Homer Street – 700 block, east side

We saw the front of the row of houses on the right of the picture in a post we published last year. They were built around 1901, possibly by contractor William Campbell, from Ontario, and from this angle we can see the back of the houses. There’s a vacant lot that served as an access behind the houses, and then a back-to-back tenement building – one of very few built Downtown, although there were more built in other residential neighbourhoods. There was another row, parallel to the one we can see in the picture, immediately abutting it to the north (just off the picture). This row was built between 1907 and 1908, but we don’t know who lived here because the street directory just identified the building as ‘cabins’.

In 1911 Mrs Bertha Allen was shown here; probably running the building as rental cabins, and a year later, Thomas Mott. He was a labourer, aged 36, who had arrived from England in 1903, and his wife Emma, and their two sons a year later. One son, Albert, aged 12, was shown as being a carpenter. This might be an error, as while it’s just possible he was an apprentice, school attendance was compulsory up to age 14.

In 1921 C Mayne carried out repairs here, and was shown as owner, but again the listing was just as ‘cabins’, although Charles Mayne, a contractor was shown living at this address. (He appears to have just arrived in the city, and so wasn’t included in the census that year). A few other residents were shown having the street address; Mrs. Elizabeth Reading, who worked at Paraffine Co, (a waste paper company) and Reginald and Cecil Blunden, whose occupations were not listed. The cabins can be seen here in this 1928 image, and were still in operation in 1955 when they were owned by Mrs. K O Marchanton, and had eight tenants. By 1981 the site had been cleared, and stayed as a parking lot until the construction of  Moshe Safdie’s design for the Central Branch of the public library was completed in 1995.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N327

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Posted April 15, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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