Cordova Street – west from Carrall

Cordova west 1888

Here’s Cordova Street – supposedly photographed in 1890, looking west from Carrall Street. Actually it has to be earlier than 1889, because the Dunn-Miller block (the red brick building on the left) was built in 1889. We’ve featured many of the buildings in the picture, but as far as we can tell nothing you can see from around 1888 is still standing today. We featured almost the same view from a 1960s image earlier in the year. The building at the far end of the street looks a bit like it might be the same – but actually it was rebuilt in 1913, and  looks quite different.

dunnIn 1887 Thomas Dunn, the businessman who would partner with Jonathan Miller to build the Dunn-Millar block was already trading here (as this detail shows) – he was said to have been the first to rebuild after the fire. His original store, before the fire, was on Carrall Street. R V Winch had his fruit and vegetable store on the site that Dunn later rebuilt after the fire.

Dunn’s company was absorbed later by Wood Vallance & Co, who continued to operate from the Cordova Street premises. Dunn didn’t actually own the site he built on, assuming the interview Mrs Lougheed gave to Major Matthews in 1940. Mrs Lougheed was the daughter of Charles Paull who owned the land, and Dunn paid $100 a month to lease the land on a fifty year lease with Mrs Paull. Once the Lonsdale family bought the whole block in 1912 they paid the Paull family to acquire the lease – $35,000 for the Dunn part of the building.

On the right is the Boulder Saloon – built in 1890 on the site of Angus Fraser’s house. That house burned down in the fire, so the present Boulder was actually the third building on the site. We haven’t been able to identify what the building on the right was: there was no Boulder Saloon until 1890, and the Burrard Hotel (named for owner John Burrard) on the corner of Carrall and Cordova was on the extreme left of the picture – later to be redeveloped as the Rainier Hotel.

The 1889 insurance map shows a drug store here; the only druggist with no specific numbered address on Cordova Street was D L McAlpin, so he could be the occupant of the short-lived wooden building.

Blake & Muir, solicitors, were at 3 Cordova Street. John Joseph Blake was from Ontario, arriving in Granville in 1885. While it is said he became the city’s first solicitor, he was probably the second. Later he became a magistrate and JP; his 1899 obitiary identified him as the author of the city’s Charter. (Andrew Muir arrived a year earlier, so is more likely to be the city’s first lawyer). Later he moved down the street and to the south side where he was in partnership with his brother, John. Neither brother married, and Andrew left Vancouver in 1891, moving to Nelson, and later Comox. He stayed there 30 years, sometimes working as a bartender at the Lorne Hotel. He died in Vancouver some time after 1940.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-777

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Posted December 25, 2013 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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