468 Union Street

This rooming house has seen better days, but we were surprised to see how much it’s gone downhill since our picture from 1978. Back then there were still patterned stucco panels and windows with coloured glass and fancy glazing bars.

The 1911 census showed Jerome Martin was 57, living at 466 Barnard (today’s Union St), with his wife Mary, who was 42, and their 2 year old son, Harold. Jerome was a bricklayer, born in Belgium, and it said he arrived in 1905 and that Mary was from Ontario. She was, but Jerome had married Mary in Vancouver in April 1904. His marriage certificate said he was a bachelor, and a bricklayer. (It also, inaccurately, said he was born in 1858). Historian James Johnstone found that Mary Jane O’Brien applied for the water connection for a house at 466 Barnard in August 1904 (Although she was actually Mary Jane Martin by then)

In 1905 they were living in a house at the rear of 757 Prior, and Jerome was shown working as a mason. He got a permit for a frame dwelling on Barnard St in 1905, and another in 1906. From 1906 to 1908 the family were living at 466 Barnard, and Jerome was shown as a bricklayer. In 1908 J C Martin of 466 Barnard obtained another permit for a house on Prior Street. From 1909 to 1911 the Martin family lived at 753 Prior. (Different families were living at 466 Barnard over this period). In 1911 J C Martin had a permit for a $1,000 1-storey frame dwelling house at 466 Barnard. That was probably an initial permit for this building, although oddly, there doesn’t seem to be an detailed permit for an apartment. The water permit was obtained in October 1912 by Jerome Martin, so the building was completed at that point.

The 1912 street directory showed J Clement Martin as the proprietor of the Whitehorse Rooms, and living at the renumbered 468 Union. Later that year, in December, the Daily World reported “Chief Justice Hunter yesterday gave judicial sanction to the separation of Jerome Clement Martin and his wife, Mary Jane Martin. The custody of a child will remain with Mrs. Martin, and she will be paid $15 a month. This decision was the result of the chief Justice holding a private conference with Mr. and Mrs. Martin and effecting a settlement with the aid of counsel.

The 1913 street directory showed Jerome C Martin as proprietor of the White Horse Rooms at 468 Union, and the Roma Restaurant was shown here run by Guiseppe Giovanetti. In September that year the marriage was reported in the Tacoma Times of Jerome C. Martin and Eva Macfadden, both of Seattle. Eva was from Montana, and had been married once before; and this was recorded as Jerome’s third marriage. In 1914 the White House Rooms had no proprietor listed, and Mrs Lipovsky ran a grocery store. A year later the rooms weren’t mentioned, and Mrs Lipovsky was still running her store. She was a Russian-born widow; her husband, a sheet metal worker, died of acute appendicitis at the age of 42 in 1912. In 1916 Sarah Lipovsky had moved her grocery store to 433 E Georgia, and Jerome Martin was running the grocery store here.

Jerome Martin died in Vancouver in June 1917, and was shown as married, aged 63. In 1917 and 1918 468 Union was shown as vacant, and the rooms were not mentioned by name, but their address was shown as 468½ Union. Generally the proprietor of the rooms is shown, but not the tenants. Victor Dorigo was at the address in 1921, with his son, and sister. He was shown in the directory, but not George Carr who was living here with his wife Viola, or Daniel Strickland, a lodger. Roger Victor is shown in the directory, although it’s not clear why, as he worked for the CPR.

Bizarrely, in the 1921 census Victor Dorigo was shown as being born in the USA, his parents were born in Finland, and his ethnicity was shown as Russian. He and his son spoke Italian. He was also a storekeeper, with the confectionery store on the main floor that had previously been run by Eugenio Falcioni. Before them Abraham Charkow had an egg store at 468 Union in 1919. An online biography suggests the census clerk was getting very confused. Vittorio (Victor) Dorigo was born about 1893 in Fregona, Italy, to Guiseppi Dorigo and Regina Piazza. He arrived in the Port of New York, New York, on 16 May 1914, aboard the La Provence from Le Havre, France; age 21 with his destination as Michel, British Columbia. He married Vivian Walimaki about 1920. Victor and Vivian relocated from British Columbia to Ontario, Canada, sometime before 1929.

Herbert Strickland took over in 1923, running a butchers store, then in 1925 the Union Tailor Shop run by Louis Battistoni, joined by his brother’s shoe repair business. Upstairs J Moir ran the rooms, in 1928 with V A Warn.

In the early 1930s the Ungren family moved into 466 Union (on the lane), and John Ungren was shown running the Lethbridge Meat Market under the rooms. By 1932 his wife, Dora had taken over the store space as a grocery and John ran the rooms, and by 1939 they’d swapped again, with John running a confectionery store, and Dora ran the rooms, which the family had moved into. They renamed the rooms Adora Court in the early 1940s. The name stuck, although by then the Ungren’s weren’t there. A variety of names of tenants of the store, and the proprietor of the rooms cycle through the 1940s. At the end of the war John Ivancic was running the rooms, and the store had apparently become a residential address, with the Few family living there, replaced by William and Adwina Jones a year later.

In 1948 George and Katie Kohut were running Adora Court, in 1951 William Baert became caretaker, and in 1953 the rooms became ‘Chinese’, and a year later ‘Mrs Lam Ho’ was added as proprietor. She was still here when our 1978 image was taken, but new managers took over in the 1980s. The name ‘Lucky Rooms’ was adopted in 1999, and then the New Lucky Rooms, (although there was no obvious improvement to justify the name). There are 24 units here, with shared bathrooms. Although advertised as ‘Student Residences’, the rooms let like many others in the neighbourhood, to anyone who can pay the requested rent.

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Posted 12 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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