Granville Street – 700 block east side (4)

This undated image shows the other buildings that were replaced when the Best Buy / Winners retail building was built here in 2003. We looked at the buildings to the south (just out of the picture, to the far right) in our previous post. In the ‘before’ image the two-storey building on the right of the picture has been split up, and part of W T Whiteway’s 1904 façade is obscured with sheet steel on Murray Goldman’s store. We know from another Archives picture from the early 1970s that to the south of the Goldman store, Le Chateau had a store here, so this image probably dates to the mid to late 1960s. We also know it dates to before 1974 because that’s when the Birks Building (past the Vancouver Block) was demolished in 1974.

The Goldman stores were a Vancouver institution; Mr. Goldman’s advertising (and humour) were well known, and popular. His 2011 obituary noted “The downtown outlet moved to Granville Street, where it thrived until the city banned street parking in favour of a bus-and-pedestrian mall. The move drove away shoppers. “Business would start slow in the morning,” Mr. Goldman complained, “then taper off through the rest of the day.” He moved the outlet indoors and underground at the nearby Pacific Centre Mall, where it would later become Goldman and Son. He had introduced a son, David, to the business when he was 14. The family business is now best known for its Boys’ Co. stores.”

To the north, behind the Brill trolley bus, was a two storey building with bay windows on the upper floor. In 1906 it was home to The Opera Café (run by J A Byers), Larson Bros, tailors and Direct Importing Tea & Coffee Co, managed by Herbert Cragg, with four apartments upstairs. That’s the first time it appears, so it was built around 1905, a period when the building permits have been lost. Our earlier image of this block suggests the central part of the building had an ornate pediment, lost by the 1970s. The Opera Café soon became the Granville Café, the Opera Pool room was in the middle, behind a shoe store, and Sam Scott sold clothing in the third retail unit. The apartments were occupied by Rhoda Backett, a masseuse, Thomas J Ogle, who was proprietor of the Windsor Hotel, (next door), John Glenn of Glenn & Co, an agency that dealt in timber and coal lands, and Mrs. I M Paterson. Rhoda was unusually independent: she was born in Lambeth in England in 1876, arrived in Canada in 1905 (having sailed to Boston), and had Emily Short, who was 10 years younger, lodging with her in 1911. In 1909 she owned the Turkish Baths on West Pender, and in 1911, she applied to buy 640 acres of land in the Coast District ‘near the Red Stone Indian Reserve’ in the Chilcotin. A year earlier she applied to buy 640 acres in Omineca, near Fort Fraser. It doesn’t appear she was successful in acquiring the land: she stayed in the city and became a nurse. She was still single when she died in Vancouver in 1949. In 1913 Thomas Fee said he owned the building when he carried out $400 of repairs, but there’s also another owner, Mr Doud (who owned the Boston Lunch, on West Hastings) who had Walter Hepburn carry out repairs to the Imperial Lunch here that year. He probably ran the café, rather than owning the building. In 1919 The Orpheum Café (another name change that occurred a few years earlier) paid for more alterations.

Beyond it was the former Windsor Hotel, although by the mid 1910s it was the Castle Hotel. It started life just 50 feet wide, as this 1909 image shows. There was an initial $10,000 building here in 1904, developed by A Williams, built by Baynes & Horie, and designed by Grant & Henderson. It looks like it was only a small building, with retail space – described as ‘brick and stone store’. The hotel appears in 1908, so was probably built above or alongside the retail building, but it too is in the ‘lost permit’ period. It also added a new four storey element to the south, and then was increased in height in 1911, with Grant & Henderson designing a $55,000 three storey addition built by C F Perry (again for A Williams). The resulting building is shown on this 1920s brochure, published by Glen Mofford in his history of the Castle. Subsequently two storeys were removed, so our 1970s image shows only five floors.

There were several A Williams in the city; the most likely to have the funds was Adolphus Williams, a lawyer and politician, born in Ontario but practicing in Vancouver since 1889. He developed another building on East Hastings, and possibly other properties as well. On his death in 1921 half of his property was bequeathed to his wife. On her death three years later it passed on to other relatives. A legal case in 1945 finally settled a complex taxation question related to the estate, which was described as being principally made up of real estate interests in Vancouver. In 1913 he also held successful gold mining interests near Lillooet.

Walter Hepburn (who repaired the building next door) was shown as the owner of the building in 1915 when he submitted a permit listing William Blackmore as designing $10,000 of work to alter the interior of the Castle Hotel, enlarging the lobby, bar & grill. As Blackmore had died in 1904, it was probably his son, E E Blackmore who designed the work. There was a main floor bar and lounge, with tapestries on the wall, transformed into men and women’s beer parlours a year after the end of prohibition in 1922 and a full three years before they were legally allowed to exist in Vancouver. (They used a “private club” legal loophole that many other Vancouver establishments adopted). In the 1950s the bar became known as a gay drinking establishment, although management threw out anyone who touched a same sex partner, leading to a “kiss in” protest by the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s. Like all the buildings here it was demolished, in this case in 1990.

Between the Vancouver Block & the Birks Building was another small 3-storey building, dating back to 1912. It was another Grant & Henderson design, for John West, who spent $15,000 building the three storey structure, dwarfed by the $400,000 Vancouver Block completed two years earlier, and the $550,000 Birks building completed in 1912. It created another example of the ‘saw tooth’ pattern of development seldom seen outside Vancouver, and slowly disappearing as more consistent height buildings maximize permitted density across the city.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-437 and CVA 64-4.jpg

0936

Posted January 6, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: