Seymour Street – 1000 block, west side (1)

This image is, according to the City of Vancouver Archives, from around 1926. We place it a few years later, towards the end of 1929 or early in 1930. That’s because there’s a building seen in the picture that’s still standing today. Up to 1928 there were houses pretty much the entire block face, but in 1929 1035 Seymour was vacant, and in 1930 it was home to Bearing Supply House Ltd – seen on the left of the picture. The company’s Vancouver operation had previously been located in the heart of the business district on the 600 block of Howe Street.

Next door, to the north, are two houses, both dating back to the early 1900s. They’re both standing today, although incorporated into the complex that today is the Penthouse Club. The building to the north of that dates from 1912, although it too had a house as a basis. That year H W Forsyth & Co spent $700 to build “Dwelling/house; one-storey frame warehouse”.  The odd thing is that no such business shows up in the street directory around that period, (or any other records) and the occupant in 1913 was a contractor, Harold Burdett.

Aaron Chapman has chronicled the changing fortunes of the property for the past 77 years. “The Filippone family bought the land the Penthouse sits on in 1941, and began building the building that still exists there today. What originally housed the operations for their trucking and taxi business also found space for their Eagle Time Athletic Club, turning the building into somewhat of a community centre for over 500 local kids, with the Filippones sponsoring boxing, soccer teams, and baseball. The club already had its own boxing star with Jimmy Filippone a two time B.C. Golden Gloves champion. After the Second World War, in 1947 the Filippones began to expand the building and the business into what would eventually become the nightclub.”

So far this block has seen little development, but there are two underutilized sites (including the 1929 building) likely to see development soon. Here’s one of them – the parking lot beyond the club that has remained a vacant surface lot since before 1981. Whether the venerable Penthouse Club itself will ever disappear is less predictable. The Filippone family have apparently rejected countless lucrative offers for the site, and seem content to continue to operate one of the last outposts of a bygone era.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-2251 and CVA 779-E03.07A

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Posted June 18, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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