41 East Hastings Street

We looked at the small 2-storey building developed by C E Robinson in 1909, and now demolished, (almost hidden behind the tree on the left), in an earlier post. Next door was a three storey building that was recently home to ‘United We Can’, the bottle and can recycling business that works with street binners. (We saw this street looking the other way in 1905 in an earlier post).

The three storey building has proved elusive. It included numbers 33 to 49 East Hastings. It first appears around late 1899 or early 1900 as the ‘St Clair Lodging House’, run by Daniel H McDougall. The 1901 census says Dan McDougall was from Ontario, as was his wife, Margaret, and their 15-year-old son, Percy. We can find the family in 1891, where Dan was a merchant in the town of Perth. He first appears in Vancouver in 1900, spelled out as Daniel Howard McDougall, to distinguish him from the Dan McDougall who was a milkman and who had lived in the city for several years. A few years later he was living at 320 E Hastings, and he was there until 1910. Whether he is the retired Daniel H MacDougal who was listed in the street directory at Parker Street in 1911 we can’t be sure, especially as the 1911 census apparently didn’t find him.

The building changed names, and proprietors, on a regular basis – more than almost any other building we’ve looked at. In 1905 this had become the Kootenay Rooming House, run by Frank E Woodside and in 1910 Batchelor’s Rooming House, run by Margaret Kroll. By 1914 it had gone back to being known as the Kootenay Rooms, run by M Brown, and after the war the Glengarry Rooms, run by Mrs Margaret Stewart. The building briefly disappears from the street directory in 1920, following an auction in April 1919 that saw the entire contents of the rooms sold off, including the cookers, heaters, furniture and linoleum flooring.

It reappeared as the Dundee Rooms, run by Miss E Fenton, in 1920, although in 1926 it was run by Mrs E A Rippey. (We don’t know if Miss Elizabeth Fenton married John Rippey and became Mrs Elizabeth Rippey in 1925, but it seems possible). She managed the rooms into the 1930s. By 1935 Ted Kreutz was running the rooms, and when the war started Stan Fox was in charge. By the end of the war Wong Foo was proprietor, in 1949 T H Malahoff was running the building. The Vancouver Sun reported “Thief who raided Dundee Rooms, 41 East Hastings, was successful. Thomas Melahoff reported to police that $200 in cash was stolen from a hiding place in the office”. This wasn’t the only loss; throughout the 1940s there are reports of residents losing money from their room – sometimes as they slept. Some of the tenants were also in court on charges of theft – but stealing from other rooming houses in the area rather than from the building they lived in. (This wasn’t a new situation – there were similar reports when it was the Glengarry Rooms in the 1910s).

These aren’t likely to be all the changes of proprietor – we sampled on a five year basis. In 1955 there was another name change, to the Edmonton Rooms, and another manager;  Q F Wong. BC Assessment indicates that the building dates from 1945, although it had continuity of ownership through that period (with Woo Fong) and no newspaper reports to suggest any sort of change in status – and this 1925 Frank Gowan image also shows the same building here (beside the Interurban tram). It’s possible there was an extensive rebuild to justify the revised date, but the façade stayed the same.

When the photograph on the left was taken this was home to the clothing store of William Dick, who a year later moved to his new store further west. He appears to have owned this building – and much of this block – in the 1910s, carrying out a number of repairs and remodeling exercises.

His store was replaced by ‘The Hub’, another clothing store. The store catered largely to loggers and miners, and Max Freeman, a leader in Vancouver’s Jewish Community, was the firm’s proprietor from  around 1910 (when he was on Carrall Street) until his retirement in 1958, when his son-in-law Morris Saltzman became manager. B.C. historian Cyril Leonoff notes that Freeman “acted as trusted ‘banker’ for the loggers and miners who came to town, leaving their ‘stakes’ in a big safe at the rear of the premises.”

To the east was the Princess Theatre, (later The Lux), initially owned by Italian hotel owner Angelo Calori. Both feature in this Fred Herzog image from 1958.

By the time it closed in the early 2010s the building was known as the Universal Rooms. However, the building was in such a poor state that the 37 SRA-designated rooms on the second and third floors had not been occupied since the mid-1970’s.

It was replaced by Olivia Skye, a mixed tenure building developed by Atira with financial support from BC Housing and The Street to Home Foundation. It has 198 units of rental housing, with a mix of market, subsidized and welfare rate apartments.

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Posted October 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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