826 and 832 East Pender Street

There are two Strathcona apartment buildings seen in our 1978 image, but one is a year older than the other. On the left is 832, dating back to 1911, while 826 to the west was developed in 1912. Charles Peterson owned, designed and built the building to the left, at a cost of $4,000. He was a carpenter, and he lived at 832 E Pender in 1911. There was a surprisingly large number of people called Charles Peterson in the city, but not so many that were carpenters or in real estate. The developer was a Swede, who was aged around 39 in 1911. He lived near here ten years earlier, at 912 Keefer, with his wife Ida, who was from BC and ten years younger. They had a new baby, Carl. In 1911 they had two more children, David and a daughter, Royal, and two Swedish lodgers.

Charles August Peterson had arrived in 1899, and married Ida Winegeen Sulley in December that year. On their wedding certificate she was shown born in Fort Alexander, British Columbia, but that fort was in Manitoba, so it was probably Fort Alexandria which was an HBC Trading Post 103 miles north of 100 Mile House on the Fraser River in the Cariboo. Charles’s father was Peter Johannesson, and he had been born in Jacköburg. Ida had been living in New Westminster in 1891 with her two sisters, and her parents; George, a farmer, and Emma, who was born in the United States.

In 1921 O W Bye had builders Peterson & Gough carry out $300 repairs to the building. Oscar Bye lived at 832 that year, and was described in the census as a telegraph operator. When the building first opened in 1913, this was the YMCA Hostel, with the Elite Bakery in a store on the main floor. In 1921 there were eight different units, with Oscar Bye shown having two of them.

The building to the right, 826, is a rooming house today, but it was initially developed with two residential units. Albert Prince obtained the permit in 1909 for a $1,200 frame dwelling, but then in 1912 obtained another permit for $4,000 as an addition to his apartment house. One of our readers, Ryan, explains how this worked. “One interesting fact about 832 East Pender as well as 826 East Pender is that they originally were single family homes. The original houses were moved to the back and the apartment building/rooming houses were attached to the front. The original staircases are still in use.” (Thanks Ryan!). A check of the street directories shows that Albert Prince was living at 828 Princess by 1906 (before it became East Pender), and Charles Peterson had moved into 832 by 1908.

Albert designed and built them himself, as, like his neighbour, he was a carpenter. The 1901 census shows him with his wife Elizabeth; he was 34 and from Newfoundland, and Elizabeth who was 10 years younger was also from there. Her sister, Jane Sparks was living with them in 1901. The Princes had moved into 826 in 1912, with Hugh Steen in 828, and a year later Abraham Sherman. In 1921 Albert, Elizabeth and their daughter Netta were still living here at 826 The street directory only shows one occupant at 828, Alex Flett, but the census shows there were seven families, most of them with children, living here.

In 1930 Albert Prince was still living at 826, and the six apartments at 828 were all occupied. At 832 only Oscar Bye was listed. The 1940 directory suggests why this might be the case: J Miller was then living at 826 E Pender, and managed the rooms at 832 E Pender. There were also still six occupied apartments at 828. Clearly the apartments at 832 were subdivided into smaller units some years earlier. 826 on the right still has, to the best of our knowledge, eight apartments. 832 E Pender is now known as the Ham Apartments, and recently sold, offered for sale at $1.898m, with 21 rooms. “The 17 rooms share two full bathrooms and one half bathroom plus a shared kitchen. On the ground level, there are four suites that are much larger and each with a private entrance. The two front suites each have their own kitchen and share one full bathroom. One of the back suites is equipped with a full bathroom and kitchen. The other back suite has a kitchen and half bathroom.” The new owner has repaired the stucco and the cornice has been restored, and the front has a new coat of paint.

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Posted 30 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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