322 Water Street

300 block Water St

Here’s another of the diamond-decorated Townsend and Townsend buildings that they designed between 1908 and 1913. They used the motif on many, but not all of their buildings, irrespective of the use. The previous post showed a rooming house on Granville Street – this is a warehouse. It cost $26,000 to build and was built by William McPherson in 1912 – this picture shows it two years later.

We’re reasonably certain that the most likely of the several William McPhersons who were living in the city at the time was a Scottish canneryman, who co-owned the Dinsmore Island Cannery with William Hickey. In 1911 he was aged 58, living with his wife Jessie and their domestic, Jane Hastings. Ten years earlier they had a different domestic, Tommy Kado. The cannery was sold to British Columbia Packers Association and Hickey partnered with Robert Kelly (of Kelly, Douglas) to obtain the exclusive rights to seine fish the Smith Inlet salmon run. McPherson had been a partner in an earlier cannery – a very much earlier cannery in Steveston called the Lulu Island cannery which ran from 1891 to 1895 before it was sold and renamed the London Cannery, (it had been demolished by 1911). The 1901 census tells us that William had arrived from Scotland in 1872, while Jessie arrived much later in 1893. William died unexpectedly in 1917.

In the picture the tenants were Bernet Bros; Joseph, Ernest and Martin Bernet were from New York, merchants whose warehouse was initially on Cordova, then Granville in 1911 and finally here. Joseph had started in Vancouver as a financial and real estate broker around 1910 in partnership as Bernet and Helm, and from 1918 to 1919 was a wholesale jeweler in a different partnership, Bernet and Gluck. Bernet Brothers seem to have ceased operations in 1914 when they were described as electrical wholesalers and Martin and Ernest Bernet were in partnership as Ernest & Martin Bernet that year. In 1916 G R Gregg & Co occupied the building, wholesaling Japanese Goods and European Silks, with Herbert Geddes as manager. They had moved here from the Buscombe Building, two buildings to the west.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 983

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Posted June 8, 2015 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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