National Garage – Nelson Street

This $5,000 building was developed in 1918 by Henry Hoffmeister – who we seem to run across building garages all over Downtowen Vancouver over many years He designed, as well as developed the property. There were two houses developed here (on the corner of Nelson and Howe) in 1901, built by M A Farrell, but they lasted less than 20 years. In 1919, when G Kilgren had finished building it, P Shackleton and J Smith ran the National Garage. This 1918 image must have been taken as construction was wrapping up.

There had also been houses next door as well, on the corner of Hornby, but they had already been redeveloped into Trafalgar Mansions. The National business didn’t last very long; by 1922 the service station was operated by Dodge Brothers, (although there didn’t seem to be anybody called Dodge associated with the business, so more likely it sold Dodge Brothers vehicles, built in Hamtramck, Michigan). By 1925 it had become the Independent Garage run by G C Leach. In 1928 it was Beaver Motors run by A A H and C T Weston, and by 1931 Frost & McLaren Ltd were based here. A year later it became the Nelson Garage run by A L Evans and S K H Laughton. They lasted just a year, and the building was vacant in 1934, and a year later reopened again with H Gardner running the service station and Williams Auto Metal Works (run by E C Williams) sharing the property. We haven’t checked every year of the directories, but this business seems to have changed hands more than many others. By 1939 the Oke & Duke garage run by C C Oke was here, and remained here through the war, although A J Duke ran the business in the 1940s. Changes continued; in 1950 it was the Transport Service Garage, but Mr. Duke was still running the business, until 1952, which is the last time the building appears in the directory.

In 1982 a Hong Kong developer builtĀ Nelson Square, designed by Romses Kwan and Associates. The top 5 floors are residential; the rest of the 25 floor building is offices with retail and restaurants in a slightly sunken plaza.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-690


Posted September 9, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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