321 Water Street

325 Water St, Hudson's Bay

This significant heavy wood-frame warehouse was one of the first in this part of Water Street. Built in 1894, it is said to have been designed by C O Wickenden for the Hudson’s Bay Company with three floors whose function included the storage of furs and liquor.

The Vancouver Daily World announced completion under the headline: A SUBSTANTIAL, STRUCTURE. “What is probably the most strongly constructed building in the city has just been completed ready for occupation. It Is situated on Water street and will be used as a warehouse, wholesale offices and liquor store by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The latter apartment will be taken possession of on Monday and the other at an early date. The binding has a frontage on Water street of 80 feet and a depth of 120, running lack to the C. P. R. tracks, where there is a covered way for the unloading of cars on the spur that is to be run into the building. There are two parts to the building all the way up. and there are practically two large cellars which promise to be the best storage apartments.”

While it may be a subsequent design, it’s possible that Mr. Wickenden only supervised the construction; the Winnipeg Tribune in September 1893 announced that George Creeford Brown had designed the building.

In less than a decade it was too small, and Dalton & Eveleigh were hired to add $8,000 of additional space on two further floors in 1903. (Dalton had designed the additional floors on both the warehouses to the east as well). Both the original design and the addition utilized the Romanesque Revival, with curved brick arches ending up appearing on alternate floors.

This 1941 Vancouver Public Library image shows the Bay continued to use the warehouse over many years, until the early 1950s. It was the company’s general office in the city in 1912, but reverted to warehouse use later. In the 1950s J F Mussenden took over the building as a shoe warehouse. The top floors were gutted by fire in the early 1970s, and the building was rebuilt with Werner Forster supervising the renovation. Renamed Hudson House, it is now used as commercial office space over retail and restaurant uses (like most of Water Street).

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