Archive for the ‘East End’ Category

519 and 523 Powell Street

These two buildings were demolished many years ago, and for the time being are the location of one of the City’s temporary modular housing buildings. The building on the left pre-dated the 20th Century (and looked like it in our 1978 image), while the one on the right was developed in 1912 as an apartment building. It cost $9,000 and was designed and built by W J Prout for E McPherson.

We’ve noted Mr. Prout’s history in relation to a West Pender building. He was originally from Cornwall, and he was a builder who could design the project too; presumably shaving cost and time. His client was variously Ewen, or Ewan, McPherson or MacPherson. Probably the accurate version was Ewen MacPherson, born in Blair Athol in Scotland in 1851. His family ran the Tarbet Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond. After travelling to Argentina and Australia, Ewen arrived in Canada in 1887 and settled in Harrison Hot Springs. He had a small farm that supplied eggs and milk to the Saint Alice Hotel, a significant property run by the Brown Brothers. In 1888 Jack Brown married Luella Agassiz, and two years later Ewen married her sister, Jane Vaudine Caroline Agassiz. The 1895 directory shows him as ‘E McPherson, gentleman.’ Jane was shown to have been born in Ontario.

In the 1891 census the McPhersons were shown living in New Westminster, where Ewen was listed as a hotel keeper, although the BC Directory shows him in Harrison Hot Springs. In the 1901 census the family were still in New Westminster, but Ewen was shown as a farmer, and there were three daughters aged 8, 7 and 5. (The street directory in 1900 still had him as a gentleman, and still in Harrison Hot Springs.) In 1908 he was in Agassiz, and farming. In the 1911 census all three daughters were still at home, and Ewen’s profession was described as ‘income’

All three daughters married; Florence was 23, shown born in Vancouver when she got married in 1914 in Vancouver to Hesketh St. John Biggs, an Australian. (Despite his impressive name, his work was as a meter reader and clerk with the British Columbia Electric Railway). The family moved to California in the 1920s. In 1920 Constance McPherson, aged 27, and shown born in Vancouver was married to James Hermon in Agassiz. In 1922 Edith was 26, born in Harrison Hot Springs, and was married in Vancouver to Ernest Baker.

Mr. McPherson was briefly proprietor of the Bodega Hotel on Carrall in the 1890s, although shown still living in Agassiz. The street directory for 1891 shows the proprietor to be Alexander McPherson, who was Ewen’s brother. Alexander also farmed in Agassiz later in the 1890s, so it appears the two brothers co-operated on their business activities.

Ewen first moved to Vancouver in 1910, living on Denman Street. His wife, Jane, passed away in 1916 after a short illness. Her obituary recorded the family traveling over the Panama peninsula in 1862 to join their father, who had settled in the area that would subsequently be named after him, after he had been to the gold fields in 1859. Ewen was 82 when he died in 1932.

Given it’s location in the heart of the Japanese community in the city, it’s not surprising that the buildings had Japanese tenants. In 1920 523 was the Kawachi Rooms, with M J Nishimura’s grocery store on the street. 519 however shows a different ethnicity, with Kashi Ram’s confectionery store. The census recorded him as Kanshi, and he was 35, single, and had arrived from India in 1911. Twenty years later Y Hayashi had his confectionery business at 519, and there were four residential units upstairs, and Mrs Taniguichi was living at the rear of the property. 523 had become the Calm Rooms, run by Mrs K Kawabata, and Tomejiro Isogai ran his ‘tranf’ business here – we assume a goods transfer firm.

By the end of the war all the Japanese had been forced into camps in the interior. 519 was ‘occupied’, and 523 was vacant, although the Calm Rooms were still in operation upstairs, run by Nils Engkvlst. In 1948 a new business took over the retail space under the Calm Rooms, the Three Vets Warehouse. They moved on very quickly, replaced by Aquapel Cement Paint manufacturers in 1950, with the Calm Rooms run by E W Haggstrom. That was the last reference to the Calm Rooms – there were no residences shown here after 1951, just a Scaffolding company, and later a construction company, suggesting a vacant building. 519 was still listed, but remained vacant through the mid 1950s. Our 1978 image shows 519 in use, but with no business name, and 523 with Downtown Glass Sales on the main floor, but no sign that the rooms above were in use.

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Posted 7 October 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Methodist Church – Dunlevy Avenue

In 1889 Thomas Hooper was hired to design the Methodist Mission Church, on Dunlevy Street at Princess Street (today’s East Pender). Another church was built across the street to the east in 1905, a Swedish Lutheran chapel, but that was much more modest than Mr. Hooper’s building. There was also a Japanese Methodist Mission designed by Hooper and Watkins and built 15 years later a few blocks to the north.

The Daily World reported “The church will be built of frame with a frontage of 44 feet on Dunlevy Avenue and a depth of 60 feet on Princess Street, and a total height to the ridge of the roof of about 40 feet. The seating capacity will be about 300. The edifice will be put at the back of the lots, of which there are three, so that, later on, it can be converted into a schoolroom when the main church building is constructed. The plans of the building call for a vestry, class-room and choir gallery, apart from the general auditorium.”

In practice, this wasn’t a very good location to try to convert the Chinese population to Methodism, and In 1900 the mission moved to a purpose built building in the heart of Chinatown on Carrall at Dupont Street. In 1901 a new church building was started – the one in this 1905 image. The Province reported “The members of the congregation of the Princess street Methodist church have decided to erect a new edifice to replace the present church, which has become too small to accommodate the ever-increasing membership, and work on the new building will be rushed with all possible speed. This morning Contractor Carter had force of men a, work breaking ground for the foundation of the new building, which is to adjoin the present church. The old building will be utilized as a Sunday school upon the completion of the new. The church was designed by Architect Hooper of Victoria about twelve years ago, And he was recently asked to prepare drawings for a new auditorium, and also for the remodelling of the old building on modern lines. The new auditorium will have double the seating capacity of the present on and in design it will be the latest, the style followed being that known as “the pulpit In the corner church,” with dished floor, and the choir stalls will be at the side of the pulpit. All the windows will be of stained glass, and the ceiling vaulted. A sliding partition In the wall of the auditorium adjoining the Sunday school will give access to that part of the building. A balcony is to be erected in the Sunday school, and It will be subdivided Into classrooms of various sizes by movable glass partitions. The Sunday school building will also contain a commodious lecture-room, ladies’ parlor, library, and other rooms.

The church celebrated its anniversary in 1916 with services from guest preachers, the choir performing in the afternoon, and a surprising event in the afternoon “At 4 p.m. an illustrated address on “Social Diseases” will be given by Dr. Ernest A. Hall of Victoria. This lecture will be for men only and all men are cordially Invited to be present. Dr. Hall is well known as an authority on the subject of his address, and his clear and vivid talk to men has attracted large crowds wherever he has had the opportunity of speaking.” On Monday evening the Rev Hibbert of New Westminster showed lantern slides of his five years in Dawson City in the Yukon. Those were deemed acceptable to the ladies of the congregation.

Princess Street Methodist Church, which had become Central Methodist Church in 1908, became known as the Turner Institute in 1919, in honor of Rev. James Turner, the pioneer missionary of British Columbia. In 1925 the First Presbyterian, which was also nearby, amalgamated with the Turner Institute to form the First United Church.

We know there was a fire here, because there’s a picture in the Archives from 1935, but we can’t find a reference to exactly when it happened, or what happened to the structure, although as a result it seems that the site was cleared for some years.

In the early 1950s the YMCA developed a building here, and operated until 1978 when the Chinese Mennonite Church acquired the building. In 1984, the old YMCA building was demolished and a new church building designed by Siegfried Toews was constructed, and in 1995 the building was extended to add a 32 room seniors home designed by Isaac Renton Donald. Recently the church sold the building to the Atira Women’s Resource Society, but continue to lease the church space, now called the Chinatown Peace Church.

Image source Vancouver Public Library and CVA 447-143

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Posted 4 October 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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27 West Hastings Street

The Army and Navy store closed its doors here in 2020, after 81 years in this location. Before 1939 the store was on the same block, but on the south side of the street. The building the business initially occupied here is the extensively glazed “Five-storey brick store building with basement and mezzanine on first floor; north side of Hastings, adjoining the warehouse of Wood, Vallance & Leggat;” This description was from a 1906 newspaper article titled “New block for Mayor Buscombe” So although the permits for that period are missing, we know the developer was Fred Buscombe, and the plans are in the Vancouver Archives so we also know that the architects were Parr and Fee. Smith & Sherbourne were the builders of the $45,000 investment.

Wood Vallance and Leggat occupied the building to the east which had been built around 1899 for E G Prior & Co. Later it was redeveloped as the Rex Theatre, and subsequently became an addition to the Army and Navy store. Our 1908 image shows Buscombe’s store here was called ‘The Fair’, and it replaced The Brunswick built in 1888 “on the fringe of the woods”. Perhaps this expansion of his business was a bit too much; a year later Stark’s Glasgow House moved in, having previously been on Cordova Street.

Fred Buscombe was mayor in 1905 and 1906. A merchant who had been president of the board of trade before he was elected mayor, he was elected to cut municipal spending, earning him the support of the business class and all three daily newspapers (who seldom agreed about anything). Born in Bodmin, in Cornwall, he was aged eight when the family moved to Hamilton, Ontario. He went to work for china and glassware company James A Skinner & Co. He visited Granville in 1884, and moved to Vancouver (as it had become) in 1891. He bought Skinner’s business in 1899, and had wholesale and retail businesses, as well as a Securities firm. He was also President of Pacific Coast Lumber Mills. A conservative, he was a prominent Freemason and a pillar of the Church of England, helping fund the construction of Christ Church. With his Ontario born wife Lydia the family had at least eight children, only five of whom survived.

Stark’s didn’t last very long here either; James Stark died in 1918, but this had already been renamed as The Hastings Street Public Market. A new tenant briefly moved in, but in 1919 “Terminal Salvage Co. is compelled to move so the entire building can be turned over to a Calgary Concern who will remodel the building for a public market”. This was the Cal-Van Market, and Buscombe Securities spent $3,000 in 1919 for the works for their new tenant. It was obviously a success, as Buscombe hired J E Parr to carry out another $25,000 of repairs and alterations in 1923, and Cal-Van was still in business through the 1930s. It had a boxing gym and whist arcade on the third floor.

The building has been altered behind the facade over the years, but despite the windows being painted over, it offers an opportunity to retain one of the most impressive early retail buildings still standing. The redevelopment of Army and Navy is apparently imminent, with a developer and architect working with the Cohen family (who ran Army and Navy, and still own the building) to design a rental housing, retail and possibly office project.

Image source: Vancouver Public Library

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Posted 27 September 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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308 Harris Street

This 1905 Vancouver Archives image shows the southeast corner of Harris and Gore. Harris today is East Georgia, and doesn’t actually exist (as a street) in this location. Instead there’s an oddly shaped area of open ground, with some mature trees; an unplanned bonus from the abandoned Eastside Freeway that would have bulldozed much of Strathcona, Gastown, and all of Water Street. There’s housing just to the east, on a superblock that runs between Union and Keefer. The demolished block of East Georgia that used to be here had buildings on both sides, that were replaced in the late 1960s with the Maclean Park housing project, part of a ‘slum clearance’ that was intended to redevelop all the old housing in Strathcona, but was only completed on a few blocks before it too, like the freeway plan, was abandoned.

Maclean Park housing was designed with a gentle curving perimeter in this location. It’s the sort of even curve beloved by road engineers, as the freeway connection from Highway 1 (which would have tied in to the viaducts a block to the west of here) would have seen a spur heading north, obliterating Gore Avenue all the way to a new freeway along the Burrard waterfront. The curve of the unbuilt off-ramp is still there in the railings around the edge of the housing.

The Royal Soap Co had been manufacturing Royal Crown Soap here since 1900, and was run in Vancouver by Frederick T Schooley until the late 1920s. He was born in Grantham, in Ontario, married there in St. Catharines, Niagara in 1887 and was a grocer before coming west. Royal Crown Soap Ltd. was purchased in 1889 by Manlius Bull who enlarged the business and moved the factory from St. Boniface to King Street in Winnipeg before selling the company to Lever Brother of England in 1910, with Bull continuing as its Canadian head.

The soap became Royal Crown early in the company’s history, and the Lever name was only adopted in the 1940s. (The Museum of Vancouver have a box of soap in their collection). In 1923 the Vancouver Sun reported “Viscount Leverhulme of Port Sunlight, England, and party, reached Vancouver, Tuesday night, and will remain for three days before sailing for Australia, This distinguished visitor is head of the famous Lever Bros., soap manufacturers. The party was met on arrival by F. T. Schooley, manager of the Royal Crown Soap factory in Vancouver. On his last trip to Vancouver Lord Leverhulme purchased extensive waterfront properties.

There were five houses on this site as early as 1889, and they were replaced with the building on the corner of the lot in 1900. The insurance map label read: “Raw materials Bast Warehouse & Framing 1st floor, Boiling and Preserving 2nd, Store Room 3rd.” An addition was built in 1905, and gradually over the years further buildings were added. The company used known architects for many subsequent brick additions and replacements; builder A E Carter a brick warehouse in 1912, J P Matheson a $7,000 warehouse/factory a year later and H H Simmonds a major new building in 1927 costing $17,000, and Bowman & Cullerne the same year with $4,000 of alterations.

By 1934 the complex was producing 6 million pounds of soap and soap products a year, and J E Stinson the managing director allowed a Vancouver Sun journalist a guided tour for a full page piece that would be an ‘advertorial’ today. In 1939 the Leonard Frank Studios photographed the operations of the factory, and VPL have copies (left).

By 1949 production had ended, and the building was vacant. A year earlier it was still in use, but listed as Lever Bros, warehouse, so production had presumably ceased some time earlier.

The buildings were still in use in the 1950s; in 1955 Ryan’s Carriers and Fraser Transfer were based here. The rest of the block was cleared in the 1960s, and the former factory was the last to go.

It was photographed some time in the early 1960s, looking from the southeast corner of the block to the back of the buildings. Although the residential buildings had been designed in the 1950s, delays saw the project’s first buildings completed in 1965, and this block saw construction get underway in 1968.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 312-27, Vancouver Public Library and CVA 780-339

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Posted 23 August 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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936 Main Street

The larger building on the left is the American Hotel, (the Clarendon Hotel when it was built in the early 1900s). It might have been designed by William Blackmore – he had a commission for a building here, but only apparently for a single lot, not the double lot that was developed with the hotel, so we’re not sure whether he actually designed the building that was completed around 1907. The smaller 936 Westminster Avenue to the south was built soon afterwards.

In 1901 Mrs. Mary Walker had built a $600 frame dwelling here. We don’t know who Mrs. Walker was. She wasn’t obvious in the census that year, if she lived in Vancouver. The two Mary Walkers were married to men with low wage employment, and neither were in construction. She didn’t appear to move into the house; it was vacant in 1902 and a miner, Jacob Shermer lived there in 1903.

This building was apparently constructed in 1907. It was certainly built by 1908 when Belcastro & Co, tailors were here with Arthur Adams, a barber. In 1911 we have a permit that says developer R Stafford hired Coffin & McLennan to carry out $1,400 of work (we assume repairs) on the building. That year a fire affected another building close by on this block that the news report said was owned by J Stafford. We think the fire was in the building next door, (where there was already a vacant site in our 1985 image) and the owner would most likely have been Jonathan Stafford, who owned a stables and delivery business in Mount Pleasant. He was from Ontario, born around 1855, and had been in Brandon, Manitoba before moving to Vancouver. Jonathan Stafford was 95 when he died in 1949.

The only possible local resident was a Richard Stafford, who was living at the Commercial Hotel in 1907 and retired and in a rooming house on Burrard Street in the 1910s, but he had been a labourer with the Parks Board, so seemed an unlikely investor. The legal title was held by ‘Richard Staffors’ from 1907 to 1921, although the retired Parks Board worker died in 1915, when he was also shown having been born in 1855, single, and also from Ontario.

So we, and others, haven’t been able to make any sense of who actually developed the building, or even exactly when, and with no permits now available from the early 1900s we can’t identify the designer either.

The tailors weren’t here long. By 1910 this was occupied by the Ross Second Hand Store, run by L Rossman
& M Goldskin. By 1912 this had become Main Street (renamed from Westminster Avenue), and Nick Castis was running a restaurant. That didn’t last long; as the war started William Freeman was selling furniture, and by the end of the war Sun Fat Co were selling produce. In 1920 the State of Maine Junk Co run by Samuel Gordon and Abraham Green had moved in, after the building owner, D Goldberg, had carried out repairs to the staircase. In 1924 Louis Davis’s Coast Junk Company made more repairs to the vacant store, and had moved in by 1925.

In the 1930s the Nathan Perelman’s Tacoma Junk Co were here – and owned a Ford truck for the business.  Nathan made the news in 1945 “Nathan Perelman, 68 of 445 West Twenty-ninth, proprietor of the Tacoma Junk Company, after getting off one street car was struck by another going the opposite direction. He suffered severe head lacerations and was taken to General Hospital by Kingsway Ambulance. His condition is reported “fairly good.

They were still here in 1953, with Morris Burnstein running the store with Mr. Perelman, although a 1958 obituary for Joseph Sussman said he was the overall owner of the business, which originated in Tacoma and also operated in Seattle. Nathan died in 1953, and a court case led to his name in the press for a final time. “Chief Justice Farris awarded Mrs. Lena Burnstein, 445 West Twenty-ninth, $20,000 for taking care for 22 years of the late Nathan Perelman, Vancouver merchant who died last April. Perelman made his home with Mrs. Bernstein and her husband, Morris, but paid no board on the understanding that he would remember Mrs. Bernstein in his will, He left an estate of $81,000 and distributed about $10,000 to named beneficiaries, but left nothing to Mrs. Bernstein. The balance of the estate, Perelman directed, was to go to charities to be selected by his executors, David A. Freeman and Morris Bernstein. As counsel for Mrs. Bernstein on her petition for payment for the care she gave Perelman, A. A. Mackoff suggested $15,000. But Chief Justice Farris said $20,000 would be a more appropriate compensation.

Morris Burnstein continued to run the business here through the 1960s. They were an early example of recycling, as they collected beer bottles which the sorted and returned to the breweries. They paid the public 25c a dozen.

The building has been abandoned for many years, after significant fire damage. A plan was approved to construct a rental building that would have incorporated the facade, but earlier this year BC Housing acquired the site as well as the adjacent vacant site and the American Hotel, with a view to redevelop one day on the full 100′ frontage.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0669

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Posted 19 August 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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420 Hawks Avenue

We’ve seen the rooming house on the corner of Hawks and East Hastings in an earlier post. It’s the Rice Block, designed by Otto Moberg for D H Rice. We think he was Daniel Rice, an American grocer who became an insurance agent, and he lived in a house here in 1911, the year before the apartments were built.

Behind it, to the south, is a vacant site awaiting a non-market housing building. In our 1978 image there was a house standing here, that had been built in 1903 by W Cline. The developer was Mrs. J A Gosse, and she spent $1,650 to have the house built.

Initially we thought that she might be the new wife of Captain Josiah Gosse, of Victoria, a master mariner. Annie Kendall had married Josiah Gosse in Vancouver in 1902; he was a widower, shown as aged 46 (although his death record suggests he was 3 years older), from Newfoundland, and she was 34 and a widow, born in Suffolk, in England. (Josiah’s first wife, Deriah had died in 1901).

However, there was also John Gosse, who lived in Mount Pleasant and was also a mariner, the master of the North Vancouver steamer, and later the St George, the North Vancouver’s sister ferry. Once built, the house was occupied by Bart Gosse, a fisherman, so that didn’t really confirm which of the two J Gosses it might be. The death in 1917 of Bartholomew Gosse in his 83rd year ‘a well known resident of Spaniard’s Bay’ (in Newfoundland) helped clarify the likely developer. On his death his family were recorded as John, of New Westminster, and Richard, Bartholomew, and Abraham Gosse at Vancouver, and a daughter, Mrs. E Martin, also in Vancouver.

That would mean Mrs. J A Gosse was the wife of John Gosse, born in 1865. John married Mary North, from Conception Bay, Newfoundland, in Vancouver in 1892. At the time John was a fireman; in the census the year before he was a general labourer, and in 1893 and 1894 he shared an address on Lorne Street (W 2nd today) with Mark Gosse, who we think was a cousin. By 1896 John was listed as a mariner, and he worked for the North Vancouver Ferry Company from 1900 to 1906, when he took the captaincy of the new fishing steamer Flamingo, with a crew of 21. He continued to live on Lorne Street, (as did Mark Gosse, but at a different address). John and Mary had Walter in 1896, Winnie in 1898 and Gladys in 1900. By 1908 Captain John Gosse was president of the Equity Brokerage Co. He had returned to captaining the steamship ‘St George’ that year, but by 1910 there was no sign of the family in Vancouver.

The 1911 census shows John Gosse, a master mariner, living in New Westminster with Walter, Winnifred, Gladys and Gordon (born in 1902). His wife was now English born Elizabeth, who was two years older. Mary had died in 1904, aged 39, and John married Elizabeth Miles, a widow in 1906. Bert Gosse was still living in 420 Hawks that year, but by 1908 it was occupied by Albert Keepings, a grocer. We don’t know if it was retained as an investment, but we suspect John sold it.

In 1953 when it was the home of L B Shortreed, the Sun reported ‘LOST Small white female cat, answers to name of Pussums. Please return. Reward. Child’s pet.’ Phyllis Shortreed, who lived at 420 Hawks, reported the death of her father later that year. Gordon Brooks, a sawmill worker, drowned while working on his boat, having had a heart attack.

It was later divided into suites, and in 1975 the Vancouver Sun classifieds showed ‘PRICE REDUCED Owner leaving city must sell quickly. Prime revenue. M-l zoned. $8,700 gross income. 6 suites. 50’x60 lot. Price $64,900’. It’s been a vacant lot for many years, and there are plans to build a 7-storey family non-market housing block on the site.

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Posted 16 August 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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968 – 1004 Main Street

This 1985 image shows three buildings that were demolished many years ago, and replaced with a new non-market housing building in 2010. Designed by NSDA, it’s run by PHS Community Services, and there’s an office of an interior design company on the main floor.

The Archives caption says these were 968, 980 and 1004 Main Street. The slightly shorter building in the middle is the only one we can pin down a developer; the other two date from the early 1900s when the permits have been lost.

The building on the left was originally 966 Westminster Avenue, and first appeared in a street directory in 1909 as The Livingstone Rooms. A year later the main floor had a tenant; Philip Branca, who was a grocer. Filippo Branca moved his store a few doors to the north of here by 1913, to 622 Main (as it had been renamed). He had previously been in a building at 620 Main, later redeveloped as Tosi’s grocery store. His eldest son, Angelo, would go on to become not only the Canadian amateur middleweight boxing champion, but also one of Vancouver’s most celebrated lawyers who would eventually sit as a provincial Supreme Court judge. In 1920 the upper floors were vacant, and the British American Junk Co operated on the main floor. By 1950 the Waterloo Rooms were upstairs, run by Miss Cecelia Krips and the Advance Second Hand Store was on the main floor run by Moses Saperstein.

The similar two bay building two doors to the south was numbered as 1016 Westminster Avenue, and we think it appeared as a rooming house run by Mrs. P Murphy in 1906, with the Chinese Cascade Restaurant on the main floor. Alonzo Wilband took over the rooms in 1907, and Mrs Eva Thomas in 1908. The restaurant became home to the showroom of Walworth-Rolston farm implements in 1907,  until they moved to a new building immediately to the south in 1910. In 1920 the Oakland Rooms were upstairs (causing some confusion as there were also the Oakland Rooms on Richards Street). The Vernon Feed Co. were on the main floor. By 1950 the block had finally been renumbered in sequence, and we think this was now 1002, with the Victor Rooms upstairs and Gunnar Electrical Sales & Equipment on the main floor.

In between was 980 Main. The 1913 insurance map shows the Bonanza Rooms here, but that was inaccurate; those were actually three doors to the south, and we’re pretty certain this site sat undeveloped until 1921 when the Davis Junk Co hired Snider Bros to build a new store that cost a remarkably accurately estimated $9,949 to construct. No architect was listed on the permit.

Still in business in the city today, trading scrap metal, the company was started in 1909 by David Davis who initially dealt in horse hair for mats and sand bags for flooding. He was a Jew from Lodz, in Poland, and initially he investigated making a new life in South Africa. He was there for three years, leaving his wife and three daughters behind, before trying North America, initially in Winnipeg and then arriving in Vancouver in 1907. En route to joining her husband in Vancouver his wife, Dena, gave birth to her fourth daughter in Liverpool, and then another in Vancouver before a son, Charles was born in 1913..

According to his son David spoke a little English, Yiddish and Hebrew, Polish and a little German. Dena “if she did speak any other language, she never seemed to practice it; she probably only spoke Yiddish with a smattering of English” Main Street had several Jewish scrap and second-hand dealers, and Davis Junk was one that survived the longest. David negotiated bottle returns with Henry Reifel, who ran the brewery just to the south in Mount Pleasant, and that helped the business survive the depression. Charles joined the business in 1933 having attended Strathcona School and then getting a degree in commerce from UBC. In the early 1920 the company’s premises were on the opposite side of the street, with a wharf on False Creek (when it was larger than today).

This building was initially occupied by Schwartz Auto & Marine Salvage, but they moved out in a year, so it was vacant for several years until 1925 when Service Auto Wreckers moved in, owned by J Yochlowitz, another Polish Jewish escapee from the pogroms in Eastern Europe . As the company history recounts: “In 1912 after arriving with his family in Vancouver, Joseph Yochlowitz, began scratching out a living as a junk peddler and backyard scrap dealer. His sons, Daniel and Charlie, soon joined him in his labour and by the 1920’s the family business was established on Main Street as Service Auto Wrecking.

By 1935, 33-year old Daniel Yochlowitz was ready to invest in his own scrap metals shop, independent from his father’s. In 1949 he established ABC Salvage & Metal. In the following two decades, the company expanded to occupy multiple lots on Main Street, Prior Street and Union Street.” Today, ABC is also still in business, with 9 locations throughout British Columbia and Alberta, with facilities in both Burnaby and Surrey.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-0668

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Posted 12 August 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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311 East Pender Street

The three-storey building on the left is 110 years old. It came close to not making it to standing today, as a few years ago a storm ripped apart a partially-built six storey concrete block wall on an adjacent construction site, doing significant damage to the building and the house to the east, which has still not been repaired several years later. It’s impossible to see the facade in any season today, as the evergreen tree, fairly newly planted in our 1978 image, hides the building year-round.

The building was commissioned in 1910. The architect was recorded as D McAuley. He was shown in the street directory that year: Daniel McAuley, architect. Lives North Vancouver. This is one of only two buildings that he designed in Vancouver, but others were on the north shore and in New Westminster. The developer of the $9,300 investment was recorded as J B Johnston. Other permits showed him developing a few houses near here, and one in the West End on Comox Street in 1908. That helped pin down the developer, as there were hundreds of Johnstons (and Johnstones and even more Johnsons). John Binns Johnson was (at the time) in partnership with George William Richardson in an Insurance, Real Estate and Finance business on West Hastings. There were many more permits for J B Johnson, the correct spelling of his name, including another East End apartment building.

He was from London, Ontario, but at 19 moved to Chicago. He was a clerk there, and back in London for two years to 1885. That year he moved to Victoria, then Nanaimo, and then briefly to Seattle. He married Bertha Mohr in Ontario in 1889, and ran a store in New Westminster from 1890 to 1895. He moved to Rossland, and made money, not by mining, but from miners. He was a real estate, financial agent, and mining broker. He was an alderman there in 1897 and President of the Board of Trade in 1901, and was still resident in 1905. He first showed up in Vancouver a year later; initially he had rooms in the Hotel Vancouver, then he moved to the West End, and into the house he commissioned in 1908. He was a member of the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange, a rival to the Vancouver Stock Exchange. It became the Vancouver Mining Exchange, and in 1910 he was president. In 1914 he moved to a new house on Angus Drive in Shaughnessy Heights, but in 1920 moved back to the West End. His wife died in 1924, and he remarried in 1926, and died in 1933.

When the building was first occupied the retail stores were definitely part of Chinatown. While upstairs were the Russell Rooms, on the main floor were Sang Yick Chan Co, grocers joined later by Tom Yick watchmaker. Mrs Margaret L Kennedy ran the Russell Rooms in 1911 and was living here with her three sons and her sister, Lily Mathews who worked as a waitress in a hotel. The sisters were born in Ontario, as was her 18 year old son, Earle. Her middle son, John, was born in Alberta 15 years earlier, and her 12 year old, Cyril, was born in BC. She moved on to manage the larger Hotel Reco, and by 1915 Lily Matthews had taken over here. In 1920 Hong Yan Tong had a grocery store, and the rooms were vacant. Two years later Lin Hin Fong’s store was also here, and the apartments were just ‘Chinese Apartments’.  In the 1930s the Good Samaritan Mission, aimed at making converts to Christianity among the ‘Orientals’ of the Province, occupied the main floor, and in 1932 the Pender Rooms opened upstairs, run by Mrs. R Petit; advertised in the Vancouver Sun: “9 ROOMS, NICELY FURNISHED. CLEAN, bright. 311 E. Pender”

In 1942 The Missions to Orientals had taken over the main floor, and the rooms had no name again, and the residents were listed as ‘Orientals’. That year the press reported that “Wing Wong On, 60, was admitted to General Hospital Monday night for treatment of a deep axe cut on the left side of his neck. The Chinese told police the wound was inflicted by an 84-year-old countryman after an argument He was struck by the axe after he threw a cup of water over the other man, he said. The alleged axe-wielder is held at police headquarters for investigation“.

Ten years later the rooms were run by Gee Hing Jong and Gee Jack Ting, and the Glad Tidings Mission were in 313 E Pender. The building was in the press again that year: “Poo Jen Jew, also known as Chew Quan, 70, of Room 16, 311 East Pender, was found dead on the floor of his room Saturday by police who broke down the door after being summoned by the landlord. Detectives from the police science branch photographed the room and took samples of food’ from it for analysis. Poo’s son Chew Yuen, No. 1 Road, Steveston, told police his father had never been under treatment by a doctor.

Our 1978 image shows the building’s main floor home to the Chinese Cultural Centre, who were based here before their building was completed in the heart of Chinatown in the 1980s. Today this is home to The Lee’s Benevolent Association, who moved here in the 1980’s after their original headquarters was destroyed by fire. There are no residential spaces in the building today. In 2010, as part of the Great Beginnings Inter-governmental Initiative, a mural featuring Lao Tse was installed on the west wall of the Lee Benevolent Society building. When the adjacent site was developed with a six storey rental building, the mural was obscured, but it has been repainted is a smaller format on the upper part of the flanking wall (after it was rebuilt).

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Posted 5 August 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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527 East Georgia Street

In 1910 when the permit was obtained for this building, it was described as ‘stores and rooms’. Out 1978 image shows that the stores haven’t been apparent for over 40 years. For some reason the Assessment Authority think this dates from 1905, but for some reason almost nothing was built on this block in the first decade of the 1900s, unlike all the other blocks in the area.

The developer was shown as Alexander, R. (Mrs.) and the architect was H McKinnon. The only logical person in the city was Hector MacKinnon, who was a real estate broker with an office nearby on Main Street. H McKinnon had permits as a builder, owner and architect of various projects, mostly in the East End of the city. He was in partnership with Murdoch Campbell in 1909, but sole proprietor of the business a year later. He was Scottish, and proved hard to find as the census either missed him, or mis-named him. We can find his wife, Catherine (formerly McLeod) who was mentioned in the local press a lot, as she was a violinist. Hector was only 54 when he died in 1930. His wife was living in White Rock when she died in 1945.

Mrs. R Alexander could have been the wife of Richard Alexander of BC Mills. Isabella, from Ontario, and was 34 when the building was constructed. However, other permits suggest a different Alexander. The builder of the $7,000 building was shown as Alexander & McKinnon. There’s no identified business with that name in the street directories, or the press, so we suspect it was a one-off partnership, probably of relatives of the architect and developer. In 1908 R Alexander had a $5,000 house built on Larch Street – the first building in the area. Robert Alexander was in Real Estate, and already retired at 55 according to the 1911 census. His wife was Mary, from Ontario, who was 46. The family had a domestic servant, but no children at home. In 1911 the family built a garage at their home; the architects were Alexander & MacKinnon and the builder H MacKinnon, presumably the same H McKinnon who also built the house in 1909. That permit is why we think Mary was the Mrs. R Alexander who developed this building.

Mary was 42 and single when she married Robert in 1908 in Revelstoke. He was a widower, and his profession was shown as ‘gentleman’. Robert was 54, from Forfarshire, and Mary was born in Beaverton, Toronto. The marriage certificate didn’t include a line for her occupation, and the 1901 census – when she was still living in Ontario – didn’t show one either. She was head of a household with her two younger sisters and two boarders. In 1921 Robert and Mary had moved to Alberta Street, and Robert is shown as a ‘retired merchant’. He first appeared in a Vancouver street directory in 1906, and was already shown as retired. It’s possible he was the Robert Alexander who died in Vancouver in 1923, leaving property in Saskatchewan that the BC Government attempted to tax on his death. They failed, after two court cases. Mary Grant Alexander died in 1952, aged 87.

When they opened these were the Harris Rooms – the name of the street they were built on at the time. The BC Candy Co was on the main floor to the east, and Atkins Co to the west. The Harris Rooms were run by Miss C M Morgan, who lived on the premises, and Atkins Co were sheet metal workers, installers of cornices, and furnaces. It suggests that perhaps the plain box seen in our 1978 image wasn’t the original appearance of the building, but we haven’t seen other images of this block that are earlier.

By 1920 Harry Barzman (who lived in a house next door) was running his butchers business in one of the stores. The other was vacant, and oddly, the rooms aren’t mentioned. In 1925 The Zion Kosher Meat Market was in 527, run by Coleman Kolberg. The Harris Rooms were at 531, and the other store, 533 had Joseph Costanzo’s grocery store. In 1930 Guiriato Attilio had taken over the grocery store, and in 1936 Kametaro Mochizuki was running the rooms, and the second store was the Maxim Gorky Club. In that year it was reported that “Meat valued at $45 was stolen from the Kosher Meat Market”. Five years later “Russian residents in Vancouver collected $2457 for medical aid to the Soviet Union at meeting held Sunday at 533 East Georgia Street, under the auspices of the Russian Committee in Aid of the Native Land. The money will be forwarded through the Red Cross.” The hall was vacant later that year, as was the hall, and the rooms were run by O Kawaguchi. They would be removed from the Lower Mainland a year later as war was declared with Japan, and John Berezowecki (who was a shipyard worker) took over running the rooms. The Russian National Committee had taken over 533. They would later move to the nearby Russian Hall. By 1955 this had become the Cathay Lodge rooms, with one store vacant, and Benson Hoy living in the former hall location. Benson, and his wife Edna ran the Cathay Lodge.

Some reports continue to list the building and its 33 rooms as Cathay Lodge, but the owners changed it to ‘Metro’ several years ago.

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Posted 29 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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54 East Cordova Street

Like the rooming house to the west, (more recently known as the Wonder Rooms) this building was designed by Hugh Braunton, in this case a year later in 1912. The developer was W G Harvey and the building opened as the Alvin Rooms, although they didn’t appear in a street directory until 1914, when they were run by H McIntyre.

The first year he was in Vancouver, 1895, W G Harvey’s store was at 322 E Cordova, and he was living at 515 Westminster Avenue. In 1896 the store had moved to 326 Westminster Avenue, and was described as ‘the leading East End Dry Goods Store’. In 1898 the store was at 400 Westminster Ave, and the family were living at 338 E Hastings, and in 1901 they had moved again, to 800 Hornby. That was the family home through the 1900s, although the store moved again to 70 W Cordova, and then in 1910 to the Hornby address. A year later William had retired, and moved to Shaughnessy, to the corner of Matthews and Granville.

Mrs W G Harvey died in 1919, and was only 58. We can trace from the details on her death certificate that Florence Gabriel married William George Harvey in St Mary’s Church St John’s, Newfoundland in 1891. The family must have moved west quite soon after that; Beatrix Harvey was born in 1892, in Victoria. (She married Ernest Williams in Vancouver in 1919, just before her mother’s death, and died in 1966 in Victoria). Lancelot William Harvey was born in 1893 in Victoria, married in 1921 and died in Coquitlam in 1980. In the 1901 census the children were recorded as Beatrice and Lance, and their uncle (W G’s brother) Herber Harvey was living with the family. W G Harvey was 64 when he died in Vancouver in 1925.

Miss J Anderson was running The Alvin Rooms in 1930, and Mrs S Saiga in 1940. In the 1940s these became the Franklin Rooms, in 1945 run by Choy Chin, and then by 1950 The Cordova Rooms, the name previously held by the building to the west. Choy Jung was shown running them that year, but by 1955 it was shown as Choy Chin again.

The Cordova Residence, as it’s now known, was part of the SRO Renewal Initiative of public owned heritage hotels, so we have documented evidence of the state of the building prior to restoration, and some of the more unusual aspects of the structure. It has a solid wooden frame – the main floor timbers are 12″ x 16″ with 2″ x 4″ laminated floors – suggesting a warehouse or perhaps industrial intended use. There’s an original wooden framed manually operated freight elevator from the main floor to the basement, and a belt-drive jack shaft to power a lathe also survives in the basement. The basement was linked to the building next door, and there’s an original rolling metal-clad fire door across the doorway. All of these elements were preserved in the renovation.

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Posted 22 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gastown, Still Standing

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