Robson and Homer Street, southeast corner

This row of houses on the south side of Robson Street looks similar to several others that were built in this area, including a row on the opposite side of the same block of Robson. This picture dates to 1941, when we estimate the homes had been standing for 40 years. When they first appeared they were numbered 332 to 348 Robson, but only four of them appear in the 1901 street directory, so we think the two at the left hand end of the row were still being built. Arthur West of the Dominion Express was in 334, H A Lyttleton, a watchmaker at 340, Captain Waters at 344 and H V Chatterton a traveler at 348. A year later, all six were complete, although one was vacant, and all the previous residents had moved on. Now W P Lockwood of the Great Northern Railway was at 332, Ben Joyce, a mariner at 334, F W Halton of the CPR was next door, D Brooks, a contractor at 340 and J Hewitt at 346.

In 1903 we find three of those residents still in the same homes. Now 332 had H C Benson, a linotype operator, next door to A Henderson, a jeweller, Frederick Halton, a bookkeeper, D K Brooks, still a contractor, and Charles Hewitt, mysteriously identified as ‘manager’ – but with no indication of what he managed. It’s unlikely that Mr. Brooks built the homes; he built a spec house in the West End in 1904, and several large, expensive houses in the city for clients like George Walkem and Mrs J J Burns, but these houses pre-date that activity. In 1902 he was shown for the first time in the city as an employee of R.C.P.M – the Royal City Planing Mills. Because he wasn’t in the city for either of the 1901 or 1911 censuses, we haven’t been able to find anything more about Mr. Brooks. That’s also true for Mr. Hewitt, although we know he was manager of the Dominion Dental Manufacturing Co. Alexander Henderson worked as a jeweler for the Davidson Brothers, whose store was further west on Robson.

By 1911 JJ Brown, Ernest Dean (a brakeman for the CPR), Angus Graham, manager of the City Meat Market (owned by Pat Burns), Charles McNicholl, a clerk in W C Stearman’s hardware store and George W Williams, a carpenter were living in the houses. The tenants continued to change on a very regular basis. In 1921 Sharples & Sharples owned 332 and 334, carrying out repairs. (They owned other property, including the Mackinnon Block on West Hastings at Granville Street). The houses were apparently torn down in 1952; that’s the last year they appear in the street directory. No even numbered properties exist on the 300 block of Robson in subsequent directories, although the site was used in the meantime; initially to sell used cars. In 1999 the Homer Development Corporation built ‘The Galileo’, a 97 unit 16-storey condo building here, with office and retail space in the podium, designed by Lawrence Doyle Architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N518.

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Posted April 1, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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