Archive for January 2018

651 and 657 Richards Street

This pair of houses is thought to have been photographed in the 1890s. That seems likely, as the two buildings to the north (where’s there’s a gap on the photo) were built a little later that the others on the block. When they were built these houses were numbered as 623 and 625, but the numbers were bumped up and regularized around 1900. The houses first appeared in 1892, when A M Beattie, an auctioneer was in 623 and Joseph Page, a real estate clerk in 625, with M H Hirschberg, an accountant and Mr Barnett who worked at the electric power house.

We’re guessing the houses were rented, as the occupants changed almost every year. In 1894 William Tufts was in 623 and Mrs. M Swinford in 635. In 1895 and 1896 R G Penn was at 623 and TA, PB and JB McGarrigle at 625. In 1898 E D Knowlton, a druggist was at 623 and Mrs. Captain Reide, widow at 625. A year later W J Beer was sharing 623 with Mr. Knowlton, and Thomas Wallace and F C Campbell shared the Reide residence.

We have no way of definitively identifying the family in the doorway, but clearly the sidewalk is newly built and in 1891 the Beattie family had three daughters, including Edith and Kathleen. She is in a Central School group photograph, but not specifically identified, but there is a resemblance between the girl on the porch and one in the group, although that isn’t strong evidence of this being the Beattie family. If it is, we’ve already noted their history in connection to Mr. Beattie’s auction house near City Hall on Westminster Avenue.

This site was redeveloped in 1959 with the Bay Parkade, more recently sold to developer Holborn and now called the Parkwell Plaza, with a covenant requiring the replacement of several hundred parking spaces (presumably underground) once redevelopment takes place.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 172.

 

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Posted January 29, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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835 Cambie Street

This modest 1929 warehouse has been repurposed as an office building for many years. Originally it was built for Electrical Distributors Ltd, a company wholesaling electrical wires, cables, conduit, lamps, ranges, heaters and radios. They were also the BC Distributors of Ice-O-Matic Electrical refrigerators (still in business today making commercial ice machines). Gardiner & Mercer were the architects for the building, and in 1991 Musson Cattell Mackey designed the conversion to office space, used as classrooms by the Law Society who built their offices on the adjacent site to the south.

The electrical supply firm only occupied the space for a few years; by 1936 it was vacant, and at the end of the 1930s Barham Drugs were using the warehouse. From 1940 for at least 15 years this became a warehouse for Coast Paper, later joined by Package Productions, who were wholesalers of cartons. Before it was restored in the early 1990s it was also used as a distillery and as a restaurant. It’s seen here in 1985.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-1776

Posted January 25, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Mackinnon Block – West Hastings and Granville

We looked at this building on the corner of Hastings and Granville in a very early post (in 2011) from a different angle. It was designed by W T Dalton for John Mackinnon (on the right), an early and successful resource baron in the city. (The press frequently called him McKinnon, but as the advertisement for his business shows, that was wrong). It was built by Henry Bell, who also built the Dunn-Miller block on Cordova Street, and many Canadian Pacific stations. It was completed in 1897, twelve years after John left Scotland, and only six years after he arrived in Vancouver. Born on the small Inner Hebrides island of Eigg, John travelled to Edinburgh to study then set off for a new life in Canada in 1885, but not as he had expected. As a 1913 biography noted “It is a matter of interesting history to know that Mr. Mackinnon purchased the first ticket the Canadian Pacific Railroad ever sold in Edinburgh, Scotland, to Victoria, British Columbia. The railroad, however, was unable to get him ‘through and so transferred him in New York and he came to this province by way of the Northern Pacific and over the line of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, the Canadian Pacific not having been completed until the following year.”

Once here he promptly headed south to the United States, running a sheep ranch in The Dalles, in Oregon before heading back to BC in 1891. He purchased Hardy Island off Powell River in the same year, retaining it as a game reserve. He became a land and investment broker, acquiring land, mining and lumber interests, as well as property. Initioally he was in a partnership as Mackinnon, Macfarlane & Co. The 1913 biography referenced this building: “In 1897 he erected the Mackinnon building in Vancouver which was the first office building of any importance to be built in that city and which, at that time, was considered the most modern building in the city.”

He sold it after a few years, to a Mr. Williams. The last reference to the Mackinnon Block was in July 1907, and in the same month the first to the Williams Block although Mr. Mackinnon continued to have his business offices in the building, next door to architects Grant and Henderson. The name change came a few months after a tragic accident occurred “William Lawson, a stonecutter, who lives at 1235 Homer street, was instantly killed this afternoon, by being struck on the head by a heavy stone, which was being hoisted into position at the McKinnon block, corner of Granville and Hastings streets. Lawson Is a married man and leaves a family. Repairs are being made to the front of the McKinnon building, and Lawson, together with the other workmen, were hoisting heavy stone and other building material to workmen above, when the tackle broke and fell, striking him on the head and killing him instantly.” The building however had been sold seven years earlier to an absentee overseas investor. Frederick De La Fontaine Williams, a London businessman, had visited Vancouver, seen the building, and struck up a deal to buy it for $100,000, as reported in ‘The Prospector’ in October 1900.

By 1916 it had been acquired by London & British North American Co, and in 1921 Townley & Matheson designed a $15,000 alteration for owners Sharples & Sharples: “Removal of nearly entire north wall of Hastings St. frontage to be replaced w/ plate glass front, other minor alterations” From later photographs there’s no suggestion that such a dramatic intervention was carried out – although there were slightly different fully glazed storefronts by 1940. As the job was for Service Tobacco Shop, it seems likely to have just been the main floor of the Hastings Street frontage (the north wall) that was being replaced.

Mr. Mackinnon’s mining interest included being president of the Bend’Or Mines in the early 1900s. He created the Canadian Pacific Pulp Company, Ltd., at Swanson Bay on the Inside Passage in 1906. (Today it’s a ghost town after the mill closed in 1918). He owned 20,000 acreas of timber land along the coast, and also a 1,200 acre ranch in Lillooet with 300 acres growing fruit and the remainder used as a cattle and horse ranch. In 1914 he was prospecting for coal and petroleum on Graham Island in Haida Gwai.

These days the corner of Granville and Hastings has the United Kingdom Building which has been here for over 60 years. Built in 1957 it was designed by Semmens and Simpson who only practiced together for about 10 years, but produced a significant set of quality modernist residential and commercial buildings, almost all in the West End and Downtown.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-390

Posted January 22, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1201 Pendrell Street

Here’s a house in 1956, the year before it was redeveloped. The building that replaced it is an 80 unit rental building designed by Peter Kaffka, called Barracca Court when it was built in 1957. The house it replaced dated back to 1903, although it had a significant rebuild in 1912. The owner then was cannery owner A J Buttimer, who spent $3,000 on repairs and alterations, (more than many houses cost to build in that era).

Initially it was owned by Duncan Rowan, also a salmon canner, who hired Parr and Fee to build the house, which cost $9,000 to construct. Duncan owned the Terra Nova Canning Company with his brother, Jack. They had both previously worked for J H Todd and Son’s Richmond and Beaver canneries. Duncan Rowan became district manager when the British Columbia Packers Association was formed. In 1901 the Rowan family were still living in Richmond (nearer the cannery interests). Duncan was 41, and his wife, Mary, five years younger. They were both born on Ontario. There were no children at home, but they did have a domestic, Sarah Rowan, and a lodger, Thomas Robinson.

Alfred Buttimer, who moved into the house around 1911, was a partner with George Dawson in Brunswick Canneries. (There was initially a third partner as well; George Wilson). All three men came originally from New Brunswick. George Dawson was Alfred’s brother-in-law, and another of Alfred’s sisters, Annie, also joined him in Vancouver.

Alfred Buttimer arrived in Vancouver around 1890, and was married in 1904 in San Francisco to an Ontario-born divorcee called Margaret Cunningham. They had a son two years later, who died as a baby, and they seem to have had no more children. He continued to be involved in the fishing industry until he sold his interest to B C Packers in 1925, concentrating on his real estate interests until his death in 1934. Alfred and Margaret continued to live in the house until then, when William and Alice Francis moved in. They stayed in the house, but by 1940 it was listed under their name as ‘rooms’, a role it retained until it was demolished. In 1950 John Bota, a labourer for the city was running the rooms, and in 1956 it was known as The Pillars, split into 7 apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P508.82

Posted January 18, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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569 Hamilton Street

Older than it’s neighbour to the north, the building on the left was first shown in 1910 as ‘rooming house’ and in 1911 was named as the Hamilton Rooms, with Albert L Allen running the building. He arrived in Vancouver in 1911, and apparently missed the census (or was missed by it). The building looks like it was it was approved during the ‘lost records’ period, in 1908, so we don’t know neither architect, but thanks to Patrick Gunn’s sleuthing we have the likely developers: J J Grey and L Barry – from the Daily World “A permit was taken out this morning for a $16,000 three-storey brick and stone building, to be erected at the corner of Hamilton and Dunsmuir streets. The building, which is to be 50-ft x 120-ft, is to be fitted on the ground floor for stores, while the two upper flats will be laid out for an apartment house.” In 1910 Lawrence Barry was living two blocks from here at 719 Hamilton, and John J Gray, a real estate agent on West 6th Avenue.

In 1913 John E McIntyre was in charge, and in 1914 it had become the Hamilton Hotel, run by Mrs Mary Nash, and S Howe a year later. From 1916 to 1918 the building was vacant, reopening as the Marshall Rooms, run by James Marshall. After the constant turnover of proprietors, Mr. Marshall brought stability to the building’s management, continuing to manage the rooms until the 1930s. Very little seems to have occurred in the hotel. The only instance we found was in 1918 when it was reported that “Mrs. M. J. McDougall, Marshall Rooms, Hamilton Street, was the loser of a quantity of Jewelery, value unstated, which was stolen during the night by someone w ho obtained possession of a passkey to her room.”

During the war Mrs K Sabotka was running the hotel – in 1935 she had been running the Cadillac Hotel (now the Del Mar) next door. In the late 1940s S R Vassey & R M Rose ran the Marshall Hotel, a name it retained until it closed in the mid 1980s soon after this image was shot. In the early 1990s BC Hydro had managed to acquire enough land to build their new headquarters office; a vaguely post-modern tower intended to show a stream running from a mountain peak in its design. Completed in 1992, it was designed by Musson Cattell Mackey. This part of the site became a landscaped open space with an oddly located clocktower.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-1847

Posted January 15, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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553 Hamilton Street

The Del Mar Inn started life as the Cadillac Hotel. Built in 1912 for A E Hansen, according to the permit, it was designed by W P White and built at a cost of $33,000 by Frantz Construction. We haven’t successfully identified the developer’s identity; The only potential developer with a name that matched the permit living in the city at the time was Alfred E Hanson, who was listed as a contractor, and it seemed unlikely that he could fund a $33,000 development. (There was an A E Hansen in Seattle, and as the architect also came from that city, it was possible he was an absentee investor).

The Daily Building Record said Mr. Hanson lived at 1236 East 12th Avenue; Albert E Hanson lived on East 12th, but at 1033. The address of 1236 wasn’t recorded in the street directory. Adding to the confusion, the 1911 census recorded Mr. Hanson as Albert A Hanson, aged 50, retired and born in the USA. He was shown as arriving in Canada in 1909, although that seems inaccurate as his three children living at home, aged 19, 18 and 14, were all born in BC. His wife, Mary was from Ontario. The 1901 census said Albert Hanson was in Vancouver in 1901 as a hotel keeper, with wife Mary and five children at home. He was American, aged 44, and had arrived in Canada in the 1880s. Albert Hansen was shown in the 1901 street directory running a boarding house at 852 Powell Street. In 1891 they were living in Yale, with the CPR employees, where he was aged 34 and described as a retired foreman, presumably of a railway construction crew. Mary was shown born in Quebec in that census.

In 1913, when the hotel opened, it was run by William Jureit. He had been lodging on West Hastings in 1911 with his wife and three children, and was a builder who had just arrived in Canada from Germany in that same year. In 1915 Mrs Helen Mulholland had taken over running the building, which was partly a rooming house rather than a hotel, with a bookkeeper and a warehouseman among the tenants, and a real estate company occupying the main floor space.

In 1920 there were different proprietors, Mrs E Montgomery and Mrs J Carmichael, who also both lived in the property. By 1925 the name had changed to the Cadillac Rooms, run by Mrs E Fletcher, but by 1930 it had reverted to the Cadillac Hotel run by Mrs Jennie Cook. In 1935 Mrs K Sobotka was in charge, and in 1940 Joseph Fay. By 1945 it had become known as the Coast Hotel, run by S B Farmer, and by 1955 the name was changed again to the Del Mar Hotel, run by Joseph Lasky.

In 1975 the Hotel was bought by George Riste, born in Alberta during the 1930s, but who moved to Vancouver in 1960 after working in the pulp mill in Port Alberni. He leased a number of hotels over the years, the Bon Accord, the Hornby, the Senator, and then the Del Mar. Then he bought the Del Mar, and ran it as both rooming house and hotel. It was popular with passengers from the nearby bus depot, often recommended by Greyhound drivers. In the early 1980s BC Hydro started acquiring property on the block, assembling most of the land – except the Del Mar. Mr Riste, who by the mid 1970s managed the building as a 30 room SRO hotel, wasn’t interested in selling, at any price. After years of offers, BC Hydro gave up and built around him. A small, hand-painted sign was placed over the entrance. It reads: “This property is not for sale and it has not been sold. Thank you. The Owner.”

In 1990, Mr. Riste collaborated with the artist Kathryn Walter with whom he wrote the slogan: “Unlimited growth increases the divide”. A typographic artwork, with seven inch-tall copper letters, was installed as a frieze on the building’s façade. Art galleries have occupied the main floor for many years, including by the mid-1960s, the Bau-Xi gallery, and today the Or Gallery; our image shows it in 1977. George continued to actively manage the property until 2007, and died three years later just short of his 90th birthday. His family continue to own and manage the property as exemplary privately owned low-income housing.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-44

Posted January 11, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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500 Burrard Street

This 1950s modestly sized west coast modernist building stood on the southeast corner of Burrard and West Pender. It was designed by McCarter and Nairne and named for its tenant, the National Trust (a Montreal based bank). It first appears in the street directory in 1955; before that Johnson’s Motors were located here. Originally there was a 1907 residential building on the corner of West Pender called The Glenwood Rooms, probably designed by Honeyman and Curtis for Mrs E Charleson, which we noted in an earlier post.

This building lasted just under 30 years; today it’s the plaza in front of an office building occupied by Manulife, completed in 1985, designed by Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership. The National Trust still exists, and occupies offices on the block to the south, but it is now part of Scotiabank.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-17

Posted January 8, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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