170 Powell Street

 

These Powell Street buildings were designed by Fred Townley in 1912 for Major W R Dugmore, and constructed by Douglas & Ward at a cost of $45,000. We’re unsure whether the major was resident in the city, as he doesn’t show up in the street directories at all. We’ve looked for his history before in connection with the Dufferin Hotel, developed on Seymour and Smithe by Dickie & Dugmore.

We can find fleeting mentions of the Major in a few publications. In 1909 William A Dugmore of Vancouver was visiting Victoria, staying at the Dominion Hotel. In 1912 Major Dugmore was one of the invited guests at a military banquet in the Vancouver Hotel for a visit by the Governor General of Canada, the Duke of Connaught (Queen Victoria’s seventh child and third son). In 1912 he was reported to have been appointed as the Canadian representative for the Canadian Services’ Land Co, capitalized at $100,000, and headed by Alfred St George Hammersley, KC, and Sir Francis Lowe, MP. Hammersley had extensive Vancouver interests, but the new land company was set up to acquire Beaver Ranch at the north end of Nicola Lake. The advertisement in the Evening Standard said Major Dugmore was from the 72nd Highlanders, and had been awarded the DSO.

We’re reasonably certain W R Dugmore and W F Dugmore are the same person – William Francis Brougham Radclyffe Dugmore. A professional soldier for many years who had fought in at least seven campaigns, and awarded the DSO, Major Dugmore had married in 1910, and was clearly spent time in Western Canada, and invested in Vancouver even if he lived elsewhere. (There’s no sign of him in the 1911 Census anywhere in Canada, but he appears to have been living in the Channel Islands, aged 42). He joined the war in 1914, and was killed in action in 1917.

When the building first appears in 1914 it was listed as the Crown Rooms, with J Kamada, a second-hand dealer and barbers Jellick & Michael in the retail units. The name was unchanged in 1920, run by I & T Kutsukake, with M Kamada’s pool room and W Satta operating as both barber and pool room on the main floor. In 1938 the pool rooms were still here as the Powell Pool Rooms, but the accommodation was now the Newton Rooms, run by Mrs H Iwata. After the war the Japanese community had been forced out of the city, and the Chinese community often replaced the; in 1945 J Gon had a grocery store under the Newton Rooms, now run by P Jung. A decade later H Chow & Co had a warehouse next to Fisher Metal Products and The Newton Rooms were being run by H Jung.

The building were replaced in 2009 with ‘Smart’, an eight storey condo and retail building developed by Concord Pacific, and designed by Busby, Perkins + Will. The building has exterior corridors and minimal interior common space to keep monthly maintenance fees down for the 90 owners. The building sold out in five hours, and initial owners included 9 members of the architects’ office.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2419

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Posted August 23, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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