Here’s a small commercial building on Main Street near Keefer. In our 1978 image it was a different small commercial building. Derek Neale and Associates were the designers of the 3-storey replacement, completed in 1982. The earlier building dated back to 1901, built by Baynes and Horie for owner (and supposedly, architect) H J Franklin at a cost of $2,200. It may have started life as a single storey structure because in 1911 owners Armstrong & Edwards hired an architect called ‘Price’ to make $7,400 of alterations to the building. Watson and Hitch were the builders, and ‘Price’ was most likely to be J G Price, an architect who worked on a number of Chinatown buildings including Wing Sang’s tenement building, and West Hotel. Three years later different owners Lowen, Harvey & Preston made some more (less drastic) changes.
There was a house here through the 1890s: in 1897 John Abrams, an engineer lived here, and in 1899 it was his widow. In what was presumably the new building someone identified as J Franklin sold pianos in a short-lived venture in 1902, and in 1903 Harry Franklin was running a stationery business here for three years (presumably the same H J Franklin who designed it, and probably the piano salesman as well). William Murphy set up a rival stationers right next door in 1904, and both businesses had gone by 1906 when our building was home to Empire Commission, Auction & Brokerage. In 1908 J Donald & Co were running a grocers, and in 1909 a long-term occupant arrived (and bought the building) – Armstrong & Edwards, funeral directors. The firm became T Edwards & Co in 1912, and statyed until after 1930. In 1940 B S Herbert & Son elec contrs were here, and were still in the building a decade later.