in 1865 and worked for a dry goods store in St Catharine’s Ontario, then in Brantford, Toronto, and then for 8 years in Ayr. He arrived in Vancouver in 1892 aged 45 with his wife and five children aged from 7 to 18. He opened a dry goods store at 226 Carrall Street, then moved a few years later to 32 Cordova Stark's Glasgow House, Cordova Street, 1897 CVA SGN 1076Street in the Callister Block. By 1897 (when this picture of the storefront was taken) the business was known as Stark’s Glasgow House – although it’s not entirely clear why as James was born in Dundee. In 1901 he was living at 1027 Robson Street with his wife and all five children. The business offered both dry goods and millinery and two sons worked with their father, joined by the youngest son William in 1903.

James Stark had one of the earliest vehicles in the city – nicknamed somewhat strangely ‘The Rolling Peanut’ by its owners. It was an Oldsmobile that was delivered in May 1902. The sons of the family extended their interest in motoring by running a bicycle store in a former livery stable on Hastings Street with W J Annand that also sold cars as the Vancouver Cycle and Auto Co – the first business to do so. The picture below shows the Rolling Peanut with other Oldsmobiles in front of the store in 1904 or 05. Son William remembered the car “single cylinder, four and a half horsepower; under the seat; single tube rubber tires; no inner tube, no fender, no lights, no horn, but a bell on the dashboard which sounded when a foot button and ratchet were kicked. Originally, it was intended for a delivery van for ‘Glasgow House’ on Cordova Street, and had two seats in front and a box at the back which could be lifted off, but we put two seats at the back; then it held four; two back to back. The foot brake was on a ratchet on the back wheels.”

Oldsmobiles outside Vancouver Auto and Cycle at 108 East Hastings CVA Trans P47Mrs H Sacret recalled riding in the car in a conversation with Major Matthews who added a few notes. “Automobiles would never run in those days; they would get stuck, and people would pass remarks; call to us, ‘Get a horse,’ jeeringly. They called the first little one we had the ‘rolling peanut.’ I used to stop at the store” (Vancouver Auto and Cycle Company) “on Hastings Street, and they” (Mr. Annand or Mr. Stark, partners) “would send me home to Mount Pleasant in the car. It used to bump up and down, especially when going over a crossing” (when Vancouver had macadam roads, and the crossings at street corners were three boards, twelve-inch planks side by side, and the earth used to wear away on each side of the crossing.)”

“I had to sit in the only seat beside the driver, and there was nothing to hang onto, and I did not like to hang onto him; oh, it was terrible; you couldn’t hang onto a man out in the street with passing pedestrians on the sidewalks to watch. They used to say at the shop, ‘Take Miss Louie home in the peanut,’ and I did not know the ‘boys’ who drove; it was terrible.”

In 1904 the business moved to their third location in 12 years; the one in our picture: the five-year old building initially built by McDowell, Atkins and Watson, on the south-east corner of Cordova and Cambie. In 1905 the business was incorporated under the name of James Stark & Sons, Ltd., with James as president and sons Walter as vice president and stark 1910Earnest as secretary and treasurer.

They stayed in the building until 1909 when Stark’s Glasgow House moved to Hastings Street and became a full-scale department store. The family moved to 1201 Harwood Street, although only Earnest was living with his parents; Walter lived on Davie Street. By 1912 James had moved to Shaughnessy Heights and Earnest and Walter had moved to West Point Grey.

The VPL photograph shows the building around 1905 soon after Stark’s first moved in. By 1910 it was the Carlton Cafe, and soon after the Carlton Hotel. During the 1960s there were four partners running the hotel, including Maurice St Cyr, and you could get a room for $40 a month. The building became a single room occupancy hotel known as the Cambie Hotel and the Gastown Inn, but in 1997 it became the Cambie International hostel with over 120 beds and the Cambie pub downstairs.


Posted 9 October 2013 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Cordova and Cambie – sw corner

Cambie & Cordova

Here’s an 1888 image and the 1913 building that replaced the earlier buildings. The older photograph shows  a boarding house and Dr. Beckingsall’s office, E.V. Bodwell and Gravely and Barker Real Estate Offices, Dr. Lefevre and Dr. Robertson’s surgery and The Palace tobacco shop. The buildings were erected soon after the 1886 fire, and appear to have been wooden rather than the brick that was favoured for more permanent structures (like Dr Whetham’s Arlington Block built later in 1888 that’s just visible to the right of the modern image). We’ve seen both sets of buildings in a long view up the street, and they’re across Cambie Street from the Cambie Hostel (the former Carlton Hotel).

The Panama Block that replaced the wooden structures was named to acknowledge how important the construction of the Panama Canal was in 1913. The building came late in the boom for the city – compared to the previous years relatively few buildings were added to the city in 1913, and even fewer for several years after that. The building is triangular, without a lane, and it was designed by fairly obscure architects (Wallington & Wheatley) who only appeared in the city in 1912 for the owners (McConnell, Abbott & Drayton) and cost $10,000 to build. It’s apparent that Arthur Wheatley left the city early in 1913; Edmund Wallington operated from 615 W Hastings, and stayed in Vancouver through to 1915 but his only other significant commission for the Sisters of Good Shepherd in Point Grey was delayed indefinitely in 1913. He seems to have practiced again in Seattle in 1920.

The Drayton in the consortium who built the Panama Block was Charles Drayton, manager of the Vancouver Financial Corporation. The Abbott was almost certainly Harry Abbott, the Chairman of the same company. The most likely McConnell would be Gilbert McConnell, a clothing and footwear wholesaler who developed several other buildings. Harry Abbott was co-proprietor of a wholesale and retail liquor company based on Granville Street. He was born in Ontario, and in 1911 lived on Robson Street with his American wife, Elizabeth, their 8-year-old daughter and domestic servant, Maggie Jack. Charles Drayton (who was born in the West Indies) was also in his 30s, lived on Burnaby Street with his wife Lilian and twin 7-year-old sons, a governess and a Chinese cook.

The Panama Block took a while to get many tenants – five offices were still empty in 1915 although there was a contractor, a pennant manufacturer and on the top floor Israel Baumgart, a tailor. Mr Baumgart was still in the building in 1925, along with several other tenants including the National Sailors  & Fireman’s Union. In 1930 Mr Baugart was there along with the Shasta Lunch, the Federated Seafarers’ Union and the Cambie Tailors. In 1940, Mr Baumgart was still in business, and he shared the upper floors with a signmaker, R G Berry and a printer, Lawrence Campbell. Mr Baumgart, who with his wife Bertha Blythe had been born in Poland, continued to work in the building through to 1948, although in 1940 he had lost his son, Morey, a car salesman who died in Vancouver General Hospital. Today Mr Baumgart’s legacy continues; M.C. Tailors & Cleaners operate from the main floor.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Str P22


Posted 7 October 2013 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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McDowell, Atkins & Watson – Cordova and Cambie se

Atkins, McDowell & Watson

Henry McDowell initially started his working life as a school teacher and then learned the trade of a chemist in Milton, Ontario. He arrived in Vancouver aged 26 almost immediately after the fire had destroyed the new city in June 1886. He set up his store on Cordova Street and in 1891 moved to Granville by buying A W Draper’s business and partnering with Harry Watson, another Milton born Ontario pharmacist who had arrived in 1889. A Daily World souvenir publication from 1891 said “They have a large sale of patent medicines and are proprietors and manufactures of McDowell’s Syrup of Linseed and Hoarhound, McDowell’s Beef Iron and Wine, McDowell’s Embrocation and McDowell’s Extract of Sarsasparilla and Iodides.”

Henry McDowell was connected with the Vancouver Street Railway and Electric Light Co., the Union Steamship Co., the Vancouver City Foundry Co, and was a prominent member of the Board of Trade. In 1895 Atkins and Atkins, another Vancouver druggist merged with McDowell and Watson. The combined company, McDowell, Atkins & Watson, druggists, built this store and office building in 1899. They eventually had 11 stores including one at Hastings and Homer in Harvey’s Chambers.

Atkins and Atkins were Thomas and John Atkins who were from Truro, Nova Scotia. Thomas was a druggist in Londonderry, Nova Scotia, before setting up in Vancouver in 1889, initially in real estate and then six months later as a pharmacist. His brother joined him in time to be listed in the 1891 census. In 1907 the partners sold out to the National Drug Company, and Thomas Atkins retired although Mr McDowell retained an active interest in the business. He retired in 1909, living at 1900 Barclay Street with his wife and three children. Harry Watson also continued with the firm – in 1910 he was President while also representing Vancouver as the MLA for Vancouver Centre. In 1913 he lived at 1230 Barclay Street with his wife and daughter.

For a while, while the National Drug Co were owners in the early 1900s, the building took its Cordova address.  From 1904 to 1909 this became Stark’s Glasgow House, selling Dry Goods. In 1910 the property became the Hotel Carlton (with the Carlton Cafe downstairs), and in 1914 it had become the Carlton Hotel, a name it retained for many decades. Max Crowe was the proprietor in 1912. Today the building is the Cambie Hostel, but our 1900 image is from a publication called Vancouver Architecturally produced by five of the city’s architects including Parr and Fee, who claimed credit for the design of the building, although some sources suggest Samuel McClure designed it with J E Parr. The building is one of Parr’s first in the city (whether with or without Fee) and features a series of cast iron windows between brick piers. Unlike their later trademark centrally pivoted windows, this building had more traditional sash units.