566 West Broadway

This modest two-storey building has lasted over 100 years on the same location, but may not be around too much longer. With the extension of the SkyTrain along West Broadway, and a prominent developer advertising its current lease, it’s safe to assume redevelopment is on the cards.

It was built in 1910, and only cost $10,000. The owner, and builder was B Naffzinger, and Townsend & Townsend were the architects. It’s relatively unusual for a building designed by them, as generally they faced the building in beige brisk with a red brick diamond pattern. In this case they added a magnificent pediment with their client’s name prominently displayed, as the 1912 image here shows, with Melvin H. Clapp Shoemaker and Robert G. Woods Candies occupying the storefronts.

This was Mr. Naffzinger’s only development. As half of Tompkins and Naffzinger, he was a property agent with an office, in 1907, at 535 Ninth Avenue (this block, before it became Broadway). In 1908 the business had 21 lots for sale on Ninth Ave, ‘a rare chance for speculation’ (which is a joke, as it seems as if half of Vancouver were involved in property speculation). In 1909 Benjamin Naffzinger was appointed a Notary Public. Clearly the business was doing well; in 1910 is was reported that Mr. Naffzinger and family have returned after spending the winter in Los Angeles. In 1912 he had changed partners to Fred Duerr, and moved their office to closer to Main Street.

Benjamin made it into the 1911 ‘Who’s Who in Western Canada, where he was a financial broker born in Danvers Illinois, starting out as a telegraph opertaor in Chicago. He came to BC in 1906, and had married Florence MacLachlan (born in Aylmer, Ontario) in Chicago in 1886, with one daughter, Bessie, born in 1889 in Chicago. He’d already headed west, as the 1900 census showed the family living in Corning, California.

Benjamin Naffzinger died, aged 61, in 1922. Florence, his wife, was aged 75 when she died in Seattle in 1935.

There were four suites upstairs: A-D, and tenants tended to stay for a while. It was a quiet neighbourhood, although one afternoon in March 1937 Mrs. B J Wood’s window was broken with a stone. Ten years later B W Aubert lived in suite B, and was selling a 1940 Ford coach, and was willing to trade for an older car and cash. In 1954 Allen Orr reported $68 stolen from his suite – a year earlier he had been in a car accident Downtown, ending up with scrapes and bruises.

In 1955 truck driver William Pearson, who lived here, was arrested for stealing a wallet with $125 in it from an Edmonton fan who had come to watch the Grey Cup game. That year a suite leased for $45 a month. In 1964 that had risen to $65 a month, and in 1998, $945.

Our 1974 image shows the Round The Clock Steak and Pizza House, and a realtor’s office. Round the Clock became Kosta’s Pizza Restaurant a year later, and in the late 1980s there was a Sitar Indian Restaurant here. The space upstairs is now an office, with one main floor unit a Yoga and Fitnesss Studio and the other recently vacated by a hairdresser.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archites CVA 1095-00307 and CVA 371-881


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