The Buckingham – 925 Cardero Street

This is yet another West End apartment building that is nearly a century old. It was developed by C S Gustafsom, and the architect was Henry Holdsby Simmonds. It cost $60,000 to build in 1927, and the owner also built it.

We’ve seen other buildings developed by Carl Gustafson, who was Swedish. He built houses in the West End as early as 1903, and developed the Clifton Hotel on Granville Street in 1910, and The Bilmore on Thurlow in 1928.

Carl Sidof Gustafson was born in Hinneryd, Kronoberg, Sweden in 1874. The newspapers reported that he married Hannah Johnston in 1904 at the bride’s family home on Homer Street. Actually, legally she was Hanna Carolina Johansdotter, born in Hallingeberg, Kalmar, Sweden, and two years younger than Carl. In the 1911 census Carl was 36, having arrived in Canada in 1890, living with his wife Hannah and their three sons and their domestic servant, and a lodger. Two more children followed, in 1912 and 1918. Mr. Gustafson was an early motorist, with BC Licence #2844.

Carl Gustafson often appeared in the local news buying and selling properties, and obtaining permits for development. The Buckingham was noted in 1927 as a two-storey brick veneered building.

The building is mentioned for the usual letting opportunities (both furnished and unfurnished suites were available), deaths, marriages and sales. In 1929 one resident’s experience suggested the state of the economy was tough, and that Vancouver was far from crime-free. “Winston Morcroft, 16, of 925 Cardero street, was held up shortly after 7 pm. Tuesday at Barclay and Burrard streets by two men and robbed of 75 cents, he reported to the police. He said that one man pressed the muzzle of a revolver against his side while the other searched his pockets.”

In 1935 Eddie File briefly rented here, but soon had his home raided by police. He was convicted of living off the earnings of prostitution. He was alleged to have a half share in the Panama Hotel in Victoria, which was being used as a brothel. His wife was identified as someone who owned a house of ill repute in Gold River – the house had to be physically moved because of its proximity to the school.

Also in 1935: “The efforts of a marooned Vancouver couple to stave off hunger and cold for fifty hours were related today when Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Caesar, 925 Cardero returned to the city after being stranded In their automobile and a trappers’ cabin between Hope and Chilliwack from 2 p.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday. “We were snowed In while trying to get through to Hope,” Mrs. Caesar said today, “and for the first nineteen hours we kept warm by running the car motor for half-hour periods, which supplied warmth through the car heater. “We had some cold turkey, bread and butter, and some coffee with rum in it. If it hadn’t been for the small lunch, which we made last until Thursday, and for the car heater, we would have been in a bad way. After the first nineteen hours the couple took refuge in a cabin a quarter of a mile up the mountain from where their car was stranded

In 1937 Frank Forshaw was held up at gunpoint in his apartment here, when a stranger buzzed his front door, claiming to be delivering a parcel. The parcel turned out to contain an automatic pistol, that the assailant held onto, before making off with $100.

The building was reported sold for $78,500 in 1946. In May that year Mrs Rita Forshaw had her suite ransacked, and $2,000 of jewels stolen, including a platinum brooch set with diamonds, valued at $1,000. A month later Mrs W. C. Cooper answered the door one morning to two men who asked for a room. She slammed the door in their faces. The men then held up Harold Crooks, of 1601 Barclay, in front of his home. “One of the thugs shoved a gun in his back, Crooks stated, and said: “O.K. Buddy, stick-em-up, let’s have your money.” Mr. Crooks fought, and escaped from the men.

In 1947 John Heffernan was living here, when he was arrested and charged with dangerous driving after striking a parked car in the 1000 block of Granville Street

The building doesn’t appear to have featured in any further crime stories. It was sold in 2000, and had been refurbished in 1989 when studios were $550 and large 1-bed units were $695. Our image is from 1985. The rent in the late 1980s was quite a bit more than in 1973, when the 1-bed suites were $140. In 1960 they were $75 (and up).

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-5.10

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Posted 15 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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