Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

159 East Hastings Street

Our previous post looked at the Dawson Building (for the second time) on the corner of Main and Hastings. It’s a substantial office (now residential) building, completed in 1911. As it is located close to where the city was founded, it wasn’t the first building here. Our 1898 image shows the building that was there before the office. The numbers associated with the buildings on East Hastings have changed, (so today 159 E Hastings is the Balmoral Hotel, several buildings to the west of here), but as far as we can tell this was a fairly new building when it was photographed.

At that time this was the home of the Scotch Bakery, who perhaps surprisingly, according to the delivery wagon, used Ogilvie’s Hungarian Flour. It turns out that this isn’t a reference to where the flour came from. Rather, the Ogilvie Flour Mill, built in 1881 in Winnipeg (the first flour mill in western Canada) was fitted with the latest equipment, using the “Hungarian process” that combined stone and gradual reduction rollers to grind grain into previously unattainable fine flours. For just one year, 1899, James S Morrison was the baker and confectioner running the Scotch Bakery here. A year later the same James S Morrison was a driver for Dominion Express, and seems to have left the city by the end of 1901.

As he wasn’t a resident in the city (as far as we can be sure) for any of the census dates, we don’t know anything about Mr. Morrison, although it would be nice to think he might have been from Scotland. A bakery continued to be located here once he had gone, but it changed frequently. Wilkinson, Gardiner & Co had their bakery here in 1901. Trudgeon & Poulson’s shoemakers were located next door. A year later Adams & Farrant, bakers had moved in, and in 1905 the City Bakery, run by Adulf Mahrstedt was here. H Jago took over a year later, and in 1980 J P Morgan was running the bakery. In 1909 and 1910 the bakery became the Silver Medal Bakery, run by H C Lucas. (There was no Gold Medal Bakery in the city that year). The bakery here closed when George Dawson developed his office building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str P4

Posted July 24, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

Dawson Building – 375 Main Street (2)

George Dawson developed this building on the corner of Main and Hastings in 1911, and we first looked at its history in 2012. At that time we looked at the background of the builder and ‘architect’, Bedford Davidson. We didn’t really examine the background of the man who paid the $180,000 to develop it. George was not a canners agent as described in the Historic Building Statement; rather, as Dawson & Buttimer, George was an active owner and developer of canneries. Fred Buttimer (actually Alfred) was his younger brother-in-law, and briefly, when the 1911 census was conducted, the two families were sharing a house on Burnaby Street while the Buttimer’s were waiting for their new house to be completed.

They both came from New Brunswick, and George looked after the books and sales, while Fred managed the production. Fred was said to be short, quiet and even tempered, while George was large, distinguished looking and generally silent unless aroused to fury – which was said to occur quite often.In 1893 with their partner George Wilson they acquired their first cannery, in Steveston, which they called Brunswick #1. Their second, Brunswick Cannery #2. was opened in 1897 at Canoe Pass in Delta. Brunswick #3 was in the Rivers Inlet District. They sold all three canneries to the B C Packer’s Association in 1902.

In 1903, now as Buttimer and Dawson, (or Dawson and Buttimer – there was no consistency to the company name) they established a new cannery on Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island (which they sold to Wallace Fisheries in 1911). In 1905 they bought a cannery on Harlock Island, opposite Steveston, a year later they built the Kildala Cannery in Rivers Inlet, described in the New Westminster Daily News as being constructed with the aid of “an immense pile-driver”, and then in 1907 another called the Manitou Cannery in Northern BC. The also bought the Carlisle Cannery on the Skeena River in 1905. B C Packers were unhappy with the increased completion, especially as part of the agreement to buy the Brunswick Company in 1902 suggested that Buttimer and Dawson would not compete. Not only did they compete; they did it with the money B C Packers had paid for their earlier investments.

George Dawson was from Bathurst, married to Vina Buttimer, 16 years younger, and they had one son, David. We haven’t found a great deal about George, although his marriage was noted in the Times Colonist in 1895. For some reason it took place in Winnipeg “George W. Dawson, canner, of Vancouver, was wedded here today to Miss Vina Buttimer, of Bathurst, N. B. who had journeyed half way across the continent to meet her lover.” There are almost no references to George’s involvement in civic life, although know he was involved in local politics because he was the seconder nominating Walter Hepburn when he stood for the 1916 election for mayor (Hepburn wasn’t elected). He died in 1935, aged 83. Vina lived on until 1965, when she died aged 96.

Alfred Buttimer (and we suspect George Dawson) continued to be involved in the fishing industry until 1925, when their remaining cannery interests were sold to B.C. Packers. Alfred devoted his time to Vancouver real estate, and died in 1934.

In 1940, when our image was taken, this was still an office building. It retained that use until 1985, when it was converted to residential use, designed by Adolph Ingre and Associates. Today it’s non-market rental housing run by the Affordable Housing Society.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P296

Posted July 20, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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300 block Main Street – east side

This 1951 image shows a series of buildings soon to come to the end of their existence. In 1953 Townley and Matheson’s Public Safety Building was completed where the earlier structures had stood. While the adjacent addition of the Public Safety Building was completed a year later, and was supposedly designed by Dawson and Hall (if you believe the Heritage Statement for the building), there’s an architects illustration in the Archives that suggests it was all designed as a single project and was all the work of Townley and Matheson; Dawson & Hall were a construction company, so that was presumably who built it.

The buildings that were replaced were built over a number of years. The 2-storey corner building pre-dated 1900, and we haven’t identified the developer. The largest building on the block was once the location of the Hotel Blackburn, then the Blackburn House Hotel and was later converted and renamed as the Lanning Apartments. Next door was a more ornate building, completed as the Star Theatre in 1921.

Albert E Blackburn had operated a hotel here from 1900. Before that he ran the Russ House on Powell Street. He was from an Irish protestant family, and born in Ontario (in 1854), where his wife, Aggie (who was three years younger) was also born. The couple almost needed a hotel just for their family; in 1901 there were 9 children at home, 6 girls and 3 boys, aged 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, and 19 years. The family had moved around quite a bit; the oldest children (still at home) were born in the United States, then the next in Ontario, then in British Columbia, three in the US again (in Seattle), and the youngest in British Columbia.

In 1908 the Blackburn Hotel reopened, ‘entirely rebuilt and refurbished’ with steam heat piped to the ‘commodious rooms’. We haven’t traced a permit for the architect of the new hotel, but the rebuild cost $16,000 and the owners then were shows as ‘Boyd & Clendenning’ although we believe they were just the contractors at this point, not the owners. Patrick Gunn pinned down when the rebuild occurred: in July 1907 the Daily World reported “Mr. A.E. Blackburn’s request to be allowed to put up a corrugated iron building for temporary use while the Blackburn hotel is being remodeled could not be complied with as it would be a breach of the building bylaws.” In 1909 rooms on the European Plan could cost as little as 75c a night. A 1913 advertisement, when Mr. Blackburn was still in charge, noted the hotel’s convenient location for Orangemen – the Orange Headquarters were only a block away.

In 1914 Albert was appointed the Province as an Election Commissioner, and had given up his ownership of his hotel, selling it to what the Daily World referenced as ‘Boyd and Clendenning’. In fact, the new owners were Boyd & Clandening; Thomas Boyd, originally from Nova Scotia, and James Clandening from Ontario. The partnership had cleared much of the city, working on contract for both the railway company and the City Council. They cleared Granville street in 1886, worked on the Stanley Park road in 1888 and also on bridges, including the Westminster Avenue bridge. They also helped construct the BC Electric line to Cloverdale and in 1908 the Seymour Creek waterworks.

Invariably Mr. Clandening’s name was wrongly reported; in newspapers, in contracts, in the minutes of the City Council, and in the street directories. The Census however reported the correct spelling in 1901, identifying James, aged 62 with Eliza, his wife who was 17 years younger, and their children Nellie, Norma and Gordon. As early as 1898 (when the street directory managed to spell his name correctly) Mr. Clandening had owned part of the site, basing his contracting business here. At that time there was a grocer’s shop on the corner of Cordova and Westminster Avenue (Main Street) and Gordon Drysdale had his ‘People’s Store’ alongside. In 1903 Drysdale moved his business to Hastings Street and later to new premises that he built on Granville Street. Mr Clandening had first come to British Columbia during the Cassiar gold rush of 1873, but returned west before working on Vancouver Island helping build the E & N Railway in 1884 (when he had a crew of 60 working for him).

Thomas Boyd arrived in BC in 1883, in New Westminster, and helped build the Crow’s Nest Pass for the railway, and before that the Eagle Pass wagon road to help railway construction. He married in 1893, and had two daughters, one who died as a baby. Thomas had another simultaneous partnership, as Boyd and McWhinnie, and they had hired the same architects to build another substantial hotel quite close to here in 1911. He owned that property with Mr. McWhinnie as early as 1886.

In 1914 the partners hired Honeyman and Curtis to totally rebuild the site of the Blackburn Hotel, spending $75,000 and hiring J J Franz to construct the building described as ‘apartments, rooms, 4-storey concrete hotel’. However, it doesn’t look like they followed through, as out 1951 image shows the 1908 brick building still standing. They retained the Balckburn name, and Albert Blackburn was still shown as proprietor in 1916, although Harry Todd was managing the property. In 1918 they spent another $4,500 converting it to apartments, again hiring Honeyman and Curtis for the design work. Initially called the McDonald Apartments, it very quickly switched to the Lanning Apartments, a name it retained until demolition in the early 1950s.

In 1921 they hired the same architects to build on the plot to the south. This time the spent $20,000 to build “Miscellaneous; New; Picture Theatre; 49-ft frontage, 120-ft long; brick & tile with tar & gravel roof; provision made for two small stores on either side of theatre entrance; seating capacity of 450”.

The theatre was run by Mrs Annie Graham, who had been running the Star Theatre on the opposite side of the street since the mid 1910s. Before that it was run by Wilson and Allen, but Mrs. Graham made it a success and wanted to both expand and improve the theatre. When the owners were unwilling to invest, she presumably persuaded Boyd and Clandening to construct a new movie theatre, which continued in use until the 1953 redevelopment. Although her ambitions were for a 600 seat theatre, the new Star had 449 seats. The previous theatre space never reopened as a movie theatre.

Albert Blackburn died of a heart attack in Seattle in 1921, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. James Clandening died in 1927, aged around 90, and was also buried in Mountain View. Thomas Boyd died in 1938, aged 81, and was interred in the same cemetery.

Today the former police building is getting a complete makeover as an incubator for tech startup companies.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1399-100.jpg

1025 Main Street

“Morrow Coal and Ice. Co.” first appear at this location (initially 1027 and then 1025 Main Street) in 1924 . Their motto, over the entrance was the punning ‘Phone TO MORROW For Your COAL TO-DAY’. The yard in 1922 was owned by Alberta Pacific Coals Ltd and Kirk & Co’s Yard #2, with A L Amiel at 1029 Main.

Alfred Amiel emigrated to Vancouver from Deal, Kent, England in 1902. He worked as a teamster for Vancouver Ice and Cold Storage Company c. 1908-1910, before becoming the manager of the Almond Ice Company, manufacturers of ice. The company history says that by 1914, Amiel was the proprietor of the company. In 1915, he opened the Amiel Ice & Fuel Company at 406 E Pender Street. The following year, the company moved to 1024 Main Street next to the Almond Ice Company. This part of the story isn’t quite accurate; in 1915 the street directory shows the Almond Ice Co on West Pender (at #406) next to the Almond Ice Cream Co, owned by H E Almond (at 400). Mr. Amiel was the owner of the Almond Ice Co at 1025 Main. In 1917 the company became a coal and ice company, run by A L Amiel. Before Amiel’s move here the site was home to the Main Horse Repository.

The company history says William Morrow purchased the Amiel Ice & Fuel Company in 1922 after original owner Alfred Lewis Amiel went bankrupt. That year the street directory shows Morrow Ice Co and the Alberta Coal Co (owned by William Morrow) sharing this yard. (However, in 1923 Amiel was still shown in business at 1029 Main St, although that might be an error, as he actually stayed on working for Morrow as retail manager of the ice company). William Morrow was the manager until his death in 1930 when G.A. Strickland took over, and Myldred Morrow, William’s widow, was president. By 1935, William and Myldred’s son William J.T. Morrow was the manager and his mother remained the company president. In 1967 William became the president and the business moved to 1251 Charles St. In 1978 a second location is given at 745 W. 54th Ave which then was no longer listed after 1985. Wm Jorgensen became president in 1988 and the business closed the same year.

We can find Myldred Morrow’s death certificate from 1970, so we know she was born in Melborne, Australia, in 1885, and that her father was James Tyrell. He husband was William Bradshaw Morrow, born in Ireland and dying in 1930, aged only 47. In the 1911 census he was lodging in Vancouver Mansions, and a year later in the St James Rooms on Granville Street, working at a sheet metal works. Just before he took over the Alberta Coal Co he was running the Alberta Woodyard.

By 1931, when this Stuart Thomson image was taken, they had ’15 Trucks to Serve You’, and their yard was on a finger of filled land with a wharf to the west. Today you can buy a laser-cut HO scale model of their coal dock, built by Fairbanks Co. The company specialized in lifting bucket mechanisms used to empty the  hoppers. The coal dock was used to fill coal sacks for delivery to retail customers, usually on flat bed trucks. Coal was unloaded into the hopper type building, then dispensed through a number of chutes.

The truck seen here is a pre-1927 Stewart, built in Buffalo, New York, by a company that existed from 1912 to 1941. Morrow’s also owned at least one Ford truck, shot in almost exactly the same image configuration as this one, also in 1931.

Today this is the retail and non-market housing component of Citygate, the high-density housing project built over twenty years from the early 1990s after the site had been part of Expo 86.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4147

Posted July 10, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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143 Dunlevy Avenue

Sareena’s Place is nothing much to look at, but it’s a valuable facility within the Downtown Eastside.  The structure dates back to 1909, although we’re willing to bet that the stucco dates from around 1950. It’s changed colour many times – back in 1979 when our ‘before’ image was taken it was the Wings Hotel, and pale blue. In the early 2000s it was pink, and the New Wings Hotel. Today it’s name reflects the clientele; a privately owned SRO housing building with 56 rooms now managed by Atira for women facing multiple barriers and challenges, paying welfare rates. It’s now named after Sareena Abotsway, one of six women identified as victims in the Pickton trial. Atira took over management after the City of Vancouver closed the property in 2005, a year that saw three murders in the building. The owner spent a million dollars in repairs before it reopened.

Vancouver Public Library have an image of the building when it was much newer, from around 1910, and it was known as the Dunlevy Apartments. When it opened Frank Vandall was the proprietor, but he just managed the property; the 1908 building permit was issued to Parks & McDonald. John Parks and Donald Bain McDonald were miners, and obviously pretty successful as a couple of years after this building they built another on West Pender. We know they retained this building from subsequent repairs to the building submitted by John Parks and Parks & McDonald in 1921. By 1930 the Dunlevy Rooms had become part of Japantown, managed by K Kaminishi. The building was still listed as the Parks and McDonald Block in the 1940s street directories.

Donald Bain McDonald was Scottish and about 10 years older than his Irish partner, and in 1911 both lived on Jackson Street. We traced them to the ‘Unorganised Territories’ in the 1901 Census – they were both miners, working on ‘their own account’, lodging with Charles Redmond and his wife, Ella, at Bonanza Creek in the Yukon. They had arrived in Canada in 1894 and 1893.

Mr. McDonald was involved in a curious case that led to the dismissal of the Gold Commissioner for the region. In 1902 the Dawson Daily News told the story of two women who started an action that led to the dismissal. “No. 13 (on upper Dominion) was originally staked by H. J. Burt, the packer, but he having left the country, it lapsed by non-representation and was subject to relocation under the proclamation of Gold Commissioner Fawcett. Burt’s title to the property lapsed at midnight August 31, 1898, and Mrs. J. T. Kelly and Mrs. E P Minor were on the ground ready with stakes prepared beforehand. At exactly midnight they drove their stakes, Mrs. Kelly staking the lower half and Mrs. Minor the upper half. Ladies First. Alex McDonald held Burt’s note for $2,000 and it was alleged he was given permission to relocate the ground. The relocation was made by Alex’s brother, Donald McDonald, the staking, however, being a few minutes subsequent to the staking by the ladies. The ladies, by having provided horses near the claim and a boat at the mouth of the Hunker, outstripped Mr. McDonald in the race for this property, he having chosen the Bonanza trail overland. Although both their staking and their application for record were prior to McDonald’s, Fawcett refused to allow them to record. His reason for refusing being that he recognized McDonald’s right to relocate. On October 11 the ladies compromised with the McDonald interests and were permitted to record. Through this claim and through these facts came about the famous Minor Case, which resulted in the Royal Commission being appointed to examine Commissioner Fawcett’s case. Mr. Fawcett was afterward dismissed from the office of Gold Commissioner.”

By 1920 the building was known as the Dunlevy Rooms, a name it retained until at least 1955. We think Mr. McDonald died in Burnaby in 1952, aged 91, single. There’s a John Parks, retired, living on Water Street until 1941, but we can’t be sure if it’s the same John Parks.

Image sources; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-323 and VPL.

Posted June 29, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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844 Dunlevy Avenue

This house is pictured in 1968, so very nearly 50 years ago. It was built in 1899 by Frederick William Sentell.  F W was elected as a City of Vancouver alderman for a single year, in 1890. Some of the family history can be extracted from interviews with Major Matthews, the City Archivist, but those records are somewhat confused, and not totally in line with contemporary records like the census.

The Sentell family arrived from New Brunswick in 1886. Piecing the various records we can pull together we think there were at least five Sentell brothers, all carpenters and house builders, Ephrahim, Alfred, Frederick, James and George, and there were at least six sisters, Margaret, May, Sophia, Charlotte, Ann and Florence, although we’re only sure that Florence and Charlotte lived in the city (and Florence might have been known as Ann). The 1891 census shows Edward, their father living in the city, listed as an 83-year-old farmer, his wife, Margaret (shown as Margrett), aged 66, with Ephraim, James and Florence as well as a granddaughter, Annie, with her father, Meelett Fowler, who was also a carpenter (and C M Fowler in the street directory). George Sentell lived with his wife, Clara, next door to Edward, E B and G J Sentell on East Hastings Street. Frederick (aged 31 in the 1891 census) lived with his wife Alice, who was from Quebec and aged 19, and their infant son, Fred. The street directory has some different ideas about who lived where, but in 1891 all the different families were either living at 409 or 417 E Hastings. Before arriving in Vancouver the Sentell brothers had worked on building the railway, both in Brandon and Winnipeg, and their last job was building a bridge across Granite Creek.

Frederick Sentell & Alice Slade married in Vancouver on 13 May 1889. Fred was 30, Alice just 17. Alice’s parents were shown as John and Margaret Slade; both from England, but Alice was born in Quebec. We might know what Fred and Alice looked like; there’s part of a picture said to be of an 1888 church outing: the Vancouver As It Was blog identifies them sitting behind each other. Fred has his younger sister Charlotte on his knee; Alice Slade is sitting behind him to the right.

In 1871 John Slade was an English-born house painter, living in Montreal with his Irish wife Mary and infant son, John. In 1881 he was still in Montreal, but he had shaved a few years off his age (or the 1871 census was inaccurate), and his wife was now Harriet, and son John was 11. They were the only family called Slade listed in the province of Quebec. In 1891 the family were listed in Vancouver: John Slade was listed as a house painter, living close to here on Prior at Gore. A second son, William, born in Montreal in 1883; older son John was at home, a clerk in a drug store. An Irish-born labourer, Patrick Fox and his wife Alice lived next door.

We haven’t found any birth records for Frederick Sentell’s wife, Alice Slade, in Montreal, but there was only one Slade family in the province, so although she seems to slip from the census, it seems likely that she was John’s daughter, born to his first wife, (Mary, or Margaret), and sister to his eldest son, John. The Archives have a family picture of Alice and John Edward Slade from 1878, when they were small children, photographed in Montreal. John Slade seems to have remarried and moved to Vancouver with a new wife, Harriet, and they had a son, William. (When William married in 1915 his mother’s name was recorded as Harriet Anne Morgan, born in England). John Slade’s death was recorded in summer 1895. In 1901 Harriet Slade was shown in the street directory as ‘widow of John’, living on Gore Avenue (at Prior). The census shows she shared the house with her son William, and Alice Fox, listed as her sister-in-law.

The Sentell brothers had built a number of the city’s earliest wooden structures, including the first City Hall on Powell Street soon after the fire. They started on September 1st on the $1,290 contract, and completed it in 30 days. When the City Council of the day couldn’t pay them for the work, they locked the building and refused to hand it over until they received their money, which took two weeks. There’s a hint in a Chilliwack newspaper that the brothers were not just builders. One brother (F W from the records that show where some of his children were born) lived for a while in Chilliwack in the mid to late 1890s (possibly farming, like his father Edward). Two other brothers visited in 1898 on their way to the Upper Country, “where they own some valuable mining property”. Ephraim Sentell in 1931 wrote to major Matthews in 1931 to tell him that he, F W, and A J arrived in the city in August 1886, from Granite Creek Mining Camp.

In 1901 the street directory says that Fred W Sentell was living on Westminster Avenue, in Mount Pleasant, while Edward B and G J Sentell were living on Grove Crescent, with Alfred Sentell, also a carpenter. The brothers had bought a large piece of land overlooking False Creek, and built their home here. To their shock the decision was made in the 1910s to fill the creek in, and much of their land, (five legal lots), was expropiated, for which they received $103,500. The census shows that Edward B was actually Ephraim Blair, who in 1901 was shown as aged 49, while Alfred James Sentell was 44 and George Jordon Sentell was 38. Their mother, Margaret Sentell was aged 76, and living with her daughter Lottie (presumably Charlotte) and her son-in-law, John Johnson, who was Norwegian, and worked as a drayman. (The Johnsons had been living on Grove Crescent with the three brothers in 1898).

In the 1901 Census Fred Sentell was aged 42, his wife Alice was aged 28, and they (perhaps inaccurately) they had two ten year old children, Alice born in April 1890 and Fred, born in July 1890. As only Fred had been shown in 1891, either Alice was adopted, not really a daughter, or it was an error by the Census Clerk. We can’t find any further records of an Alice Sentell born around 1890. There were three other children; Clifford, Otto and May, and there are birth records for William, born in 1892, who presumably had died as a child. In 1911 Clifford, Otto and May Sentell were still at home, and there were four younger siblings, John, William, Dorothy and Grace, the baby. Fred was 53, ‘Alisse’ was 39.

Ephraim and Alfred Sentell never married, and continued to live together as a household for many years. Alfred died in 1931, single, aged 71, Ephraim died in 1948, aged 96, also single and George the same year, aged 85, widowed.

844 Dunlevy is a good example of a pioneer Queen Anne Victorian style. It features bay windows on the front and side extending the full two storeys, gingerbread detailing and a decorative front porch. The house was first leased to Ontario-born grocery clerk William John Lamrick and his two daughters, Bessie and Sarah. From 1907 to 1920 Harriet Slade lived here. We’re reasonably certain she’s Alice Sentill’s step-mother. In 1911 she had her youngest child, William, still at home, and shared the house with her sister-in-law, Alice Fox, who had lived next door in 1891 with her labourer husband, Patrick.

The house was bought around 1920 by Mrs. Emma A. Winchcombe (widow of Isaac), and the family continued to own the house for many years. By the late 1960s it was in an area that was destined for demolition; a third of Strathcona was eventually demolished for ‘urban renewal’ and it was intended to clear all the houses, and build a freeway to Downtown on this spot. Fortunately those plans never came to fruition, and unusually, nothing was changed on the house, it had the original wooden windows, mouldings, even the wallpaper. In 2004 new owners took on the task of comprehensively restoring the house. In 2007 they won both a Vancouver City and Provincial Heritage Award of Merit for the saving and restoration of their house.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 808-18

Posted June 26, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Unit block – West Pender Street

We’re looking at the north side of the unit block of West Pender Street in 1981. Several buildings have changed, and that will be even more true in future as development is likely to finally develop the corner lots. As we’re looking east, we’re counting down from the former gas station at 99, already closed down and used as a car rental lot when our ‘before’ image was shot 36 years ago. There was a gas station here 80 years ago when it was identified as the Pender Abbott service station – gas and oil, and a century ago in 1917 it was the Central Gas Station, managed by W Noble who lived next door in Patricia Lodge.

Before the gas station opened there’s a 1909 image showing this block; it shows no structures on the corner lot, so ignoring the small gas station kiosk, this must be one of the only never really developed lots in the city. The two storey building was occupied by Stevenson Bros, wholesale boots & shoes, numbered as 83 W Pender. It dates back to the turn of the century, appearing in the street directory around 1901 as the Boyd Burns & Co warehouse, (addressed then as 45 Pender Street). That company, which dealt in plumbing and engineering supplies  including Portland Cement, built a new warehouse on Alexander Street in 1907, and a bigger one on Powell a few years later. The building survived many years, and was only incorporated into the gas station site after the 1950s.

The first building still standing is the Arco Hotel at 81 W Hastings. It was designed by Braunton & Leibert for John Walker, and completed in 1912. When it was built it was called Patricia Lodge and it seems to have a delayed opening until 1914. Then the building was described as a ‘private hotel’, seen in this early image by William Stark. It cost $53,500, and was described as “reinforced concrete stores & rooms”. John Walker was listed as a real estate developer in the Street Directory, living on Bute Street, but we haven’t conclusively linked any of the John Walkers in the 1911 census to this development.

Next to the Arco is a 2-storey building dating from 1927. In the 1950s it was occupied by an advertising company and Regal Greeting Cards. Beyond it is a large warehouse building, either rebuilt or remodeled in 1951. There was a clothing manufacturing company, a wholesale sportswear company and Safeway of Canada’s Training School here when it was first completed. Before that W T Whiteway’s design for the Palmer Rooms Hotel was completed in 1913 for Storey & Campbell Ltd. We’re not sure if the bones of the residential building are underneath the 1950s warehouse, although the building’s appearance suggests that might be the case. Surprisingly, it appears to continue in use as a warehouse today.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E17.22, Sc P57.3 and LGN 1185.5