Archive for the ‘Gastown’ Category

Stark’s Glasgow House – Carrall Street

We’ve seen three other buildings that were home to Stark’s Glasgow House; a business that expanded over 20 years into smarter and larger premises. Here’s the initial Vancouver store, a modest Carrall Street address. The Archives image says this is the second Cordova Street store in 1892, but we think that’s inaccurate. Comparing with Robert Clark’s gentlemen’s clothing store, it shows an identical unit in the same Carrall Street building photographed in 1897, and that date is good for Stark’s at this address too – the Cordova Street address would be the ‘Enlarged and Remodeled’ premises a year later.

James Stark sold ‘dry goods’ The display shows bolts of cloth and fringed throws. The window says they also sell gloves & hosiery, and the door promises ‘standard patterns’. An 1892 advertisement for his new store said “Ladies looking for nice cool washing dresses should see the assortment of prints, cashmerettes, sateens, yama cloths, ginghams, zephyrs, etc., at Stark’s Glasgow House, 226 Carrall street, facing Cordova.”

The store was about to move just over a block to West Cordova, to the Callister Block, so there was a sale offering ‘big bargains’ on the stock. A few years later the store moved again to a former drugstore, slightly further west on Cordova at Cambie. That store was well on its way to a full departmental store (finally achieved a few years later on West Hastings), with a large millinery department that could be reached by elevator.

Robert and his wife and five children aged from 7 to 18 arrived in Vancouver in 1892 when he was 45. It’s not entirely clear why he chose the name ‘Glasgow House’ as James was born in Dundee. He married Julia Leck, who was also from Scotland, in 1871 in Toronto. In 1901 they was living at 1027 Robson Street with all five children. The business offered both dry goods and millinery and two sons worked with their father, joined by the youngest son William (always known as Billy) in 1903. James Stark died in 1918.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA SGN 1075

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Posted May 11, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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Braden & Co – 300 West Cordova Street

This provisions and meat retailer occupied a store in the Arlington Block, developed in 1888 by Dr. James Whetham. No architect has been identified with the building, but another building nearby developed by Dr. Whetham around the same time was designed by N S Hoffar, so it’s likely that this was too. The Arlington Hotel was upstairs.

Whetham, like many early Vancouver developers, came from Ontario. His father moved to Canada, established himself as a general merchant and then died, leaving a widow and three young children. James initially became a teacher, then headed west, farming in Manitoba in 1878. Somehow he managed to study medicine (his biography says ‘in winter’) in Toronto and then Portland, Oregon, while living in Spokane Falls. He only practiced medicine very briefly before moving on to develop real estate, initially in Spokane Falls and then from 1887 (aged 33) in Vancouver.

By 1889 James Whetham had the sixth largest land holdings in the city, was on the board of trade and was a city alderman. He was boarder in the Hotel Vancouver. He died in 1891, aged only 37, of what was diagnosed as typhoid fever.

T J Braden lived on Richards Street, near here, in 1898 when the photograph was taken. He first shows up in 1896, working as a butcher and living on Harris Street. It’s possible he was Thomas J Braden, from Simcoe, Ontario. His brother Robert was working with him a year later, and by 1900 they had additional branches on Harris Street and Granville Street, but by 1901 they were no longer in the city, and these were the premises of the Burrard Inlet Meat Co, managed by Herbert Keithley. Mr. Keithley and his brother-in-law, Robert Leberry, ran six meat stores, some that they had acquired from the Bradens, and lived in New Westminster. Early in 1902 they failed to open the stores, and two days later the San Francisco Call reported their pursuit in the US (left).

The sheriff was on the right track, but not fast enough. A few days later the Province reported that the two men were already mid-ocean, having boarded a sailing ship in San Francisco headed for Australia. It added “The unfortunate part of the affair Is that the wives of the departing men were left in ignorance of their husbands’ destination, and they were left absolutely without funds as well. Both women live In New Westminster and are sisters, and through no fault whatever of their own are left all but penniless. It is said Keithly did write his wife once after his departure, saying that he enclosed certain shares in a local company, the value of which would amount to about twenty-five dollars, but he forgot to send the shares.”

The store was no longer associated with the meat trade after this: A J Bloomfield sold cigars here in 1902. A couple of years later the street address disappeared, and the retail space appears to have become associated with the hotel upstairs. In 1905 it was run by Cottingham and Beatty, and a year later John Beatty on his own, later corrected to Beaty.

Within a few years the premises had been renamed the Arlington Rooms; Alice Gill ran them in 1915. The retail uses reappeared here; in 1920 Mrs Tosa Takaoha had a barber’s shop and S Nunoda sold confectionary.

Today the building still has retail stores; the butcher’s shop would be unrecognizable to former operators in its contemporary uses as an Italian fashion store for men and women, with the stripped-down design favoured by some clothing retailers.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu 5

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Posted May 4, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Taylor Building – Water Street

This office and warehouse building was built in 1911 for W and E C Taylor, who hired Grant and Henderson to design the $36,000 investment. Walter Taylor was the founder (in 1890) and managing director of the Empress Manufacturing Co., Ltd., which dealt in imported coffees and manufactured local jams and jellies, becoming one of the early successful local food supply companies. Edward C Taylor was his son, who was company secretary at Empress. (On the left is the former Edward Hotel, built in 1907 built for Charles Edward Beckman, a Swede, and on the right 322 Water, designed by Townsend and Townsend for William McPherson in 1912.

Before this new building, the Oriental Hotel was here: one of the first buildings completed after the fire of 1886, and so not built of fireproof materials. In 1911 the Taylor’s Empress business was sold to new owners, with William Hunter running the company.

By 1914 Edward had moved on to a new business, Horne Taylor & Co, insurance agents, where he was in partnership with Amedee P Horne. (He was from England, son of William Horne, of Paddington. He was generally known as A P Horne; was in the city very soon after it was created, and initially worked for the CPR in the land surveying department.) Walter Taylor was retired, living on Pine Crescent, and Edward was also living in Shaughnessy on Hosmer Avenue. Walter died in 1915, and his burial record shows that rather than being 44 as he claimed when the 1891 census was collected, he was actually already aged 50, so his retirement at aged 70, and his death five years later wasn’t at all surprising.

The Taylor Building became occupied as warehouse and office space. The earliest tenant was J A Tepoorten, a drug wholesaler established in 1910. They moved into the new building a year later. In 1923 the business was acquired by a syndicate of local retail pharmacists known as United Retail Druggists.

They had moved out by 1930, and it was known as the Commercial Building, with manufacturers agents and wholesalers of shoes and drugs among the tenants, and 25 years later the tenants included an electrical equipment supplier, wholesalers of shoes, clothing, wire and cables and several other manufacturer’s agents. It was still similarly occupied in 1979, when this picture was taken.

In 2003 the upper floors of the building became 22 strata residential units developed by the Salient Group, with Acton Ostry designing the conversion.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-179

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Posted November 14, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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West Cordova from Abbott (2)

We saw a view westwards from Abbott along Cordova from 1889 in an earlier post. That was the south side of Cordova – here’s the north side seen in a more recent image – it’s an undated postcard that we guess is from the late 1900s.

The block on the left is G W Grant’s first known project in Vancouver “commercial block for W B Wilson, 1887”. It was illustrated in an 1887 promotional publication “Vancouver – Pacific Coast Terminus of the CPR”. William Bell Wilson was from Nova Scotia, and he lived in St John New Brunswick before moving to British Columbia in 1862. He worked in Victoria as an accountant, and Kamloops as a merchant. He married, had two children, and then became a widower when his wife died in 1879 when the children were aged 1 and 3. He was obviously successful financially, owning at least four lots in the city in 1886. In 1887 he was listed as a real estate agent in this building, and that year the city’s handbook listed him as a ‘Principal Property Owner’ with $25,000 of assets, one of the more significant landowners. By 1891 the block was owned by Rand Brothers, and Mr. Wilson’s finances had suffered, and he became Collector of Customs in Rossland, and then Trail.

He died, of dropsy, (these days it would probably be identified as edema due to congestive heart failure), aged 55, in Spokane. The Trail Creek News published his obituary “Mr. Wilson went to Spokane in July, for treatment. From the first no hopes had been entertained of his recovery. Last week his son was telegraphed for, and was with his father when he died.

Mr. Wilson was appointed collector of customs at this outport last November, at the time the outport was created. Prior to that time he had been with the Rossland office. Of his previous history the Rosslander says: “Mr. Wilson was a pioneer of the province, and is well known to most of the earlier residents.  During the C.P.R. construction he was a partner with J.A. Mara, ex-M.P. at Kamloops, where they built three steamers for conveying supplies from Tacoma to the eastern end of the Onderdonk section at the head of navigation on Shuswap Lake. These did a very large carrying business. Mr. Wilson went to Vancouver when that city was young and owned valuable property there, but he became interested through further investments in Anacortes, and with the depression in that city lost considerable money. Mr. Wilson had few intimate friends, but a wide circle of acquaintances who admired his many good qualities and learn with sincere regret of his death.”

A man in Mr. Wilson’s position has little opportunity to make friends, but the writer, with many others in Trail, knew him well and had the friendliest feelings and the greatest of respect for the dead officer.”

Today the base of a 31-storey condo building, part of the Woodwards redevelopment. occupies the site.

Today the Runkle Block sits on the north west corner, but in 1901 it was the two-storey wooden Cosmopolitan Restaurant. In 1910, according to a building permit, J C Runkle hired Sharp and Thompson to design the building standing today. It cost $28,000 and was built by Robert McLean. The developer was a total mystery – although we have identified what appears to be a likely subject. The initials for ‘J C Runkle’ come from the building permit, but there’s a cartouche on the building with the initials ‘J R’.

Runkle is a relatively unusual name, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find the developer. In fact, in 1911 there was only one person in Canada listed in the census with the surname ‘Runkle’. Fortunately for us, he lived in Vancouver. Unfortunately, he was called Gordon Runkle, so J C Runkle didn’t match. He had lived in Vancouver from 1906, and died in Nanaimo in 1943.  He was married in the city in 1914, and he had the same architects design a house on Marine Drive in 1922. His father, John D Runkle was a resident of Brookline, Massachusetts, the President of MIT (the second in the institution’s history), and also a chairman of the Brookline School Committee and an early advocate of mathematics and science. Gordon had an older brother (sixteen years older) named John C Runkle. Our guess is that Gordon, at the height of Vancouver’s property boom, managed the development on behalf of his brother – an absentee American east coast investor. In 1900 John worked for the National Coal Tar Co, in 1910 he was Vice President of a manufacturing company, and in 1930 he was an executive of a lumber supply company, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1908 he bought an old house dating back to 1765, had it moved, and hired architect Lois Lilley Howe to reconstruct and remodel the house.

Only one of the three buildings looks the same today as it did in the early 1900s. That’s part of the Cook Block – the western-most 4 storey element is said to have been completed in 1892. That part of the building has bay windows on two floors. Next door was a three storey building that has had an additional floor added to make it a matching four storeys today. They were developed by Edward Cook (who also constructed the Wilson Block on the left, laid the foundations of Christ Church, and was the builder of the first courthouse among many other projects). We don’t know if Edward hired an architect – and if so, who he chose.

In the 1891 census Edward was shown aged 35, born in Ontario, with a wife from Quebec, and four children under 8; Edna, May, Winifred and baby Wallace (listed as Douglas a decade later). In 1901 his wife is recorded as Miri, (actually she was Maria) and the four children now have three siblings, Beatrice, Francis and Elsie. His wife’s sister Elibeth (sic) Douglas, and son-in-law, Thomas Forman were shown living with the family (Maria and Elizabeth had a brother in the city; Frank, of Kelly, Douglas & Co). Edward arrived from Manitoba in 1886, and built a house for his family, that was burned down before they could arrive. They were travelling from Quebec, overland through Chicago , Portland and Tacoma, and then by steamer to Victoria and then Vancouver. They arrived days after the fire and their first home in Vancouver was a tent on Carrall Street, near this location. Edward was elected an alderman from 1901 to 1905, and was a very successful resident of the city. Maria died in the spring of 1940, and Edward four days later.

Beyond the Cook Block was the Eagle Hotel, which was added to in 1906, helping us date the picture. The Eagle was lost when Woodwards built their parking garage. The upper floors of the Cook Block were, for a while, residential, known as the Marble Rooms, but they closed in 1974. Today the three structures of the Cook Block and the Runkle Block (all three are only half the depth of the lot, so sixty feet deep) have been combined into a single building, with a restaurant on the corner and commercial uses on the upper floors.

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Posted June 24, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Alexander Street – unit block, north side

We have seen a number of the buildings on this block in earlier posts, but not all of them. The one on the left of our 1996 image is the oldest on the block. The owners, Lowtide Properties, would have you believe it dates back to 1896. In fact it dates to 1900, when owner Thomas Dunn moved his ship’s chandlery business here to a rectangular brick building he commissioned, designed by N S Hoffar. It was three storeys over a basement, with the top floor having huge arched windows. Dunn operated the building for only a very short time, until 1902. In 1903 hardware dealers Wood, Vallance & Leggett were based here, having bought out Thomas Dunn’s chandlery, with Dunn continuing in the hardware business in premises a short distance away on Water Street. They also took over his Cordova Street premises (in the building he developed with Jonathan Miller).

This building was sold to Boyd, Burns and Company Ltd., dealers in engineering and mill supplies, who moved here in 1904. They added a new warehouse in 1907, hiring Parr and Fee a year before to design a new 26 feet wide building to the east costing $60,000, angled differently to line up with the rest of Alexander Street. They then sold their company to Crane Co, a Chicago based business in 1908. Crane retained the plumbing interests, initially based here, but sold the ship’s chandlery part of the business to a newly formed company, Simson-Balkwill Co. Ltd. Ship Chandlery and Engineering Supplies. Boyd ran that company from the new eastern half of the building, and built a bigger Powell Street warehouse in 1911. They were replaced by H W Petrie’s machinery company.

By 1914 the building was vacant, and the older half was still empty in 1916, although the newer half saw Vancouver Scale & Butchers Supply Co move in, and the situation prevailed to the end of the Great War. By 1920 both buildings were occupied, although the tenants were not as prestigious as in the early years. The Canadian Pacific Junk Co were in 5 Alexander, and Fujita & Co in 7 Alexander. They were importers and exporters, with Y Uchida managing. They occupied the building for several years, while there was consistent turnover of tenants in the older building, including the British Wire Rope Co, anf Gibsons Ltd who were “Manufacturers and Wholesale Distributors of Modern Logging  Equipment, Wire Ropes, Welded Chains, Donkey Engines, Logging Blocks, Oil Burning Equipment, Mill Supplies, iron, steel and “Gorilla” Axes. They had moved out, leaving the building empty again in 1926, and Alexander Murray & Co moved in to the younger building, dealing in roofing and flooring materials. They were still there in 1930, and a number of other businesses had moved into the older building including Canadian Western Cordage. A decade later all the businesses in 1 Alexander had changed, but Alexander Murray still operated from 7 Alexander, and by 1950 they had expanded to use space in the older building, joined by Aero Surplus who sold radio supplies and a firm of mechanical engineers.

Next door, in our 1996 image, the Alexander apartments are under construction, with the adjacent Alexis apartments completed a year earlier. The Alexander incorporates the two storey façade of the building built for the B.C. Market Company, approved in 1906 to cost $25,000. Thanks to Patrick Gunn from Heritage Vancouver we now know this was designed by Alexander Maxwell Muir, a Victoria architect. As far as we know this is the only significant building he designed in Vancouver.

In October The Daily World announced a slight delay in construction under the heading ‘Dr. Underhill’s Very Latest Problem’ “I do not see what we can do with these Indians,” said. Medical Health Officer Underhill, this morning. “I have been down to see the encampment on the site of the proposed building of the B. C. Market company, next to the Boyd-Burns building. These Indians have just come from hop picking and on their way home to the vicinity of Port Rupert and Port Harvey. They have money to spend for supplies for the winter and it is only fair that local merchants should get the benefit. Still at the same time their encampment, where they are, is very bad, from many standpoints. It is a physical and moral menace. But where can I send them? The Indians have been in the habit of camping along the foreshore after the canning and hop picking seasons for many years I have been urging the finding of a suitable place for them to camp for some time and the police have also had something to say about the matter. The police have urged, and wisely, too, that the encampment should not be put anywhere where it could not he easily supervised.” This 1898 picture shows that First Nations had been camping on the beach beyond the tracks at Alexander Street for many years.

In 1908 the builders, Smith & Sherborne, had to go to court to get final payment for the building’s construction. The building was last occupied by the Vancouver Supply Company, before both buildings were offered for sale in the mid 1980s. The Alexis has an earlier 4-storey façade of a 1907 building first occupied by first by Knowler and McCauley, candy distributors. That was designed for Alderman Jonathan Rogers – a prolific developer – and cost $12,000, although we don’t know who he hired to design it. In the 1930s all three buildings were used by the Supply Company, a wholesale grocery business. Two buildings we’ve already looked at can also be seen; the Captain French apartments can be seen just tucked in behind the flatiron of the Hotel Europe.

Historic image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA IN N12

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Posted January 21, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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170 Powell Street

 

These Powell Street buildings were designed by Fred Townley in 1912 for Major W R Dugmore, and constructed by Douglas & Ward at a cost of $45,000. We’re unsure whether the major was resident in the city, as he doesn’t show up in the street directories at all. We’ve looked for his history before in connection with the Dufferin Hotel, developed on Seymour and Smithe by Dickie & Dugmore.

We can find fleeting mentions of the Major in a few publications. In 1909 William A Dugmore of Vancouver was visiting Victoria, staying at the Dominion Hotel. In 1912 Major Dugmore was one of the invited guests at a military banquet in the Vancouver Hotel for a visit by the Governor General of Canada, the Duke of Connaught (Queen Victoria’s seventh child and third son). In 1912 he was reported to have been appointed as the Canadian representative for the Canadian Services’ Land Co, capitalized at $100,000, and headed by Alfred St George Hammersley, KC, and Sir Francis Lowe, MP. Hammersley had extensive Vancouver interests, but the new land company was set up to acquire Beaver Ranch at the north end of Nicola Lake. The advertisement in the Evening Standard said Major Dugmore was from the 72nd Highlanders, and had been awarded the DSO.

We’re reasonably certain W R Dugmore and W F Dugmore are the same person – William Francis Brougham Radclyffe Dugmore. A professional soldier for many years who had fought in at least seven campaigns, and awarded the DSO, Major Dugmore had married in 1910, and was clearly spent time in Western Canada, and invested in Vancouver even if he lived elsewhere. (There’s no sign of him in the 1911 Census anywhere in Canada, but he appears to have been living in the Channel Islands, aged 42). He joined the war in 1914, and was killed in action in 1917.

When the building first appears in 1914 it was listed as the Crown Rooms, with J Kamada, a second-hand dealer and barbers Jellick & Michael in the retail units. The name was unchanged in 1920, run by I & T Kutsukake, with M Kamada’s pool room and W Satta operating as both barber and pool room on the main floor. In 1938 the pool rooms were still here as the Powell Pool Rooms, but the accommodation was now the Newton Rooms, run by Mrs H Iwata. After the war the Japanese community had been forced out of the city, and the Chinese community often replaced the; in 1945 J Gon had a grocery store under the Newton Rooms, now run by P Jung. A decade later H Chow & Co had a warehouse next to Fisher Metal Products and The Newton Rooms were being run by H Jung.

The building were replaced in 2009 with ‘Smart’, an eight storey condo and retail building developed by Concord Pacific, and designed by Busby, Perkins + Will. The building has exterior corridors and minimal interior common space to keep monthly maintenance fees down for the 90 owners. The building sold out in five hours, and initial owners included 9 members of the architects’ office.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2419

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Posted August 23, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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50 West Cordova Street

This is the Hildon Hotel in 1985, and today – almost unchanged over 30 plus years. We’re not sure if the 1955 street directory entry was a typo, or whether the hotel really changed it’s name from the Manitoba Hotel (which it was from when it opened until 1954) to the Hilton Hotel, but it’s been the Hildon for many decades. The pub was, and is, a typical eastside bar, but briefly in the mid 1980s it added ‘exotic dancing’ and entertainment to the 50 Bourbon Street pub just at the point that strippers were starting to be replaced in other bars in the city. Today it’s still ‘The Bourbon’, which claims to be unlike any bar in the city. “Its rich history can be felt as soon as you walk through the doors. Established in 1937, The Bourbon has been many things…a strip club, a biker bar, a live venue, and until recently Vancouver’s first country bar.”

The ‘official’ heritage statement says the building was designed in 1909 by W T Whiteway. We can’t find any reference to substantiate that attribution, and the building’s design, using white glazed bricks is much more reminiscent of Parr and Fee’s work. They used bricks like this extensively on other hotel buildings in the early 1910s, especially on Granville Street. They obtained two building permits for this address, both in 1909. The first was in April, for Evans, Coleman & Evans, Ltd who commissioned $25,000 of alterations to the William Block. Two months later another $7,000 permit for the same address, with the same architects, was approved for further alterations. Both projects were built by Baynes & Horie. The expenditure suggests something substantial in the way of alteration, so there may be part of the structure underneath that pre-dates the 1909 construction, but the street directory identifies a ‘new building’ here in 1909.

Evans Coleman and Evans also owned the hotels across the street, as well as many other business interests in the city. When the hotel opened (as the Hotel Manitoba) in 1910 it was run by J H Quann. John Henry (Jack) Quann had lived on the site before, as his father, Thomas Quann (from New Brunswick) had run the Central Hotel here in the 1890s, and in 1896 Jack and his brother Billy had taken over before moving on to other hotels, including the Balmoral, then the Ranier which they built in 1907, as well as the Rose and Maple Leaf theatres. Once the earlier hotel had closed this location was briefly home in 1902 to the Electric Theatre – Canada’s first permanent cinema (before this movies were shown as travelling shows run by people like the Electric’s founder, John Schuberg). Schuberg sold the Electric and moved to Winnipeg in 1903. Jack Quann died in 1911, and the hotel was then run by Jay D Pierce, and as with other hotels of the day there were a number of long-term tenants as well as visitors staying in the premises.

One strange story recently came to light involving the hotel bar. In 1963 Henry Gourley claimed to be drinking there with two friends, when he told Bellingham police that they overheard a conversation from a nearby table. Three men, he said, declared that if Kennedy were to ever go to Dallas “he would never leave there alive.” The men said they were headed to Cuba afterwards and one, who he suggested was named Lee and wearing a grey suit and brown shirt, said his uncle owned “a foreign rifle.” Gourley told the police that he recognized one of the men from a photo shown on a TV program that was “talking about the rifle.” The FBI investigated the claim, as the conversation supposedly took place about three weeks before the death of JFK. Gourley was found to be an unreliable witness, and his friends didn’t back the story up.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2138

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