561 East Hastings Street

Here’s another of the SRO hotels built as a rooming house. It was developed by Gordon R Baird, who ran a hardware store on Granville Street. He hired Braunton & Leibert to design the building in 1912, and F J Kelby built it at a cost of $33,000. It opened as The Spokane Rooms, although by our 1978 image it was known as the Francis Faye Hotel, and today it’s the Patrick Anthony Residence, managed by Atira following a renovation. It was badly needed, as in 2012 it was one of the worst 10 rental buildings, with 133 issues identified by inspectors as needing attention.

Gordon Baird was only 26 when he developed this building. He was from New Brunswick, (probably Saint John), his wife Jennie was an American, and the same age, and they had a son, Winston, who was only seven months old in 1911. Jennie had arrived in Canada when she was five, and despite their relative youth the family had an English domestic servant, who was two years older than Jennie. Their wedding was reported in the Vancouver Sun in 1908 “Word has been received from Long Beach, Cal., of the marriage there of two well-known and popular young Vancouverites. The groom was Mr. Gordon Baird, hardware merchant of Granville street and the bride Miss Jennie Pearl Sherdahl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. Sherdahl, of Rosehill, Mount Pleasant. Mr. and Mrs. Baird are wintering amid the frosts and snows of “sunny Southern California.” Mr. S Sherdahl was Sven, whose history we noted in connection to the Dominion Hotel on Water Street, which he developed.

The Baird family moved to Long Beach in the 1920s. In 1921 Gordon was manager of the Mount Pleasant Hardware Co, but by 1930 he was living in California, and as well as Winston there was a second son Lloyd, born in 1918. That record tells us Jennie had been born in Kansas, and that both Gordon and Winston were working as salesmen selling hardware. Gordon was still in Long Beach in 1940, but he was living alone, recorded as single, the owner of a second hand store.

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Posted 6 August 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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