15 and 25 West 8th Avenue

This image shows a few of the past changes in the Mount Pleasant Industrial area. It started life as a residential neighbourhood, and there are a few vestiges of that residential past still to be found today; some still lived in, and others adapted to a commercial role. The gradual loss of the original houses has taken many years; the house on the right dated back to 1910, and was only replaced in 1967 with a single storey building. We can date the image quite closely, as the building on the left was only completed in 1963, so the picture must have been shot within a year on either side of 1965.

When the house was first occupied in 1910, Joseph H Brooks, a horse dealer lived here, and a year later he added a new stables to the property, although his sales stables were located at 1025 Main Street. In 1901 he was in the Yukon, living in the Atlin District with his wife, Anna, and their three children. At that time he was listed as a ‘freighter’. He had only been there a couple of years; his two year old son, Egbert, was born in the Yukon, but his older sons, one only a year older than his younger brother, had been born in the US. A daughter, Hazel was also born in the Yukon. Joseph and Annie (as she was shown in 1911) were both originally from Ontario. Joseph stayed in the house for several years, switching his occupation to coal dealer. The last year we can trace Joseph in Vancouver is in 1920, but his son Egbert, a boilermaker was still living in a different house on the same block of West 8th Avenue in 1921 with his wife and baby son.

There’s some information about Joseph, and how he died, on a Yukon website. “Mr. Brooks came to Skagway in 1897 from Vancouver. He was a merchant and wrangler. His company “J.H. Brooks, Packer and Freight” was headquartered in the St. James Hotel. He is famous for taking 15 mules over the Chilkoot Pass and later took 335 mules over. He claimed that he and a Mr. Turner had first blazed the trail. He returned to Skagway in 1934 to collect information for his book and died on this day, July 13, 1934 on the Chilkoot Trail. He was born about 1867 and was about 67 years old when he died and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.” We can’t find Mr. Brooks in Vancouver before he went to Yukon, so suspect that may not be accurate, or that he was here only very briefly.

It’s easy to see how street trees in the industrial area have altered the character of the street – there were very few, despite the residential origins of the neighbourhood, in the 1960s. Today the 1967 building is home to 33 Acres Brewing, but many of the existing structures are now getting replaced as new zoning has allowed office space to be added, as long as an industrial component is retained.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-242

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Posted February 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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