1339 Richards Street (2)

We saw the early history of this building in an earlier post. It started life as The American Laundry, developed by W J Thomas, who hired N Y Cross to design and build it in 1913. We have two possible developers, and we looked at their stories in that post. The (Chinese) laundry use only lasted about 20 years, and the building went through a variety of subsequent commercial tenants.

By 1934 this was home to Granolite Paint , who sold exterior ‘mineral paint’ for buildings. By 1938 Electrical Sales & Equipment were here. A worker opened the valve on an old tank, bought from a second-hand dealer, in the yard, twelve feet from the open door. The fumes met a stove inside and exploded, resulting in one worker being blown off his feet, and another severely burned. The premises had ‘considerable damage’, but the business was still in operation a month later.

Vancouver Stove Repair were in operation here in 1939. They operated a 24 hour De Luxe repair service, and provided an alternate stove while they worked on the customer’s. In 1941 HKF Machines were here, then three years later Aero Manufacturing’s machine shop as well as Gordon Supply machine shop. They shared the same phone line, so we don’t know which was selling the ’32-foot troller and dogfish boat, with gurdles’.

V-Brick manufacturing joined Aero in 1945, of whom The Sun reported ‘the Arrow Manufacturing Co. Ltd., 1339 Richards, is now producing metal dust pans for the B. C. market’ (perhaps a mis-hearing of Aero?). This was a new line, switching from wartime manufacturing as the end of the war seemed imminent. Previously the plant was making steering wheels for Boeing B-29s. V-Brick was another new business making coloured bricks on Seymour Arm, employing former wartime manufacturing employees. After the war this was home to a roofing company run by T Woodward, but in 1950 Monty’s Spare Ribs were also here, (upstairs).

Owned by Max King until 1962, and named after the maitre d’ of The Cave Nightclub on Hornby, Monty’s advertised ‘toothsome food and a homey atmosphere’. In 1954 Monty’s lost four quarts of champagne and two bottles of wine when thieves broke in. The manager, Dexter Lewers said they also took about $25 from the jukebox and cigarette machine. In 1956 thieves again managed to take liquor and cigarettes. With no sign of a break-in, police believed someone hid in the building until it was closed and locked. In 1958 the ‘after theatre special’ (from 11pm to 2am) offered chilli con carne, toast and coffee for 90 cents. Spaghetti and ribs were $1.95. In 1958 the restaurant lost money again. This time the manager, Don Smith, was relieved of the $475 in takings by a robber holding a .32 calibre revolver. Ten days later a North Vancouver man was arrested and charged for the robbery.

In the early 1960s Fuller tinted glass joined the roofing business on the main floor, while Monty’s continued upstairs until 1967, when the Original Spare Rib House replaced it. That gave way to Sir Edgar’s Dining Lounge in 1972 – ten years later they offered an anniversary special of Bar-b-qued spareribs for $10.95. (Including soup, salad, baked potato and garlic bread). That’s who was here in our 1981 image.

Next up was an Italian restaurant, Antipasto’s which very quickly became Rosolino’s which didn’t do well – reviewed as ‘tomato sauce with everything’, (although there was live jazz on the odd night). Noted local chef Mark Potovsky took it over, and relaunched with classier food in 1990, (one dish was reviewed as ‘better than Umberto’s’), but with dinner for four with two bottles of wine at $157.20, it’s perhaps not surprising that from 1993 to 1995 the restaurant was advertised as immediately available, with full kichen equipment. It reopened briefly in 1996 as Pappa Al Pomodoro.

Today ‘The 501’ is here, a 265 unit condo tower, designed by Hewitt, Tan, Kwasnicky. In the mid 1990s it was too big a project for either Onni or Amacon to take on, so they joined forces, and completed the building in 1999. The tower has a swirling snail’s shell spiral top, but at street level there are several retail units, including the barber’s studio seen here.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E07.29



Posted 20 March 2023 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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