Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

602 Keefer Street

Gregory Tom was the headmaster of Lord Strathcona School, across the street from here, when he had this house built in 1902. He was aged 39, and had come to Vancouver from Victoria, where he taught school. His early years were spent in Usborne, in Huron County, Ontario, which is where we think he was born (and listed in the 1871 census as Greggory). He had at least three siblings, one of them becoming a Senator in Toledo, Ohio. In 1888 Gregory emigrated to New York, but by 1891 he was in Victoria, aged 27 and still single.

Before he moved into his new home, which cost $1,000, he had married Caroline Fitton, also from Ontario and a few years younger than her husband, and they hade a son, Reginald, in 1896. William Cline, a carpenter and builder designed and built the house, as he did several others down the same street. It looks as if he was born in Quebec, while his wife, Mary, came from Ontario, but their children, including carpenters Albert and William H were born in the USA. This house was addressed as 602 on either street, Keefer, or Princess. We’ve noted many times that the 1911 census is unreliable, and it proved to be so for the Tom family, where Gregory is recorded as Anthony, although the details of the home address, (by then 1602 E 12th Ave where the family moved to that year), his occupation, Caroline and Reginald are all correct.

By 1921 Gregory had moved on to be the principal of Alexandra School, and was living on Point Grey Road. Reginald was still living at home, training as a lawyer with Williams Walsh McKim & Housser. Adding a further decade finds Gregory still working as principal of a school, and Reginald still at home, but now a barrister. Gregory retired in the early 1930s and died in 1938 in Vancouver, and Caroline in 1949 when she was living in New Westminster. Their son, Reginald Fitton Tom died at aged 43 in Vancouver in March 1940, still living at home.

The house narrowly avoided the ‘slum clearance’ that would have replaced the entire Strathcona neighbourhood with more contemporary housing, but by 1977 when this image was taken it wasn’t at its best (although much better than many in the area). In recent years the house has been restored to something closer to its original state.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-28

Posted May 18, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Secord Hotel – 401 Powell Street

Angus Secord born 1850 in New Brunswick, and died in 1897; (he’s buried in Mountain View Cemetery). He was shown living in Vancouver in the 1891 census, but he was still living with his parents in New Brunswick in 1881. He was on the city’s 1886 voter’s list, and in the 1887 street directory where he was listed as a builder, in partnership with John Garvin, on Dupont Street. He could trace his family back to Ambrose Sicard, a Frenchman who was born in 1631, moved to England and then, in 1888 (the year he died), New York. We know Angus was a carpenter, because he was responsible for the woodwork on his hotel, which he may have designed as well.

The Vancouver Daily World described the new hotel: “On the ground floor are the dining-room, kitchen, sample-room – for this hotel is intended for a commercial as well as a family house – and smaller necessary rooms, besides a neat little store. The first floor consists of parlors for guests and bed rooms, and the third storey of private parlors, rooms en suite and single rooms. The house is specially arranged for a family boarding hotel. No liquor will be sold, and every provision will be made for a quiet, cheerful, comfortable residence. A balcony for each storey surrounds the building, to which there is a ready exit from the spacious halls within. By this arrangement, whether the guest wishes to sit in the shade or sun, he may do so at all times of the day. From the balconies the most delightful view of the surroundings may be obtained; but better still, there is an exit upon the level roof from which the scenery spreading out to view is grandly picturesque. All the smaller conveniences will be supplied, such as bath-rooms on every floor, and electric bells in each of the thirty-eight rooms for guests. The interior is being finished in cedar, stained and varnished.” Here’s the Lady’s Parlour in the newly completed hotel.

The lack of liquor continued after Mr. Secord’s death; it was listed as ‘Temperance Hotel’ on the 1912 Insurance map of the city. By 1920 it had become the Imperial Hotel, part of the expanding Japanese character of the area as it was run by Hyakutaro Honda. He was still running the hotel a decade later, but downstairs was the Imperial Beer Parlour run by R Willis. (It’s interesting to note that there was a sushi restaurant two doors along the street). By the time the Japanese were rounded up and removed from the city, Robert Willis had already taken over running the hotel, although he lived on Nelson Street with his wife Adelaide. In 1947 the hotel name changed to the Marr, with Arthur Field as the manager, although the Imperial Beer Parlour was still downstairs.

The balconies were removed many years ago, but the Marr name is retained today, and the building has just been given a new seismic and structural lease of life in a renovation by BC Housing as an SRO hotel, managed by Atira.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Hot P23.1 and Hot P85.

Posted May 15, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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Vanport Hotel – Main Street

As far as we know, there are few, if any other pictures of the Vanport Hotel. Our picture doesn’t show the entire building, but enough of it to get an idea of what it looked like. We think this image dates to about 1978, and the hotel was demolished and in 1986 replaced with a 2-storey retail mall designed by W T Leung. That building was in turn replaced last year with a new apartment building for Bosa Blue Sky. Rather than selling off the units, the developers have chosen to rent the building, although these are not protected rental units so they could be sold in future.

The hotel started life in 1911, when Sam Kee and Company obtained a building permit for a $95,000 hotel designed by P J Donohoe and built by R P Forshaw. Sam Kee continued to own and operate the hotel, carrying out repairs in 1915. Sam Kee was a made up name for a company run by Chang Toy. Patrick J Donohoe wasn’t in the city for very long, and has relatively few commissions. He was previously based in Billings, Montana.

When it was built it was known as the Main Hotel; the Vanport name was a later change. In the final years of its existence the bar of the Vanport, while still a working class ‘dive’ bar, became known as one of the few bars where lesbians could meet and drink. A number of infractions of City and liquor rules led to it closing in the mid 1970s. Photographer Rosamond Norbury recalled the hotel in the Daily Xtra “There were maybe three sections to the bar, three large rooms. One room where just regular people would hang out. A room at the back with the pool table where mainly all the dykes hung around… and,” she frowns a little in concentration, ‘I think you had to go down three steps and turn right to go to the bathroom, which you really didn’t want to. I mean, they were scary.”

During the 1950s the building was owned by the Lee’s Benevolent Association. “In 1952, 75 individuals, all having the surname of “LEE”, including 70 of them from Vancouver, and 5 from Victoria, together with the Lee’s Benevolent Association and the Lee’s Benevolent Association of Vancouver, had loaned a total of $85,000.00 to complete the purchase of Vanport Hotel, a 4-storey structure located at the corner of Main St. and Georgia St. in Vancouver.  In order to repay the individual loans, a “Hundred-share Club” was formed the following year to solicit funds from all the Lees across Canada.  As a result, a total of $80,000.00 was raised from 110 Lees in Vancouver and 75 Lees in other regions, along with the Lee’s Benevolent Association, the Lee’s Benevolent Association of Vancouver, and the Lee’s Association of Montreal.” In 1963, in an effort to expand its real estate holding, the Association bought three stores adjacent to Vanport Hotel for $30,600. In 1986 the Association sold the hotel and the adjacent site for  $1,750,000.

Posted April 27, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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New World Hotel – Powell Street

The New World Hotel (also known as the Tamura Building) was built in 1912, although not completed until a year later, and featured one of Townsend & Townsend’s most exuberant set of added details. By the early 1970s, some of these had been lost, as our ‘before’ image shows. After extensive renovations and restoration funded by BC Housing, those details have recently reappeared. They include the huge and elaborate gabled roof top pediments, that the architects also originally added to a residential block in Mount Pleasant, as well as seven feet high vases.

The Townsends were father and son, (although published biographies suggest they were brothers), probably from Manchester and only in the city from 1909 to 1913. Their client here was Shinkichi Tamura, a Japanese businessman who emigrated, first to Victoria in 1888 aged 25 where he worked for a sulphur producing company who made him their purchasing agent, operating from Hokkaido. He was from a samurai family from Kumamoto, and apprenticed to a textile shop in Osaka at the age of 13. When the sulphur business went bankrupt in 1891 he moved back to Canada, this time to Vancouver. He initially worked in a sawmill, but soon established an import business, shipping (among other things) rice, soybeans, silk and oranges. He added an export element to his business, shipping salmon and lumber back to Japan. He was able to grow his business when he received a $150,000 insurance payment from a shipment of salmon that was lost at sea.

In 1903 Tamura was asked by the Canadian government to help sell Canadian goods to Japan. He advised on the Canadian pavilion at the Osaka exhibition where the star of the show was a bakery producing bread baked from Canadian wheat – a food item little known in the country at the time. Tamura Shokai, his trading company, was the exporter of the wheat to Japan. He was Canada’s first trade commissioner to Japan, and was listed in the 1911 edition of Who’s Who in Western Canada, the only Japanese represented in the publication.

He added banking to his businesses, founding Nikka Chochiku K K, in 1907, looking after the earnings of the Japanese community and arranging transfers of money back to Japan. His business was initially based on Granville Street, rather than in the Japanese community on the east side. That changed after he built the Tamura Building, which housed his businesses downstairs and the World Hotel above.

Tamura had returned to Japan by 1918 – the year he filed a US Patent for the design of an automobile suspension system. He became president of the Kobe Board of Trade, as well as a member of both the Japanese House of Representatives, and the House of Peers. As Baron Tamura he was an important figure in Tokyo in the 1920s. His business continued in Japan and in Vancouver (and Seattle) with family members representing the company. He died in 1936.

Today Tamura House has regained its New World Hotel entrance and is a rehabilitated Single Room Occupancy hotel. Managed by Lookout Emergency Aid Society, it provides 105 units for people who are struggling with issues such as addiction or mental health that put them at risk of homelessness. Thirty five units are for residents in the Tamura House Tenancy Program which offers staff support, such as advocacy and medication dispensing, seven days a week.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives W E Graham CVA 1135-15

Posted April 13, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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West Hastings Street west from Carrall

 

When this picture was taken in 1932 it was noted as being a picture of the last locomotive to cross West Hastings Street. It was on the route that angled through the Downtown from Alexander to the freight yards by False Creek. From July 1932 a newly bored tunnel allowed trains to move between Burrard Inlet and False Creek. The tunnel – or much of it – still exists because SkyTrain now runs through it to head to Waterfront from Stadium station. The tunnel was dug a little deeper to allow the SkyTrain tracks to be stacked on top of each other – the tunnel wasn’t wide enough to allow two trains to run side by side.

We’re not trainspotters, so we could be quite wrong, but this looks as if it was Canadian Pacific’s locomotive 232; an old 0-6-0 steam engine that would have probably been used to haul carriages and freight cars over short distances within the city between CP’s various freight yards. In an earlier post we featured one of the bigger locomotives used to haul the passenger trains across country, sitting on the same line, on Alexander Street.

The building on the left of the picture was the Headquarters of the BC Electric Railway Co who ran the tram and interurban system, which by the 1930s was apparently also doing double duty for Westminster Motor Coach. The odd thing is that this appears to be the only reference to an organization of that name. We haven’t found any records for an operation with that name, and it doesn’t appear in any street directories either. W Marwell Somervell designed the building, completed in 1911, and still in use today as a lighting showroom with offices above. (The building permit for the $350,000 project identified him as M Somervell).

One other thing we noted is the sign on the building for “BC Rapid Transit Coaches” We had no idea the term was in use so early – although with a slightly different meaning. In 1930 there was a scheduled coach to Seattle (which went through Sumas) and another to Chilliwack. Fares from Chilliwack to Seattle were $3.50, return $6.00, but to Bellingham only cost $1 ($1.50 return).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Can N32

Posted April 10, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Knox Church – East Cordova Street

knox-independent-presbyterian

This church was the third church built here, and the building shown in the picture was, we think, built in 1903. The first First Presbyterian Church was built here early in 1886, and burned to the ground in the Great Fire only a few months later. A replacement was quickly built at the back of the site with access from the lane; at the time the street was called Oppenheimer.

That second building was replaced in 1903 with this building, designed (we think) by Arnott Woodroofe who won a competition to design a 1903 Vancouver Presbyterian church (with C O Wickenden). The Presbyterians had already built a huge new church only a few blocks away at Hastings and Gore (where today’s First United Church is located) in 1892.

By 1903 this street had become East Cordova, and although the street directory says this was the Knox Independent Presbyterian Church, with Rev Merton Smith as pastor, the Congregational Yearbook for 1903 says it was actually a Congregational Church. By 1907, when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, the street directory had caught up and this address was listed as the Knox Congregational Church, with the Reverend Smith still running the show.

In 1912 Rev. Smith resigned, and took over as president of Terminal City Press Ltd, publishers of the Western Call newspaper, based in Mount Pleasant. The newspaper tells us that he was born in Glasgow and had been in the USA for 20 years before moving to Vancouver from Chicago in 1902. His church responsibilities hadn’t inoculated him against the real estate fever sweeping the region; he was listed as a director of the Lilloouet and Cariboo Land Co as well as a director in the Albion Trust Co Ltd (who announced a $1 million office to be built in Victoria).

Rev A K MacLennan from Boston took over, staying until 1915. That year the church closed; it became the Cordova Hall. Two hundred local Japanese volunteers started training in the hall, hoping to see service in support of Canada’s war effort. That never came to pass – instead many made their way to Alberta where they were accepted into the 13th Canadian Mounted Rifles Regiment and went on to fight in Europe. This part of Cordova was predominantly Japanese, but after the war the International Longshore Men’s Association (Auxiliary) took over the premises which then became listed as the L W I W Hall, and later in the 1920s the Longshoremen’s Union Hall.

It’s not clear how long the building survived. From the 1930s the Peterson & Cowan Elevator Co Ltd manufactured elevators here, but we’re not sure if it was in the old hall or a new structure as we haven’t found an image of this part of the street. The site was cleared for many years, and has just been developed as ‘In Gastown’, a striking condo and retail building designed by Christopher Bozyk Architects.

Posted March 23, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gastown, Gone

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164 West Cordova Street

164-w-cordova

This small wooden building only lasted at most 14 years before it was redeveloped, but the replacement has managed to remain for 116 years so far. This picture of Charles Anderson’s store is thought to date from between 1892 and 1895. It’s certainly no later than 1899 when the current building was constructed by McDowell, Atkins & Watson and soon occupied by Stark’s Glasgow House. The new building was one of J E Parr’s first in the city (whether with or without Thomas Fee) and features a series of cast iron windows between brick piers.

Chas Anderson was a wholesale and retail grocery, fruit and fish merchant in 1891. Fortunately for historical research purposes, it looks as if he stayed in the city, switching to becoming a fish curer in 1896. He still had that job in 1901, when the census reveals that he was Scottish, arriving in Canada in 1891 with his wife Margaret and their two year old daughter, also called Margaret. By 1901 she was 12, and had two younger sisters, Jessie and Helen. That’s quite likely to be a young Margaret with her father in the picture, which would suggest it was taken closer to 1892 than 1895. Charles and Margaret had her parents living with them as well, John and Isabella Nicol, who were in their early 60s.

Charles continued to cure fish in the city for many years; his premises were at 1547 Main in 1919, when he registered a new Ford Truck (an event recorded in the British Columbia Record), and he was manager of Chas Anderson Fish Curing Co. In 1922 he gave evidence to the British Columbia Fisheries Commission on the state of the fishing industry. We can trace where Charles and his family were living before they moved to Canada: in 1917 his daughter Margaret Isabella married William Oswald, also a Scot. Her marriage record tells us that she had been born in Banffshire, Scotland. Margaret died in 1970, aged 81, still living in Vancouver.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P512

Posted March 9, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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