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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