Here’s the only Vancouver residential apartment building designed by San Francisco architects Wright, Rushforth & Cahill. Wright was the lead partner, and originally from England, but Bernard Cahill was the likely designer, from San Francisco. It dates from 1910, and was completed a year later. The building permit estimated a cost of $100,000, but as designs were clarified the cost was raised to $157,000. In submitting the permit, the architects (who had opened a Vancouver office) claimed to be the builders This was unlikely to be true; they co-ordinated the trades who were the builders: the Wells Construction company carried out the initial site works of excavation and basement construction.
The developers were the Pacific Investment Corporation, and the Contract Record published some of the details of the project: “There will be 82 apartments in all, comprised as follows: 56 3-room, 22 4-room, 2 5-room and 2 2-room. In addition, there is a store on the comer suitable for grocer or druggist. Provision is also made for a cafe below the ground floor on Davie street, with stairway from the entrance vestibule. The basement will contain the heating plant, hot water service, vacuum cleaning plant, storage rooms, and janitor’s quarters. For the convenience of tenants, there will be dumb waiters, messenger and telegraph call boxes, mail chutes, patent sanitary garbage chutes, and vacuum cleaning system. Near the passenger elevator will be a ‘phone with connection to each apartment.”
The Pacific Investment Corporation’s fiscal agents were Wolverton & Co, run (in Vancouver) by Alfred N Wolverton and managing stocks, bonds and investments in real estate and timber. Newton Wolverton was president of Wolverton & Co, but was based in Nelson. He was president of Sunset Mills (a lumber company) and of Pacific Investment Corporation. He was born in Ontario, had an extraordinary career; he obtained a law degree, became Principal of Woodstock College (a Baptist training college) and then of Bishop College University in Texas from 1897 to 1903. He then became Superintendent of the Brandon Experimental Farm before moving to BC to take up finance and real estate in 1907.
It appears that the building is still owned today by the a company with the same name, which may well have been an investment vehicle to develop the building. The investment opportunity was offered in February 1910: “The Pacific Investment Corporation, Limited, has purchased for the sum of $25,000 a double corner, 132×132 feet, the southeast coiner of Davie and Jervis streets, the very finest apartment building site in Vancouver’s exclusive West End. (It is immaterial that the company his since been offered $27,000 for this property). The company is going to erect the finest and most up-to-date six-storey apartment block in Western Canada on the business unit system and the estimated cost of property and building is $135,000. The company is now placing on the market 750 business units at par $100 each $25 cash, balance in two, four and six months, without interest. About one-third of these units is already subscribed.”
Our image dates from around 1911, when the building was featured in a postcard now in the BC Archives collection. As far as we know the store, and lower level café were never built. Bernard Cahill’s buildings after Holly Lodge include the Multnomah Hotel in Portland, also still standing today.