Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

Stanley and New Fountain Hotels – West Cordova Street

This pair of long-standing Downtown Eastside Hotels have been closed for a while, and the structure behind the facades is in process of being demolished. They’re soon getting a new ten storey building that will replace the 103 welfare rate rooms and shelter beds that were in the old hotels with 80 new self-contained units (that will still lease at welfare rates) and an additional 62 market rental units.

Looking more closely at this 1940 Vancouver Public Library image it’s possible to see that there seems to be a third building sandwiched between the Stanley, and the two storey New Fountain. That seems not really the case – or at least, the permits we can find suggest a slightly different history. The New Fountain, (the shorter building on the left of the picture), was (supposedly) built in 1899, and there were two hotels built to the east of that completed in 1907, with The Russ Hotel occupying the middle three lots and the Hotel Iroquois run by Samuel Albert on the two lots closest to us.

Both buildings were probably built as part of the investment portfolio of Evans, Coleman and Evans, merchants and shipping agents, considered for many years to be one of the leading commercial firms in the province. They hired Grant and Henderson to design the Russ and Iroquois building in 1906, and the hotels opened in 1907. In the Contract record they were described as ‘white pressed brick with cut stone trimmings’.

There were buildings here rebuilt immediately after the 1886 fire. These were initially wooden, almost all built within a few weeks of the fire and then gradually redeveloped with brick and stone fronted replacements over the next few years. We saw what the street looked like in 1888 in an earlier post. By 1889 in this location there were 2-storey buildings with a saloon, an undertakers that also operated a furniture manufacturing business, a grocers, clothing store and bookstore, all with offices and lodgings above. Only three years after the fire, several had already been rebuilt with brick facades. In 1891 the saloon was called the Grotto Beer Hall, run by Swan and Kapplet, numbered as 35 Cordova. A year later it was renumbered as 27, and Edward Schwan had taken over. He was still running the hotel in 1894, but it had been renamed the New Fountain Hotel. The Old Fountain Saloon was two doors down, and that situation continued for a few years. (Some directories listed him as Edward Schwahn, and others as Schwann). He also applied for the licence of the Cabinet Hotel in 1896. The 1901 census called him Schwan, and tells us he was from Germany, and aged 41. His wife Bertha was 33, and also German, and they had arrived in Canada in 1888, where five of their children had been born. Frank, who was the oldest, had been born in the US, so presumably the family had moved north.

There are several confusing aspects of the hotel’s history that we haven’t straightened out. The heritage statement says it was built in 1899, but the name goes back to 1894, and Edward Schwan ran it from 1890 (when he renamed it the Grotto) until at least 1902, and he was replaced by Charles Schwahn by 1905, although the street directory still linked him to the establishment. If the building was completed in 1899, it replaced an earlier building with an identical name, and the same proprietor, (which is perfectly possible).

A second confusion comes from the 1901 and 1903 insurance maps, which call it the Mountain Hotel. We’re pretty certain that’s just an error; there was a Mountain View Hotel – but that was on East Cordova. We think that the hotel operation was run by Mr. Schwan, but the building was owned by Evans, Coleman and Evans. They carried out work on the storefronts in 1902, and then commissioned $13,000 of major alterations in 1909, designed by Parr and Fee. In 1901 only half the building (at least on the main floor) was used as a hotel, while to the west were three store fronts for a drugstore, liquor store and a jewelers.

Evans, Coleman and Evans were three Englishmen, brothers Percy and Ernest Evans, and their cousin, George Coleman. They arrived in 1888, and built up a business empire that included a cement plant, wharves, timber and coal import and export yards and a building supply business. They were often the successful supplier of cast iron pipe to the City of Vancouver as the expanded the sewers and water mains. In 1910 they sold the business to a group of prominent business people including William Farrell and Frank Barnard, although they may have retained their interest in the hotels, which also included the Manitoba, also on Cordova.

There were two earlier hotels among the buildings that were demolished and replaced by the Russ and the Iroquois in 1906. The Elite Hotel was closest to us, and the Hotel Norden, run by Peter Larsen, was in the middle.

In 1911 the Stanley name replaced the Hotel Iroquois – (which was also the name of one of the steamships that often docked at Evans, Coleman and Evans docks). Next door was a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, and then the Russ Hotel, and Al’s Russ Café. Wo Hing’s tailor store and George Graff’s Fountain Cigar Store had storefronts before the Fountain Hotel entrance, and Harry’s Café. A year later the Russ Hotel had disappeared, and the Stanley Hotel’s rooms included both properties.

Property developer and agent William Holden may have had an interest in the Iroquois Hotel, as in 1911 there was a permit to him hiring architect H B Watson to carry out $4,000 of alterations to the hotel, presumably preparing for it to reopen as the Stanley. Watson had his offices in the Holden Building on East Hastings. Holden also paid for some more work on 35 W Cordova a year later. The Building Record newspaper described the work to remodel the Hotel Iroquois to be even more extensive, costing $8,000. Evans Coleman and Evans, who commissioned the building, had further work carried out on the premises by Thomas Hunter in 1917.

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West Cordova Street – north side from Carrall

We’ve written about the Rainier Hotel, on the south side of Cordova, and the Boulder Hotel on the north side of this 1969 W E Frost picture. The Boulder was built as a 2-storey building designed by the Fripp Brothers for A G Ferguson in 1890. The Rainier dates back to 1907 and was designed by Emil Guenther for John Quann. Before the Ranier was built this was a two-story wooden building. It started life very soon after the 1886 fire as The Burrard House and then became the Balmoral Hotel in 1890. By 1901 The Quann Brothers had their office in the Balmoral Saloon, and lived on Hornby Street. William (Billy) Quann ran the Balmoral Saloon, and John (who was known as Jack), and Thomas ran the Balmoral Hotel. The Balmoral wasn’t very old when it was demolished – about 20 years old.

Thomas Quann was born in 1845, in New Brunswick, to an Irish father and a mother born in Barbados. He clearly moved to the United States at some point, as his sons, Billy and Jack, and daughter Mamie were shown born in the USA in the 1891 census records. William and Mamie (shown as Mary, the same as her mother, in some records) were both born around 1873, and John in 1875, and Thomas outlived both sons. He arrived with his family in 1886, and was soon running a hotel; (he applied for relief (welfare) for two of his tenants in April 1887). He applied for a license for the Central Hotel on Cordova in 1888. At age 17 Billy was working as a messenger, but soon went into the hotel and bar trade. In 1896 both Billy and Jack were running the Central Hotel, and Jack continued to run it in 1910 when it was redeveloped as the Manitoba Hotel. In 1903 John was running the Merchant’s Exchange Hotel, and the Pacific Bottling Works, distributing Rainier beer. In the early 1900s the brothers branched out into the entertainment business, owning the Majestic, Rose and Maple Leaf theatres.

Both brothers died within a year. Jack’s obituary in the Vancouver Daily World noted his early sporting involvement, and his business interests “Jack Quann, one of the best known business men in the city, as well as a very prominent sportsman, died last night In the General hospital. The late Mr. Quann had been suffering for some time with a weakness of the heart, but it was not thought that the Illness would prove fatal. At the recent race meeting at Minoru Park he was taken ill and was hurried Into the city, where, aftar a few days’ treatment, he recovered sufficiently to allow him to go on a fishing trip to Nanalmo and other points on Vancouver Island. The fishing party were returning to Vancouver last night when the late Mr. Quann was seized with one of the periodical fits, which he had experienced In recent years. When the steamer reached port he was removed to the General hospital, where he died at 9:45. The late Jack Quann was In his thirty-fourth year. A widow and one child, his father, Mr. Thomas Quann, his brother, W. H. Quann, and a sister, are left to mourn his loss. As a lacrosse player he Is still remembered as one of the greatest and most fearless goalkeepers that ever stood between the flags. He has participated in dozens of gruelling battles between Westminster and Vancouver, always acquitting himself with honor. He was conceded to be one of the most enterprising of Vancouver’s business men. He was In partnership with his brother In the proprietorship of the Balmoral hotel when that hostelry was considered to be the rendezvous of all sportsmen, With his brother he was later connected with the ownership of the St. Francis.” Jack’s death was in August 1911, and hundreds of people attended his funeral.

Billy’s death was recorded in June 1912, and the cause of death was noted as cirrhosis of the liver, an ailment often noted in bar owners. Both men had young widows. Billy was married to Lillian, shown as four years younger in 1911, like Billy, born in the US, with sons William and Thomas 16 and 13, born in BC.  Jack was married to Phoebe, although they were missed by the 1911. She was running a tobacco store on Granville Street in 1913, but after 1914 there were no references to any of the family in the street directories. Pheobe Ann Quann (ne Butler) married Robert Mundell in Vancouver in 1914, so that probably explains her apparent disappearance. She was also an American, born in Helena, Montana in 1886 or 1890, and she married John Henry Quann in November of 1909. (When she married Jack she showed her birth as 1886, but her second marriage showed 1890).

Beyond the Boulder are two hotels developed by Evans, Coleman and Evans; the Stanley (designed by Grant and Henderson, and completed in 1907), and the New Fountain, which is an earlier building. All four buildings are still standing today, although the Stanley and New Fountain are being redeveloped behind the retained façades, for a mix of market and non-market rental units.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-356

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Gore Avenue – 600 block, west side

These three small houses, seen here in 1969, stayed for around century until the site was redeveloped in 2006. The developer had intended the building to be seniors rental, but went into receivership, and the City of Vancouver allowed  it to become a condo building called Strathcona Edge, after the units had sat vacant for three years.

The houses had been built early in the life of the new city – they were already developed on the 1889 insurance map. Early street directories identified who lived here, but no numbers had been allocated to the cottages. In 1891 Chas Macaulay, a fitter, Joseph Black, a clerk and Robert Brechin, a bookkeeper lived here. None of those names appeared in the 1889 directory, so all were probably newly arrived in the city. Remarkably, in a city where almost everybody moved around regularly, Robert Brechin was still here in 1901, listed as a teacher. He was aged 48, and had been born in India, arriving in Canada in 1888. His wife Maggie was 34, and from Nova Scotia, and they had three children aged 17 (already an engineer), 15 and 12, and a lodger, Arthur Critchlow, from England. The two older children had been born in Nova Scotia, but their daughter Katie had been born in Murrayville in BC. Robert taught at the Strathcona School, and in 1901 was paid 55 dollars a month. He died in 1905 (after the family had moved round the corner to Keefer Street) and the Mount Pleasant Advocate newspaper noted his death, identifying him as the Provincial Organizer of the Orange Order. He was also a Past Noble Grand of the International Order of Odd Fellows.

George Bingham, a 35 year old painter from London, England, who had arrived in Canada in 1886 lived next door with his wife Frances, and Ernest Wood, a 25-year-old hack driver from Ontario was in the third cottage with his wife, Mabel.

The building to the south was designed by Bird and Blackmore for Leon Way & Co in 1911, and Adkison & Dill built the $30,000 rooming house that year. To the north is the Stratford Hotel, developed by Mrs Walter Sanford at a cost of $100,000 in 1912.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-333

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Posted March 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

219 and 221 Union Street

These two houses were built on Barnard Street, and demolished many years later on Union Street – (The street name was switched in 1911). The pink house on the left may be the older – there’s a house shown in the same position on an 1889 insurance map, and initially not numbered, although James Brooking was shown living here in 1890. A year later the compilers of the directory got thoroughly confused, listing the street as Bernard Street, and putting even numbered properties on the north side (which wasn’t generally the case). By 1894 they had that sorted out, and the numbering showed 213 Barnard on the left, vacant. and 215 Barnard on the right occupied by Sid and Levie Henry. A year later W T Farrall was in 213 and Amos Schorf in 215.

In 1896 John Rowell was at 213, and John Allen at 215. The regular occupancy changers suggests these were initially rented rather than owner occupied properties. For a number of years 213 disappeared completely, and the original house may have been demolished, or abandoned, but by 1901 that address was shown occupied by James Hogg, a teamster, then Robert Hogg, a laundryman a year later. The Hogg family are shown in the census; Robert was shown as a laundryman. The street directory said he worked for the Dominion Steam Laundry (which was on Powell Street). Before he moved to Barnard he was living on East Cordova. In 1901 he was shown aged 23 living with his wife Sarah, who was three years older. They were both from Ireland, and had arrived in Canada in 1899.

John Allen, now identified as a teamster, was still at 215. He was from Ontario, and was aged 50 in 1901. He had two daughters living at home with him, Bessie, who was 16, and Mary, 14. In 1903 number 213 became 219 with Robert Hogg still in residence, and John Allen still living next door, now numbered as 221. The Allens would stay at 215 for several more years, but the Hogg family moved out, replaced by Thomas Parry. The Parry family were from Wales, and all arrived in 1907, and this seems to have been their first home in Vancouver. Thomas was aged 45, and worked as a checker. His wife Alice was the same age, and their were four children at home aged between 15 and 21. Son Richard was a salesman, his sister, Mary, a bookkeeper, and the other two daughters, Dorothy and Gladys were all listed as ‘saleslady’. Gladys worked at David Spencer’s store – and it’s possible the other family members may have worked there too, as Spencer was also from Wales.

In 1911 John Allen was recorded by the census aged 55, and he now had a French born wife, Mary, 10 years younger. His daughters were no longer at home, but there were a lot of people sharing the house. Alex, James and Barney Paul, were roomers, and so too were Thomas Newland, James Watson and Alex Lambert. Lambert was the odd man out – he was English, and a prospector. The other lodgers were all Scottish, and all but one teamsters, like their host.

That year Barnard Street became Union Street, supposedly to avoid the potential confusion with Burrard Street. It nearly changed again seven years later when an Alderman proposed it should become Victory Street – but that change wasn’t supported. Why it got the name Union Street is unknown.

Over the years many other families occupied the houses, and the area changed character. Across the lane to the west a house that had been built in the early 1900s became a café – Vie’s Cafe, run by Vie Moore who was part of the city’s small black community, concentrated nearby including across the street to the south along Hogan’s Alley. The houses in our picture were however occupied in the mid 1950s by Chinese families; Lee Woo at 219 and Wong Hee Mun at 221. In fact, apart from a few commercial operations, this stretch of Union Street was predominantly Chinese.

Our before image dates from the 1970s, although it is wrongly identified as being Main Street in the Archives description. The site was cleared in the early 2000s, and in 2010 V6A was completed, a nine storey condo with retail along the street, including the Union Café that occupies the site of these houses.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-355

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Posted February 11, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Callister Block, 30 West Cordova Street

The Callister Block, to the right, is the newest structure in this picture. The Dunn-Miller Block to the east was completed in 1889, and the McIntosh Block to the west, completed soon after. (The part of the Dunn-Miller block seen on the left of this image became a hotel in 1907, the Crown Hotel. Clarke and Stewart, stationers, occupied the main floor. in earlier years. It’s possible that Mr. Callister hired N S Hoffar to design the building.

John Callister arrived in Vancouver in April 1885, settled in the town of Granville, and a year later lost everything he owned in the fire that destroyed the city. He was born in Ballaugh in the Isle of Man and emigrated to the States and was a builder in Chicago and San Franscisco. In 1891 he was aged 40, a carpenter and builder. He never married, and was sufficiently successful to part own the Ellesmere Rooms in 1887, and to build this building around 1890. The earliest tenant on the main floor was L Davis, who ran a clothes house here in 1891. It appears the upper floors were initially a hotel, the Dufferin House, run by Miss Kearns.

For a few years the main floor were occupied by a furniture store owned by Sehl Hastie and Erskine Co, employing a cabinetmaker and an upholsterer, and by 1895 C Hach, who took over the business and also lived here. James Stark had his dry goods store here in 1898, moving on to new premises in 1904, replaced by Alexander Ross and Co, another dry goods merchant. Upstairs James Thomson & Sons were manufacturers agents for Stewart & McDonald of Glasgow, but in 1908 they moved to Water Street and two unions moved in: the Brotherhood of Painters Decorators and Paperhangers, and the Lathers Union.

A couple of years later they were replaced by the Apostolic Faith Mission from 1913 until around 1935. The other tenant was the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical labour union started in Chicago and often referred to as ‘The Wobblies’. In 1912, when Vancouver authorities tried to ban street demonstrations, the Wobblies started and won a spectacular free-speech fight. Still operating today, the IWW’s website notes that “After building mass workers’ power, the arrival of the First World War saw the IWW declared a banned organization by the Government of Canada from 1918 until 1923, which debilitated the union for many years afterwards”.

The building was purchased by the Army & Navy Store in 1960. Initially it was used as the Outdoor Store (seen in this 1965 W E Graham photograph), but a remodeling of the building in the 1970s saw it incorporated into the main retail store, with new construction behind the preserved facades.

John Callister, seen here in the early 1900s, didn’t live in the city. He acquired land and built his home in a forested area covering about three blocks in 1904 at Hastings Townsite, some kilometers to the east, across from today’s PNE location. Upon his death Callister, a bachelor, left his property to two nieces. One of the sisters died and Mrs. Ada M. Stevenson inherited all of the property.

In 1920, sports promoter and tobacconist Con Jones entered into an agreement to purchase “lot 5, Town of Hastings, Suburban Lands” for $10,000 from Stevenson. According to the Vancouver city archives only three payments of $1,000 were made. In the space of a year, Jones supervised the building of a grandstand and field and Con Jones Park opened in 1921. Later the field was acquired by the City of Vancouver, and renamed as Callister Park.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-55 and Port P600

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Posted February 7, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Powell Street – 800 block, north side (2)

We saw both these buildings in earlier posts. The smaller three storey building that’s still standing today (to the west of the larger building) was developed by former CPR stores manager Richard Bowman in 1906. The adjacent larger building came five years later, again developed by Mr. Bowman. He occupied the upper floors as a storage warehouse, and leased the main and basement stores to a variety of tenants over the years. His son, Oscar took over the business, and commissioned another warehouse on East Hastings in the early 1920s, (although we’re fairly certain it was never built). From 1950 Bowman Storage also occupied premises across the street from this building.

In 1952 there was a significant fire that was captured in this Archives image. We’re guessing that the extensive rebuild needed after the fire was when the windows were bricked up. It’s surprising that there was anything remaining to rebuild; the Vancouver Sun reported that “Vancouver’s most expensive fire in two years raged out of control for six hours and 31 minutes in the heart of a waterfront industrial area Sunday causing $500,000 damage to a four-storey warehouse and surrounding buildings“.  The paper reported that at its height 375 firemen were fighting the fire, aided by the fireboat poring water onto the building from the harbour. “At one point firemen were forced to chop holes in the brick walls of the storage building to release water which had risen to window-sill depth on the second floor“. The newspaper reported the fire in great detail; “A dense pall of smoke hung over the entire downtown area Sunday. , Loss was mostly household furniture stored in the building. It was covered by insurance. Several hundred people had goods stored in the building.” “Efforts to raise ladders on five aerial trucks were hampered by trolley and electric wires at the scene.”

Although reported as a total loss, the building seen in the 1985 image appears to be the exact same as the original. It was eventually demolished some years after this picture was taken. After the site stood vacant for many years it was redeveloped in 2018 with a new storage warehouse, this one designed by Christopher Boyzic.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0877 and CVA 447-171

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Posted January 17, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Powell Street – 800 block, north side (1)

 

This 1918 image shows Richard Bowman’s storage business warehouse. The smaller building to the west was also developed by Mr. Bowman some years earlier, but this larger building was first approved in 1909, to cost $30,000, designed, built and owned by Mr. Bowman. He built a further $3,900 addition in 1911 (perhaps at the back, on the lane, when we think the whole building was completed).

The main and basement floors were leased to a number of businesses. In the 1918 image there were two paint companies, bookending Copp Stoves, who sold heaters, ranges and furnaces. To the west was Sherwin Williams, a US based paint company founded in Cleveland in 1866. Farquar and Gill, had warehouse space with an entrance in the lane on the basement floor. They advertised as the ‘North of Scotland Color Works’, and were based in Aberdeen. Starting as painters and glaziers in 1818, the founders created their own line of paints, (the first to be supplied ready-mixed) and expanded throughout Britain and across the Commonwealth. Farquhar and Gill’s Colour Works operated until 1972.

On the main floor the last unit, 831 Powell, was shared by Artistic Fire Places and Morrison Steel and Wire Co, the successor to the BC Wire and Nail Co. Harry Duker had the rights to the flank wall, with painted advertisements for Shelly’s 4X Bread, and Black Watch chewing tobacco – “A Man’s Chew”.

Mr. Bowman ran his own fleet of removing trucks, and as this 1918 image shows, if needed, the load extended some distance outside the vehicle.

More recently the site was vacant for many years, but was redeveloped in 2018 with a new storage warehouse, designed by Christopher Boyzic.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-185 and CVA 99-5382

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Posted January 14, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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