Pendrell Mansions – 1419 Pendrell Street

Seen here in 1975 (and almost unchanged, apart from the increase in foliage in summer) this apartment building is another that now offers heritage rental accommodation, although on a different basis than most.

Claude Percy Jones was listed as the architect, and H C Elliot hired him to design the Georgian styled $16,000 building in 1910. This was one of only two apartments Mr. Jones apparently designed between arriving from England in 1906 and leaving for New Zealand by 1916. He doesn’t seem to have had a lot of work here, although he won a competition to design one of Hastings Park buildings, and designed a biscuit factory on West 1st Avenue.

We think Harold C Elliott was (perhaps briefly) one of the city’s earliest residents. He was a shipbuilder, from Pugwash, Nova Scotia, and it seems likely that he was the H C Elliot building a stern-wheeler in Vancouver in 1889, intended for Harrison Lake. There’s a passing reference to Harry Elliot being in the original consortium for the first streetcar, but we can’t be completely certain it’s the same person. In 1895 he was in Nelson, building boats with G W Hale, who took over the business. He doesn’t appear in any street directory until around 1902, but he wasn’t living far away. In 1900 he married (Isa)Bella McTaggart in Seattle. (Bella was born in Victoria). Their son, Harry, was born in Vancouver in 1904. In 1906 or 1907 H C and L Elliott built three houses on Pacific Street.

In 1921 H. C. and his younger son, Clint Elliott built the ‘Bella E’ at Beach Avenue Shipyard, at the foot of Burrard St. In 1929 H. C. Elliott and his sons Clint and Harry built the ‘Anywhere’, a 45′ yawl, at the foot of Angus on the North Arm of the Fraser River, built of yellow cedar that was selected, cut and trimmed from standing timber at Deep Cove, on Burrard Inlet by the Elliotts. Clint Elliott sailed Anywhere for at least 35 years. Harold Clinton Elliot died in Vancouver in 1956.

When it was first built, this was called ‘The Pendrell’, and the residents were well off, and the apartments were advertised having six rooms including two bedrooms. At least one family lived here with their 7-year-old child, as they advertised for a live-at-home young girl, to assist. In 1914 another ‘small family’ was looking for a girl for general housework, in exchange for ‘room and board and small wages’. In 1922 one family (with no children) wanted a female ‘cook general’. By 1919 it had become Pendrell Mansions, and there were still only 7 (huge) suites.

In 1929 a 34-year-old resident of the building was killed when the car he was travelling in plunged off a bridge on Marine Drive in West Vancouver. Dennis St Denis Duchesnay lived with his mother, Lilly, in an apartment here. She had been a widow for 28 years; her husband, Edmund, was superintendent with the CPR, and was killed instantly when a rock struck him on the head while he was standing at the mouth of the Cariboo Joe tunnel five miles east of Spuzzum, after fighting a fire nearby. The driver of the car was charged with Dennis’s manslaughter. Having lost another son in the Great War, and a third who was living in California, Mrs. Duchesnay left Canada for England in 1930, where she died four years later.

There were still just seven suites in 1940, when four of the tenants were female; Mrs. Julia Hastings who managed rooms on Broughton Street, but lived here, Mrs. Berta Madden, a widow, Mrs. Ida McDonell, another widow and Mrs. Lillian Cavanagh (who was also a widow, and the caretaker for the building). Mrs. Madden and Mrs. McDonell were both still living here a decade later.

By the 1970s the apartments had become a hotel, with 8 suites, known as the Pendrell Apartment Hotel Rooms. In 1993 a Los Angeles production company switched filming for a new TV series to Vancouver, and rented six of the apartments here for cast and crew. When the second series of the X-Files was greenlit by Fox, one of the suites was used as Dana Scully’s apartment, with a backdrop of Manhattan added for ‘authenticity’. Today you can find Pendrell Suites on the Trivago travel platform, but the suites can also be long-term rented. A 3-bed 1,800 square foot apartment was recently offered at $4,500 a month.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-422

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Posted 22 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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