438 West Pender Street

438 W Pender

Tudor James Alexander Tiedemann was almost certainly born in British Columbia in 1866 and was living in the James Bay ward of Victoria in 1881. He was living at home with his German father, Herman, Herman’s Quebec-born wife, Mary and two younger brothers, and was working as a clerk in real estate. By 1889 he was married to Josephine Suffern and had a son, also called Tudor. Confusingly there seems to be another branch of the family where both father and son were also called Tudor Tiedemann, where the son was born in Washington, to a mother called Alice.

Tiedemann 1902Mr Tiedemann seems to have never lived in Vancouver, (he’s not in any street directory), but was probably based in San Francisco where he was an underwriter representing Scottish Union. He visited Victoria more often, for certain in 1897, and again in 1902 when he nearly lost his life on a hunting expedition.

He was President of the Fire Underwriters ‘ Association of the Pacific in 1911. Being based in the US could explain his choice of architects; Bebb and Mendel, who were at the time the most prominent architects in Seattle. The building cost $10,000, and there was an additional expense of $3,000 to add a basement. There’s a third $3,000 permit for a warehouse, which may well have been at the back of the building as there was definitely a workshop back there for many years.

The Statement of Significance for the Historic Building says the first occupant of the building was the office of the Tiedemann Insurance Company, but there’s no sign that this was the case; rather in 1911 it was the home to Percy W Charleson, a stock and investment broker, and the Travelers Insurance Co of Hartford Connecticut, (which doesn’t seem to have any connection to Mr Tiedemann directly, although there does seem to be a branch of the family in that state).

In 1920 there was an insurance adjuster, Al Hampton, and a stock broker, A M Roberts in the building, while at the back the Economy Garage was operating. By our 1932 image the Paris Cafe and Grill was downstairs, with the workshop of North Western messengers at the back and the Paris Rooms upstairs.

The Paris Cafe closed; in 1946 there was a realty company downstairs, Hutchins and Briggs, although the Paris Rooms were still upstairs. By the mid 1950s there was a new Paris Cafe on East Hastings (where Fred Herzog captured one of his memorable images in 1959) that replaced the Rex Cafe. At 438 there was a different realty company, a coin collector and an accountant.

Today the building still stands, with a hair salon downstairs and offices upstairs, although the space seems to be used for a wider range of activities including as a recording studio.

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Posted November 24, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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