Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

782 Harris Street

Today this is a recently comprehensively rebuilt family home on East Georgia Street, but when it was built in 1909 the streetcars ran past 782 Harris. The builder and owner was H Hutchings, and the permit for $2,000 for a ‘Frame store & dwelling house’. In 1910 Henry Hutchings, a carpenter, was living here, and he developed quite a number of houses around the city in 1912. In 1911 he was shown in the census as living at 782 Harris with his wife, who was 43 (two years younger than Henry), both coming from Newfoundland.

His wife was christened Leah Badcock, the daughter of sealer and cod fisherman Josiah Badcock and his wife Olivia. Henry and Leah had three children at home in 1901, (when they were living a block away at 831 Harris, in a house Henry probably built in 1900, when they arrived in Vancouver). There were two daughters, Mildred and Jessie, and a son, James (shown as Douglas in subsequent census records). Mildred was born in Newfoundland in 1895, but Jessie was born in Boston, Mass. in 1896. James was born in 1899 in Vancouver.

They had another son, Mundon Josiah Hutchings, in 1903, and then Russell Hutchings in 1905, but the family had disappeared from Vancouver by 1913, and it looks like they moved to King County (Seattle) in 1912. They’re all in Seattle in 1920, with what must have been quite a surprise to the family, another son, Willard, born in 1915, when Leah was 45, and her daughter Mildred (who was still living at home) was 25.

For many years this building remained vacant, through the renaming of the street to East Georgia in 1915, until in 1917 John S McDonald, a stonecutter, moved in. He was here for a couple of years, and then the property was again vacant. In 1924 Abraham Charkow moved in with New Century Produce. Abe had run an egg store in 468 Union a few years earlier, and at 775 E Georgia in 1920. K Jacob Charkow moved in, and stayed into the 1930s. The New Century Grocery was at 784 E Georgia, and K J Charkow lived at 782. Abe Charkow ran the wholesale fruit and vegetable business, which was on West Pender. Jacob Charkow started out with a horse and buggy and then was in the egg business, and was twice president of Schara Tzedeck synagogue. His son, Samuel had been born in Poland in 1903, which is where his father, Kopel Jacob had been born in 1858, the same year as his mother, Greta.

Jacob was still here, in business, aged 75 in 1935, but the building was once more vacant in 1937. The Western Jewish Chronicle announced Kopel’s retirement. He died in 1941, at which time the new residents of this building only rated a directory entry of ‘orientals’.

By 1945 it appears that the store use was abandoned and there were two homes in the building, with S J Chow listed living at 784 and Sam Wright, an orderly at Shaughnessy hospital living at 782 with his wife, Helena. They were still listed here in 1950, now both at 782, with Rose Chow, a clerk at Yee’s Confectionary on E Hastings living at the rear of 782 E Georgia. In 1952 Harry Low, a clerk, and his wife Francis replaced the Wright family.

At some point the building became a rooming house – possibly in the early 1950s as by 1955 both 782 and 784 were shown as ‘occupied’. With only 3 units, it wasn’t large enough to be protected as an SRO, and the structure was in a notably tired state in our 1978 image, and wasn’t much better in 2017 when it was offered for sale. Mr. Hutchings would no doubt be astonished to see the back-to-the-studs renovation, and even more surprised that his $2,000 development was worth 1,000 times his initial investment, 113 years later.


Posted 23 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with

389 East Hastings Street

There’s not a lot of change to this building in over 40 years, since our 1978 image was taken. The house here was built by builder Robert Maxwell for Dr. Thomas Jeffs, whose home was initially addressed as 341 East Hastings, although his medical practice (in partnership with Dr. W B McKechnie) was on Cambie Street. Dr. Jeffs spent $1,800 on building his home in 1901.

William Jeffs and Margaret Weir brought two of their family to Canada from Ireland: James, born in 1839 and Isaac. Once arrived here, John was born in 1844 in Ontario, George in 1846 (who died in Vancouver), Sarah and Thomas, who was aged 4 in the 1861 census. William was a farmer, and his four eldest sons were shown in 1861 as labourers. The early census suggests Thomas was born around 1857 or 1858, and his death in 1923 aged 65 shows that he was born in Queensboro, Ontario, in 1858, (although other records suggest 1857). By 1871 Isaac had become a clerk, and only George (who was known by his middle name, Armour), was farming with his father. Thomas attended Toronto University to obtain his MD, and initially practiced medicine in Ontario.

Thomas Jeffs married Sarah Waller in 1882, in Hastings Ontario, and three years later, Charles Edward Jeffs was born. Sarah died in November 1887. In 1891 Thomas was in Peterborough, in Ontario with a wife called Minnie, aged 28 (so born around 1863) shown two years older than her husband, (recorded as William), a physician and surgeon. There were no children shown, but Francis, William’s younger brother was in the household, aged 18 and working as a druggist.

Thomas W Jeffs, a physician, and Mary Couen were recorded being married in York, Toronto, Ontario on June 29 1895, with W McKechnie and Annie Couen as witnesses. Thomas was shown born in 1858 and Mary in 1864. Mary’s parents were shown as Charles Couen, and Martha Reid. Mary’s father, Charles Cowan married Martha Reid in 1855, in Simcoe in Ontario. They had a daughter, Annie, in 1868 who married William Boyd McKechnie. (Annie died in Spallumeheen in 1948). They also had a son, Charles in 1865 and a daughter, Martha in 1861 (who also died in Vancouver, in 1934).

Thomas and Minnie (Mary) Jeffs moved to Cumberland in BC in the year they married, then to Revelstoke, and the family were first recorded in Vancouver in the 1899-1900 directory, with the Cambie surgery, and living on Denman. A year later they had moved to 522 Gore, a few blocks from here, and Dr. McKechnie, who had practiced in Revelstoke from 1896 to 1900 had joined the practice. We assume that the doctor’s wives were sisters.

For the 1901 census there were some seriously inaccurate ages recorded; it said Mary was 11 years younger than Thomas (showing him born in 1860, and her in 1871). Thomas’s son, Charles, was now living with them, born in 1888 in Ontario. The couple added William to the family in 1896 and Mary in 1900. In the 1911 census Thomas’s wife was called Minnie, and she was two years older than him, now suggesting 1864, (so knocking six years off his age) with her born in 1866 (so two years less than reality). William was 14 and Mary 10. (When Charles died in Seattle in 1941, in Seattle, his mother was recorded as Minnie Jeffs).

This block of East Hastings was oddly numbered in the early 1900s so this was 341 in 1901 (the year Dr. Jeffs built the house, and was listed that year in the street directory), but by 1911 had been renumbered to 389. By 1903 a second Dr. McKechnie had arrived in Vancouver, Dr. R E McKechnie, who was in partnership with Dr. Tunstall, and as far as we can tell, unrelated.

Dr. Jeffs was a director of the Orange Hall, elected as an alderman in 1906, Police Commissioner in 1907 and was appointed coroner in 1909, a position he held for many years. In 1907 he built a big house on Salisbury Drive that cost $6,000, and the family lived there until 1920. (That house was moved on its site, and restored a few years ago). He built a new home on Charles Street in 1922, but died in 1923.

The Ing Suey Sun Tong Association purchased this house on East Hastings and Dunlevy through donations from members in 1920. It looks as if the store was added in 1921; a permit was approved for $2,000 of alterations that year, designed by H H Simmonds. Wa Young and Co made minor repairs in the 1920s; they ran the grocers in the store. The family association still own the building, although their members are increasingly aged and infirm. In the 1950s new arrivals to Canada could share a dormitory on the upper floor for $3 a month – up to 20 people lived here. Today you’re more likely to find a game of mahjong in progress.


Posted 13 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

157 – 165 East Cordova Street

This single storey retail building has been around since 1912 when Purdy & Lonergan designed and built it for $12,000 – which seems a surprisingly high amount of money for the period. This is half the building; the other half is to the right of the picture and slightly higher (because of the grade change on this part of Cordova), and addressed to Main Street. The developer was recorded as E McGuinness. Nobody of that name appears in the street directory, but a Mr. and Mrs. Edward McGuinness had been living on Davie Street in 1906. The Daily World even reported their movements, so they were clearly known around the city: “Mr. and Mrs. E. McGuinness and family of Davie street have returned home from Seattle”.

They were still at 1121 Davie in 1907, but in October there was an auction sale of the contents of the house, and in 1908 Mr. and Mrs. Richard S Ford were receiving visitors at that address (on Tuesdays), according to ‘The Elite Directory of Vancouver’. (Richard was publisher of the ‘Saturday Sunset’ newspaper). The McGuinness family weren’t obviously in the city before 1906, or after 1907, and in both of those years Edward is shown as ‘retired’. We can’t even be sure that he’s the developer of these buildings, but there are no other obvious candidates.

In 1909 E McGuinness obtained a permit for a brick store on the corner of Pender and Howe, according to the Contract Record, designed by C F Perry. Mr McGinnis (sic) also developed eight houses on Davie Street in 1903, including the house where he briefly lived from1906. In 1909 Mr. and Mrs. E McGuinness sailed for New South Wales from Victoria.

There are a couple of possible people who might be the developer. E J McGinnis was listed in the Vancouver directory as the Canadian Pacific Railway’s agent in Seattle in the early 1890s, but isn’t obviously resident at any time in Canada. There is also Edward W McGinnis, who died in Vernecliffe, Bainbridge Island, just south of the border. He was a Real Estate Broker who was born in 1861 in Massachusetts, and he was in Seattle when he died. Whoever the developer was, he probably wasn’t a Canadian resident for any longer than the 2 years in the mid 1900s.

The four stores here were initially occupied by Polyjos, a restaurant run by Colombas and Dascales. Next door was C Y Song Hing, a shoemaker, then the BC Cycle Co and at 165 Albert Burns sold hardware. At the end of the war only Albert was still in business. two of the units were vacant, and the People’s Mission occupied 159.

By the mid 1920s the expanding Japanese community had moved west from their Powell Street hub; Moriyama & Co occupied 157-161 and S Matsumiya was in 163. A decade later Moriyama were still at 157, selling second hand furniture, 163 was the Sunshine Mission and the Pacific Trading Co sold brushes at 165. In 1942 Mrs Moriyama, who was still trading that year, was forced to move to an internment camp, and only one of the four units was occupied a year later, by the Sunshine Apostolic Mission. That year Rev. Barker from Toronto, billed as a former well-known organist and professional musician, lectured at the mission “When the lights go out on the road to hell.” The lights went out in the mission too, as subsequently the street directory couldn’t be bothered to list the occupants of any of the units other than the generic ‘Orientals’.

We’re fairly certain that the units were used as residences, although in 1948 the Scandinavian Baptist Mission occupied one unit. In 1951 Anthony Cappello was living at 159 when he was acquitted on drug possession charges. In 1955 there were five units, as there are today. At 157 Lin Lee lived here, 159 was occupied by J Payne, a tailor, 161 by Ko Yak Sing, 163 by Tai Lai and 165 by Young Chow, who was a typesetter. DERA, the early non-profit housing association had their offices here in the mid 1970s, but don’t appear to have been here when our 1985 image was taken.

Today there’s a sign maker, a Harm Reduction Consultancy, an art gallery and a Vintage Clothing store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2449


Posted 6 June 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with

St Luke’s Court – East Cordova Street

This 1920s Arts and Crafts style building replaced a building that housed the City’s first hospital, St Luke’s. The original seven bed building was intended as a maternity hospital, but with no other general hospital in the city in 1888, it became the general hospital by default. Not too much later the city opened a brick building on Cambie Street which later became Vancouver General Hospital, and the Sisters of Charity of Providence opened a three-storey building on Burrard Street, founding St. Paul’s Hospital. St Luke’s continued to be used as a hospital for a short while, and then became a nursing residence.

The site was redeveloped in 1923 as a women’s hostel or guest home, called St Luke’s Home, designed by Sharp and Thompson. It was funded with a bequest from J.B. Greaves, founder of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, and was initially a residence for retired nurses, community workers and nuns. Our 1978 image shows it when it was the St Luke’s Home.

Now named St Luke’s Court, in 1986 the building was refurbished and enlarged so that there are now 9 rental apartments. It is in private ownership and was most recently sold in 2015.


Posted 28 April 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with

628 Harris Street

These days this is East Georgia Street, but it was still Harris in 1911 when W J Dickinson built an apartment building. Misleadingly, the clerk recorded this as a ‘1-storey frame dwelling house’ but it has always been a 3-storey building, designed by A E Cline and costing $8,000 to build.

Initially we couldn’t find Mr. Dickinson; however, we got lucky when the newspapers reported that Hazel Dickinson, daughter of W J Dickinson, got married in 1911 to Frederick Bescoby. That allowed us to find her parents, William John Dickinson and Isabella C Bundy. The marriage certificate shows that ‘Hazel’ had been christened Ada Marinia Dickinson, but clearly that wasn’t how she was known within the family. Both parents were from England; (Isabella was from London). Hazel had been born in Winnipeg, and she had two younger brothers, ‘Hugh’ (christened Robert) and George, aged 20 and 13, who had been born in BC. Robert Lister Dickinson’s birth record shows his mother had been Isabella Caroline Bundy before she married. She was born in St. George In The East, London, and christened in St. Mary Magdalene’s Church, Bermondsey (south London, although part of Surrey in 1860). Her father was Jabez Robert Bundy, (recorded as Bundey on her christening record) and her mother was called Caroline.

In 1911 W. J was shown as retired, but we can find Hazel, and so the whole family, in the 1901 census. There they were inaccurately recorded as Dickenson, and at that time William was working as a moulder. That sounds correct, as William John Dickinson was shown living at 622 Harris in 1901. In 1895 the Conservative Association held an election where W J Dickinson was elected to the executive committee. At that time he was a moulder at the B C Ironworks.

This building was, as we’ve seen with other buildings, a redevelopment of a reasonably recently built house to create a larger investment property. Often the developer lived in the redeveloped home, but in this case Mr. Dickinson lived two doors away. In 1892 he was shown as a moulder at the South Vancouver Foundry, and living on ‘Harris Street, south side, fourth north of Heatley’. At that point the numbers had not been allocated, but by 1901 that would be 622 Harris. The first mention we can find is in 1891, when Mr. Dickinson was in rooms on Powell Street, and the census shows that was when the family arrived in Vancouver.

The 1913 insurance map shows that 622 Harris had been renumbered to 618, and the directory shows that Fred Bescoby was living there. Presumably it was a favorable rental while the house that the Bescoby’s were building was being completed. In 1914 the Dickinson’s were living on Victoria Drive, the Bescoby’s on West 5th Avenue, and this had become listed as The Dickinson Apartments, with five units, and a grocery store run by Hyman Bloom.

William John Dickinson died, aged 83, in 1942, and Isabella a year later, aged 82. Their son Robert was only 61 when he died in 1952, and son-in-law Frederick Bescoby in 1964 at the age of 82. Their daughter Isabel died in 1969, and an earlier daughter, May, died aged 17 in 1933. Hazel Bescoby died in 1978, aged 89, outlived only by her brother, George Vancouver Dickinson, who died in 1980 aged 82. Her married daughter, Hazel Wilson, died in 1995.

In 1940 these were still the Dickinson Apartments, now divided into seven, with S Oyami’s grocery. It appears that following Mr. Oyami’s removal from the Lower Mainland, the store became another apartment, home to Anton Perry and his wife Jessie in 1945 (although Anton was away on active service). The apartments were numbered oddly, presumably reflecting how they were split over time. In 1945 they were one, two, three, three and a half, four, five and seven. In 1955 there were nine apartments numbered one two, two and a half, three, four, six, seven, nine and ten. 628, the former store, was occupied by Hamilton Products, a janitorial supply business. Our 1978 image shows the building when it was being offered for sale.


Posted 7 April 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

819 Prior Street

The recent sale particulars for this 12 unit apartment building said it was built in 1901. Usually we find buildings are actually older than current records suggest, but in this case it’s the other way. This building was actually given a permit in 1910. The owner / builders,  Gwillim & Crisp hired architects Campbell & Bennett to design their $7,000 investment. The company name might suggest a building partnership, but actually they were a law practice.

Frank Llewellyn Gwillim was from Herefordshire in England, born in 1870. He came to Manitoba in 1882, and in 1893 was called to the bar of the Northwest Territories, and in 1897 in Manitoba, and then in the Kootenay district of BC. The partnership with Frederick George Crisp was formed in the Yukon a year later, where Frank was the first public administrator of the Yukon territory. He left to come to Vancouver in 1906, and Frederick Crisp stayed in Alaska for two years before rejoining his partner in Vancouver in 1908.

Fred Crisp was was born in 1877, in Ingersoll, Ontario, and in 1898 moved to Dawson City and became a lawyer in the Yukon. He married Annie Gow, born in Manchester, England in 1877, who had arrived in Canada in 1884. We haven’t traced their wedding, but they had a son, William, in 1904 in Dawson City. Frederick Dawson Crisp followed in 1907, also in the Yukon, and having moved to Vancouver, Allen Gow Crisp, in 1909.

It’s safe to assume neither of the owners ever lived here. Fred Crisp moved around the West End three times between 1908 and 1913 before settling in Shaughnessy on Balfour Avenue. ‘Following an operation’, Frederick died in Vancouver in 1924 aged 48. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. Annie remarried in 1925, to George Clark, a farmer, but he died in 1934. Annie lived to 86, dying in Vancouver in 1963.

Frank Gwillim lived on Barclay Street in the West End from 1906, and then on Robson Street, Downtown, before moving to Balfour Avenue in 1912. He wasn’t there long; at the outbreak of war in 1914 he signed up, and went to war at the age of 44. Lieutenant Frank Llewelyn Gwillim of the 29th batallion of the Candian Infantry died ‘of sickness’ in 1916, and was buried with his nephew, 2nd Lt. Drummond of the Black Watch, in St Giles churchyard in Mansell Gamage in Herefordshire. His headstone was paid for by Fred Crisp.

The apartment building has six units on each floor, each with two bedrooms in around 500 square feet. Since our 1978 image it has been clad in cedar shingles, and it’s now on the Heritage Register (although not protected with a Heritage Agreement). There’s no real open space, just a paved yard with parking spots. The sales brochure ominously mentioned ‘Rents are very low and can be substantially increased with some upgrades to the building’. It was offered at $3.3m, slightly below its assessed value.


Posted 24 March 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

74 West Hastings Street

Today, and in our 1978 image, this was the Grand Union Hotel. However, it only obtained that name a few years after it was developed.

The building to the west was developed by Chinese merchant Loo Gee Wing. The 1908 building had ‘Loo Building’ on top, and was named on the insurance map. The Song Mong Lim Co was listed as the initial developer, but that was the name of Loo Gee Wing’s wife, who tried to avoid paying construction contractor’s bills by ‘selling’ the property to her husband – a scheme that led to a stern admonishment by a judge.

Here the building is more modest, and seems to have also been completed before the Loo Building. The address appeared in 1908 as The Sterling Building, with Kwong Sang & Co, Chinese merchants occupying the main floor and E D Locke presumably occupying an office in the upper floors. The Loo Building appears later, in 1909.

Earlier, Loo Gee Wing had more ambitious plans for the combined site. He had a design completed for a 12 storey ‘big hotel and theatre’, to be built with a steel frame by a Seattle contractor. The project never proceeded, and Mr. Gillies, the builder tried, and failed twice to obtain payment for his involvement. During the trial it emerged that he had never constructed a steel building, or anything taller than 3 storeys. (The architect, B. W. Houghton of Seattle also sued for his fees). By 1905 plans for a theatre had been dropped, and the project downsized to develop just the corner lot, initially to a four storey hotel, and then back to a five storey office.

Although this building has also been attributed to Loo Gee Wing, we doubted that because of a statement in a December 1907 newspaper report about the site history and the Loo Building being constructed, noting ‘Finally a third of the property was taken over and built on.’ An earlier September 1907 report confirmed this. “CHINAMAN TO BUILD ON HASTINGS STREET Yesterday a building permit was issued to Yuen Chang for a $20,000 building on the Loo Gee Wing corner of Hastings and Abbott streets. Yuen Chang gave $4,000 for the eastern forty feet of the lot. The building will be a three – story one of brick and stone. Stores will occupy the lower part and the two upper storeys will be residential flats.” The developer’s name was probably more commonly Chong Yuen, the same Chinese merchant who built the 1911 building now known as the Chinese Freemasons Building. We don’t know who his architect was here.

In 1910 Kwong Sang still occupied the main floor, and upstairs The Astoria Rooms, run by David Baker, had opened, and the Sterling Building was also listed. A year later the Electric Vigo Co had been added to the occupants. They were upstairs, and their advertisments (initially in the Vancouver Sun, and later in the Daily World) promised much, if somewhat alarmingly. “After the first application of Electro – Vigor my ailment began to get better, and within two months I was completely cured. Needless to say, I was freed from the drug habit as well, and my general health greatly improved. Electro – Vigor is not like electric belts, doctors’ batteries and other appliances you may have seen or used. It does not shock or burn the sensation is pleasant, exhilarating. The current Is scientifically applied, so that It goes Just where it is needed. Electro Vigor Is easy to use. All you need to do is adjust it properly, when you go to bed, and all night long, while you sleep, it saturates the nerves and vitals with a glowing stream of electric energy.” The business was here for some years; one of our readers spotted the advert on the left from 1915.

Kwong Sang were replaced by The Raeburn Clothing Co in 1912, and in 1913 Bergman’s Cafe hired Otto Moberg to design $1,250 of work; presumably the interior of the space. G Bergman was shown carrying out minor repairs that year, and by 1914 the Bergman Rooms were here with the Cafe, Electro Appliance Co and Talbot Engineering. The Electro Appliance Co offered Dr Bell’s equipment, promising to cure almost everything with the addition of voltage.

Mr. Bergman’s involvement was short; In 1916 W S Thomas was listed as owner when alterations were proposed to the building, and in 1917 Mr DeFehr was owner. Isbrand DeFehr had run a much larger hotel called the Grand Union, on the same block, to the east. He had sold it (twice) and when it was then sold again for redevelopment as The Pantages Theatre, he acquired the Bergman Rooms and Cafe and established a new Grand Union. He was owner until around 1921, when Waghorn, Gwynn & Company, carried out work on several occasions.  In 1925 The Grand Union Hotel was listed as owner when $8,000 of changes were carried out, and Mrs G Campbell was in charge. Margaret Campbell was here in 1930, with H Hyams as the manager of the Beer Parlor. An auction notice for furniture appeared in the Province newspaper in 1930 suggesting that the hotel had 40 guest rooms. A year later a new manager, Mrs C Withyman was running the hotel (presumably with new furniture), and the beer parlor and a shoe shine and cigar stand were underneath. By 1955 the building was run by William J Chernecki’s Grand Union Holdings, with the Hotel, and a Tobacco Shop.

The beer parlor appeared quite often in the press; never in a good light. In 1929 “The Grand Union beer parlor’s cash, register containing $70 was stolen from the premises some time early Sunday morning and later found empty and smashed on the Canadian Pacific Rail way tracks under the Georgia viaduct.” In 1941 a fire axe was recovered from the bar, “stolen from the SS. Princess Louise on Saturday evening and C.P.R. police called on city constables to assist in its recovery. It was located in the possession of a private from an Edmonton regiment in the Grand Union beer parlor.”  In 1947 The Sun reported ” Knife-Wielding Sailors Disarmed. Two knives in the hands of two sailors, one a Filipino, the other a Negro, were confiscated by police following an argument in the Grand Union beer parlor, West Hastings Street, Thursday night. Police said the pair got Into an argument with a waiter and produced the knives.” In the same year “Dennis Halliday, 22, was sentenced to one month In jail today for assaulting Norman Sumner, bartender at Grand Union beer parlor” In 1954 the safe was broken open, and $6,000 stolen. Police made three arrests. A recent review by a long-time barman sums up the place today. “I enjoyed working there for over 33 years and got along with most customers but it being on skid row had a lot of shady people enter with bad moods and temper.


Posted 14 March 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with

Powell Street – 500 block, south side

Here are two images of the same buildings on Powell Street. We looked at 566 Powell, the small wooden building with the A-Z Cafe, in an earlier post. It was built as stores and a rooming house by William McNeil in 1911. To the west (on the right of the cafe) are the Powell Rooms at 556 Powell, designed by H H Schlomer, and developed by in 1912 by Smith & Smith.

The three storey building to the east are the Hampton Rooms, dating back to 1908. They cost $5,000 to build, and were developed by John Wickham, although the permit has been lost so we don’t know who designed the building. In 1914 ‘Wickins’ carried out repairs – we’re betting that was the absent Mr. Wickham as well.

The most obvious John Wickham was a resident in the city in 1911, listed as a lodger in the census, and in the street directory living on Bidwell Street. However, a J Wickham had built a series of houses near here, starting in 1904. John O Wickham, and his brother Alfred opened Wickham’s Restaurant in 1911, and we think he must be the same John Wickham who was living in Portland, Oregon in 1900. He was listed there as a restauranteur, as was his younger brother Alfred. They had been born in England, and were still living with their parents in Oregon in their late 20s.

The last building on the block (on the left edge of the picture) is now the Princess Rooms, on the corner of Princess Avenue. It was designed by Bird and Blackmore, for M and J W Whitman, and built by Coffin and McClennan for $30,000 in 1910. These days it’s run as a low-barrier housing building by a non-profit operator, but it started life as The Eureka Apartments. Marcellus Whitman was born in Galena, Illinois, in 1854 according to his headstone in Mountain View Cemetery, and his son Jay Ward Whitman in 1885 in Fargo, North Dakota. Marcellus and his wife Abbie, who was from Minerva, New York, had six children. Florence was also born in Fargo in 1889, but Thomas was born in BC in 1890, so we can tell when they moved west. Marcellus had bought a 160 acre Fargo homestead in 1881. His departure from Fargo was sudden, and attracted attention in the local ‘Jamestown Weekly’. “Marcellus Whitman, the oldest son of N.Whitman, has been absent since Sunday, and in­vestigation disclosed that some twenty merchants are losers by his absence. Saturday he drew about $800 out of one of the banks. Then he went to the va­rious merchants and bought goods for small amounts, presenting checks for a larger amount and asking for the differ­ence that he might pay a hired man. In this way he obtained from $5 to $40 from each, making some $400 all told. In some places he paid old debts with these checks and always reaped a balance in cash. The checks were protested on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday the fun commenced. It is said that he has mortgaged over fifty horses, when he owns but sixteen. He has a fine farm in the northern part of the county of 800 acres, but it is said this is mortgaged for $16,000, and everything is covered with a mortgage. The First, National bank has commenced suit against him, and included his father in the suit, who is reported worth $100,000. Much surprise is expressed at these de­velopments. as Marcellus Whitman has lived here some sixteen years.”

He was listed as a labourer in the early street directories in Vancouver, so it was a surprise to see him as a developer, but he was obviously ambitious and successful in a new endeavour. In 1909 he obtained a patent for a rope-handling device (a cleave), and in 1911 he was identified in the census as a logger. His son, Jay, married Alice Carlile, born in Wolseley, North West Territory, Saskatchewan, in 1906. In the 1911 census Jay was living on Valdez Island in a logging camp where he was foreman with at least 20 labourers working for him. They were from the US, Japan, Norway, Scotland and Sweden. Alice was living in Washington, in  the US, where their daughter Erna Edna Whitman was born that summer. Another daughter, Eldra Adelaide was born in 1913 in Vancouver. In 1915 a third daughter, Pearl Thurla was born when Alice was living on Thurlow Island, BC.

In 1915 and 1917 he and Marcellus applied for logging licences on Vancouver Island. He owned the Whitman Logging Company, located in Topaz Harbour (just north of Vancouver Island, across the Johnstone Strait, between Knight Inlet and Loughborough Inlet). In 1922 Jay was married to Hazel Jex, a widowed school teacher; his first wife Alice having died in 1919 aged 31. Marcellus Whitman died in 1920, and his burial was recorded in the Daily World as being in the IOOF section of Mountain View. Abbie Whitman died at Sumas in 1936 aged 81. Her son J W was at the time living in Clinton. Jay died in 1973 in Prince George, aged 88. His parents were recorded as Marcus and Abbey, and he was also interred in Mountain View, and Hazel joined him there after she died aged 90 in 1982.

The Eureka Apartments, as part of the Japanese community, were managed by B Kawasaki in 1920. Ten years later Y Tanida was running the rooms, and in 1940 K Suzuki. After the Japanese were moved away from the coast Eng Foo took over in 1945 and C Korsch in 1955. Today RainCity manage 42 units of transitional housing for people who have been repeatedly homeless and have complex health issues. It’s supported low-barrier housing, from a harm reduction and housing first philosophy.


Carrall Street and West Hastings

There are three identifiable buildings in this picture and we’ve looked at their history individually in earlier posts. The Interurban station is on the left, with the offices of BC Electric above, designed by W M Somervell and completed in 1911. We looked at the yard behind the building as well. Today, the opening where the interurban trams would exit is a window to a lighting showroom.

The Burns Block, seen here in 1930, was built in 1909, and designed by Parr and Fee. On the main floor was a meat shop, as the developer was Burns & Co, an Alberta-based meat empire, with the Vancouver arm of the business run by Dominic Burns. The company’s local offices were on the scond floor, and there were a variety of offices including F R Humber, a dentist, and E R Flewwelling, a jewelry maker. They were both still here in 1955, but some time after that it became a residential building, although the bathrooms were shared on each floor. The single room occupancy housing was closed down in 2006 having failed fire safety inspections (there were no working fire alarms, for example, and the fire escape exits were blocked). It was vacant for a few years before restoration by new owners Reliance Holdings, designed by Bruce Carscadden Architects and opened in 2011. It was still an SRO, with shared bathrooms but the tiny rooms were called ‘micros suites’ and the rents were multiples of the welfare rate of rental payment. In 2021 Reliance sold the building to BC Housing for whom the 30 studio units are now be managed by Atira Women’s Resource Society. The rooms are available for women who are committed to reducing or stopping substance use. Wraparound support services include clinical counselling, primary health care, transitional skills development, 16-step support recovery groups, an art therapy program, community meals, family reunification and short-term access to recovery support.

Between the BC Electric building and The Burns Block was the right of way once occupied by the railway. There was a barrier that would block the street, which was the city’s major artery, whenever a train came through. The final steam train ran across Hastings in 1932 after a tunnel was dug from the waterfront to Yaletown.

To the west was the Beacon Theatre, which started life as a Pantages Theatre, and ended as the Majestic. Designed by B Marcus Priteca late in 1916, construction wasn’t started until 1917, with the theatre opening in 1918. Alexander Pantages spent over $300,000 building the theatre. During its time as the Pantages Theatre, it headlined stars included Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth. Architectural writer Miriam Sutermeister noted that the theatre was “considered at the time to be the most richly embellished and efficient theatre of the Pantages chain.” renamed The Majestic, movies started to appear between vaudeville bookings, and in 1946 the thetre became The Odeon, showing movies almost exclusively. A final attempt to revive vaudeville in 1958 as the Majestic wasn’t a success. The acts were brought in from Las Vegas, and Carl de Santis and his orchestra provided the music. There were still two movies, but the theatre struggled and vaudeville really was, finally, dead. Demolished in 1967, the site was used for parking for 30 years before Arthur Erickson’s design for non-market housing as the Portland Hotel was completed in 2000.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-299


Posted 17 February 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone, Still Standing

Tagged with , ,

East Hastings Street – 100 block, north side

There really hasn’t been a lot of change in this part of East Hastings in over 40 years since our 1978 image was taken. The larger building on the corner is these days known as the Irving Hotel, a name it had soon after it was built. It was later the Broadway, and then the Sunrise Hotel, but the name on the building is ‘The Vowell’. An absentee investor, Judge Arthur W Vowell developed the four-storey Irving Hotel in 1906 designed by Hooper & Watkins and built at a cost of $40,000. Arthur Wellsley Vowell was born in Clonmell, Ireland in 1841. He joined the Army and served for 3 years, before heading to Esquimalt in 1862 after a brief stint in the goldfields. Joining the Civil Service he was Chief Constable of the “Big Bend” Mining area from 1866 to 1872 and then Gold Commissioner and Stipendiary Magistrate of the Cassiar Mining District. He was elected as MLA for the district in 1875, but resigned a year later and returned to the job of Gold Commissioner. He was in charge of the Kootenay division when the CPR was driven through the mountains, and then was appointed Indian Superintendent for the Dominion Government. and Indian Reserve Commissioner for the BC Government.

He retired to Victoria in 1910. During his working life in the gold districts he suffered depression . His mental health never improved, and his death in Victoria in 1918 was listed as suicide by gunshot. He had never married, and his estate was left to nieces and nephews of his many siblings around the world including in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and England. (He was 12th of a family of 13 children). Money was also left to a Women’s Christian Temperance Union Refuge Home in Victoria and a charitable organization offering destitute children free education.

The Irving was a high-end hotel with private baths, hot and cold running water, and telephones. A 1910 edition of the Sunday Sunset said “Of the many first class hotels in Vancouver, the Hotel Irving, located at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Hastings Street, is deserving of mention…centrally located…among the newest and most modernly equipped…run on the European plan has seventy-five beautifully furnished rooms. Mr W.S. Dickson, the proprietor…there is also connected to the hotel a well stocked bar, handling all leading brands of wines, liquors and cigars.

During prohibition John L Sullivan ran the hotel and his brother Paddy Sullivan ran the hotel’s bar as the Irving Cabaret. Sullivan hired Jelly Roll Morton, one of the original New Orleans jazz pioneers, to supply the entertainment sometime in late 1920 or early 1921. In 1923 the name changed to the Broadway Hotel.

A complex court case arose from the disposition of Arthur’s estate. In 1922 his trustees arranged the sale of property in Vancouver (almost certainly this building) to Nick Kogos, who ran the Broadway Restaurant next door, for $85,000. He in turn arranged to sell it to Painless Parker, a dentist (who had changed his name from Edgar), the owner of a chain of dental surgeries. (He later occupied premises in Davis Chambers, further west). The case centred on which of the purchasers owed interest on the sale of the premises, and Painless sued, won the case, and the subsequent appeal.

At the heart of the prolific Vancouver drug trade, The Hotel Broadway had a reputation in the mid 1950s. Police Magistrate Oscar Orr was quoted that “It is just as easy to buy drugs at this hotel as it is for a child to buy candy at a store.” The owner of the Broadway resented criticism about drug activity in his hotel because he went out of his way to cooperate with the police. A Mountie spent two months posing as a junkie on ‘the Corner’ outside, and the drapes were removed so police could see inside from a lookout across the street in the Empire Hotel. 28 low-level dealers were arrested, but with no discernable impact on the availability of drugs.

In 1999 the building was acquired by the Province as non-market housing, and in 2001 it was renovated to house a U.B.C. operated dental clinic, community co-op radio station, coin-operated Laundromat, and a coffee shop. The project included seismic and accessibility upgrades while maintaining the historic character of the building. In 2016 a more comprehensive restoration added heritage aspects like the pediment and neon sign, missing for many years, as well as further restoration of the fabric.

The three storey building next door is older. There was a wooden building on the site as early as 1889, and a 3-storey building by 1898 when Thomas Levy was the lodging house keeper for the upper floors and  A R McCallum, a tailor, occupied the main floor.

In 1903 Crowe and Wilson were hired by J McWhinney, to add a $5,500 addition designed by D Grant. (This may have been G W Grant – there was no other architect named Grant). The addition was probably the back half of the building; the 1901 insurance map shows a 3 storey building less than half the depth of the lot. The memorably named Garrypie & Dumaresq, grocers occupied the main floor that year. They had taken over from J Chambers who ran a grocers in 1902, with Mary Durant the lodging house. We think the building was probably first completed in 1899 or 1900, and then substantially enlarged by Mr McWhinney in 1903. We’re reasonably certain that the James McQuinn who carried out repairs in 1910, and the J McWhinnie in 1918 were both inaccurate recording of Mr. McWhinney.

James McWhinney was born on December 28 1858, in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, He was interviewed by Major Matthews in 1932, so we know he went to Moodyville, (on the north shore) in 1878 “via San Francisco, Portland, Victoria, New Westminster and Douglas Road; the stage line from New Westminster to Hastings was just a wagon with seats; three or four persons to a seat, and a couple of horses to draw it.” He was later, and for many years, logging boss for the Moodyville Sawmill Co. For a while he owned the Badminton Hotel, and we don’t know if he developed this building initially, or acquired it, like the hotel. He married his wife, Selina O’Brien, in 1888 in Humboldt, California, and they had four children. James was 79 when he died in 1938, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

In the 1920s it was home to the Broadway Cafe, run by Nick Kogos, who previously ran the Golden Gate restaurant on the opposite side of the street, that burned down in 1920. In 1921 “Nick Kogos, proprietor of the Broadway Cafe, was placed under arrest on Saturday and Is now out on bail of $5000. charged with conspiracy to arson.” That was no doubt who the clerks recorded as Nick Cogan and N Congas, who carried our repairs in 1920. The Broadway Cafe also had a reputation for the ready availability of illicit drugs. In 1921 the police sent the Vancouver Sun’s reporter, ‘Nosy Wilson’, to buy cocaine in the cafe. A young drug addicted woman introduced Wilson to bandleader LC Fernandez, leader of the Filipino orchestra that played in the window of the café, who sold $7 of cocaine. Two of the marked notes were later found in his possession by the police.

Nick Kogos went on to run the Commodore Cafe on Granville, and to build a replica of the Parthenon at his West Vancouver home. Today this is a small SRO Hotel, recently acquired by BC Housing and used to relocate some of the homeless from Oppenheimer Park. Called the Lark, it’s run by PHS Community Services. Potter’s Place Mission has occupied the main floor for many years.

Lower image source: Broadway Cafe, Vancouver Public Library #7462