St George Apartments – 1045 Haro Street

1045 Haro 2

This (very) low rise building sat mid-block on Haro Street just off Burrard. The building permits suggest that Robert F Tegen was the architect of the Parish Hall and School for the Roman Catholic Church built on this site in 1913 at a cost of $100,000. Tegen was a German born architect who didn’t really practice in Vancouver; he was based in Portland, and the developer was listed as the Church of the Holy Rosary. His only other Vancouver work also had a Catholic client – St Paul’s Hospital, and his contribution to that facility (the centre block) was also built in 1913. His specialty was hospital design (at least one Oregon hospital design suggests he liked to recycle successful design elements), but he also designed the Crystal Ballroom in Portland in 1914 (as the Cotillion Hall).

The problem for us is that Tegen’s building was never built – presumably the Catholic’s plans changed, or finances weren’t forthcoming during the recession that hit the city around 1912. Four apartments were on this site until the mid 1920s, when this 24-unit apartment building was constructed. Frederick William Franklin Cross drew up the designs in 1926, and this picture dating from 1927 presumably shows the newly completed building. Cross was an English-born architect who practiced in Vancouver for over 15 years, mostly designing houses, but with a few more significant projects like this, none of which appear to survive today. He was already 70 years old when he designed this building, and had been in Canada from at least 1912 (when he initially worked for Parr, Mackenzie and Day). In Vancouver he preferred to be known as Franklin Cross – before that in England he was sometimes listed as F W Franklin Cross.

The first year it was operating, the St George Apartments were being run by George Roadnight – we don’t know for certain if he developed it, or just ran the building, but we suspect it was his investment (and the name of the building a pun based on his name). George was originally from Denham in England, was president of the Elks in BC in 1930, and before this building he managed a larger building, the Angelus Hotel on Dunsmuir Street (designed by Parr Mackenzie and day in 1912 – so possibly by Franklin Cross). In 1911 George had just arrived in Vancouver in the same year, was aged 25 and was working as a night clerk in a hotel, lodging with the Howard family at 969 Main Street. A year later he was working at the Alexandra Hotel, and living on Prior Street. In 1913 he owned a house on E 30th Avenue that he altered by adding an additional room. George was still running the apartments in 1940, although he retired soon after. He died in Vancouver in 1973, having never married. The St George Apartments were still standing in 1974, as this picture shows.

1045 Haro 1

In 1980 City View was developed here by Qualico Developments, with 160 apartments over 7 floors.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N254 and CVA 778-119

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Posted August 10, 2015 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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