Howe and Nelson (1)

Howe from NelsonHere’s a rather fine house on the north-west corner of Howe and Nelson – generally addressed as 805 Nelson Street. It was built in 1904 at a cost of $2,500, the permit crediting Mrs M Post as both developer and architect, with S J Steves as the builder. There was nobody called Post living in Vancouver at the time, but in Victoria 59-year-old Margaret Post was living with her contractor husband Jason, and her son, Gilbert, aged 41. The Posts, and their son, had been born in Ontario. We haven’t found much about the family, or why Margaret (assuming she was the developer of the house) should build in Vancouver. There were two other houses alongside on the same double lot (facing Nelson Street) built in 1901 by W T Farrell. We assume this is the same W T Farrell who built the first suspension bridge over the Capilano Canyon in 1903.

In 1907 Jason Post was reported to have travelled to Vancouver to attend a meeting of the Supreme Orange Lodge. Jason and Margaret’s son, Gilbert, was a carpenter, and had suffered a personal tragedy in 1896 when his wife and child (also called Gilbert) died in the Point Ellice Bridge disaster when a streetcar packed with holidaymakers celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday fell into the harbour, killing 55 people; the worst accident in Canadian transit history. We know Gilbert had a brother as he was able to identify Gilbert junior’s body.

The first resident of the house in 1905 was William Shannon, who was in real estate. In 1911 it was occupied by Wallace G Browne, a tobacconist on Granville Street. Our VPL image shows it in 1928 when W J Long, a clerk at the Hotel Vancouver was living there.  Today it’s the corner of the Arthur Erickson designed courthouse, with an impressive cantilevered planter and a double row of street trees.

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Posted December 5, 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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