Archive for November 2019

118 Robson Street

This gas station, on the corner of Robson and Beatty, was developed in 1922 by Imperial Oil Ltd. It cost them $8,000 for Dominion Construction to build it, and Townley and Matheson designed it. We suspect that underneath the changes that have seen the building converted to a bar, the bones of the structure are nearly 100 years old. It almost certainly won’t make it to a century, as the site has been approved for redevelopment (along with the Catholic Charities building to the west, which started life as Northern Electric’s factory). The gas station part of the site will become a new boutique hotel, along with the heritage building, and there’s a condo tower as well.

This Vancouver Public Library picture shows the site in 1941, when it was addressed as 110 Robson and known as the Connaught Service Station – initially it was Imperial Oil station No.7. In 1941 it was run by T McMurdo and M Beaton, who had adopted the name when they took over from Imperial around 1935. They were still running the business in 1947 when “Thieves smashed a window to gain entry into the Connaught Service Station, 110 Robson some time during the night but fled empty-handed. Cupboards and drawers were rifled, but the safe was untouched”. The building was rebuilt as a bar – presumably when the service station use was abandoned – in 1979.

0925

Posted November 28, 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Tagged with ,

Helmcken and Richards Street – south-east corner

In 1981 this was yet another Downtown gas station. The first development here were a row of four houses facing Helmcken. They were duplexes, as there were eight street addresses. They first appear in 1907, and they were probably rental homes as only two of the named occupants are the same in 1909, and they had all changed again by 1911. The houses were still standing in 1951, but the following year The Eveready Tire and Motor garage was here. It was run by Roy Ellis, Doug Rolls and Fred Macey. Doug Rolls was born in Hedley, but came to Vancouver at 16 where he started work at a Granville Street service station. During World War II he worked at Boeing, where he rose to the position of Superintendent building aircraft that included the B17 ‘Flying Fortress’, and after the war he built houses in Vancouver, before setting up the garage.

The garage use, which included a Shell gas bar, only lasted a few decades. In 1995 one of the earlier Downtown South residential towers was completed here. Designed by Raymond Y Ching and Associates for Diamond Robinson, the Robinson Tower has 124 apartments in 17 floors, with some retail on the main floor.,

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E08.23

0924

Posted November 25, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Robson Street – 1100 block, south side (2)

Here’s another example of early houses on Robson Street transformed into a retail space. As with our previous post, this is the 1100 block, and here we’re midblock. The two storey replacement that has had CinCin Italian restaurant upstairs since 1990, was supposedly completed in 1974, and the ‘before’ photograph is dated from May 1974. Presumably there was construction soon after the picture was taken, but there were further major changes in 1985, which is when we suspect the restaurant space may have been remodeled.

By the mid 1900s the house that stood here was 1150 Robson (today it’s numbered as 1156). It was built around 1900, but the numbering in the early 1900s was completely confused (as they were not in numerical sequence) We’re pretty certain J T Wilband, a mechanic lived here from its completion, and was still here in 1906 when he was described as a contractor – so it’s possible he built the house himself, or had help in doing so. John Thaddeus Wilband was from New Brunswick, aged 38 in 1901 and married to Florence, four years younger. They had six children at home; their four sons each had unusual names; Burns, Hesson, Bellamy and Seward. (The girls probably had an easier time at school as they were Laura and Jennie). Three other siblings had died before they reached one year old. The youngest three children, starting from 12-year-old Hesson had been born in BC, the older three in New Brunswick. There were several other New Brunswick-born Wilbands in the city, including Simon, a carpenter (who we think was John’s brother) Charles and Ernest (both brothers – Ernest ran a successful sheet metal works on Richards Street) and Valentine (their father). When the 1911 census came round, the Wilband family had moved elsewhere in the city. John was living on Landsdowne Avenue, and Burns had his own home, and was a plumber. John Wilband died in 1937.

In 1910 the street directory showed Albert Lloyd, a teacher, living here, and in 1911 it was Frederick McPhail, a conductor on the BC Electric Railway. The 1911 census shows how quickly tenants moved, as neither of these were listed; instead it was Signor L S Auria, from Naples, and his daughter, Margerita who were living here, although they stayed in the city for such a short period that they were never recorded in a street directory. By 1955 the house was used as a rooming house, run by Mrs. F Hingston, with the Esquire Shop selling tobacco and Progressive Sales smoker’s supplies.

It’s an unusually long block, and it’s interesting to see that underneath the ‘Will Build to Suit’ notice was an access back to the lane. In 1974 there was an aquarium and pet shop, Noah’s Ark. The single storey retail building to the east (on the left) appears to have been constructed in 1921 at a cost of only $1,500 by Taylor Construction for D Murray. In 1974 it was home to Peacock’s Children’s Wear, and Oriental Marble House – ‘imports’.

One significant change in the past 40 years is the switch in emphasis of the stores, from generally local-serving to shops serving a much wider catchment. The small single storey building to the west, the Dory Shop, was selling quality used clothing in 1974, and Sketchers footwear today. It was built in 1957, and the Esquire shop had moved here, selling Gauloises cigarettes, was part of the same building, although today it has a more prominent façade, and is another shoestore. There was another house at the back of that lot too, in 1974. The house numbered initially as 1154 Robson no longer exists, as the building has also had major changes in the past 45 years. It seems to have been built around 1907, with Margaret Hyslop living here in 1908 and Coralina Chapman in 1909, clarified to Cornelia in 1910. She had moved by 1912, but fortunately was included in the 1911 census which tells us she was from Ontario, aged 55, and a widow. It’s hard to tell how big the house was, but it was full. Her sister, and niece, Ida and Ruth Purdy lived with her, as well as seven lodgers. It was still standing in 1955; Andrew Nesmith, a janitor in the Metropolitan Building lived here, as well as Ken Willoughby, (married to Lillian) who was managed of Photo Arts who occupied the retail unit on the street, where they specialized in portraits.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-343

0923

Posted November 21, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

Tagged with

Robson Street – 1100 block, south side (1)

Here’s the south side of the 1100 block of Robson in a 1939 Vancouver Public Library image. Today the stores offer clothing to a broad group of shoppers from around the region, and beyond, but in the 1930s they were more likely to be local, looking for a haircut, and food from Safeway. (Both of those can still be found a few blocks down the street). Today, Aritzia, a locally based clothing chain have several stores here, including their Downtown flagship store. The company operates 84 stores, each individually designed, throughout Canada and the US.

In 1939 there were far more small businesses, with a grocery store on the corner of Thurlow, just out of the picture, then the Glaz-O-Nut Doughnut store at 1102-and-a-half Robson, Woodall’s Hand Knitting Shop and on the left of the picture, F B Patterson’s barber salon. The Cookie Crock bakery was to the west, then P B Dean’s delicatessen, the Egg Basket selling butter, cheese and eggs, and then Safeway’s grocery store. The New Coleen Confectionery store was at 1116, with Edmund Daem, a CPR porter and his wife, and daughter Josie, a stenographer lived upstairs. The rival Silver Star confectioners were next door, and then Moore’s cleaning and dyeing business.

The Safeway store and several other buildings revealed their origins as a residential rather than retail street. Safeway’s 1110 Robson had been a house in 1901, 1106 Robson. It was occupied by Henry Vaughan, a clerk, with Frank Filion, a grocer living in a house to the east and Thomas Bradbury, a contractor to the west. Frank designed a new house himself, in 1902, and had P Dermes build the stone foundation. (He had previously been a hotel-keeper in Gastown, before moving to the West End). The future Safeway store was owned by Yorkshire & Canadian Trust Co in 1919. It was apparently still a residential building in 1936, when Mrs. E M Jenkins, a dressmaker lived there, but a year later it was the Safeway store.

Beyond it, the two storey building two doors to the west was designed for Gillingham & Korner for D M Hourigan in 1920, and cost $4,000 to build. In 1921 Daniel Hourigan was 51 and from Ontario, and seems to have owned at least two of the buildings here. He was married to Alice, a 53 year old American, and seemed to be living on the income from his investments. In 1911 they were living in Toronto, where a daughter was still living with them. Daniel died in 1944, and in 1949 The Medicine Hat News reported that Alice, and her daughter, Mrs. Moyer (who lived in Medicine Hat) had driven 2,000 miles for her to visit her native Illinois for the first time in 38 years, at the age of 82. Their daughter, Mary, had been born in Illinois.

The three storey building to the west is still standing today. It was built in 1912 for Esther P Buchanan, who hired W P White to design it. Allan Brothers built the $35,000 ‘Apartment/rooms; three-storey brick store and apartment’. Esther knew the site well, as she lived here, in a house, before it was developed. She was wife of Richard G Buchanan, and in 1911 she was aged 32 and from Quebec. (He was 12 years older, and from Ireland, arriving in Canada as a boy in 1880. He sold china and glassware on Granville Street, and before that on Westminster Avenue). There were three boys, aged 10, 6 and 4. The family moved to Haro Street when the new building was developed, and Richard’s china shop moved to the main floor. In early December 1913 there was a 25% sale in the china store; an unusual time of year for such an event. The advertisements explained that ” In order to close the estate of the late R. G. Buchanan we must have $15,000 in 30 days”. Presumably things worked out for the business: in the next few years Mrs R G Buchanan was running the business, and she lived in one of the apartments above the store. In 1917 Stephen Ira DeBou (a 33 year old unmarried contractor, from New Brunswick) married Esther Permelia Buchanan, a 39 year old widow, daughter of Thomas B Hyndman of Ottawa. In 1921 they were living on Nelson Street; there were three of Stephen’s stepsons still at home; Esther’s fourth son, Richard was born around 1912. Her father, Thomas, was also living with them. We’ve see Mr. Hyndman’s work in the city in an earlier post. He developed some houses on Robson Street, and had worked for R G Buchanan before becoming vice-president of Woodwards Stores, and then running a real estate business. Esther died, aged 61, in 1940, and Stephen in 1964.

There was a Piggly Wiggly store next door in the building in 1928, and upstairs the rooms became the Hotel Biltmore. The grocery store closed very quickly, reopening as the Leong Market. In 1955 Safeway and the Biltmore Hotel were still in operation, but the food store was now Tom’s Market.

0922

Taylor Building – Water Street

This office and warehouse building was built in 1911 for W and E C Taylor, who hired Grant and Henderson to design the $36,000 investment. Walter Taylor was the founder (in 1890) and managing director of the Empress Manufacturing Co., Ltd., which dealt in imported coffees and manufactured local jams and jellies, becoming one of the early successful local food supply companies. Edward C Taylor was his son, who was company secretary at Empress. (On the left is the former Edward Hotel, built in 1907 built for Charles Edward Beckman, a Swede, and on the right 322 Water, designed by Townsend and Townsend for William McPherson in 1912.

Before this new building, the Oriental Hotel was here: one of the first buildings completed after the fire of 1886, and so not built of fireproof materials. In 1911 the Taylor’s Empress business was sold to new owners, with William Hunter running the company.

By 1914 Edward had moved on to a new business, Horne Taylor & Co, insurance agents, where he was in partnership with Amedee P Horne. (He was from England, son of William Horne, of Paddington. He was generally known as A P Horne; was in the city very soon after it was created, and initially worked for the CPR in the land surveying department.) Walter Taylor was retired, living on Pine Crescent, and Edward was also living in Shaughnessy on Hosmer Avenue. Walter died in 1915, and his burial record shows that rather than being 44 as he claimed when the 1891 census was collected, he was actually already aged 50, so his retirement at aged 70, and his death five years later wasn’t at all surprising.

The Taylor Building became occupied as warehouse and office space. The earliest tenant was J A Tepoorten, a drug wholesaler established in 1910. They moved into the new building a year later. In 1923 the business was acquired by a syndicate of local retail pharmacists known as United Retail Druggists.

They had moved out by 1930, and it was known as the Commercial Building, with manufacturers agents and wholesalers of shoes and drugs among the tenants, and 25 years later the tenants included an electrical equipment supplier, wholesalers of shoes, clothing, wire and cables and several other manufacturer’s agents. It was still similarly occupied in 1979, when this picture was taken.

In 2003 the upper floors of the building became 22 strata residential units developed by the Salient Group, with Acton Ostry designing the conversion.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-179

0921

Posted November 14, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

Tagged with , ,

False Creek eastwards from above

Here’s another of Trish Jewison’s recent shots from the Global BC traffic helicopter, manipulated slightly to fit an earlier Archives image – this one from 1947. This one was taken in May this year, as the twisting Vancouver House was nearing completion. From this angle it looks like a large, but perfectly normal rectangular tower, but it has a triangular base (to fit next to Granville Bridge), which gradually grows to a rectangular upper portion. Designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, it’s the most dramatic new building seen in the city in decades. It includes a new local shopping centre, with supermarket and drugstore, as well as public art suspended from the underside of the Granville Bridge. In 1947 there was a 35 year old 4 storey warehouse, and some single storey commercial buildings, which all remained until redevelopment started in 2015.

In the foreground Granville Island had even more buildings than it does today, all in industrial uses, mostly related to the fishing, logging and sawmill industries. There was a chain maker, saw blade supplier, forge and rope manufacturers. There was a net loft and a rigging company, a ship repairer (and a coffee shop). Today there are many more coffee shops, and the only real industrial use is the Ocean Cement plant next to Granville Bridge.

The rail bridge that was still around in 1947 was the Kitsilano trestle. It was built by the CPR (but the last steam train to Steveston ran in 1905) and was then used by the BC Electric Railway. The trestle started out as a link in an electric passenger transit system using street cars and connecting downtown Vancouver with farms on the South Side of False Creek and beyond. It connected the south shore of Vancouver to the railyards that filled the land between Yaletown and False Creek. The rail ran all the way to Carrall Street, where the Interurban headquarters was located. The trestle was removed in the early 80’s as it was in poor condition, rarely used and a navigational hazard. The original right-of-way can still be seen, curving around the Harbour Cove and Mariner Point residential buildings built in the mid 1980s.

Om the north side of False Creek, once the railyards were removed, BC Place Stadium was constructed, moving major sports into Downtown. The rest of the site became home to Expo 86, which reached round the Creek all the way to Granville Bridge. Sold as a single piece of property to the company now known as Concord Pacific, thousands of apartments (including non-market and seniors housing) have since been built on the land. There are still a few remaining sites to redevelop, and inland there are plans to add another tower as tall as Vancouver House on the opposite side of the bridge. Further towers will be developed to the north when the loops from Granville Bridge are removed. The site at the bottom of the pictures will see the greatest change; the Squamish Nation have unveiled plans for 6,000 apartments in 11 towers on the Indian Reserve land they were given back after the rail use was abandoned.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 59-03 and Trish Jewison, Global TV traffic helicopter.

0920

Posted November 11, 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

1233 West Georgia Street

This 1918 picture shows a car dealership built in 1913 for H A Bowers and designed by William Dodd, built at a cost of $10,119. It wasn’t the first building here with that use; in 1909 T W Fletcher hired M D Campbell to design a $9,000 garage here, and two years later Mr. Bowers was the owner, obtaining a permit for $6,500 of work to add to a building here and reconstruct part of it. We’re not sure if he followed through on that idea, or whether it’s more likely that the Dodd building was built as a replacement. It closely matches an adjacent garage for McLaughlin, that was built in the same year, next door. It looks like the project was scaled back from an earlier version: The Pacific Coast Architect, an American publication had announced in 1912 that “Architects Doctor, Stewart & Davey prepared plans for a two-story reinforced concrete garage, for H A Bowers”, but those architects never obtained an permit.

Thomas W Fletcher, the developer, was shown in the 1911 street directory as retired, and had moved to a home in the newly built and up-market Shaughnessey sub-division, but he was only aged 43. The census said he was in real estate, but we don’t know if the garage he apparently built in 1909 ever had an occupant before Mr Bowers acquired it. In 1921 Mr. Fetcher had Mackenzie & Bow design a new home in Shaughnessey, and was shown as working again, as an adjuster. A year later McCarter & Nairne designed another house for him, on Minto Crescent.

Herbert Bowers was an American, aged 31, and only recently arrived in Vancouver. In 1911 he lived two blocks west of here with his wife Hazel and their three children, Robert, Alice and Herbert junior. They has recently lost another daughter: the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California reporting that year that “Mr. and Mrs H. A. Bowers, who removed from here to Vancouver, have suffered a sad bereavement in the death of their little daughter Doris, who is well remembered here by many friends both young and old. The child’s death was due to pneumonia, which occurred March 6.”

Herbert ran the Central Auto and Supply Co, and the family had apparently left Vancouver and returned to California by 1913. In 1922 Herbert junior died in perculiar circumstances in Vancouver. The Daily World reported “A coroner’s Jury, with Dr. Sutherland of Port Coqultlam as coroner, sitting this morning at Murchie’s undertaking parlors, brought in the following verdict on the death of Herbert Bowers, whose body was found on the Pipe Line road In the bottom of a ravine under an automobile on Sunday: “We find that the death of Herbert Bowers was accidental, he not being familiar with the road, which is dangerous at this spot.” Mrs. H. A. Bowers, mother of the dead man, and Mr. W. D. Woods, manager of the Barron Hotel, Vancouver, Identified the body. Mrs. Bowers stated that her son was 18 years of age. The family reside at Santa Clara valley, California, and were here on a vacation. She said that she had no idea how her son came to take the car. They had been staying at the Barron Hotel and he was away visiting friends In South Vancouver on Saturday night. She had four other children, who are at present at their camp on Howe Sound. Bowers had several letters on his person addressed to “My dear wife” and the contents were of a peculiar nature. The mother said that the initials that appeared in the letters were not those of her son. W. B. Dishman of Bellingham, who was driving the car at the races the day before, gave evidence to the effect that the auto was In good condition. He said that he had never seen Bowers in his life. In Richmond police court yesterday Dishman, charged with driving to the common danger after an accident in which Mrs. David Buchan was injured, forfeited $100 ball when he failed to appear. Oscar Olsen, also of Bellingham, has reported to the police that he also had never known Bowers nor knew how he came to have the car.” Herbert and Hazel Bowers was still living in Santa Clara in California in 1940, with their son Thomas, who was born in 1920 in California. The family’s new life wasn’t that of a garage owner: Bowers Park in Santa Clara is named for Herbert, a pear grower in Santa Clara who was also an organizer and director of the Santa Clara Pear Association. He also served on the Jefferson Union School Board in the 1920s and early 1930s.

The replacement garage operator was the Franklin Motor Company, who moved in by 1913 and manufactured a luxury vehicle in Syracuse, New York. The Franklin was very reliable, being air-cooled (and so unlikely to be frozen up in the middle of the night). It also had extensive use of aluminum in the body, and some models offered better gas mileage than some vehicles today. They moved out after two years, and had no showroom in the city until 1918 when a Franklin dealership opened on Granville Street.

In 1915 Dominion Motors briefly occupied the building. There’s an unidentified early 1910s image of this building in the archives that shows a Packard, Hudson and Baker Electric dealership. Those were all brands sold by Dominion, but the economy was in a bad way, and they went out of business in less than two years. In 1918 the Sigmore Motor Co Ltd, selling Studebaker cars were operating here. Studebaker of Canada moved into the building in 1917, and out again in 1923 briefly to West Pender, then back to West Georgia in 1923 to a new garage less than a block from here.

By 1925 Southard Motors (with the MacDonnell-Scott Garage and Vancouver Auto Towing Service sharing the address) were selling Essex cars here – a part of Hudson Motors of Detroit. In the 1930s they had relocated to Granville Street, where in 1938 they were selling Chryslers. For a brief period in the early 1930s this wasn’t a garage; the B C College of Arts were using the building.

From 1936 to around 1942 Walmsley Motors moved in, (seen on the right in selling Cord, Auburn and Willys. Soon after, like the adjacent garage, the building became used as the Canadian Government Ordnance Machine Shop. By 1950 Canada Dry were using the building as a warehouse, and by 1955 Maynard Auctioneers were here. Pictures from the 1980s suggest the buildings were still standing, although with a new façade.

Where 1233 West Georgia stood today there’s a condo tower called Venus, designed by Howard Bingham Hill and completed in 1999.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-5332 and CVA 99-4851

0919

Posted November 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

1219 West Georgia Street

We’ve seen several car dealerships that were developed along West Georgia Street in the early part of the 20th century, including Consolidated Motor Company who were located on the other side of the street from here. On the north side the showroom of the McLaughlin Carriage Company, seen in an image that’s undated, but which we’re guessing might be 1918. McLaughlin started manufacturing automobiles in Oshawa in 1907. They had previously been a carriage company, so it wasn’t a dramatic shift. When they were unable to get their own engines designed, they used Buick drive trains, built in Flint, Michigan. McLaughlin became part of General Motors, and car production under the McLaughlin name continued until 1942.

Before this garage was built there were several houses, dating back only a few years, but demolished for this 1912 building, designed by W M Dodd for H W White who spent $30,000 on the new investment. Harry W White was the manager for McLaughlin Motor Cars, so we assume they paid for the development. As well as McLaughlin, the building was home to the Pierce-Arrow Motor Co, a US car manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York, from 1901 to 1938.

In 1911 Harry was 63, and from England; his wife, Lydia was from Ontario, and they lived on West Pender Street with three daughters and a son still at home, aged from 14 to 37. Their journey west can be traced in their province of birth; the eldest, Rosa was born in Ontario, but Ethel, Mabel and Percy, the youngest were all born in Manitoba.

McLaughlin moved from here in 1926, to new premises on Burrard Street, where the vehicles were sold by Clark Parsons Buick. Gray Campbell Ltd took over this showroom as a Chrysler dealership. By the mid 1930s A E Stephens Ltd were based here, run by Alfred Stephens, selling used cars. During the war the building became used as the Canadian Government Ordnance Machine Shop. By 1950 Clarke Simpkins auto dealership was here. Clarke Simpkins was Ford of Canada’s vice-president, and he sold their cars here, and repaired them on Seymour Street. He had moved a block to the west by 1955, when BC Garage Supply Ltd ‘auto jobbers’ were using the building.

Today the site is the garden of Venus, a 36 storey residential tower designed by Bingham Hill Architects and completed in 1999.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-5178

0918

 

Posted November 4, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,