916 West Broadway

The Leyland Apartments – nine of them at the time – appeared for the first time in the 1930 street directory. R C Singleton built the $28,000 property for his ownership, designed by William Tuff Whiteway. Richard Cline Singleton was born in 1891, in Winfield, Cowley, Kansas. Cline Singleton briefly appears in 1920, working for Joseph H Singleton, a grocer, who had been in the city for a few years. We think that’s his father, born in 1863 in Indiana. Cline Singleton was listed in the 1900 census living with his parents Joseph and Carrie, who died a year later.

We think that by 1921 Cline Singleton was working in California; he referenced knowledge of a school in Ventura in a letter in the Vancouver press, and was listed in 1921 as the Head Farmer at the California School for Girls (a reform school in Ventura), the year the LA Times ran a story ‘Girls Plotted to Burn Whole School, Escape‘.

Cline married Mary Maverette Stockwell, probably while he was in California; Mary was born in 1885 in Indiana, but in 1920 was still single and living with her father, Lucius, in San Diego. Her mother, Phoebe, had died in 1888 leaving Lucius with four children. She had attended Indiana University, studying English, and in 1910 was teaching English and Botany at the High School in Cloverdale, Indiana. (When her father died in 1941 he was back in Indiana).

By 1923 Cline Singleton was a grocer on East 28th Avenue, and Joseph Singleton was at the same address. A year later Joseph ran the grocers store, and Cline was a partner in Fairview Brokerage on West Broadway. By 1927 both men were listed as carpenters, living on Nelson Avenue in the West End. They both obtained building permits over a number of years. Cline advertised that he would build a bungalow, either on the client’s site, or one he owned. Several examples of his work are still standing today; typical 1920s bungalows with a roughed in basement, (not necessarily high enough to stand in), with a bedroom in the roof with a dormer window. They generally cost $4,000 to build. In 1929 Cline built two apartment blocks, including this one.

Joseph Harrison Singleton died in Vancouver in 1934. His obituary said he was a well-known contractor, who had come to the city 19 years earlier. The newpaper report said he was 71 when he collapsed and died, leaving one son, Cline. That year R Cline Singleton and his wife Maverette were living at The Singleton Building on West 10th Avenue. They were still there in 1937, but by 1941 they were back in San Diego, and were still there in 1950 when Cline was working as a real estate broker.

In 1954 Richard C Singleton and Mary M Singleton of El Cajon, San Diego, successfully bid $3,840 for 640 acres of “rolling hill land, located at an elevation of 3,800 feet and crossed by numerous small gullies. The soil is of first quality, supporting greasewood and other heavy desert growth and chaparral. The land contains no springs; however, water from wells is available in the vicinity. The land is fair for grazing, but is not suitable for agriculture” He died on 5 June 1968, in Carlsbad, San Diego, California, United States, at the age of 77, and Mary in 1982 at the age of 96, also in San Diego.

The apartments were advertised in the Leyland from August 1929 as three-room at reasonable rent. In 1962 the rent for a one-bedroom suite was $80. In 1969 a 2-room suite was $87 a month, electric and heat included. In 1976, two years after our image was shot, a one-room suite was $220. The building was one of only a few residential buildings in a sea of commercial development, and was acquired for the construction of a new station on the Arbutus Extension of SkyTrain. Currently it’s been replaced by a deep hole, future home to the closest station to Vancouver General Hospital, and awaiting the arrival of the two boring machines, Elsie and Phyllis, currently heading to the site from the east. In a few years a new development can be built, but zoning in this stretch of Broadway requires commercial rather than residential buildings, and as the hospital ER Department and the helipad is immediately to the south, the building’s height will be limited.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1095-00259



Posted 19 January 2023 by ChangingCity in Broadway, Gone

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