Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

1100 Granville Street – west side (2)

We looked at the buildings on the northern end of the block in our previous post. Here they are in 1981, and they’re all still standing today, even though most are over 100 years old. Here’s the middle of the 1100 block of Granville, (not the 700 block, as the Archives have it titled), with Carl Gustafson’s Clifton Rooms (now the Clifton Hotel) on the right of the picture. This picture is bookended by another Parr and Fee designed Hotel, the St Helen’s Hotel, at 1161 Granville, designed for G A Lees and H F Maskell and completed in 1911. It was built by Hemphill Brothers and cost $60,000, and opened in December 1911, but became an annex for the Hotel Barron across the street. In between are four more modest one and two storey buildings.

The three storey building next door is 1157 (today). There was nothing on the site in 1903, and in 1912 J B Houston spent $100 adding a one-storey brick furnace house to the building that had been constructed, but there’s no permit for the building itself, which first appeared in 1909 as a rooming house at 1153 Granville run by Andrew J Napier, and a vacant retail unit at 1155 A year later it was occupied by G W Cowan, musical instruments and Roddick & Calder – D Calder and J G Roddick, who lived here, and ran the West Side Rooms. Either there were two establishments in the same building, or Mr. Napier owned the property and Roddick and Calder ran it, (or the directory was confused). Those arrangements ended quite quickly – only a year later Robert Rowbottom was at 1155 running the furnished rooms, with the Standard Investment Co, run by K J Robinson, The Granville Pool Rooms (Steven & Muldoon, props.) and Walter Richards running a tobacconists at 1157. By 1968 these were known as the Clark Rooms, and they were allowed to convert to market rental from rooming house.

The single storey retail units to the north were constructed in 1930 and 1924, although there were earlier structures, one occupied by the West End Liquor Co (before prohibition). Beyond them, next to the Clifton, there’s an older 2-storey building that was one of the earliest on the block – although it’s not as old as BC Assessment think – they date it to 1901 – but there was nothing here on the 1903 insurance map. In 1911 it was William Thomson’s store – selling pianos, organs, player pianos and musical instruments. It looks as if there was a rooming house upstairs, run by M Catherwood in 1910, John Webster the year before (the first year we think the building operated), and David Izen in 1911. If it was built in 1908/09 the development permit has been lost.

This part of Granville still sees a regular turnover of businesses, and nothing seems to last long. Mostly businesses cater to the nearby clubs, with inexpensive street food sold late into the night, and there were restaurants here in 1981, including the Fisherman’s Net selling seafood and Ming’s Café, bookending a branch of the Bank of Montreal. More recently there have been new restaurants here like the twisted Fork Bistro and Umeda tempura opening through the day, and attracting lineups at weekends.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W03.22

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Posted January 20, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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1100 Granville Street – west side (1)

The building on the corner is one of the newer buildings on this block of Granville, only dating back to 1919. It started life as a car showroom, designed by A E Henderson for agents Griffith & Lee, built by J B Arthur at a cost of $15,000. In 1921 the Oldsmobile dealership of Bowell McDonald was here, and later a Chevrolet dealership. By the 1930s it became retail stores – and in 1981 when this picture was taken, Lo Cost Rent A Car.

Although it’s now incorporated into the same lot today, the single storey building to the south was designed and built by builders Tinney & Humphries for Mr. C J De Vos Van Steenwyck. There’s no sign of anyone with that name in the city at that time, but Clara Jacoba De Vos van Steenwyck (who was a Baroness), arrived in New York in 1914, and gave Vancouver as her residence. She was resident in Vancouver in the 1920s, featured in a Vancouver Sun profile in 1945, and died here in 1960. She applied to both lease and own large areas of land in BC in the 1930s, and we rather suspect that the ‘Mr’ in the building permit was inaccurate, as she apparently never married. A 1924 permit for a house on W47th Avenue identified her as ‘Van Steenwyk, Miss’. She carried out repairs to this building in 1920, when it was identified as ‘George’s Place’ in the permit. (The accurate spelling of the baroness’s name was Steenwijk, but that seems to have been too difficult for Canadian records). George’s Place was run by George Mottishaw and George Truesdell, but the street directory doesn’t tell us what the Georges did.

The next, two-storey building is unusual because it was built in 1909, and of concrete construction (just in its infancy as a construction technique). It was built by Chaffer & Kimber at a cost of $3,700 for E Lovick, and designed by Thomas Hooper. Actually it was probably either F or H Lovick – Frank and Harold Lovick ran a piano store here (Hicks and Lovick), although Herbert soon worked as the accountant for the News Advertiser. Hicks and Lovick continued here through to the early 1920s, (Gideon Hicks was in Victoria). The Frank Lovick Piano Co continued later in the 1920s on the 1000 block of Granville.

The four storey building to the south is the Clifton Hotel, the Clifton Rooms when it opened in 1910. It was developed by C F Gustafson, a Swedish contractor, who started out building houses in the early 1900s, and later an apartment building in the West End in the 1920s. This building’s design was a cookie cutter of at least five others, all still standing today, all designed by Parr and Fee, with centre pivoted windows and a front façade of glazed white brick. Today it’s still a rooming house.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W03.14

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Granville Street – 700 block east side (4)

This undated image shows the other buildings that were replaced when the Best Buy / Winners retail building was built here in 2003. We looked at the buildings to the south (just out of the picture, to the far right) in our previous post. In the ‘before’ image the two-storey building on the right of the picture has been split up, and part of W T Whiteway’s 1904 façade is obscured with sheet steel on Murray Goldman’s store. We know from another Archives picture from the early 1970s that to the south of the Goldman store, Le Chateau had a store here, so this image probably dates to the mid to late 1960s. We also know it dates to before 1974 because that’s when the Birks Building (past the Vancouver Block) was demolished in 1974.

The Goldman stores were a Vancouver institution; Mr. Goldman’s advertising (and humour) were well known, and popular. His 2011 obituary noted “The downtown outlet moved to Granville Street, where it thrived until the city banned street parking in favour of a bus-and-pedestrian mall. The move drove away shoppers. “Business would start slow in the morning,” Mr. Goldman complained, “then taper off through the rest of the day.” He moved the outlet indoors and underground at the nearby Pacific Centre Mall, where it would later become Goldman and Son. He had introduced a son, David, to the business when he was 14. The family business is now best known for its Boys’ Co. stores.”

To the north, behind the Brill trolley bus, was a two storey building with bay windows on the upper floor. In 1906 it was home to The Opera Café (run by J A Byers), Larson Bros, tailors and Direct Importing Tea & Coffee Co, managed by Herbert Cragg, with four apartments upstairs. That’s the first time it appears, so it was built around 1905, a period when the building permits have been lost. Our earlier image of this block suggests the central part of the building had an ornate pediment, lost by the 1970s. The Opera Café soon became the Granville Café, the Opera Pool room was in the middle, behind a shoe store, and Sam Scott sold clothing in the third retail unit. The apartments were occupied by Rhoda Backett, a masseuse, Thomas J Ogle, who was proprietor of the Windsor Hotel, (next door), John Glenn of Glenn & Co, an agency that dealt in timber and coal lands, and Mrs. I M Paterson. Rhoda was unusually independent: she was born in Lambeth in England in 1876, arrived in Canada in 1905 (having sailed to Boston), and had Emily Short, who was 10 years younger, lodging with her in 1911. In 1909 she owned the Turkish Baths on West Pender, and in 1911, she applied to buy 640 acres of land in the Coast District ‘near the Red Stone Indian Reserve’ in the Chilcotin. A year earlier she applied to buy 640 acres in Omineca, near Fort Fraser. It doesn’t appear she was successful in acquiring the land: she stayed in the city and became a nurse. She was still single when she died in Vancouver in 1949. In 1913 Thomas Fee said he owned the building when he carried out $400 of repairs, but there’s also another owner, Mr Doud (who owned the Boston Lunch, on West Hastings) who had Walter Hepburn carry out repairs to the Imperial Lunch here that year. He probably ran the café, rather than owning the building. In 1919 The Orpheum Café (another name change that occurred a few years earlier) paid for more alterations.

Beyond it was the former Windsor Hotel, although by the mid 1910s it was the Castle Hotel. It started life just 50 feet wide, as this 1909 image shows. There was an initial $10,000 building here in 1904, developed by A Williams, built by Baynes & Horie, and designed by Grant & Henderson. It looks like it was only a small building, with retail space – described as ‘brick and stone store’. The hotel appears in 1908, so was probably built above or alongside the retail building, but it too is in the ‘lost permit’ period. It also added a new four storey element to the south, and then was increased in height in 1911, with Grant & Henderson designing a $55,000 three storey addition built by C F Perry (again for A Williams). The resulting building is shown on this 1920s brochure, published by Glen Mofford in his history of the Castle. Subsequently two storeys were removed, so our 1970s image shows only five floors.

There were several A Williams in the city; the most likely to have the funds was Adolphus Williams, a lawyer and politician, born in Ontario but practicing in Vancouver since 1889. He developed another building on East Hastings, and possibly other properties as well. On his death in 1921 half of his property was bequeathed to his wife. On her death three years later it passed on to other relatives. A legal case in 1945 finally settled a complex taxation question related to the estate, which was described as being principally made up of real estate interests in Vancouver. In 1913 he also held successful gold mining interests near Lillooet.

Walter Hepburn (who repaired the building next door) was shown as the owner of the building in 1915 when he submitted a permit listing William Blackmore as designing $10,000 of work to alter the interior of the Castle Hotel, enlarging the lobby, bar & grill. As Blackmore had died in 1904, it was probably his son, E E Blackmore who designed the work. There was a main floor bar and lounge, with tapestries on the wall, transformed into men and women’s beer parlours a year after the end of prohibition in 1922 and a full three years before they were legally allowed to exist in Vancouver. (They used a “private club” legal loophole that many other Vancouver establishments adopted). In the 1950s the bar became known as a gay drinking establishment, although management threw out anyone who touched a same sex partner, leading to a “kiss in” protest by the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s. Like all the buildings here it was demolished, in this case in 1990.

Between the Vancouver Block & the Birks Building was another small 3-storey building, dating back to 1912. It was another Grant & Henderson design, for John West, who spent $15,000 building the three storey structure, dwarfed by the $400,000 Vancouver Block completed two years earlier, and the $550,000 Birks building completed in 1912. It created another example of the ‘saw tooth’ pattern of development seldom seen outside Vancouver, and slowly disappearing as more consistent height buildings maximize permitted density across the city.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-437 and CVA 64-4.jpg

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Posted January 6, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street – 700 block east side (3)

We looked at some of the buildings here 7 years ago. A little more recently we took this ‘after’ photograph of a similar view, and we’re posting it now to look at a couple of buildings overlooked in the earlier post. The ‘after’ shot is a bit out of date, as that’s the bottom of the ‘Future Shop’ blade sign, which now reads ‘Best Buy’. Today’s building is a comparatively low density fairly recently completed retail building, with the electronics store on the second floor, and a Winners store on the top. If it was being redeveloped today it would almost certainly have office space above that in a much larger building, but it was developed at a point (in 2003) when office vacancy rates were higher and demand much less than it is today.

In 1910, when George Alfred Barrowlclough took the picture, Joseph McTaggart’s store was on the corner, and Le Patourel & McRae’s Drugstore was to the north. We looked at the building a few years ago – it was built in 1904 by J Rogers – almost certainly Jonathan Rogers, the developer and builder of the Rogers Building down the street a few years later. He hired T E Julian to design the building which had the Sunset View apartments upstairs. We think that Mr McTaggart may have owned the building because in 1912 he got a permit worth $400 for repairs designed by Thomas Hooper. That same year the Royal Bank of Canada also hired Thomas Hooper to convert it to a bank branch at a cost of $10,000. The Bank finally closed in 1961, still looking quite similar then to 50 years earlier. It was replaced by a more modern bank building, which in turn was torn down for the retail building.

The next buildings seem to be designed ‘as a piece’, but built separately as one is three storeys, and the other only two. We’re fairly certain that the 3 storey building was built for a developer who lived in the West End, but made his money as a successful mineral miner near Nelson. The Ymir Herald in 1904 reported “Philip White, one of the pioneer mining men of Ymir, was in town again this week. Mr. White is one of the fortunate ones who has reaped a harvest from his mining operation! in this rich section, and he is now located at Vancouver, where he is enjoying u well deserved rest. He has acquired several building lots in the coast metropolis, and is erecting large brick buildings. He has also a ranch of 1200 acres and 150 head of cattle in the Chilicotin district in northern British Columbia. During his stay here he visited the Wilcox mine, which owes its present day success to his indefatigable and untiring persistence, by which it was successfully steered through many troubled financial crises.

This was still a cleared site in 1903, but developed by 1911. That year we know Philip White extended 782 and 784 Granville (the second building to the north) at a cost of either $1,800 or $2,000 (or, less likely, both, as he had two different permits for the same lot, with different builders). He paid for more repair in 1922, and in 1916 he paid for $1,400 of repairs to the next building, 788 Granville. While we don’t have a permit, we do have a Contract Record note that Philip White had hired W T Whiteway to design a Granville Street block in 1905, so this seems the likely candidate. It was a 3-storey building, of pressed brick, so that would accurately describe the building.

The next door to the north was also designed by W T Whiteway a year earlier, for J C Woodrow. It was built by David Jane, and cost $14,000. C S Gustafson (‘of 1436 Thurlow’) had a permit in 1916 to add an extra floor, but it doesn’t appear that he followed through – instead in 1921 he added a light well and had permits for other alterations. Mr. Woodrow’s death notice in a Keremeos newspaper in 1909 mentions his property interests “Mr. Woodrow was a native of England, but entered the butcher business in Vancouver about twenty years ago, and prospered so that he was able to retire four or five years ago with a large estate, the administration of which has taken up much of his time since then. Being an intimate friend of W. H. Armstrong, he became associated with the latter in the organization of the Keremeos Land Co., in which he was a large stockholder and an active director.”

Carl Gustafson, who later owned, and altered, the building was a builder from Sweden who started by building houses in the West End as early as 1903, and developed the Clifton Hotel on Granville Street in 1910. In 1911 he was shown as aged 37 (having arrived in 1890), living with his wife Hannah and their three sons and their domestic servant, and a lodger. In 1928 he built a West End apartment building, The Biltmore.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 229-09

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Cambie Bridge looking north

This image isn’t lined up correctly with the 1904 picture. That’s because, when they replaced the Connaught Bridge over False Creek at Cambie Street, they built the new bridge parallel with the old, then demolished the earlier structure. As a result we’re a bridge-width-and-a-bit too far to the west. Here’s another Archives image from the early 1980s that shows the approach area for the new bridge being cleared alongside the old bridge (which the photographer is standing on). The rest of the waterfront here was still industrial, with the land once occupied by a railyard, a sawmill and lumberyard. On the other side of the bridge (the east side) was a cooperage.

We’re also probably at slightly the wrong elevation, as there was less clearance on the old bridge. Instead it had a swing span to allow shipping to navigate to the end of False Creek. That was necessary for many years because there was a concrete batching plant there until the land was used for Expo 86.

The sidewalk of the old bridge lined up almost perfectly with Holy Rosary Cathedral – although it was only the parish church until 1916 (designed by T E Julian). It had a second, lower, spire, long gone. Almost all the tall buildings in the city at the time were churches, and almost all of them are no longer standing. One tall building that wasn’t a church is a tower on the mid-left of the picture. It looks like a square church tower, but there wasn’t a church in that part of town, so it had us confused for a while. Poring over an early panorama, and the insurance maps revealed that it’s the hose tower of Firehall No. 2, designed by W T Whiteway in 1902, on Seymour Street, although the tower was at the back of the building, on the lane.

Even after the boom at the end of the first decade of the 20th century, not too many buildings stood tall on the skyline because the new office buildings like The Sun Tower and the Dominion Building were down the hill on the other side of Downtown, mostly near West Hastings. The Vancouver Block on Granville was at a higher elevation, along with the second Hotel Vancouver. By the early 1980s there were a cluster of taller commercial and office buildings marking the Downtown Business core, with a few others like the BC Electric headquarters, (and later the Nelson Square tower nearby on Hornby). In the years following Expo, and continuing through to today, Concord Pacific have developed thousands of condominiums along the waterfront former Expo lands, and other developers have filled in behind, so today almost all the buildings seen from here are residential, although in behind there are far more office and hotel towers in the Downtown Central Business District as well.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Br P25 and CVA 800-2878

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Posted December 30, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

500 block Seymour Street – west side (3)

We looked at the building on the right in a much earlier post. Today it’s Malone’s bar, with the confusingly named Cambie Hostel Downtown upstairs (some distance from Cambie Street). The corner building opened as The Clarence Hotel, run by Frank Foubert, in January 1893. There had been a wooden hotel, the St Charles, built here soon after the 1886 fire that destroyed the city, but it also burned down in 1892, and the Clarence was built of fireproof brick by the owner, the Marquis of Queesnberry, a Scottish nobleman. (He hired Mr. Horrobin as contractor, and architects Fripp and Wills). It had a further addition to the south (up the hill) some time after 1900, and before 1913. It’s most likely  that the addition was built when the building permits have been lost – in the mid to late 1900s.

In 1913 it was owned by J K Sutherland, who hired architect A J Bird to design $1,200 of alterations. In 1918 William Holden owned the property and had Thomas Fee design another $600 of changes, and in 1921 A Gignas did some more minor improvements. In 1922 Crowe & Wilson owned the building and spent $750 on alterations.

Next door, across the lane to the south and up the hill, is the Seymour Building. This was developed (according to the permit) by the Yorkshire Building Co and some images refer to it as the Yorkshire Building. Technically the clerk was shortcutting – the developer was “the Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation Ltd” – an English based organization. They built a portfolio of interests in the city, and Dominion Construction erected the $250,000 investment in 1913, which was designed by Somervell & Putnam.

William Farrell moved to Vancouver with his wife in 1891 as the first General Manager of the Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation. The company was backed by wealthy woollen merchants in Huddersfield in Yorkshire, and they had extensive interests in early Vancouver, including a controlling interest in the Vancouver Loan and Securities Corp., and the city’s street railway. Farrell also acquired the city’s telephone system, acquiring rival small companies to create the BC Telephone Company Limited in 1904.

Richard Broadbridge photographed construction of the new building, which had a concrete rather than a steel frame. It has been suggested that there was a delay in completing the building because of the war, but in fact it was almost fully leased and occupied by 1914. The new tenants were a ‘who’s who’ of Vancouver business, looking to impress in a new building. There was a building society, notaries, land agents and brokers. There was Fruit and Farm magazine, a Grain Exchange, a steamship agent, timber agents and insurance agents and adjusters. There was a surveyor, engineers, architects and real estate agents. Near the top of the building there was a dentist, and an artist, and BC Fisheries. The artist, Thurman A Ellis had ‘quietly married’ Miss Lillian Smith in 1913, and seems not to have made much of a mark on Vancouver society, leaving the city by 1915.

Over the years hundreds of tenants have come and gone, but the building still offers small offices in a convenient part of town in a recently restored building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E01.33 and LGN 553.jpg

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Robson and Hornby Street – south east

This image, from May 1965 shows, according to the Archives record, “the Clement Block, Danceland, Crystall Lunch, C.K.N.W. and Black Top Cabs office”. There’s also a bakery, and Triangle Books on the main floor of the two storey and mansard building dating from 1922. It was developed by Herbert S Clements, and designed by A A Cox in two stages; Cameron Construction built the initial $12,000 structure, and then a year later E Cook & Sons carried out another $6,000 of ‘Miscellaneous; Repairs/Alterations; Banquet hall’. Those were by no means the total costs.

A complex legal case from 1927 told the story of the new building. In 1920 W H Sproule, President of the National Mortgage Company, and H S Clements, a director, bought a building on this corner. W G Harvey had owned the building in 1909, and sold it that year to Maxwell, Le Feuvre, Passage and Tomlin for $85,000. There were various mortgages and payments that are far too complex to list here, and Maxwell and Le Feuvre sold their interests, but eventually Passage and Tomlin agreed to sell the site to Mr. Sproule. He had difficulty paying for the building, and Mr. Clements helped him out, and they ended up owning the building with a small mortgage. Mr. Sproule at around the same time moved to Winnipeg leaving Mr. Clements in charge of the decrepit building, which was ordered demolished by the City in 1922. The replacement cost at least $88,000 in total to build, and the land was assessed at $50,000, and in June 1924 he sold the building seen here for $125,000. Mr. Sproule sued to try to get more than his half of the sale proceeds, and a judge awarded him an extra $3,085. Mr Sproule wanted more, and Mr. Clements didn’t think he was entitled even to that amount, so they ended up in the Court of Appeal. The judges sided with Mr. Clements: one of the judges noting “Real estate at the time in question in the City of Vancouver was of very uncertain value and holders thereof were looked upon as speculators. The defendant by the exercise of great skill and judgment was able to, in the end, make a profit by the sale of the land after the erection thereon of a suitable building, and he must be allowed all outgoings in respect thereof; the plaintiff cannot obtain the profits and leave all the losses with the defendant.”

Herbert S Clements had been a Conservative MP, initially in Chatham, Ontario, where he was born, representing West Kent from 1904 until 1908 when he moved to British Columbia. He set up a real estate company with George S Heywood which continued to operate through to the early 1920s. His partner was also from Chatham, where he was still living in 1901. When they were in partnership, they both occupied apartments in the same building, 859 Thurlow. At the same time, from 1911 until 1921 Herbert represented the British Columbia ridings of Comox-Atlin and then Comox-Alberni. His obituary, in 1939, said he retired both from his real estate business and politics more than 15 years before. That would coincide with a court case where Mr. Clements sued John J Coughlin for $5,000 to be paid for helping Mr. Coughlin sell his interest in a government funded drydock in Burrard Inlet. Mr. Clements was involved because of his ‘influence’ in Ottawa, but unlike two other lobbyists, he was never paid.

Herbert Clements was an old-school conservative. While representing Chatham it was noted that he “Strongly advocates more protection for agricultural interests of Canada and believes in equal tariff with U.S. on all national products affecting Canada.” When he stood as a conservative for Comox Atlin in 1911, the local Prince Rupert newspaper, the Daily News described him as a ‘carpet bagger’, and backed the liberal candidate (a local). The Omineca Miner newspaper seemed happier with him, and carpetbagger or not, Mr. Clements was elected. Today his attitude to former eastern Europeans are still remembered, especially Ukrainians, interned during the first war. In March 1919 he said “I say unhesitatingly that every enemy alien who was interned during the war is today just as much an enemy as he was during the war, and I demand of this Government that each and every alien in this dominion should be deported at the earliest opportunity. Cattle ships are good enough for them.”

The new building on the corner was leased out, with the entire second floor going to a dance academy called the Alexandra Ballroom, with the entry on Hornby Street. It had draped windows, a stage, a small lounge and a kitchen. The wooden, sprung dance floor had bags of horsehair laid under the floor, and later, overhead fanning boards were added. All this made for a very classy venue, a rival to The Commodore.

In 1929 a radio station was established on the third floor by Sprott Shaw College. In 1954 radio station CKNW moved into the space, but owner Bill Rea, sold CKNW and took over The Alex, downstairs. He changed the name to Danceland and created a new upbeat venue. Adorned with oversized neon signs, Danceland began to attract some of the big names of the day. Red Robinson recalls the venue playing host to Ike & Tina Turner, The Coasters, Bobby Darin, Roy Orbison and many other R&B and early rock and roll bands. A new owner took over Danceland and continued to promote the venue as a Rock and Roll dance hall. It could accommodate up to 600 people, and coaches sometimes could be seen parked outside having brought dancers up from the USA. It was noted that bouncers did routine patrols looking for booze under the chairs.

The city bought the building for a civic centre that never materialized, and the Province took over and initially cleared the site for a parking lot in 1965. The new Courthouse, designed by Arthur Erickson was built here many years later, although this corner is really part of the site’s extensive landscaping, designed by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-351

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Posted December 12, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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