1043 West Pender Street

Here’s H J Tucker’s garage on West Pender in 1940 in this Vancouver Public Library image. To the east (on the right) were the Essex Rooms, (described in the permit as a warehouse), and a garage and rooms developed by the A S French Auto Co in 1910, while to the west there was an office building developed in 1909 (the first development on the block).

There was a building on this site in the early 1900s, but it was where the single storey structure is located. In 1899 it had 3 storeys, and was home to Smith Bros who ran the BC Mattress and Upholstering Co here. The street directory identifies the names of the 10 employees as well as the owners, David and James Smith. In 1905 the company became B C Bedding & Upholstery Co Ltd, with James Smith as president; His brother, David was no longer associated with the company by 1908, when he was running a furniture store on Granville Street. Arthur was born in Michigan, raised in Ontario and Winnipeg, where he became an upholsterer and carper repairer. He arrived in Vancouver in 1889; Smith Brothers was a retail furniture store that made its own upholstery and also operated a carpet-cleaning business.

The newer 2-storey building had been developed before 1911 when John A Crowe had taken over as president of the business; Arthur Smith having branched out (like half the city, it sometimes seems), into real estate. With the collapse of real estate he landed the interesting new job as a member of the provincial government’s film censor board. In 1931 James became the chief censor. There was a 3-storey building at the back of the lot, seen in this 1940 VPL picture (right).

The upholstery business had gone by 1912, when Walker Automobile Co moved in for a year, to be replaced in 1913 by the Terminal Sheet Metal Works Ltd. They carried out alterations in 1914, when the building was owned by Heland Furman & Fulton – although there’s no business of that name, and nobody called Heland in the City. (The only person called Furman was Annie, a waitress who lived two doors to the east of here). The sheet metal works was run by James Oliver and J T McDonald, and the company were here into the 1920s. By 1933 Hemphill’s Engineering School had moved in, run  by C D Mackinnon. The building was vacant in 1935, and a year later Tucker’s Garage moved here. The company had been in business for many tears. In the 1910s they were based two blocks away, and were the B C Distributor for Federal Trucks. In 1901 Heber J Tucker was listed in the census as aged 24, from Newfoundland, living with his wife Mary and working as a bicycle repairer.

The garage didn’t last here too much longer. By 1941 it had become Service Auto Metal Works, run by S Fairley, and in 1944 it was storage for the Empress Dairy. By 1948 it was being used by O’Neil Builder’s Supply business, and they stayed here into the 1950s. Today the Oceanic Plaza office is here, designed by Charles Paine (who also designed the earlier Guinness Tower nearby) and completed in 1975. The developers were British Pacific Building Ltd, the Guinness family company, the purchasers of the adjacent Marine Building.


Posted 5 March 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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