1200 block Robson Street – south side

This 1974 image caption says it shows “houses at 1216 and 1222 Robson Street (La Cote d’Azur Restaurant and Newsome Rooms) and the 3-storey apartment building at 1234 Robson Street (Nottingham Apartment Hotel).

Today the former houses, and the ‘apartment hotel’ have been replaced with retail and office space. The two houses on the left were spec built by Thomas Hunter in 1904 at a cost of $3,000 each. Thomas and his older brother, Samuel, were from Wilfrid, Ontario, and built houses and commercial buildings at a prodigious pace after their arrival here in 1891, some as investments that they retained, and some for clients. Sam died around 1895, leaving Thomas to continue building well into the 1920s. He died in 1940 aged 73. He married Jannie Simpson in Vancouver in 1892 when he was 25. She was also from Ontario, from New Market, and three years older than Thomas. They had a son, Charles, (Theodore on the 1911 census) who also died in 1940.

The three storey apartment house was developed in 1925, designed by Townley and Matheson for John Peterson. There were a surprising number of John Petersons in the city in the mid 1920s, so the developer was hard to pin down. Fortunately, he moved into his 18 suite apartment building in 1926, and was still living here when he died in 1952. aged 68. He was married to Gina, (in Seattle, in 1915), and had a brother, Olaf, and a sister, both in Iowa. John was born in Norway, in 1883, and he may have been an electrical contractor before he built his investment. After his death C D Hardy and B B Tidey took over running the property. Gina Lindland Peterson was 90 when she died in San Diego in 1975.

The houses, when they were completed joined other houses that had already been built on the block. Where the Nottingham Rooms were later built there were houses occupied by two managers. Hugh Gilmour was agent for the Waterous Engine Works, with an office in Molson’s Chambers, while Hugh Keefer was managing director of the Vancouver Granite Co. They were both here for several years, so probably owned, rather than leased, the houses, which were numbered 1216 and 1218 in 1904, but renumbered to 1234 and 1240 a few years later.

The house on the left of the picture was occupied by Con Jones, owner of the Brunswick Pool Rooms (actually a billiard parlour) at what would become 1216 and next door W Bell, a pressman was at 1222, soon replaced by James Galloway, a bookkeeper, later an accountant. Both families were still here in 1920. Con Jones was an Australian; an ex-bookie who had two billiard halls, one he developed on East Hastings (later home to Only Sea Foods, and recently demolished), and one on Cordova. Later he was successful in  the tobacco trade, where his slogan ‘Don’t Argue’ featured extensively, completed by the often missing text, ‘Con Jones sells fresh tobacco’. The family moved to a mansion in Shaughnessy, and Con was only 59 when he had a seizure while watching a soccer game in 1929 at the sports facility he developed; Con Jones Park, and died five days later, leaving a wife and five children.

By 1929 his house had become the Vanderpant Galleries, but next door 1222 was still a house, where Mrs. Stella Hoy, a widow, lived. John Vanderpant was a photographer from Alkmaar, earning his early living as a portrait photographer, while also developing a more artistic practice on the side. The gallery, opened in 1928, became a centre of art, music, and poetry in Vancouver. Members of the Vancouver Poetry Society often held meetings and readings at the Galleries as well as several galas; students from the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, the BC College of Arts, and the music faculty from UBC attended musical evenings to listen to imported symphonic music played on Vanderpant’s Columbia gramophone. Emily Carr and members of the Group of Seven exhibited at the Galleries. He was 55 when he died, in 1939, of lung cancer, leaving a legacy of photographic works in local, national and international gallery collections. His widow, Catharina continued to run the gallery until after the war, but 1222 was still a house, the home of Thomas and Helen McCormick.

The Nottingham continued to offer rooms to 21 tenants, some of them spinsters or widows, and many of the others professionals like accountants, doctors, (including Dr. H Roy Mustard, an ear, nose and throat surgeon,  and his wife Henrietta) and Mrs. Bessie Wall the Proprietor of Walls Womens Wear. In 1955 the gallery had become the Unity Metaphysical Centre (a church, headed by Rev T Conway Jones) and the McCormicks were still living at 1222. The Nottingham was replaced in 1979 with the two storey office, restaurant and retail building designed by Romses Kwan for Daon Development Corporation. The retail replacement for the houses was built in 1996.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-354

1126

Posted 1 November 2021 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: