568 Keefer Street

568 Keefer

This Strathcona house was still standing in our 1962 image. Although it seems to be in reasonable condition, and had been developed and built less than 50 years earlier (according to the building Permit by K E Raby in 1913), it was gone by 1979 when a new house was built, much further back on the lot. Six years earlier the neighbouring site with what looks like a former store was also redeveloped, with a shrunken Vancouver Special (as this is an area of twenty-five foot lots).

We had no idea who the K E Raby shown on the building permit was: nobody of that name shows up in any location in the street directories, although there was a Lewis (sometimes Louis) Raby involved as a real estate broker in the early 1910s. He was from Duncan, Ontario, and in December 1915 was apparently headed to World War One; although soon after he applied to become an American citizen and moved to Tacoma where he worked in the shipyards. His wife, Alice, was Australian and a nurse. They married in 1911 and in 1918 he had built a new maternity home in Tacoma, the year Alice died from pneumonia. Katherine Raby was living in the North Bulkley Valley in 1911 where she advertised as a public stenographer, but she married George Harvey that year and presumably became Katherine Harvey.

There is mention of K E Raby in a 1915 news piece: he donated a box of fruit to a collection for troops headed overseas, and was shown as in business at 512 Main Street. Two boxes were also donated by K A Raby of Candyland. That helped us trace who we think really built the house: K E Rahy. (Rahy was misprinted in the newspaper as Raby; presumably the building permit suffered from the same issue). Kalil E Rahy ran the confectionary store at Main and lived on Odlum Drive, and another entry shows another Kalil Rahy running Candyland on West Hastings, living on the 800 block of Keefer.

There was only one K Rahy recorded in the 1911 census (the clerk heard the name as Karl) – a Syrian who had arrived in BC in 1891. He lived with his wife, son and five daughters on Odlum Drive. In 1913, when the house was built he was living on East Hastings and was manager of the Granville Theatre. (By 1916 there were five Kalil Rahys in the city by including the two who ran confectionery stores; two of the others were tailors). There’s no sign that the Rahy family ever lived here, it seems to have been an investment property.

The first resident in the house was listed in 1914 as Crediford Hill, with Jennie Lawrence a year later and in 1916 Woo Sun, followed by Lum Wah Sun in the early 1920s. Crediford was a carpenter who was married to Gertrude, and when they moved into the house they had two daughters aged nine and seven (Gertrude and Phyllis), and John their six year old son. Crediford and his family were relatively recent arrivals from England (in 1910); all the children had been born there. They had moved from 630 Powell Street where they had two lodgers, Edward Hill, a plumber and William Little, another carpenter.

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Posted July 4, 2016 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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