Archive for January 2019

Keefer and Main Street – nw corner

This two storey building was replaced in 2015 with a 10 storey condo building. However, the building that was demolished for the new condos had been effectively rebuilt in the late 1970s as a commercial building so there was no loss of any heritage – or even old – buildings. We looked at an image of that 1978 building, and some of the history of the older building (seen here) in an earlier post. (There’s another from 1979 below). Our 1970 image shows that before it was redeveloped the Hotel Mayo was operating here, promising (rather unconvincingly), ‘modern furnishings’. It had been the National Rooms in the 1940s and before that the Winnipeg Rooming House, appearing for the first time in a street directory in 1906.

The original developer may have been J J Crane. He certainly owned the building for many years, paying for several repairs and alterations to the premises from 1912 into 1920s. He apparently also built on the block to the south of here in 1904. (He hired local builder and developer Daniel McPhalen as architect and builder on that project, and that might have been true here as well. Indeed, it’s just possible that the clerk identified the wrong location for the 1904 permit, in which case Mr. McPhalen would definitely have been the builder).

That year John J Crane was listed as a canneryman, living on Keefer Street, where he had lived since 1891 In 1890 he was manager of the Point Garry Cannery Company in Steveston, and in 1894 the Steveston Canning Co. By 1900 he was running the United Cannery there, and had become a shareholder in the company. When a disgruntled fishing union leader attempted to sue the cannery for damages in a long-running dispute over the price paid for fish, J J Crane was identifed as the head of the cannery. (The court case was unsuccessful.)

Mr. Crane was born in Ireland, and by the time the 1911 census rolled around he had moved to 1st Avenue, (to the $3,000 home he had commissioned in 1908) where he was shown as aged 60, having arrived in Canada in 1880. (In 1901 he had only admitted to being 46). He lived with his 42 year old American born wife, their seven children (aged from 19 to 7) and a domestic servant. One son, Edwin, had already left home, and another, Victor, had died aged 13 in 1909. Mr. Crane’s occupation was described as ‘gentleman’, and it looks like he had retired from the cannery business when he moved to his new house.

He seems to have spent his retirement active in real estate. A 1910 newspaper advertisement identified him as selling land he had previously acquired at ‘a nice round profit’. (In 1918 his home was struck by lightning, which created two holes in the roof, but no other damage.) John Joseph Crane moved home to West King Edward Avenue in the early 1930s, where he died in 1935, aged 85, although his widow, Agnes, stayed on in their home.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-308 and CVA 780-463

0832

Advertisements

Posted January 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Gone

Tagged with

The Orpheum Theatre – West Pender Street

We saw the first theatre built on this spot in an earlier post. Built in 1899 as the Alhambra, it became the People’s Theatre, and was acquired and remodeled in 1905. In 1906 it was reopened as the Orpheum, with a greater capacity (increased to 1,200 seats) and a new front-of-house, seen here in 1910. It had been bought and run as a vaudeville theatre as part of the vaudeville circuit owned by John Considine of Seattle who was partnered with a New York Tammany Hall politician, Timothy ‘Big Tim’ Sullivan. The theatre ran successfully for several years, but after 1911 the partnership started to struggle to maintain their earlier success. Their main rival was Alexander Pantages, (also based out of Seattle) who ran a rival circuit and was generally more successful in gauging the public’s taste, and so booking the most popular acts. Sullivan died in 1913 after having been declared mentally incompetent in 1912, and Considine’s business suffered.

Here’s the theatre in 1911, in a panorama photographed from close to Granville Street. In 1910 the partnership had picked up the former Opera House, a much bigger and grandiose theatre, which two years later they renamed the “New Orpheum”. The West Pender theatre then appeared as ‘The Old Orpheum Theatre’ for a year, but the economy was in a bad way and the building disappeared from the directories in 1914, with the site being described as vacant. Soon afterwards a new single-storey building was developed here, used as a tire dealership, and then by the Auto Supply Co who sold Dirigo oils and greases, as well as Premium gasoline from a single gas pump embedded in the sidewalk.

In 1929 the site was redeveloped again, this time with a more permanent structure; the Stock Exchange Building. That still stands today as a heritage structure, soon to reopen as a hotel, with a new Swiss designed and developed office tower inserted through and over the older heritage building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P440 and part of CVA 73-2.

0831

Posted January 3, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with