68 Water Street (1)

68 Water St 1

Here’s another warehouse on the city’s first street – Water Street. This was probably the third building to be built on this site in 1906, a warehouse and factory for Edward Lipsett, sail maker, costing $10,000 and designed by Dalton and Eveleigh. Before it was built there was a smaller wooden building, completed soon after the fire and before the fire it was also a developed site.

After 1906 there’s some confusion about what was added when. There’s a $20,000 permit in 1912 for a 2-storey brick addition at the same address, built and designed by Baynes and Horie for Edward Lipsett. The Statement of Significance for the heritage building suggests that’s another building alongside is the 1912 development, but we’re not completely sure that’s correct. This building’s construction was heavy timbers with brick infill, as was the case with all the warehouses on Water Street at this time.

The Vancouver Public Library image details for this photograph say it was photographed in 1920, but that would be inaccurate if the new 4-storey addition was built alongside in 1912. There’s another permit for 176 Water Street for Mr Lipsett in 1918 for a single storey building, also designed by Dalton & Eveleigh. If the accurate address was 76 Water Street, then that would be the building just showing to the right of the four storey building. It appears to have the name ‘Edward’ on the window – so it could well be Mr Lipsett’s extended premises. That would imply the additional 4-storey building standing today to the west would have been built some time after 1920, and not in 1912, and the VPL date is correct. It would also mean this building was built in stages: the main floor first in 1906 (with the Gold House next door), then the upper floors in 1912.

In 1891, Edward Lipsett started a small sail making business at 69 Water Street (across the street from here) and gradually included fishing, boating and hunting supplies before finally becoming a large retailer of industrial supplies, marine hardware, sporting goods and boats. Edward was born in the US – his family had Irish ancestry, and he was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His wife, Mary, is less clear – one census has her from the US, of Scottish ancestry, and another apparently from Nova Scotia of English origin.  They arrived in Canada in 1890 from Boston and became Canadian citizens in 1898. In 1901 they were aged 34, and had three children, Roy, Harry and Evelyn, aged from nine to five. The family were still together in 1911, living at the house Edward had built at 1166 West Pender Street. Roy was a salesman, and his father (who in 1891 was recorded as a sail maker) is now shown as a marine goods supplier. In 1914 the company were described as manufacturers of canvas goods – sails, tents, tarpaulins, aprons, coats and overalls.

Today the building has office space upstairs and a nightclub with an entrance on Water Street.

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Posted May 23, 2014 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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