East Pender Street – 200 block, north side

 

This view of Chinatown dates from 1972. It’s only down the street that things have changed (with a new building hidden by the street trees). At this end the buildings are the same – although there was more activity fifty years ago than there is today, and more businesses have closed now that the COVID pandemic has affected the area.

Closest to us on the right is the East Hotel. It was designed by S B Birds for Lee Kee, a Chinese merchant, and opened in 1912 as the Hotel Reco. Beyond it down the hill are two 25 foot wide buildings; 279 E Pender was built in 1928, and 275 is from 1949, although its design suggests it’s older. The building that was here earlier was probably part of Carl (or Charles) Schwan’s estate; a hotel owner and part of a prominent family of bar and hotel keepers, he died in 1915. He owned a building a little further to the west, 265 E Pender, in 1914. The 1972 image shows that it had started life as a house, with a shop front added when Dupont Street (as it was then) changed from a residential to a commercial street. There was also a house on 269 E Pender, the lot with a single storey retail unit in 1972.  Chinese merchant ‘Sam Kee’ (the name of the company run by Chang Toy) owned 275 E Pender in 1924.

Beyond those stores are two more narrow buildings redeveloped in the 1970s. We looked at them in an earlier post – they were developed in the period where new structures were adding ‘Chinese’ design elements like green glazed tiles.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-448

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Posted 10 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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