Compton Lodge – 2095 Beach Avenue

Today’s building is over 70 years old, and is considered an ‘A’ category heritage building. It’s predecessor only lasted twenty years before it was redeveloped. Compton Lodge was designed by R T Perry, and cost its developer, J P Hodgson, $34,000 to construct in 1928. The builders were Hodgson, King & Marble, which gives us a helpful clue about the identity of the developer. Joseph P Hodgson had built three houses on the adjacent sub-divided lots in 1923 – the arched entrance of one of the Beach Avenue homes helped us line up the image accurately. He initially moved into the house on Pendrell.

Remarkably, considering the location (next to Stanley Park and overlooking English Bay), it appears that this was the first building constructed here. The view of the ocean was blocked by six houses built on the south side of Beach Avenue, and Englesea Lodge would have blocked the view to the east. It was designed in the fashionable Tudor, half-timbered style, and R T Perry also designed a very similar building in Calgary for a Vancouver client in 1929.

Joseph Pollard Hodgson was born in England in 1880 and became an engineer. He married Persis Compton, who was also born in 1880, in California. (Hence the name of the apartments). Their marriage was in 1909, in Rangoon, at the time the capital of British Burma. They had a son, Foster, who died in 1910, a daughter, Jennie, in 1912 and another son, Roger in 1916. They first appear in the city in 1913, when Hodgson and King were listed as contractors, and the family lived on Robson street. J P Hodgson’s specialism was bridge construction, and while Hodgson King and Marble built several significant buildings (including Point Grey School, Tudor Manor in the West End and the $300,000 Union Bank on Granville Street), their best known construction was the Burrard Bridge.

As far as we can tell, this was Joseph’s only investment (as well as the houses next door), and he moved from Englesea Lodge, where he lived in the 1920s, to the North Shore. He died in 1935, aged 54 and Persis was 77 when she died on Christmas Eve, 1957. The inquest inquiry found Joseph’s death was “by poisoning, self-administered, while temporarily insane”. It must have come as a huge shock to the family, who were away from the city at the time of his death.

The apartments were put up for sale for $65,000 in 1929, when the revenue was listed as $8,640. Less than 30 years after the building was constructed, it was demolished. In fall 1958 ‘The Beach Park’ was advertised for sale, as a self-owned apartment building. (There was no strata act at the time, so purchasers owned fractional shares in a company that in turn owned the structure). At some point the building became a market co-op; an alternate mechanism for collective ownership. The building is considered important enough to be listed ‘A’ on the Recent Landmarks Inventory of post-1940s buildings compiled in 1990, but that doesn’t guarantee any protection, and the list doesn’t even appear to be available online. The designer was, as far as we can tell, an engineer called R Antonius.

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Posted 18 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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