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

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

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