Archive for July 2017

752 Thurlow Street (2)

Our previous post looked at this building in the 1970s when it was Oil Can Harry’s club. Long before the club use the building started life in 1926 as the Vancouver Women’s Building, designed by A A Cox. Here it is in 1927, soon after it was completed. There was a house here before this building was completed in 1927; it was bought in 1911 by delegates from twelve Women’s organisations who had raised funds by subscription. Judge Helen MacGill, an outspoken advocate for women and children’s legal rights was one of the founders, and remained active in welfare reform and women’s rights issues throughout her life. The house became a resource centre for women’s groups, with office space and meeting rooms, and a 10c a day childcare centre for working mothers, Canada’s first such public institution.

By 1913 21 organisations with 5,000 members were shareholders, and membership continued to grow. The crèche had moved in 1917 to Cambie Street, and by 1924 funds had been raised to allow the design of a new building, although the original house wasn’t demolished, but moved to the back of the lot. The new building had shareholders from 80 organizations and 500 individuals; it was smaller than had originally been hoped, but the war and economic downturn reduced the scale of the building. As with many businesses and groups, the recession of the early 1930s hit funds hard, and by 1933 the shareholders were finding it difficult to repay the remaining debt associated with the building. By 1940 it was impossible to retain the premises, and in 1941 it was taken over by the Salvation Army. By 1950 it was vacant, and in 1955 Pedersen’s Catering operated from the building. In 1966 Oil Can Harry’s club opened, lasting in various versions until 1977. The Carlyle, a residential and retail tower replaced the 1926 premises in 1988.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N292

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Posted July 31, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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752 Thurlow Street (1)

This Downtown location has seen a dramatic transformation in the past few years as it has become an extension of the luxury shopping area that has expanded from Alberni Street. Today’s retail stores include Saint Laurent of Paris and Moncler, a clothing brand founded in France but now based in Milan. The stores are newly redesigned and refitted for their brands, but the building they’re in has been around for nearly 30 years: The Carlyle was designed by Aitken Smith Carter and completed in 1988. There are nearly 150 residential units here: they were initially rented, but were sold as strata units from 1989 onwards. Until the recent transformation there was a 7-11 on the corner of the building, and these units were part of The Keg steakhouse and bar.

The building here before the Carlyle was more modest; a three storey building that in this 1974 image was home to Oil Can Harry’s club. The club opened in 1966, and towards the mid 1970s there were effectively three clubs in one. On the main floor was a lounge usually featuring a singer with a rhythm section. Beyond that was the largest room of the club which usually had R&B bands and the occasional jazz group and upstairs was a jazz club.

The club was owned by Danny Baceda, who later also owned Issy’s and The Cave (before his company ended up in receivership in 1972), but his cousin, Frank Hook effectively ran the club. Despite seeing bookings for legendary performers including Ike and Tina Turner and Charles Mingus, disco eventually killed that version of the club. New management ran the club into the early 1980s as a disco club, complete with a pool and bridge in the middle of the room (where the dance floor might have made more sense).

The origins of the building are quite different from a nightclub. On 12 April 1911, women’s organizations banded together and formed Vancouver Women’s Building Ltd. The following year they purchased a lot at 752 Thurlow Street and spent years fundraising to erect their own building for meeting, office, and daycare space. The Vancouver Women’s Building, designed by A A Cox, opened in 1926. We’ll look at the history of that period in another post.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-433

159 East Hastings Street

Our previous post looked at the Dawson Building (for the second time) on the corner of Main and Hastings. It’s a substantial office (now residential) building, completed in 1911. As it is located close to where the city was founded, it wasn’t the first building here. Our 1898 image shows the building that was there before the office. The numbers associated with the buildings on East Hastings have changed, (so today 159 E Hastings is the Balmoral Hotel, several buildings to the west of here), but as far as we can tell this was a fairly new building when it was photographed.

At that time this was the home of the Scotch Bakery, who perhaps surprisingly, according to the delivery wagon, used Ogilvie’s Hungarian Flour. It turns out that this isn’t a reference to where the flour came from. Rather, the Ogilvie Flour Mill, built in 1881 in Winnipeg (the first flour mill in western Canada) was fitted with the latest equipment, using the “Hungarian process” that combined stone and gradual reduction rollers to grind grain into previously unattainable fine flours. For just one year, 1899, James S Morrison was the baker and confectioner running the Scotch Bakery here. A year later the same James S Morrison was a driver for Dominion Express, and seems to have left the city by the end of 1901.

As he wasn’t a resident in the city (as far as we can be sure) for any of the census dates, we don’t know anything about Mr. Morrison, although it would be nice to think he might have been from Scotland. A bakery continued to be located here once he had gone, but it changed frequently. Wilkinson, Gardiner & Co had their bakery here in 1901. Trudgeon & Poulson’s shoemakers were located next door. A year later Adams & Farrant, bakers had moved in, and in 1905 the City Bakery, run by Adulf Mahrstedt was here. H Jago took over a year later, and in 1980 J P Morgan was running the bakery. In 1909 and 1910 the bakery became the Silver Medal Bakery, run by H C Lucas. (There was no Gold Medal Bakery in the city that year). The bakery here closed when George Dawson developed his office building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str P4

Posted July 24, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Dawson Building – 375 Main Street (2)

George Dawson developed this building on the corner of Main and Hastings in 1911, and we first looked at its history in 2012. At that time we looked at the background of the builder and ‘architect’, Bedford Davidson. We didn’t really examine the background of the man who paid the $180,000 to develop it. George was not a cannery agent as described in the Historic Building Statement; rather, as Dawson & Buttimer, George was an active owner and developer of canneries. Fred Buttimer (actually Alfred) was his younger brother-in-law, and briefly, when the 1911 census was conducted, the two families were sharing a house on Burnaby Street while the Buttimer’s were waiting for their new house to be completed.

They both came from New Brunswick, and George looked after the books and sales, while Fred managed the production. Fred was said to be short, quiet and even tempered, while George was large, distinguished looking and generally silent unless aroused to fury – which was said to occur quite often. In 1893 with their partner George Wilson they acquired their first cannery, in Steveston, which they called Brunswick #1. Their second, Brunswick Cannery #2. was opened in 1897 at Canoe Pass in Delta. Brunswick #3 was in the Rivers Inlet District. They sold all three canneries to the B C Packer’s Association in 1902.

In 1903, now as Buttimer and Dawson, (or Dawson and Buttimer – there was no consistency to the company name) they established a new cannery on Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island (which they sold to Wallace Fisheries in 1911). In 1905 they bought a cannery on Harlock Island, opposite Steveston, a year later they built the Kildala Cannery in Rivers Inlet, described in the New Westminster Daily News as being constructed with the aid of “an immense pile-driver”, and then in 1907 another called the Manitou Cannery in Northern BC. The also bought the Carlisle Cannery on the Skeena River in 1905. B C Packers were unhappy with the increased completion, especially as part of the agreement to buy the Brunswick Company in 1902 suggested that Buttimer and Dawson would not compete. Not only did they compete; they did it with the money B C Packers had paid them for their earlier investments.

George Dawson was from Bathurst, married to Vina Buttimer, 16 years younger, and they had one son, David. We haven’t found a great deal about George, although his marriage was noted in the Times Colonist in 1895. For some reason it took place in Winnipeg “George W. Dawson, canner, of Vancouver, was wedded here today to Miss Vina Buttimer, of Bathurst, N. B. who had journeyed half way across the continent to meet her lover.” There are almost no references to George’s involvement in civic life, although know he was involved in local politics because he was the seconder nominating Walter Hepburn when he stood for the 1916 election for mayor. (Hepburn wasn’t elected). George died in 1935, aged 83. Vina lived on until 1965, when she was 96.

Alfred Buttimer (and we suspect George Dawson) continued to be involved in the fishing industry until 1925, when their remaining cannery interests were sold to B.C. Packers. Alfred devoted his time to Vancouver real estate, and died in 1934.

In 1940, when our image was taken, this was still an office building. It stayed as offices until 1985, when it was converted to residential use, designed by Adolph Ingre and Associates. Today it’s non-market rental housing run by the Affordable Housing Society.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P296

Posted July 20, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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300 block Main Street – east side

This 1951 image shows a series of buildings soon to come to the end of their existence. In 1953 Townley and Matheson’s Public Safety Building was completed where the earlier structures had stood. While the adjacent addition of the Public Safety Building was completed a year later, and was supposedly designed by Dawson and Hall (if you believe the Heritage Statement for the building), there’s an architects illustration in the Archives that suggests it was all designed as a single project and was all the work of Townley and Matheson; Dawson & Hall were a construction company, so that was presumably who built it.

The buildings that were replaced were built over a number of years. The 2-storey corner building pre-dated 1900, and we haven’t identified the developer. The largest building on the block was once the location of the Hotel Blackburn, then the Blackburn House Hotel and was later converted and renamed as the Lanning Apartments. Next door was a more ornate building, completed as the Star Theatre in 1921.

Albert E Blackburn had operated a hotel here from 1900. Before that he ran the Russ House on Powell Street. He was from an Irish protestant family, and born in Ontario (in 1854), where his wife, Aggie (who was three years younger) was also born. The couple almost needed a hotel just for their family; in 1901 there were 9 children at home, 6 girls and 3 boys, aged 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, and 19 years. The family had moved around quite a bit; the oldest children (still at home) were born in the United States, then the next in Ontario, then in British Columbia, three in the US again (in Seattle), and the youngest in British Columbia.

In 1908 the Blackburn Hotel reopened, ‘entirely rebuilt and refurbished’ with steam heat piped to the ‘commodious rooms’. We haven’t traced a permit for the architect of the new hotel, but the rebuild cost $16,000 and the owners then were shows as ‘Boyd & Clendenning’ although we believe they were just the contractors at this point, not the owners. Patrick Gunn pinned down when the rebuild occurred: in July 1907 the Daily World reported “Mr. A.E. Blackburn’s request to be allowed to put up a corrugated iron building for temporary use while the Blackburn hotel is being remodeled could not be complied with as it would be a breach of the building bylaws.” In 1909 rooms on the European Plan could cost as little as 75c a night. A 1913 advertisement, when Mr. Blackburn was still in charge, noted the hotel’s convenient location for Orangemen – the Orange Headquarters were only a block away.

In 1914 Albert was appointed the Province as an Election Commissioner, and had given up his ownership of his hotel, selling it to what the Daily World referenced as ‘Boyd and Clendenning’. In fact, the new owners were Boyd & Clandening; Thomas Boyd, originally from Nova Scotia, and James Clandening from Ontario. The partnership had cleared much of the city, working on contract for both the railway company and the City Council. They cleared Granville street in 1886, worked on the Stanley Park road in 1888 and also on bridges, including the Westminster Avenue bridge. They also helped construct the BC Electric line to Cloverdale and in 1908 the Seymour Creek waterworks.

Invariably Mr. Clandening’s name was wrongly reported; in newspapers, in contracts, in the minutes of the City Council, and in the street directories. The Census however reported the correct spelling in 1901, identifying James, aged 62 with Eliza, his wife who was 17 years younger, and their children Nellie, Norma and Gordon. As early as 1898 (when the street directory managed to spell his name correctly) Mr. Clandening had owned part of the site, basing his contracting business here. At that time there was a grocer’s shop on the corner of Cordova and Westminster Avenue (Main Street) and Gordon Drysdale had his ‘People’s Store’ alongside. In 1903 Drysdale moved his business to Hastings Street and later to new premises that he built on Granville Street. Mr Clandening had first come to British Columbia during the Cassiar gold rush of 1873, but returned west before working on Vancouver Island helping build the E & N Railway in 1884 (when he had a crew of 60 working for him).

Thomas Boyd arrived in BC in 1883, in New Westminster, and helped build the Crow’s Nest Pass for the railway, and before that the Eagle Pass wagon road to help railway construction. He married in 1893, and had two daughters, one who died as a baby. Thomas had another simultaneous partnership, as Boyd and McWhinnie, and they had hired the same architects to build another substantial hotel quite close to here in 1911. He owned that property with Mr. McWhinnie as early as 1886.

In 1914 the partners hired Honeyman and Curtis to totally rebuild the site of the Blackburn Hotel, spending $75,000 and hiring J J Franz to construct the building described as ‘apartments, rooms, 4-storey concrete hotel’. However, it doesn’t look like they followed through, as out 1951 image shows the 1908 brick building still standing. They retained the Balckburn name, and Albert Blackburn was still shown as proprietor in 1916, although Harry Todd was managing the property. In 1918 they spent another $4,500 converting it to apartments, again hiring Honeyman and Curtis for the design work. Initially called the McDonald Apartments, it very quickly switched to the Lanning Apartments, a name it retained until demolition in the early 1950s.

In 1921 they hired the same architects to build on the plot to the south. This time the spent $20,000 to build “Miscellaneous; New; Picture Theatre; 49-ft frontage, 120-ft long; brick & tile with tar & gravel roof; provision made for two small stores on either side of theatre entrance; seating capacity of 450”.

The theatre was run by Mrs Annie Graham, who had been running the Star Theatre on the opposite side of the street since the mid 1910s. Before that it was run by Wilson and Allen, but Mrs. Graham made it a success and wanted to both expand and improve the theatre. When the owners were unwilling to invest, she presumably persuaded Boyd and Clandening to construct a new movie theatre, which continued in use until the 1953 redevelopment. Although her ambitions were for a 600 seat theatre, the new Star had 449 seats. The previous theatre space never reopened as a movie theatre.

Albert Blackburn died of a heart attack in Seattle in 1921, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. James Clandening died in 1927, aged around 90, and was also buried in Mountain View. Thomas Boyd died in 1938, aged 81, and was interred in the same cemetery.

Today the former police building is getting a complete makeover as an incubator for tech startup companies.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-100.jpg

Robson and Thurlow – north side

The building on the corner of Robson and Thurlow today is Joe Fortes restaurant, with a roof-top patio and a reputation for great seafood. Underneath there are smaller retail units with a shoe store on the corner; back in 1969 when this picture was taken the corner restaurant was the Traveller restaurant and steak house – licenced, and open 24 hours. It made no lasting impact on the written records of the city – the Archives have a place mat from 1960, and otherwise there’s nothing. The 1955 street directory show the Manhattan Foods restaurant here, and the menu from a few year’s earlier (in the Museum of Vancouver) suggests that like Joe Fortes it was a seafood restaurant. Despite being here for several years, that establishment also has no other online records associated with it. In 1955 it was run by Charles and Beatrice Bennett, and earlier, in 1948 it was run by L A Hobbs, (and we also can find Mary Shupenia and Ann Smith, the waitresses , Ann Loveless, the cook, and Beatrice Cook and Frances Morrison, the dishwashers in the street directory).

Next door was India House gifts. In the 1950s the Art Emporium was here, run by Frederick Michell, and next door was the Yarn Barn that had replaced the Normandie Beauty Shoppe run by Mrs T M Bayzand which shared a doorway in 1955 with P Campbell’s Modern Barbers. In 1969 the New York Barbershop was in the other half of the 2-storey 1926 building. The corner building and the two single storey retail units were redeveloped in 1985. We think that all the single storey buildings in the ‘before’ picture were built in the 1930s.

These obviously weren’t the first buildings here. When the West End was first developed, this was a residential stretch of street. Mr Whitehead built two houses on the corner, fronting onto Thurlow, and designed and constructed by Thomas Hunter in 1901. J M Whitehead moved into one house, and B Douglas, widow, into the other. Mr Whitehead was chief clerk for the BC Packers Association, and he was still living in his house in 1922, when he was the general manager of the BC Fishing & Packing Co. In 1912 he appears to have been appointed as the Belgian consul to British Columbia. The two houses remained residential into the 1930s. One was occupied for many years by Reinhart Hoffmeister, who built several Granville Street properties

Next door to the west D M Fraser built one house in 1901, and another on the other half of the lot (where the 1926 building was constructed) in 1904. The first house was occupied by Mr. Fraser himself, with another contractor, W Brehaut. By 1922 the second house had added a retail use at the front, the Robson Dairy, although there was still a house behind.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-402

Posted July 13, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

1025 Main Street

“Morrow Coal and Ice. Co.” first appear at this location (initially 1027 and then 1025 Main Street) in 1924 . Their motto, over the entrance was the punning ‘Phone TO MORROW For Your COAL TO-DAY’. The yard in 1922 was owned by Alberta Pacific Coals Ltd and Kirk & Co’s Yard #2, with A L Amiel at 1029 Main.

Alfred Amiel emigrated to Vancouver from Deal, Kent, England in 1902. He worked as a teamster for Vancouver Ice and Cold Storage Company c. 1908-1910, before becoming the manager of the Almond Ice Company, manufacturers of ice. The company history says that by 1914, Amiel was the proprietor of the company. In 1915, he opened the Amiel Ice & Fuel Company at 406 E Pender Street. The following year, the company moved to 1024 Main Street next to the Almond Ice Company. This part of the story isn’t quite accurate; in 1915 the street directory shows the Almond Ice Co on West Pender (at #406) next to the Almond Ice Cream Co, owned by H E Almond (at 400). Mr. Amiel was the owner of the Almond Ice Co at 1025 Main. In 1917 the company became a coal and ice company, run by A L Amiel. Before Amiel’s move here the site was home to the Main Horse Repository.

The company history says William Morrow purchased the Amiel Ice & Fuel Company in 1922 after original owner Alfred Lewis Amiel went bankrupt. That year the street directory shows Morrow Ice Co and the Alberta Coal Co (owned by William Morrow) sharing this yard. (However, in 1923 Amiel was still shown in business at 1029 Main St, although that might be an error, as he actually stayed on working for Morrow as retail manager of the ice company). William Morrow was the manager until his death in 1930 when G.A. Strickland took over, and Myldred Morrow, William’s widow, was president. By 1935, William and Myldred’s son William J.T. Morrow was the manager and his mother remained the company president. In 1967 William became the president and the business moved to 1251 Charles St. In 1978 a second location is given at 745 W. 54th Ave which then was no longer listed after 1985. Wm Jorgensen became president in 1988 and the business closed the same year.

We can find Myldred Morrow’s death certificate from 1970, so we know she was born in Melborne, Australia, in 1885, and that her father was James Tyrell. He husband was William Bradshaw Morrow, born in Ireland and dying in 1930, aged only 47. In the 1911 census he was lodging in Vancouver Mansions, and a year later in the St James Rooms on Granville Street, working at a sheet metal works. Just before he took over the Alberta Coal Co he was running the Alberta Woodyard.

By 1931, when this Stuart Thomson image was taken, they had ’15 Trucks to Serve You’, and their yard was on a finger of filled land with a wharf to the west. Today you can buy a laser-cut HO scale model of their coal dock, built by Fairbanks Co. The company specialized in lifting bucket mechanisms used to empty the  hoppers. The coal dock was used to fill coal sacks for delivery to retail customers, usually on flat bed trucks. Coal was unloaded into the hopper type building, then dispensed through a number of chutes.

The truck seen here is a pre-1927 Stewart, built in Buffalo, New York, by a company that existed from 1912 to 1941. Morrow’s also owned at least one Ford truck, shot in almost exactly the same image configuration as this one, also in 1931.

Today this is the retail and non-market housing component of Citygate, the high-density housing project built over twenty years from the early 1990s after the site had been part of Expo 86.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4147

Posted July 10, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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