Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

Gore Avenue and East Cordova Street

This 1889 Archives picture is titled “Mrs. Sullivan’s house – N.W. corner of Gore Avenue and Oppenheimer (E. Cordova) Street”. It’s not entirely accurate; the house was not actually Josephine Sullivan’s, but the newly completed home of her son, Arthur, although she did live here. In the 1891 census Arthur W Sullivan was living here, aged 31, listed as a general merchant. He had been born in BC, and his wife, Annie, was born in New Brunswick. Their infant son, also called Arthur, was obviously living with them, as was Charles, Arthur’s younger brother, Josephine, their 71-year-old mother and Lillian Wood, their domestic servant. The 1891 street directory identified both Arthur and Charles as musicians, rather than merchants. Annie and Arthur had been married in 1887. In 1895 Charles Sullivan, born in New Westminster, married Amy Lilian Wood of Wasbro, England.

Josephine was born in the US, and her late husband, Philip, in the West Indies, and they were both among the earliest black residents in the Lower Mainland. (In a 1934 interview W R Lord said neither were negro; both were ‘mulatto’, and Isaac Johns said she was part French, named Josephine Bassette). Philip and Josephine arrived in BC in 1859. Although some records suggest they came from San Francisco, her obituary shows her arriving via Panama, crossing the isthmus on mules, suggesting an eastern origin. Their son Arthur was baptized in New Westminster in 1860.

Accounts suggest the family settled on Water Street, with the first Methodist services being held in the family kitchen. Initially Philip may have been a cook in gold mining camps in the Cariboo, but by 1870 he was a steward at Moody’s Mill (on the North Shore), and Josephine apparently helped her husband to prepare the meals. Philip was also musically talented – he played the organ at the Methodist church. Josephine may have had a restaurant on Water Street in 1875, although we haven’t found any contemporary records that confirm this; similarly we can’t find anything to confirm Alan Morley’s statement that they ran the Gold Hotel on Water Street for a while, which may be connected to the fact that the Sullivan two-storey store run by Arthur was next door to the hotel. Interviews with Major Matthews suggest that the store and restaurant were separate premises, and Josephine may have run the restaurant while her husband worked on the North Shore at the mill.

Because BC joined Canada in 1871, just after the census was conducted that year, there are no records until the 1881 census when the whole family were shown living on the North Shore. Philip’s origin in the census record was altered from ‘West Indies’ to ‘Irish’, suggesting where his father (and his surname) may have come from. Philip was aged 64, his son John, also a steward, was 40, while Arthur was 21 and Charlie 17. There were at least two other children who had left home by the time that census was taken. A year later Arthur had a store in Granville, but Philip was still shown living in Moodyville.

Philip died in 1886 and by 1889 Josephine had joined Arthur, across the inlet in Vancouver, where he had established a general store when the town was still called Granville, in 1882. Charlie Sullivan was working as a clerk in his brother’s store in 1884. In 1889 the Daily World recorded that the house that the Sullivan family had occupied on Cordova Street had been moved to Water Street. The same year Sullivan’s Hall appeared on Cordova, half way between Abbott and Carrall, presumably occupying the location of the former house. Major Matthews recorded in his historical Archives notes an interview that said Philip Sullivan had cleared the land himself, and the family probably lived there before the fire, and rebuilt the house that was later moved, after the fire. It was a ‘squatted’ site on Cordova, and built around 1879. On the day of the fire Arthur Sullivan had sailed to the Mission on the north shore in his sailboat, and so escaped the blaze. At the time Josephine was staying in Joe Manion’s hotel, but escaped the flames. Sullivan’s Hall was used for musical performances, union meetings and other civic and entertainment purposes. It was briefly used as a courthouse with Judge Begbie presiding.

In 1889 Arthur was the subject of a sensational court case when he, and a Dr Langis were accused of procuring and carrying out an abortion. This was the first time in British Columbia history that the charge had been laid, and both men were found not guilty by the jury. When the trial commenced, and some of the preselected jurymen failed to show up, there was a rush to the doors by the crowd waiting to watch the trial – but enough failed to get out fast enough to avoid being immediately pressed into jury service.  A married woman, Mrs. Amanda Hogg, was the woman involved, but her testimony at trial (reported in great detail over many days and pages of the newspapers), was inconsistent and unreliable. There seems to be some doubt about whether Arthur had a dalliance with the lady in question (who he had met in the Methodist church choir), and there was confusion about whether there was an abortion or a miscarriage as a result of a fall, and the description of the dead child implied that it was unlikely to have been fathered by Arthur (identified as Negro in the 1901 census, and spoken of negatively in that connection by Mrs Hogg’s husband, James). Mrs. Hogg’s attempt to obtain $2,000 from Mr. Sullivan probably didn’t help her cause.

It appears that the case didn’t adversely impact Arthur’s standing as the town’s leading musician and ‘most popular master of ceremonies’. He and his brother and their families continued to live on East Cordova Street, and were said to own several other properties. James Hogg seems to have stayed living only a block away for at least a couple of years, but Amanda Hogg, not surprisingly, seems to have left town. Josephine Sullivan died in 1893, and in 1901, Arthur, Annie and Arthur junior lived in the same house as Charles and Amy; the house in the picture. Arthur still had his store, and Charles Sullivan apparently made his living as a musician, playing the piano and later being described as ‘just a barroom thumper’. He drowned while getting on board his rowboat at Andy Linton’s boat house at the foot of Carrall Street in 1906. His widow, Amy, moved to the West End, and that year Arthur moved to the north shore. Although he disappears from the street directory, his son, Arthur G Sullivan continued to be listed, and his father, Arthur was living in North Vancouver, a widower aged 61 when he died in 1921.

Once it was demolished, the site of his home was used as a parking lot for the adjacent court building for many years, and in 1983 was redeveloped as a remand centre with a jail block designed by Richard Henriquez. The cells were taken out of commission in 2002, and in 2011 Henriquez Partners designed the conversion of the building to non-market housing, adding windows to replace the widowless cell pods.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P73

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Posted April 19, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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316 and 324 Powell Street

This pair of rooming houses were both built in 1912, and are seen here in a Nikkei Museum collection photo, which incorrectly suggests the picture dates from 1925; it’s likely to have been taken over a decade later. The car looks like a late 1930s Buick, and the building on the right of the picture, the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant, was only completed in 1931. The picture is additionally misleading because the third building in the row, the King Rooms, has been cropped out of the photo, although it was developed in 1912 in the same year as the two buildings shown.

This image shows both stores of Furuya Shoten at 318 and 324 Powell Street. The clothing store at 318 Powell Street displays women’s clothing on the right side of the window and men’s on the left. The goods store at 324 Powell Street displays Japanese staples in the large window and barrels of Japanese staples in the other. Beside the store is an entrance way to the Lion Rooms upstairs, and the Furuya Co. clock is hanging on the third floor level.

Today both the rooming houses shown in the earlier image operate under one name, the Lion Rooms, but earlier there were two establishments, the Lion Rooms and the Burrard Rooms (on the left). No proprietors were listed for the Burrard Rooms when they opened – they were just listed as ‘Japanese Rooms’, but the Lions Rooms were shown as being run by S Fukumura. Initially C Hagiwara, a watchmaker worked here, and S Kato, a shoemaker as well. The Powell Pool Room was next door, with the Yuen Lee laundry operating at the back of the property. The Nikkei Museum says that Ichiji Sasaki built one of the biggest bathhouses, the Matsuno-yu at 318 Powell Street in July 1916. It cost $4,600 to build and was ‘elaborate and popular’.

Interestingly, these buildings weren’t developed by Japanese investors; the 1912 permit for 316 was for N Symonds design for Mah, Sam  Yuen. It cost $23,000 and was built by R G Wilson & Co. Next door at 324 the same developer and architect had got their permit for a $25,000 building a few months earlier, and Norman Symonds also designed the King Rooms, and R G Wilson built it for $22,500. L A Lewis was the developer.

We’re not sure if the Sam Yuen who was an active Vancouver developer as early as 1899 is related – he protested to the courts when the health officer of the day wanted to burn one of his Chinatown properties. It’s quite possible as he came here from Guangdong Province in China to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. When these buildings were developed, Mah Sam Yuen was Manager of King Fong Co, and dealt with their financial transactions. He gave evidence (through a translator) to a 1910 Inquiry “regarding Chinese merchants attempting to enter Canada on Empress of China”. A recent profile of his grandson (who lives and works in Hong Kong, but who studied at UBC,) describes Mah Sam Yuen as ‘an entrepreneur who looked for business opportunities in both the U.S. and Canada’. The attempted move of Chinatown to Franklin Street in 1912 also saw investment there by Mah Sam Yuen & Co, whose offices were then identified as being located on on Carrall Street. A 1929 US Court case saw Mah Sam Yuen givi ng evidence to support a fellow Chinese merchant in Seattle, who was fighting deportation. The evidence reveals that Mah Sam Yuen was also known as Mah Ai Joon (his married name), and that he was still manager of the King Fung Store.

L A Lewis was probably a New Westminster mill owner, Lewis Allen Lewis, from Ontario who was owner of the Brunette Saw Mills. (No doubt to avoid confusion, he was known as L Allen Lewis). Norman Symonds was a relatively unknown architect, but over a brief period designed quite a few buildings constructed in the tail end of the early 1900s boom. He formed a partnership with W S Duncan, who moved to Vancouver from Calgary in 1912. He was from Ontario and lived with his wife, two children and three lodgers on Pender Street in 1911.

In 1919 S Misme sold cigars under the Lion Rooms, while Mrs K Ushijima had a dry goods store next door at 324 Powell, under the Burrard Rooms numbered as 324 1/2. The King Rooms were to the east. The stores remained in Japanese ownership, changing over the years. In 1930, F Takada ran a confectionery store with Powell Taxi run by H Sarayama and I Hashimoto sharing the floor beneath the Lion Rooms. H Higashiyama Co, a dry goods business were under the Burrard Rooms. Next door under the King Rooms U. Morimoto & Co. dry goods rented the storefront at 328 Powell in 1920 and 1921. Nearly a century later the company name is still written in the tiles at the entrance to the store.

Furuya & Co were based on West Hastings during the early 1930s. They moved to Powell Street – but to the 100 block – in 1935, and only in 1940 do we find Furuya & Co main floor (exporting Canadian Goods, and importing Japanese Merchandise and Products) and the Matsunoyu Baths in the basement. These are the companies shown in the image. Bessie Hakkaku had run Tokyo Archery at 324 for a number of years, and only disappeared in 1941 – our best guess for when the picture was taken.

Furuya’s growth was abruptly halted when the Japanese were all moved to camps away from the coast in 1942, and briefly Powell Street was almost deserted. This part of the street gradually reopened with Chinese owned businesses. In 1946 the Lion Rooms were still operating, with L Yet running a pool room downstairs. 324 Powell was still vacant, but the King Rooms had the Newcomer Café on the main floor, run by H Chee. That was still true in 1950, and the pool room was still operated by Yet Lok in 1955. At 324 an unusual situation was recorded – Kingo Matsumoto was operating a grocery here. He had fought in the Canadian forces in the Great War, and was one of very few to return to the former Japantown after internment (in his case in Slocan City). In 1947 he had written to the Federal government requesting the return of his fishing licence on the Fraser River, although at that time wartime limitations on Japanese ownership and location were still in place.

Today the Lion Hotel is still a rooming house; now one of the remaining privately owned SRO hotels in the area. In recent years it has featured as lacking heating and hot water, and breaching fire regulations, despite receiving government grants for improvements.

Posted April 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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314 Powell Street

This is a building now incorporated into the Sunrise Market, but when it was first developed in 1931 (when the picture was taken) it was part of Japantown. It was a restaurant which served an early fusion cruisine: Fuji Chop Suey. The Nikkei Museum says  that from 1936-38, Ichiji Sasaki started the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant with Mr Wakabayashi at 314 Powell Street. As the restaurant opened in 1931, that’s clearly not accurate, and during those years Ichiji Sasaki was caretaker of the Howard Apartments on East Hastings, and later proprietor of the World Hotel on Powell.

The Vancouver Archives have a copy of the architect’s drawings from late 1930. William Dodd designed the building, and thanks to Patrick Gunn’s diligence we know it cost $17,000 and was built for somebody recorded as Sasika Maikawa Kaino by Harvie & Simmonds. It’s most likely that this is one of the Maikawa brothers who had a number of businesses on Powell Street. Sadakichi Maikawa owned a grocery business across the streets, and a few years later Nippon Autos a little further west. The family have written about the restaurant as ‘Maikawa Fuji Chopsuey’.

Before it was built there was, we think, a single storey retail building here. In the early 1920s the street directory shows Samuel E Williams running a shoe shine business here alongside several other retail stores for a number of years. He carried out repairs to the building several times between 1917 and the early 1920s. Samuel added a different ethnic mix to the neighbourhood. He was aged 58 in 1921, married to Effie, and they had both been born in the US. Samuel’s father was born in Cuba, and his mother in the West Indies, and the couple were recorded as racially African, having arrived in Canada in 1912. They lived further west on Powell where they rented a four room apartment for $15 a month.

When it first opened in 1931, the street directory says I Murakami was running the Fuji restaurant, but by 1934 S Maikawa was shown as president of the restaurant company. We think this was Sadakichi Maikawa who we believe developed the building, and at this time also running a grocery, meat and fish store at 333 Powell. His name was listed as the restaurant owner through to the early 1940s when all Japanese were forcibly removed from the coast, and their property confiscated.

Audrey Kobayashi recalled how the restaurant operated. “The second floor was rented as a private dining room for weddings or other large gatherings, and opened onto a balcony overlooking Powell Street. This was one of only a few restaurants where Japanese-Canadian women and children could go. Most of the Japanese restaurants in the area were the domain of men, and restaurants in other parts of Vancouver usually would not serve Asian customers. In 1942 the banquet hall was used by the federal government to administer the uprooting of Japanese Canadians

The building remained vacant through the war years, and only in 1946 were there new businesses; Orloff’s Ltd wholesale drygoods and Hemenway’s Ltd display letters. By 1955 View-Master distributors and A D T Sales, manufacturers agents were here. In the mid 1970s Sunrise Market opened here, expanding from the adjacent building. Arriving in Canada in 1956, Leslie and Susan Joe began making small batches of fresh tofu in the back of their grocery store. As demand for tofu grew throughout the 60’s and 70’s, so did the business and in 1983 factory space was purchased nearby to transition the small operation into a large scale manufacturing plant. Sunrise Market still operates here, and Sunrise Soya Foods is now Canada’a largest manufacturer of tofu.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3873

Posted April 2, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Empress and Phoenix Hotels – East Hastings Street

Here’s the Empress and the Phoenix Hotel on East Hastings in 1981. The Empress was built in 1913 for L L Mills, while next door the Phoenix (as it was called in 1981) had been built as the Empress Hotel in 1908 by V W Haywood.

Vicker Wallace Haywood, (who understandably preferred to be known as Wallace), was born in PEI in 1864. He worked on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883, and Esquimalt Dry Dock in 1885, and arrived in Granville in time for it to burn to the ground. He became a policeman in Vancouver in 1886, featuring in the posed image of the four policeman standing in front of the City Hall tent. (That image was taken several months after the city rebuilding had started). His police post became a little precarious in 1889, when he and Jackson T Abray, another constable, were accused of pocketing fees for rounding up absent sailors and returning them to their ships, as well as using the chain gang to clear their respective yards. As the other two policemen at the time faced more serious charges, (and Chief Stewart was dismissed), they were allowed to return the fees, pay $10 for the use of the prisoners, and keep their jobs. In 1892 he was still in the police but jointly owned the Cosmopolitan Hotel on Cordova Street with Jackson Abray, (who was no longer a policeman), and by 1895 he was a Sergeant, but continued to face accusations of corruption from a vindictive Alderman W H Gallagher, described by the Daily World as a ‘despot’.

There’s more about Mr. Haywood on the WestEndVancouver blog. He took the opportunity to leave Vancouver in 1897 and headed off to the Klondike to find gold. Unlike many of his compatriots, he was very successful, bringing back $55,000 of gold from his stake on Bonanza Creek in his third year, and featuring in the New York Times. (His first year was said to have been worth $60,000). He spent winter 1898 in New York, and met Captain Jack Cates in the Klondike, and on their return they jointly owned a steamship, the Defiance, and in 1900 bought a property on Bowen Island established by Joseph Mannion. They renamed the property the Hotel Monaco, with campgrounds and picnic sites but in 1901 Mr. Haywood sold out to Captain Cates, who continued the enterprise with new partners, Evans, Coleman & Evans.

That year Mr. Haywood returned to PEI and married Minnie Woodside, and in 1907 he formed a real estate agency with his brother, William. In 1908 he developed a hotel, designed by H B Watson, and when it opened in 1909 called the Empress, run by Alex Burr.

L L Mills apparently acquired the hotel in 1910. Lyle Le Roy Mills was born in the US, in Iowa, and in 1911 was aged 42. His wife Elsie was from Sweden, three years younger, and like the Haywood family they lived in the West End. It was an extended family as Lyle’s mother, Margaret who was 85 was living with them, and Elsie’s mother, Carrie Swensen, and her sister, Ellen. Lyle’s brother, Oscar and his wife Cora were also living at 1967 Barclay with their children, Oscar Le Roy, 13, and Earl Van, 11. Oscar worked as a barman at the Hotel. Lyle and Elsie had married in Washington state in 1904, and it may not have been Elsie’s first marriage as she was Elsie Anderson.

In 1912 Mr. Mills obtained a permit to build a new much bigger hotel addition next door. The new Empress, costing $90,000 was described as the ‘world’s narrowest tallest hotel’ when it was built, and was the only Vancouver building designed by F N Bender. Like Mr Mills and his brother Oscar, who also worked at the Empress, the architect was an American, working in Independence, Kansas, and he almost certainly got the job because he was married to Lyle and Oscar’s sister. Elsie Mills was recorded as designing a building a house for herself on East 46th Avenue in the same year.

The last reference to Mr. Mills as proprietor of the Empress was in 1917. He disappears from the street directory that year, and seems to have moved to Seattle. There’s also a more detailed biography on the WestEndVancouver blog. He died in Lakeview, Washington in 1948, fourteen years after his brother, Oscar, who died in Vancouver in 1934.

It appears that he might have sold the hotels back to V W Haywood (or perhaps the financial arrangement for the two hotels was more complex). In 1918 W Haywood carried out repairs to 235 E Hastings. Mr. Haywood stayed in the city for many years, and seems to have a variety of investment interests; (in 1930 for example he was listed as a fox farmer). V W Haywood died in Vancouver in 1950, and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Burnaby. His wife Minnie died in 1956 and was buried with her husband.

By the 1930s the two hotel establishments were operated separately; in 1935 the newer building was called the “New Empress Hotel, 235 E Hastings. Edith M. Gilbert, Owner and Manager, 60 Rooms with Private Baths. Fireproof, Strictly Modern. Rates at Moderate Prices”. Next door was the Old Empress Hotel (H Iwasaki) rooms 237 E Hastings. Today the Empress is a privately owned SRO Hotel, while the older hotel is now the Chinese Toi Shan Society family association building.

Image source: Peter B Clibbon

Posted March 5, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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478 Union Street

This store and dwelling was constructed in 1911, the year the street name was changed from Barnard (because of the confusion with Burrard, apparently). The application said it was built by, and for S Rinio at a cost of $5,000. (A house on the same block cost between $1,000 and $1,500, so the building cost quite a bit more, although it’s a small structure only filling half a city lot). The Street Directory said he was Sam Rainas, although by 1921 they had corrected that to Samuel Raino, showing him living on an upper floor, with Luigi Giuriato’s store on the main floor. Luigi was grocer, and lived above the store, so presumably the Raino family had the top floor. Luigi founded Bonus Foods, starting by making ravioli in his kitchen, and expanding to become a successful business employing his sons Lino and David (both UBC Alumni). The company was sold in 1978 to American food producer Curtice Burns.

The 1921 Census gives us a more accurate name for the building’s developer. Saverio Raino was aged 61, born in Italy, moved to Canada in 1886, and became a Canadian Citizen in 1906. His occupation was shown as ‘Labour work for The City’. His wife, Terresa, was also Italian, aged 58, and had arrived in 1901. We can find the family in 1901, listed as Raniuo, with Saverio, ‘Tresa’, and a 13 year-old daughter, Mary. In 1921 their sons, Joseph and Dominic, were both shown at home, both aged 19. Joseph was a barber and Dominic a telegraph operator. Rosina was 17, and also at home; Mary had presumably left home by then.

Dominic’s birth certificate showed him as Rannio, but when he married Georgina Hunter in September 1926 it was as Dominic Benedictus Raino. Joseph Anthony Raino married Grace Vivian Sanders in August 1927 in Wesley Church. Grace was from Blue Earth, Minnesota. Their mother, Teresa Paterna Raino died a month before Joseph’s wedding, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with Saverio, who had died in March 1926, and their daughter Theresa, who died as a baby. Eldest daughter Mary Raino married Luigi Trasolino, had three children, and died in 1951. The youngest, Rose Raino, married Nicola Biagioni in 1924 and died in 1982 in Penticton.

The store continued as a grocers over many years, with a variety of owners. In 1930 it was Miye Soga; in 1940 the somewhat misleadingly named Scotty’s Grocery, actually run by Mrs A Ferronato and in 1950 F Wong’s Grocers. In 1972, when our before image was taken, it had become the G & T Grocery. Today it has recently been returned to retail use, selling less everyday but more ‘artisinal’ offerings.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-921.

Posted February 15, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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West Hastings Street – 100 block, south side

This row of early buildings were almost totally abandoned by the turn of the 21st century, but today they’ve all been restored to architectural splendour, and active use. In 1981, when the ‘before’ shot was taken, the area was already in decline, but Woodwards was still open across the street, so there was still a draw to the neighbourhood. The White Lunch cafeteria on the left occupied the main floor of half of one building, and the whole of its neighbor to the west. The building on the extreme left is the Henderson Block, designed by G W Grant for Henderson Brothers in 1899. (We noted their history in connection to another building they developed in 1911),

The next building is the Ralph Block, designed by Parr and Fee for William Ralph, and also completed in 1899. Several historians point out that when it was opened here in 1913 by Neil and Thos Sorenson the White Lunch name reflected a policy of serving and hiring only white people. That changed later, but the name lived on. Elements of the restaurant’s past were still visible in mosaic floors when the buildings were restored in 2009. Initially the White Lunch was only in the Ralph Block. The Henderson Block restaurant in the 1920s was the Honey Dew restaurant.

Parr and Fee’s design for Ralph’s block used cast iron to allow for larger windows. The use of brick piers enclosing cast iron mullions was pretty remarkable in a city only thirteen years old. Ralph was a wholesaler and retailer who sold McClary stoves, ranges and furnaces, as well as Cleveland and Rambler bicycles. The Statement of significance for the Ralph Block will tell you that he started out as a bridge builder who specialized in iron structures for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Dominion Bridge Company. That’s actually an entirely different William Ralph, who came from Quebec.

The William Ralph who developed the Ralph Block was said in the 1901 census to be aged 36, living with his 27-year-old wife May, their infant son, John, and his brother and sister, Ross and Eva. He was from Ontario, as was May. In 1891 he was a boarder, aged 30 and listed as a store merchant, (with his store on Carrall Street) lodging with Peter Larsen at the Union Hotel on Abbott Street. He first appeared in Vancouver in 1888 as a tinsmith, working for R E Dodds. By 1911 William had aged to 51, and there were two younger children at home (Robert and Kathleen), but no John. There was also a servant; Hettie McLeod. In 1921 Robert and Kathleen are still at home with William and May, and William’s sister, Isabel also lived with them.

The next building, 130 West Hastings was probably built around 1906, and was first occupied by F J Hart & Co, real estate agents. By 1981 the original appearance had been disfigured; an exemplary restoration has recreated something much closer to the original appearance of the building. The company was involved in insurance, real estate, mortgage loans and investments, and incorporated by Frederick J. Hart in 1891 when he was only 21. It had its head office in New Westminster, with this branch office in Vancouver as well as Victoria, Chilliwack, and Aldergrove. Frederick was from Newfoundland, and his wife Alice was English. In 1901 they had two children, a servant and Alice’s sister living with them in New Westminster.

Over the years this block of buildings gradually deteriorated and had no legal active uses (although some were sporadically used, often in unauthorized ways, despite their condition). The redevelopment of Woodwards and the attraction of older spaces for tech and startup companies has seen the whole block restored and returned to active use over the past 10 years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.20

278 Union Street

This little cottage lasted quite a long time on the corner of Barnard (which became Union) and Gore Street. It’s earliest resident was a stonecutter called Patrick Peake. (The first year he moved here, in 1904, he was listed as Peaks, but that was corrected in subsequesnt years). In the later part of the 1900s he was described as a quarryman, and listed as Pat. The 1911 census shows he was 42, born in Ireland and arriving in Canada in 1889. His wife Grace was an American, six years younger, who had moved north in 1890.

The cottage was pretty crowded; from 1901 the couple had a child roughly every two years, so there were five at home. There had been an earlier-born son, shown in the 1901 census, but no longer alive in 1911. That census gives Patrick a totally different birth date (April 1872 rather than December 1869) and Grace’s birth year is unchanged, but the month is shown as March in 1901, and July in 1911, and born in Nova Scotia, not the US. In the 1901 census Patrick is shown as arriving in Canada in 1893, and we know that this detail was more accurately portrayed in the 1911 record, as he was mining in Spallumcheen, Yale in 1891, when he split the difference and showed his birth year as 1870. We also know 1911 was more accurate for Grace, whose death certificate in 1953 shows she was born in Minnesota. The 1921 census shows the family had moved to another (ideally larger) home on East 18th. Patrick’s birthdate was, as in 1911, shown as 1872, but now Grace was four years younger, and there were nine children at home, three sons and six daughters aged from 20 to 1. Patrick was still a stonecutter, and several of the older children were working as well.

Patrick died in 1955, and was then shown as having been born in April 1867. When he and Grace married in Vancouver in June 1898 his birthplace was shown as County Louth in Ireland, and birth year as 1871 (which seems likely to be accurate). Most of Patrick’s siblings birth dates were registered – but for some reason his wasn’t. His mother had Maria in 1864, Thomas in 1865, Mary in 1870, Michael in 1873 John in 1876 and Francis in 1879. Two brothers also came to Vancouver; Thomas died here in 1943 aged 77, single, and John in 1954, married to Annie.

Mr. Peake is mentioned only once in news coverage, in a fairly remarkable manner. The daily World in 1912 reported on “Private Citizens Appear Before Police Commissioners to Complain of Disorderly Houses Far Removed From Restricted District”. The paper noted that “It is important that all who have occasion for complaint should be encouraged to give their information to the authorities, but it is not a nice subject to deal with, and ladies are, as a rule, somewhat diffident about appearing before the commissioners for fear their names will be published in the papers“. Mr. Peake was clearly not too concerned. “Mr. Patrick Peake. of 278 Union St., spoke next, of a house which was being conducted in a disorderly manner, on the east side of Gore avenue, between Prior street and Union street. The house had a sunshade, on which the word “Groceries” was printed, and on another side of the place was the word “Restaurant.” No groceries, however, were sold there, the signs simply being a blind. After describing the class of people who visited the house, Mr. Peake said, he had complained to the officer on the beat, but was informed that nothing could be done. When asked why he had complained to the mayor, Mr. Peake said he had been to the police station, but nothing had been done. Deputy Chief Mulhern said no report had been made to the police about the place, but Mr. Peake retorted, that he could bring in the man who had sent in the report. Chief of Police Chamberlin said the police had been placed in a very bad light, and it was his duty to put them right. If complaints reached the mayor, he would expect to hear from him at once. Again the mayor said he was chief magistrate of the city and if complaints came to him, it was because people had been to the police and their complaints had not been attended to.  The chief’s answer to this was, that if people spoke to a constable on the street and the matter was not reported to him, it was not his fault.” Rufus G Chamberlin was coming to the end of his tenure as the Chief of Police, falling out with Mayor L G Taylor about the continued ‘blind eye’ being turned on the brothels on Alexander Street, and gambling in Chinatown. Charles Mulhern replaced him in 1913.

The cottage stood until 1972, as seen in our picture. It was demolished soon afterwards to make may for the approach ramp to the Dunsmuir Viaduct, which itself is due for demolition and replacement with housing in the next few years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 203-68

Posted February 1, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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