Richards Street – 1300 block, east side

Today there are two newly completed residential towers on this block in Downtown South. There are now very few remaining commercial and warehouse buildings in an area that was once dominated by modest industrial premises. At the far end of the street there was a storage warehouse, which we think dated from the mid 1920s. Johnston Storage were first in the building in 1926, and remained there for decades. Later the building was used as mini-storage before being redeveloped in 2016 as a rental podium and condo tower.

The building closest to us, on the corner of Drake Street, almost certainly dates back to the mid 1910s. A broker, Cecil Merritt, hired H L Stevens and Co to design and build a $35,000 Factory/Warehouse in 1913. It was vacant in 1914, but in 1915 MacLarens Laurentia Milk Co occupied the corner. Their dairy operated in Abbotsford, but they supplied the entire Lower Mainland. By 1918 the building was occupied by the Lake of The Woods Milling Co. They were an eastern brand, selling the Five Roses brand of flour, and they continued to occupy the building for decades. In the 1950s they were swallowed by another milling company, the Ogilvie Flour Mills Co, who sold their Vancouver warehouse in 1972, and the building was re[purposed as office space.

Next door, the single storey building was the location of the J Fyfe Smith Company, dealers in hardwoods and carriage building supplies. They appeared at this location in 1911, with a yard and lumber store, and were still running a wholesale lumber business here in 1955 when the single storey building was constructed. J Fyfe Smith came from Australia where he had learned the timber trade. In 1904 he bought the hardwood lumber business of A P May & Company, established around 1900; before that hardwood for Vancouver and Victoria, had been supplied principally from San Francisco. Last year Wall Financial completed a 43 storey residential tower, initially to be a condo tower but now offered as rental units.

Inage source: City of Vancouver Archivers CVA 779-E07.36

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Posted April 22, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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