Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

West Pender and Howe Street – nw corner (2)

We looked at this short-lived retail store in an earlier post when it was occupied by Dunlop tire dealer Norman Tullis, about a year before this picture was taken, late in 1918. A year later in this Stuart Thomson image, the Auto Supply Co had replaced the tire store. They sold Dirigo oils and greases, as well as Premium gasoline. We wondered how this was achieved, then we realized that the single gas pump was actually embedded in the sidewalk, as this detail from the image shows. The Rapid Delivery truck is refueling outside the store, and the board on the sidewalk politely requests that other motorists refrain from parking in that spot. H B Nielsen was managing the business, in a modest building that we think was probably developed by D A MacDonald – there’s a 1914 permit for over $3,000 of repairs where Mr MacDonald was owner, architect and builder. The Dirigo Sulphur and Oil Co appears to have been based in Maine, so the oil travelled a long way to Vancouver.

Next door at 429 Howe the Double Tread Tire Co run by William J Bartle was in operation. The next year F C Roberts was running the business, but by 1921, while the Auto Supply Co were still in business, the tire store had become the Mac & Mac Tire Repair Co. Rupert Parkinson was the vulcanizer, and Margaret Barten the clerk, but there’s no mention in the street directory of who either of the Macs were. In 1922 Herman B Neilson was still managing the Auto Supply Co, and next door Auto Electric Co run by E Marshall and V Holman had replaced the tire business.

In our previous post from five years ago, the Stock Exchange block that’s now on the site, designed by Townley and Matheson and completed in 1929, was awaiting the construction of the Exchange Tower – a contemporary office building incorporated into the heritage building. Today it’s completed, and the corner retail unit is now a Swiss chocolate store. (The project was designed by a Swiss architect for a Swiss developer). The remainder of the heritage part of the building is soon to open as the Exchange Hotel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-624

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Posted July 23, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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519 Hamilton Street

Here’s the Hamilton Hotel seen in our 1978 image. If you believe the internet, it appears to still have a phone number and a Facebook page, despite being demolished for the construction of BC Hydro’s support building which was completed in 1992. The new building was leased to the Customs Office when we shot the ‘after’ image a while ago, although they have now moved. The older building was actually vacant even earlier – the Vancouver Archives have a picture from 1974 captioned “Image shows the now vacant premises of the Hamilton Hotel (515-517 Hamilton Street, City of Vancouver Social Services Department single men’s housing)”.

The building dated back to 1907 when the upper floor was first operated as Roccabella furnished rooms, operated by Esther Carmichael, the widow of John. Downstairs was the wholesale confectionery business of the Gavin Brothers, (F J Gavin, G D Gavin and L H Leigh) who seemed to have been the developers as it was known as the Gavin Building, and was identified as ‘new’ in 1908. Grant and Henderson were the designers. In 1911 the rooms became the Edina Rooms, with half a dozen tenants but no identified proprietor or manager. The Gavin business wasn’t just a wholesaling operation; there were several employees, at least one of whom was identified as a candymaker.

The family had moved from Scotland around 1888; Duncan Gavin was accompanied by three sons, Francis and George, who ran the candy company in Vancouver, and Alexander who was a bookkeeper at the Hastings Mill. In the 1891 Canada census the family were in Broadview, a town east of Regina, then part of the Northwest Territories and today in Saskatchewan. When they first arrived in Vancouver in 1894 Duncan Gavin was already retired, and he died in 1901. Francis Gavin married in 1904, worked until 1935 and died in 1955. George married in 1903 and later lived in Burnaby and became a bookkeeper with Martin & Robertson Ltd. He died in 1928 when he was hit by a BC Electric streetcar at Hastings Street at Lillooet Street, and is buried in New Westminster.

By 1919 the name of the rooms had changed again, this time to the Rubell Rooms. Gavin’s were now F Gavin and H Leigh, and had moved to East Pender, and Gibbs & Jackson, who were contractors, Hygiene Products Ltd and the Vancouver Jewel Case Co operated on the main floor of this building. By 1930 these were known as the Garland Rooms, with an engraver and a dye works among the main floor tenants. Hygiene Products Ltd were still here, occupying the rear of the premises and wholesaling toothbrushes and toothpaste in the space where the candymaking had once taken place. From before 1940 these were the Beechmont Rooms, with the Dye Works still operating alongside McLean magazine and Macfadden Publications and the Vancouver News Agency.

Posted July 19, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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1290 Granville Street

Who would have thought that this corner 7-11 store was once a car showroom? Like much of this end of Granville Street, an early business located here sold International Harvester and Paige vehicles. This 1921 image shows both parts of the business, and upstairs the West End Hall (confusingly, not in what we now think of as the West End). Although best known for their farm equipment, IH produced light trucks from the early 1900s, introducing the Motor Truck in 1910. Paige Autombiles were produced in Detroit from 1908. When this image was taken the company produced cars with engines made by Duisenberg, but in 1922 they introduced the Daytona, a 3-seat sports roadster with a 6-cylinder engine. The vehicle looked like a traditional coupe, but had an extraordinary third seat that could be pulled out like a drawer from the side of the car over the near side running board.

The company was sold in 1927, merging to become Graham-Paige, but by then Paige cars were being sold a block away at 1365 Granville, and Ball-Cambell Co had moved in, selling Star and Flint automobiles. The Star was an assembled car intended to rival the Model ‘T” Ford. Parts were supplied by various manufacturers, and built by the Durant Motors Company in Lansing, Michigan. Flint Motors came from the city of the same name, and was also a Durant company. The body of their car was made by Budd, in Philadelphia, and the engine by Continental. They ceased production in 1927, and Ball-Campbell went with them. Great West Motors moved in here, selling Oldsmobiles.

The building didn’t start life as a car showroom, as it pre-dates the arrival of cars in Vancouver. It was here before the turn of the 20th century – in 1899 it was numbered as 1270 Granville, the only building on the block other than the Golden Gate Hotel (still standing at the other end of the block, which dates from 1889). It was home to Webster Bros, who were grocers, with three Websters listed among a total of seven residents. They certainly didn’t use vehicles in their business – or at least, not motorized vehicles. The Archives has an image from around 1905 of one of their horse-drawn wagons. There’s another image of the building which is inaccurately dated to around 1890. It’s later because Webster Bros didn’t move in until 1897; the year before that they were located on the parallel block of Seymour Street.

From 1892 until the Webster family moved in, the premises here were occupied by Mrs O Olmstead, grocer, and Mr O Olmstead, a carpenter. They had taken over from the short-lived Vancouver Co-operative Grocery and Supply Co, managed by S F McKenzie, who were here in 1891. A year earlier there were two businesses, and several residential tenants (suggesting the entire building was constructed as seen today). The businesses were the Granville Street Dining Hall; Harry King Sargeant, prop; Miss Mary Bouer, waitress, and Miss Annie Larsson, cook. Colin McLeod, a blacksmith also seems to have worked here, (presumably at the back) and there was also a grocer; E Fader and Co. There were so few people in the city that the directory listed everyone working or living here; John Elijah Fader, of Fader Bros., Maynard P Fader, clerk, William Dauphinee, the bookkeeper, Silas Fader, and Henry Marsden, another clerk.

The Fader business had moved from Cordova Street, where they operated in early 1889, and the family members had all been living on Homer Street that year, and they all lived at this address in 1890 – although it didn’t really have an address – or at least not a number, just ‘Granville, nr Drake’. As far as we can tell 1889 is when the building was constructed. The family were unusual as they were recorded as ‘grocers and mill owners’ – they also owned a sawmill a block away from here on False Creek, run by Albert Fader. Albert had the Homer Street house that the family previously occupied designed for him by William Blackmore in 1888. This building might be designed by the Fripp Brothers; an 1890 Daily World report identifies a commercial block having been built for E Fader and Co at Drake Street at Howe Street, but there was only a very small building at that intersection, and it seems likely the newspaper inaccurately identified the location.

The family didn’t all stick with grocery, or milling. In 1891 Albert Fader was retired, and E J Fader was a steamboat operator, living at the Colonial Hotel (The Yale Hotel today – also dating from 1889). The Fader family had German roots, but had all been born in Halifax, in Nova Scotia. There’s an image in the Nova Scotia Archives of their store at the market in Bedford Row in 1885, and the business had been established in 1864 at 64 Barrington Street. Silas Fader stayed in the grocery business, and we saw his later store, still on Granville Street but much further north, built in 1898.

The Webster grocery store was here from 1897 until 1912 – a year later they were located on the opposite side of the street. The store was empty for a year, then in 1914 J L Dobbin was listed as owner when some repairs were completed; John Dobbin was a representative for the Granville Auto Exchange, based at 1270 Granville (still this building) and owned by AM Rentfrow and W W Ross. In 1919 Douglas Hayes (who was the tenant of the building) carried out $1,000 of repairs that it was noted ‘had been OK’d by the fire chief’, after a major fire in 1917. In 1920 more alterations were carried out for owner E Evans, built by Thomas Hunter. There were about a dozen ‘E Evans’ who might have owned the property, but almost all had fairly poorly paid jobs, as clerks, carpenters, a ‘helper’, a traveler – but the one professional was architect Enoch Evans, who might well be the owner at the time (assuming it wasn’t an out-of-town owner). By 1930 the economy was in trouble; car companies were being wound up, and these premises were vacant. When they were operating again in 1932, it was with John Redden, who was a wholesaler of radios and refrigerators, and R A Lister’s engine business, managed in Vancouver by J R Day.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Trans N19, Bu P711 and Bu P293.

Posted July 12, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Dunsmuir and Howe – nw corner

We’ve looked at the other three corners of this intersection in previous posts, including the Angelus Hotel which once stood on the south east corner. This 1936 image shows Angelus Confectionery on the opposite corner to where the hotel was built (in 1912), so presumably the store borrowed the name of the hotel. The store was identified as being run that year by Antigoni Gogoras. A Gogoras had been shown running the business in 1929, and Miss E Gogoras in 1930 and again in 1938 (assuming Miss E A Gogoras is the same person). By that time it was a restaurant, known as the Angelus Dairy. In 1935 W Gogoras was running the confectionery store.

We can guess that the family name is Greek, as there was a Greek family recorded as Gougowras in the census, but identified as William Gogoras in the street directory. He who ran a grocers business in the city in the 1920s, but appointed a receiver to wind up the business in 1923. Basil Gogoras was born in Greece in 1870, and died in Vancouver in 1944. His father was Anastasios Gogoras, and his wife, Mary, also born in Greece died in 1980, aged 92. They had a daughter, Kaliopi. We also found Ethel Gogoras, from Vancouver, who married John MacGowan, and in 1930 had a daughter born close to Vancouver in Sedro Wooley, in Washington.

By 1951 the Angelus Café was run by S L Miloff, with the entrance on Howe Street, and Angelus Confectionery still existed nearby on Dunsmuir, run by W Kaltsatos.

The house was very old – it’s clearly shown on the 1889 insurance map. It looks as if John Clements, listed as an architect, (but described as a ‘well known builder and contractor’ in the newspaper of the day) may have lived here in 1890, across the street from a better known architect, William Blackmore. Mr. Clements built many buildings for the CPR, and was supervising a new station when he died in 1896, in North Bend. The Daily World noted at the time ‘He did considerable contracting in the way of station building on the C.P.R. and was sometimes spoken of as foreman on construction of buildings.’ He was from Newfoundland And Labrador, (although one census record shows Ontario), and in 1880 was living in San Francisco. We don’t know if he built the house for himself, but that seems possible.

Today there’s a 14 storey office building dating back to 1976.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N284

Posted July 9, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Angelus Hotel – Dunsmuir & Howe se corner

This 1912 hotel was swallowed up in the construction of the Pacific Centre Mall in 1974, so this 1972 image must show it very soon before it was demolished. Sitting on the corner of Dunsmuir and Howe, it was designed by Parr Mackenzie and Day and resembles a number of other hotels from that era in this area of Downtown. When Thomas Fee and John Parr finally parted company in 1912 after designing hundreds of Vancouver buildings, Parr took two new partners and continued working with them for several years, although the economic downtown and then the First World War saw work dry up across the city.

E J Ryan built the $145,000 building, described as ‘apartments/rooms; four-storey mill construction store and rooms building’. W J Bowser and G I Wilson were the developers. They owned several properties, with other buildings on Granville, Seymour and Hastings. They continued to own this property, hiring hired Sidney Eveleigh to supervise various changes to the building in 1921.

Bowser development interests were secondary to his political career. Born in New Brunswick, he was a lawyer, arriving in Vancouver in 1891. He was first elected to the provincial legislature in 1903 as a conservative, becoming attorney-general from 1907 until 1915 when he became premier of British Columbia until 1916. Accusations of corruption saw a divided conservative government replaced by the liberals, but Bowser stayed as leader of the opposition until he lost his seat in 1924.

George Ingram Wilson was also from New Brunswick, and as an early pioneer of the city had made his fortune in the canning industry partnering with Alfred Buttimer and George Dawson in the Brunswick Cannery. He had extensive mining interests as well, one apparently shared in the same consortium with William Bowser in the New Victor Mining Co., ‘Formed to acquire and work the mineral claims known as the “ New Victor,” “ Royal,” and “ Excelsior,” situate on Wild Horse Creek, in the Nelson Mining Division of the West Kootenay Mining District’. Both men lived in the West End, although Bowser moved to Victoria around the time this building was constructed. They had known each other a long time; in 1896 G I Wilson was president, and W J Bowser vice president (for Ward 2) of the liberal conservative association in the city.

The hotel started life as the Ansonia Hotel, run by Mrs. J Lancaster, but two years after it opened in 1914 it was listed as the Angelus hotel, run by Philip Gaovotz. The hotel soon had many long-term residents, while downstairs was what appears to have been a well run bar. The Liquor Board (initially pressured by the Health Officer) applied more stringent requirements to how they were run, but the Angelus was allowed to delay some of the required upgrades. While men could (by invitation) drink on the segregated ladies side of the bar, women weren’t allowed on the men’s side. The ladies side was therefore required to have a men’s lavatory, which the Angelus lacked, but as there were no recorded problems, the inspectors, who noted the lapse in 1948, allowed the situation to remain through to 1954.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-371

Posted July 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Seymour Street – 1000 block, west side (2)

Here’s the southern end of the western side of the 1000 block of Seymour Street in 1981. We looked at the mid-block and the northern end, and the Penthouse Club, in the previous post. At this end the surface parking lot, (that was originally developed with houses in the early 1900s), was developed again in the early 1990s. Joe Wai designed the New Continental, with 110 units of non-market housing owned by the City of Vancouver. It was constructed in 1991 in accordance with BC Housing Standards of the time, which set out a maximum unit price for each suite and methods of construction. The building is a 15-storey concrete frame structure with a two-storey brick street wall podium for the residential tower which was clad with an Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS). By 1998 it was obvious that water was getting into the building, and in 2000 the entire structure was reclad with new insulation and a rainscreen, and replacement roofs at a cost of $2.3m.

On the third floor, the Continental Seniors Centre is a drop in centre that caters to seniors or people over 45 years of age with a disability. There’s a large roof deck over the second floor that’s part of the Senior’s Centre. On the main floor The Gathering Place Community Centre offers programs and services to the Downtown South community. The centre primarily serves vulnerable populations, including people on lower income, people with disabilities, seniors, people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, the LGBTQ community, youth, and people who are homeless. They provide accessible and engaging programs with a focus on food and nutrition, health, education, recreation, arts and culture, and community development. The Gathering Place operates 7 days a week from 10am to 8pm and is open all statutory holidays. The VSB also run an Adult Education Centre within the Gathering Place.

In 1903 there were six identical houses already built across the end of the block, all of them fronting Helmcken Street. By 1912 the rest of the block had filled up with houses fronting onto Seymour. There are no identifiable permits for their construction, so they were probably built between 1905 and 1908 when the building permits have been lost. Some of the homes here had important residents like Thomas A Dunn, foreman at the R C Planing Mill and Magloire DesRosiers who developed a building for his stoves business on East Hastings, but their neighbours were Edward McCarry who was a freight hand on the CPR wharf and Elliott Llloyd, a carpenter.

We’re not sure when the site was cleared, but several addresses had disappeared, suggesting the houses had already been demolished by the mid 1950s.

Image source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E03.16A

 

Posted June 21, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Seymour Street – 1000 block, west side (1)

This image is, according to the City of Vancouver Archives, from around 1926. We place it a few years later, towards the end of 1929 or early in 1930. That’s because there’s a building seen in the picture that’s still standing today. Up to 1928 there were houses pretty much the entire block face, but in 1929 1035 Seymour was vacant, and in 1930 it was home to Bearing Supply House Ltd – seen on the left of the picture. The company’s Vancouver operation had previously been located in the heart of the business district on the 600 block of Howe Street.

Next door, to the north, are two houses, both dating back to the early 1900s. They’re both standing today, although incorporated into the complex that today is the Penthouse Club. The building to the north of that dates from 1912, although it too had a house as a basis. That year H W Forsyth & Co spent $700 to build “Dwelling/house; one-storey frame warehouse”.  The odd thing is that no such business shows up in the street directory around that period, (or any other records) and the occupant in 1913 was a contractor, Harold Burdett.

Aaron Chapman has chronicled the changing fortunes of the property for the past 77 years. “The Filippone family bought the land the Penthouse sits on in 1941, and began building the building that still exists there today. What originally housed the operations for their trucking and taxi business also found space for their Eagle Time Athletic Club, turning the building into somewhat of a community centre for over 500 local kids, with the Filippones sponsoring boxing, soccer teams, and baseball. The club already had its own boxing star with Jimmy Filippone a two time B.C. Golden Gloves champion. After the Second World War, in 1947 the Filippones began to expand the building and the business into what would eventually become the nightclub.”

So far this block has seen little development, but there are two underutilized sites (including the 1929 building) likely to see development soon. Here’s one of them – the parking lot beyond the club that has remained a vacant surface lot since before 1981. Whether the venerable Penthouse Club itself will ever disappear is less predictable. The Filippone family have apparently rejected countless lucrative offers for the site, and seem content to continue to operate one of the last outposts of a bygone era.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-2251 and CVA 779-E03.07A

Posted June 18, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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