209 Harris Street

209 Harris

We noted how D J McPhalen built at least two properties on Main Street in our previous post. Here he is, with his family in front of his house at 209 Harris Street. Today Harris is known as East Georgia.

Mr McPhalen was almost certainly a former constable who moved to the city and became a contractor. He was living on Harris Street from 1888, listed as a contractor and he may have been the McPhalen who was a furniture dealer with a Mr Ash on Hastings in 1887. Dan McPhalen was born on Christmas Day 1852 (and not in 1853, 1854 or 1855 – despite what some census enties might suggest). His wife, Caroline (who was 11 years younger) was born in Ontario, and in 1891 they had 3 children who were listed on the Census –  so we can identify them in this 1889 image. Mary was the oldest – aged four, standing to the right of her father. John was a year younger, and he had the splendid tricycle, and Ellen was two years younger than John.

We now know from a family member that Dan was born in Humberstone, Welland County, Ontario in 1852. Initially he moved to Rapid City, Manitoba in 1879, and then to Vancouver in 1886. His wife Caroline Bollman was born in Port Colborne, Niagara, Ontario in 1864. They were married in Rapid City Manitoba. Within the family Caroline was affectionately known as ‘Lena’.

In the 1901 census Dan’s wife was recorded as Lena, a lodging house keeper, and he was a contractor, with all three children still at home. In 1901 there was another McPhalen living two doors down from D J McPhelen; Charles was recorded as a carpenter. He was later joined by his brother William, and they went into business as contractors known as McPhalen Brothers. These were both Dan’s younger brothers; all the records that separately show their father identify him as Cornelius McPhalen. The brothers built a number of structures in the Vancouver area, including four schools and the China Creek trunk sewer. For a short time immediately before and during WW I they operated as Hodgson, King and McPhalen Bros. In 1917, William enlisted and fought with the CEF in France. After the war, the partnership with Hodgson and King was not renewed. The firm Hodgson, King and Marble constructed the Burrard Street Bridge and is still in business as HKM.

Mr. McPhalen built a number of the building near his home, including the London Hotel across the street from his home. By 1908 the McPhalen Block was located at 628 Westminster Ave (today’s Main Street), Daniel McPhalen ran his business from 730 Westminster Ave, and his home was 575 W 10th (on the corner with Ash St), where he stayed for many years. He died in 1921.

Today the site has a 25′ wide building, as it did in 1899. but it has 9 storeys of apartments over new retail space known as ‘The Flats’, completed earlier this year.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  SGN 342

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Posted October 9, 2014 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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