Archive for the ‘Altered’ Category

Robinson Block – 46 Water Street

Here’s 44-46 Water Street; one of the few Water Street buildings we haven’t covered to date. The Terminus Hotel is to the east, and the Kane Block to the west. It’s known as the Robinson Block, although though there wasn’t anybody called Robinson in the city in 1889, when it was supposedly first completed, who might have developed it. It looks very similar to the Town & Robinson block built around the same time on Carrall Street, designed by C O Wickenden, so he may well have designed this, but it also looks like W T Whiteway’s Ferguson Block, so we can’t be sure.

There’s a report in the Daily World from 1890 of a visit by Mr. I Robinson, an ‘English capitalist’ from London, who had made real estate investments in the city; he seems to be the most likely candidate to have developed the building. He also owned the Stewart House hotel on Water Street, and Town and Robinson, as well as the Carrall St building also developed the Metropole Hotel, where they hired N S Hoffar as architect – Henry Town was another English investor. The Yorkshire Trust had a client with Vancouver real estate investments called Isaac Robinson, so he seems likely to have been the developer. The Daily World tells us he was also a director of the Vancouver City Land Company.

The building was only about 40 feet deep when initially built, and an addition was constructed at the back around 1905. In 1901 a repair permit was issued to ‘Sherdahl’ as the owner, presumably Sven Sherdahl who owned the Dominion Hotel along the street. (That seems to have been around the time that some of Isaac Robinson’s estate was being sold). Numbering on Water Street changed over time, but we’re assuming that the Terminus Hotel was always next door, so we’re looking at the occupants of the building to the west of that. In 1890 the site was shown as vacant, and in 1891 A J Struthers, a commission agent was here (numbered as 36), with the Salvation Army at 38. In 1892 the building was numbered as 42, with both the Salvation Army barracks and T W Clark and Co based here. They were wholesale produce and commission merchants, run by Joseph Coupland who had been running a general store on Seymour Street a year earlier. (Joseph would be elected an alderman in 1895, and was nicknamed by the local press ‘me too Coupland’ for his consistent support for mayor Henry Collins). R S Graham, abook-keeper and teamster Birron Dunamaker were also here. Two years later Charles Rengel and F R Stewart, a wholesale commission merchant were here, and in 1895 the store was again vacant. In 1896 the new tenant was Z Franks, whose business would be here for many years.

Zebulon Franks had been born in the Ukraine the son of a rabbi, but his entire family were killed in 1881 in a pogrom that wiped out a third of the jewish population in his home town, and he escaped to Paris and then sailed for New York. He intended to make for California, but by the summer of 1882 was working in Winnipeg for the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was then being built. He married Esther Blonde in Winnipeg in 1883. Like him, she’d fled Ukraine. Pessie (or Bella) and Sarah (later called Sadie) in Manitoba. Zebulon and Esther arrived in Vancouver 1887 and a third daughter, Rosie, was born in 1888, then Abraham in 1890, Myer in 1894 and Leah in 1895. Esther died soon after Leah’s birth, and Zebulon was left with six children and a business to run. He married Yetta Halperin (born in Palestine in 1877) in 1898, and had six more children in the next ten years, Solomon (known as Sam), David, Robert (sometimes listed as Israel), Miriam, Monte and Annabelle.

Initially Zebulon opened a grocery store on Carrall Street that imported kosher meat from Seattle. On Water Street he ran a hardware and second-hand store that sold stoves, guns, and logging, fishing and trapping supplies, and which served as the first house of prayer for the nascent Orthodox Jewish community.

We know what the store looked like inside from this image from 1902: Zebulon is on the left; his daughter Sarah is beside him. The other gentlemen were identified as Mr. Beecroft, and Joseph Blonde

In 1910 the store moved from here to 101 Cordova, and in 1921 the listing switched from Z Franks to Y Franks, as Yetta apparently took over running the company.

Zebulon died in 1926; all 12 children were still alive, and scattered throughout North America: the obituary notice said “The deceased is survived by six daughters, Mrs A C Fleishman, Seattle, Mrs I Jacobs, Tacoma, Mrs Leah Horowitz, California, Miss Annabelle Franks and Mrs R. Meyers of this city.  Six sons, Abraham, Tacoma, Dr Bob Franks, Alaska and Myer, Sam, David and Monty of Vancouver.”

In 1927, following Zebulon’s death, she was still running the business. Several of Zebulon’s children including Annabelle, Myer and Samuel were working for D Franks & Co, a sacks and barrels business run by son David in Yaletown on Hamilton Street. In 1931 Annabelle was running D Franks, and David had taken over at Mrs Y Franks business on Cordova. Myer was secretary-treasurer of Iron & Metals, and had moved to Shaughnessey. A year later Y Franks and Co moved to Seymour Street, taking over the premises previously occupied by rival stove dealer William Ralph. (They closed in and V A Wardle and Co briefly occupied the building). The company continued to operate from there for decades, adding other locations, and remaining in business today on the north shore. Yetta Franks died in Los Angeles in 1963.

In the 1960s the building was given a ‘renovation’ that obscured the original appearance of the front facade, including stucco applied over the stonework, and replacement of the front facade brickwork and the original windows, seen in this picture from around 1979. Fortunately, in 2006 the building was once again renovated, but this time Busby, Perkins + Will restored the original appearance of the Victorian Italianate design. There’s a store in front, one residential unit above, and a restaurant fronting onto Blood Alley Square behind. Surplus density (for not tearing down and replacing the structure) was transferred to other development sites elsewhere in the city.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-134 and CVA Bu P675

 

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Posted December 28, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Gastown

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Burrard Street – 700 block, west side

In 1974 this Burrard Street location was yet another surface parking lot. It had been used for commercial parking for over 20 years, and Tilden’s car rental operation was here all that time. In the 1950s Stanley Park Cabs were also based on the same lot. Ten years earlier the cab company was Terminal City cabs, and the Central Burrard Service station sold gas and oil. The Palomar Supper Club was located to the north, off the picture to the right. In 1935 the gas bar was known as the Glencoe Service Station, with the Canadian National Garage sharing the lot. A decade earlier two battery companies were located here; the Battery House and the Willard Storage Battery Co. The building they occupied had been built in 1921, replacing two earlier houses. In 1925 there were two houses on the northern half of the lot. All four houses had first been built before the early 1900s

Today there’s a 1993 building with floor floors of commercial uses designed by Musson Cattell Mackey. The Irwinton Apartments are still standing to the south, and the reclad Burrard Building to the north.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-24

Posted December 27, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Dunsmuir Street – 100 block, north side

There’s very little to say about the ‘before’ shot – in 1974 this was a parking lot. In earlier years this was the location of the second YMCA building, which was replaced by a third in 1940. A year later the newly vacated building was adopted for the war effort, with initially the Canadian Government Department of National Defence Support Column moving in, later replaced by the Armouries. After the war the Glad Tidings Pentacostal Assembly took over, staying until at least 1960. Off in the distance, down Cambie Street, there was a Chevron gas station, unusually  located mid-block rather than on a corner.

It wasn’t until 1994 that the site was redeveloped with the Seimens Building – now known as the Amec Building, designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates. It was cantilevered out to allow the building’s base footprint to miss the tunnel for the SkyTrain which angles across the site from the nearby station on Beatty Street, and picks up the abandoned Canadian Pacific rail tunnel further west. The tunnel was cut in 1931, to allow trains from the Cordova Street station to move to the Drake Street railyards to be cleaned, supplied and made ready for the trip back to the east. CP stopped using the tunnel in 1979.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-65

Posted December 26, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

564 Beatty Street

Here’s a warehouse on the row of Beatty Street buildings that are, for the most part, still standing after over 100 years. That doesn’t mean they haven’t seen significant change, and this one more than most. It’s a modest three storeys facing Beatty, but has an additional three floors that face the lane at the back. There was a significant grade change here, with a cliff face, and developers took the opportunity to have the back of the buildings at the lower level serviced by rail tracks, and the front by street delivery several floors higher. (The difference increases rising up Beatty Street).

When it was built this was just a single storey structure to Beatty Street. It was built during the period of missing permits, so we don’t know who designed it, but the developer of the $20,000 investment was noted in the press as ex-alderman Jonathan Rogers, who had already built a series of Vancouver buildings, and a few years later developed the Rogers Building on Granville Street.

In 1912 J P Matheson designed the additional two storeys for Robert A Welsh (not Walsh, as the register of Heritage Places would have you believe. It was built around 1907, not in 1909). We assume he’s the same Englishman called R A Welsh who was in Moosejaw;  two brothers, E B  and R A Welsh, settled four miles due west of Henry. “They abandoned their homestead in the spring of 1891 and moved to Vancouver where they became very wealthy“. In Vancouver they had a feed store on Water Street, then opened the Celctic Cannery on the Fraser river. The Celtic Cannery opened in 1897 and in 1902, BC Packers purchased Celtic Island and Deering Island to form Celtic Shipyards. About 25 Japanese families employed in the fishing industry resided in single family homes on the north and south shores of Celtic Island and on Middle Island, known today as Deering Island. Robert was living in the city in 1901, with his wife Mary and daughter Doris. His brother, Edward was also resident with his wife Ruthella. Both brothers were shown aged 35, with birthdays only 6 months apart, so there was an error by one of the recording clerks. Robert soon moved away from the city, although he continued to have business interests here. He used the funds from the sale to BC Packers to buy a cannery in Bellingham in Whatcom County in 1905. He made a profit that year of $25,000, which he reinvested into Alaska with similar success. Edward lived in the West End and became a broker.

The original tenant of the building in 1907 was the Gurney Foundry Co. Ltd., an Ontario stove firm that used this as its B C distribution warehouse. Gurney bought the property in 1913. In 1938, when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, it was occupied by Metals Ltd. They handled Plumbing and Heating Supplies, Pipe, Fittings and Valves. Clare Bros. Jewel Ranges, Good Cheer and Pease Furnaces, Berry Bros. Varnishes, Arco Boilers and Corto Radiators. Much more recently the building has had a seismic renovation and addition. Unlike other warehouses on the block, rather than adding a lightweight addition, IBI designed a concrete framed 4 storey addition for office use. Combined with a new central elevator shaft to tie the frame together and add rigidity, the new structure built over the original brick wall improves its seismic performance.

Posted December 21, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Vancouver Community College – Dunsmuir Street

The Downtown campus of the Vancouver Community College started life as the Vancouver Vocational Institute, designed by a leading local architectural firm of the day, Sharp Thompson Berwick and Pratt. It was one of the earliest examples of the International Style in Vancouver, and the Pender Street façade is still looking much as when Bob Berwick designed it in 1948.

Here on Dunsmuir Street the façade of the building is quite different from our 1974 ‘before’ image. A 1983 expansion added a new larger structure, and reclad the street wall with reflective glazing. Today the whole building is a heritage structure, although it’s unlikely that redevelopment of this heavily altered element would raise many objections.

The Community College was built on the site of the 1892 High School, which in turn was re-purposed as the city’s Art School in the 1930s.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-68.

False Creek North waterfront

Our view along the seawall of False Creek is just over 20 years old, we think. The 1984 BC Place stadium is still looking clean, but the 1995 GM Place next door has also been completed. The remnants of Expo 86 that became the Plaza of Nations are in place, but the seawall pathway hasn’t been finished yet.

Over the 20 years the Cooper’s Place residential towers, and Cooper’s Park have been developed. Across Expo Boulevard the new casino and hotel complex known as Parq Vancouver is close to completion, and closes off the last remnant of the view of the stadium, and it’s new roof. Next to Roger’s Arena (the renamed hockey and music arena) there’s a new rental tower.

In future the sliver of mountain to the east will disappear from this spot as the Plaza of Nations finally redevelops. It’s not clear if the cluster of forest trees will survive – but we suspect not as the plans are for a much more active and energized waterfront there.

Posted September 11, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, False Creek

1000 block Richards Street – east side

As in our last post, here are more old houses and a modest commercial building on Richards Street in 1981. There are four houses here: one is almost hidden by a billboard in the 1981 image, with a larger house to the north. Along with one of the other closer houses it has been moved and swung through 90 degrees to add to three others already standing on Helmcken Street. Today there’s a street edge of five houses, recreating the view that existed in 1910, but which was lost in the 1950s when the commercial box on the corner replaced two of them.

The houses that were relocated date from 1907 and 1908, a period where we have no comprehensive building records. The houses here were built speculatively, usually as rental properties. We know that the other three houses, (those that weren’t moved) were built by Wellington Brehaut. Richard Greenwell was the first resident of 108o Richards (the 1908 house that was moved, almost hidden by the commercial block). Richard was a fireman at the Hastings sawmill, and his family were also listed including sons Alexander, a cigarmaker, John, who worked for the CPR and Robert, an elevator boy for Manhattan Court as well as daughter Mary who was clerk for Dr Minogue. The Greenwell’s moved on and by 1911 had been replaced by John McKissock. New residents were shown in 1912. William Knight was a bar server who had only arrived in Canada in 1911 with his wife and three daughters, and to help out they had two lodgers, Mr and Mrs Marshall, also originally from England.

There would later be much greater stability of occupancy for the other house that was moved, 1062 Richards, dating back to 1907. It’s another modest cottage that was built in 1908, and like 1080 saw some changes of occupancy in the early days. The first street reference lists the occupants simply as “foreigners”. A year later John Fraser, a telephone operator moved in, staying for a number of years. He was from Nova Scotia, as was his wife. They had arrived in Vancouver from the USA, where their four year old son had been born. They also had lodgers in 1911, J B and Edith Moore. J B was born in BC, and Edith was from Alaska.

In 1962 Linda Rupa moved in, paying $16,000 for the house. She was a clerk at Safeway’s, who had initially worked at the Army and Navy store when she first arrived in the city, earning 99 cents an hour. She discovered the house had a poker table upstairs, and 17 phones, with to private lines to the US. The house had been a speakeasy for a bootlegger – a profitable enterprise in the area, especially during the war. Once development of residential towers took off in the 1990s, site assembly started. Richards on Richards, the nightclub, sold to developer Mark Chandler, who then offered Linda $3 million for the two lots she owned, one with the house on. She turned him down, and he soon had bigger problems as he was eventually run out of town for selling several units in an earlier project to more than one prospective owner. The Aquilini family acquired Chandler’s assets here, and finally succeeded in persuading Linda to sell, for $6 million. She planned to move to New Westminster, noting when asked what she would do with the money that “I bought myself a nice tube of lipstick. I’ll get a new quilt from Sears – they’ve got them on sale”.

The timing of the site purchase was unfortunate. The condo project planned here was called the Richards. Francesco Aquilini spent five years assembling the site, in an area where buyers were paying $800 a square foot for their new, yet-to-be-built condos. The units came to market just as the market crashed. A handful of the 226 condos and townhouses sold, not enough to start construction. “We opened the sales centre the day after the October 27 crash,” says Aquilini. “It was like opening after 9/11.” The site sat for a couple of years before the units were re-marketed, at prices around 25% lower than initially anticipated. Fortunately construction costs had fallen as well, and the project (designed by Lawrence Doyle Young and Wright) sold out and was completed in 2011.

Image Source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E08.26

Posted September 7, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown