Archive for the ‘Gastown’ Category

Alexander Street – unit block

We’re looking east along Alexander with our back to Maple Tree Square. Our image is undated, but that’s a 1980 VW Golf on the right, so initially we estimated this was probably shot around 30 years ago. Today the trees are bigger, there’s a bike rack, and some new housing on the north side of the street completed in 1999, but the south side is almost unchanged.

Off in the distance the yellow building is one a building looked at earlier – but with a ‘before’ image that showed a locomotive instead of the building that’s there today. It’s the Four Sisters Housing Co-op, completed in 1988, so the picture must have been taken a little under 30 years ago. Closer to us, on the west side of Columbia Street is the City Hotel, built in 1905, expanded a couple of times (one major expansion was by Sam Kee in 1910, designed by W F Gardiner costing $55,000), and most recently called Alexander Court, a 59 unit privately owned SRO. That building has recently been restored, and now has the original brick façade rather than the painted upper floors in both these images.

Next door is another rooming house, but this one was purpose built. W F Gardiner designed this simple four storey building, three windows across and three storeys high, above a retail unit. The developer was Peter Drost, who also developed Hartney Chambers on West Pender a few years earlier. (At least, we’re reasonably certain of that; the permit is to E G Drost, but there was nobody with those initials in the city, and the architect and builder were the same as for Mr Drost’s earlier project). He was from Ontario, but worked his way westwards with several years as a grocer and flour merchant in Hartney, Manitoba and then Brandon. This rooming house cost him $21,000 to build, and he hired Adkinson and Dill (originally of Seattle) to build it in 1911, with completion the year after. In 1979 it became non-market housing and is owned by the City of Vancouver, known today as the Alexander Residence. When it was first built it was known as the Old City Lodging House.

Next door is the Grand Trunk Rooms, which today is addressed to Powell Street, like several buildings on this block. (The buildings are sandwiched between the two streets, and taper to a point to the right of the picture). The building, which sits on two lots, dates from 1906, and was initially the Grand Trunk Pacific Hotel, addressed to Alexander. In 1908 and 1909 it was run by Fiddes & Thomson – there was no identified proprietor in 1907, the year it first appeared. Both proprietors had run other hotels in the city, and both soon moved on to take over different establishments. In 1910 it was run by Borio & Berto; a year later it was Naismith & Campbell.

There’s no clear record of who built this structure, but there are some hints. There’s a permit for these lots in the right time frame that was issued to G D McConnell. Gilbert McConnell was an early developer in the city, completing buildings in 1889 and 1890. He was an Alderman in 1888 and 1889, and challenged David Oppenheimer for the mayoral position in 1890, but failed to get many votes. He started out in 1887, listed as ‘speculator’ and in 1888 as a builder, and by 1892 had become a clothing wholesaler with a home in the West End. By 1895 he was listed as “boots, shoes and gents clothing”. He continued to live on Haro Street, usually listed as manufacturer’s agent or commission agent until 1912. In 1913 he had moved to Barclay Street, where he was still living in the early 1920s.

Most census records suggest Gilbert Smythe McConnell was born in Quebec around 1857, (although his death certificate said it was 1855) and his wife, Nettie Agnes from Ontario was ten years younger. They married in Woodstock, Ontario in 1886, and their children were born in British Columbia; William in 1888 and Florence in 1890. Gilbert died in 1934.

The odd thing is that the Contract Record described the building to be designed by Parr and Fee here as a warehouse, but it was clearly a hotel from the day it was opened. The other curious thing is the name – Although it was the Grand Trunk Pacific Hotel, it doesn’t appear to be associated with either the Grand Trunk Pacific Steamship Co, (whose wharf was nearby) or the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. In fact the name didn’t last long; in 1914 the building was vacant, but that year Vancouver Breweries, Ltd. carried out repairs and a year later the Main Junk Co were on the main floor, and the Powell Rooms were upstairs (a name now attached to a building in the 500 block of Powell). In 1916 the retail unit was again vacant. In the 1920s the rooms were still the Powell Rooms, and there were two stores, both with Japanese businesses. They retained that name until 1932 when they were being run by a Japanese proprietor, then the building was vacant for two years before reopening as the Grand Trunk Rooms in 1935 (with a different Japanese operator). The Grand Trunk name has returned again (after briefly becoming The Warwick Hotel), attached to a building that nominally is an SRO Hotel but which offers the rooms at significantly higher rents than welfare rates. In 2013 these were $849 a room, to “students or people with student loans or work visas only,”

The single storey structure started life as a blacksmith’s shop for H Critch & Sons, built and designed by builder G Dunlap. The Crich business had been based here for some years, and in 1908 Kendrick & Dittberner, coppersmiths shared the lot. Improved in 1923, more recently the building has been a restaurant – in the late 1980s it was the Jewel of India, more recently it was a tapas bar called Salida 7 and currently Jack’s Taphouse & Grill.

The building on the right of the picture is the original Europe Hotel, originally built around 1887 with ‘brick additions’ in 1899 to the designs of W T Dalton.

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Posted June 8, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

Hotel Europe (3)

We looked at the fabulous flatiron Hotel Europe in one of our earliest posts, and another view soon after. Here’s the original Hotel Europe which became the hotel’s annex when the much larger new structure was built next door in 1908. Our 1975 image shows the fire escape that has now been removed, but otherwise it’s still looking as good as ever. Today it’s part of a housing co-op that includes the flatiron building as well.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography has an entry for Angelo Calori, the hotel’s owner and developer. “A fire in June destroyed every structure in Vancouver with the exception of one wooden building, which Calori purchased and transformed into the European Hotel. Five years later, after the city’s population had increased from approximately 1,000 to over 13,000, the establishment became known as the Hotel Europe. A photograph of Calori taken in 1893 reveals a confident businessman with dark eyes and a neatly trimmed full moustache.”

Some of this is correct. There was a fire in 1886, and only one building, a hotel, survived it. However, that was the Regina Hotel on Water Street, a long way from Powell and Alexander where Mr Calori’s property was located, and it was run by Edmond Cosgrove after the fire. In fact there’s no sign of Angelo Calori in Vancouver until 1888, when he was initially listed as running a restaurant, with the Hotel Europe getting mentioned for the first time a year later (run by Andrew and Joseph Calorae). His early history in North America isn’t documented, but it’s thought that he may have been in San Francisco before heading to Victoria in 1882 and working in the lower mainland building the railway, and in 1887 he was almost certainly the Angelo Calari working in the Nanaimo mines.

There were actually two Calori brothers in Vancouver, Joseph (actually named Guillermo) and Angelo, who were running the hotel in 1890 – the year they were fined for selling liquor on Sunday at the hotel. We can only find Angelo in the 1891 census, a 28-year old hotel-keeper born in Italy. The picture is Angelo in around 1893. In 1897 there was a third Calori Brother, C Calori, living at the hotel. In 1899 Angelo had W T Dalton design ‘brick additions’ to the hotel – but exactly what they consisted of, and whether the building we see today is therefore a Dalton design is unclear.

That 1891 census was missing a few people – Joseph Calori (older than Angelo by three years) was involved in running the business, shown in the street directory and still shared an address with Angelo (at the hotel) in 1901. We initially thought that in 1891 Angelo was married to Theresa, another Italian, although there was no Theresa Calori in the city. A daughter, Josephine Lena Calori was registered as having been born in Vancouver in 1889, at the Hotel Europe, with Doctor Mills in attendance. However, her birth wasn’t registered until 1904, with Angelo Calori listed as the father and Theresa Martina the mother. The 1891 census suggests a slightly different story. Therese Martina was a lodger in the Europe Hotel, with her two-year old daughter Josie, born in BC, whose father and mother had both been born in Italy. The biography says Angelo adopted Theresa’s daughter and they had a second daughter, but we think there was only ever one child, Josephine Lena.

The 1901 census said Angelo and Theresa were married, and that both arrived in Canada in 1882, and Joseph Calori in 1883. Joseph and Rosi Martina, aged 17 and 14, described as Angelo’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law also lived with the family. There were six domestics at the Europe Hotel, three of them also from Italy, and then many long-term residents, one described by the census as a ‘roomer’ and the others as ‘boarders’.

The 1911 Census didn’t find Angelo or his family, but Guillermo Calori was aged 50, and living at 56 Powell Street (which is across the street from this building). Around this period Angelo and Theresa Calori are absent from the street directories. After 1910 the hotel was managed by Albert Berger, and then F A McKeown. When the Calori’s returned to Vancouver in 1915, Angelo lived in a 25-room house on Burnaby Street and G Calori was shown still living at 56 Powell Street. That’s probably the same building that in 1906 was used as the Hotel Europe Annex, before the larger new flatiron building was completed.

We don’t know where the Calori’s went to for the early 1910s, although Angelo’s biography says it was a trip to Italy. US border records show that in 1912 Angelo immigrated to Vermont and a year later to Seattle. In 1914, in New York, aged 52 and single, he married Theresa Martina who was aged 53, and described as widowed. Both Angelo and Theresa were born in Varese Ligure in Italy. It would appear that Theresa (Teresa in some records) had originally married somebody else, but had lived with Angelo as husband and wife for many years. As catholics, divorce would have been impossible, so they presumably had to wait for Theresa’s husband to die. Whether (Josephine) Lena, whose birth was registered as Angelo’s daughter was actually his daughter is less clear.

Angelo’s family circumstances (if they were known) didn’t seem to have affected his progress in the city. He built one of the finest hotels, acquired a theatre, and was a founding member of the Sons of Italy, a mutual-benefit society founded in 1905. He died in May 1940, and was buried in Mountain View cemetery. He was predeceased by Lena, who died in 1930, and by Theresa, who died in 1934; all three share a prominent headstone. His son-in-law was the only remaining family member to remain able to deal with Angelo’s will. However, with the onset of the war, he and 40 other Italian men from Vancouver were interned at Kananaskis, Alberta, having become members of a Mussolini linked political club.

Image sources City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-506 and CVA 81-1.

Posted June 5, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gastown, 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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328 Water Street

324-334-water-st

We’ve looked at both the buildings flanking this modest 2-storey structure in earlier posts. 322 Water Street, to the left was designed by Townsend and Townsend in 1912, while 342 Water on the right dates from 1899 and was designed by William Blackmore for John Burns. The retail arcade building in the centre also dates from 1912, designed by Stuart and White for the ‘Thompson Bros’ and built by the Burrard Construction Co for $30,000. It was an unusual building for Vancouver: an arcade linking Water Street to Cordova, with an entrance across the street from Homer Street, which presumably explains its name as the Homer Street Arcade.

As we noted in an earlier post, the Thompson Bros were really the Thomson Bros; listed as James A and M P Thomson who ran their stationers business from 325 West Hastings. An 1896 Auditor General’s Report noted that the company could be up to five years late in paying for publications they had sold on the government’s behalf; the report shows they also traded in Calgary.

Somehow the 1911 Census seems to have missed James (or we can’t find him), but Melville P(atrick) Thomson was living at 1215 Cardero, aged 51 with his wife Louise and their son, Melville F(itzGerald) Thomson who the street directory tell us was working for the Dominion Trust. Two more sons, George (a bookkeeper) and Donald were at home, as well as daughters Nora and Marcella, as well as a niece, A Finkueneisel, and their domestic. Melville senior was born in Ontario, while Louise was French. Louise seems to have been a second marriage for Melville; in 1888 he married Marcella Fitzgerald in Esquimalt. Melville died in 1944 aged 84, when he was living in Oliver. His death certificate says his wife was Marie Louise Kern, and that they had moved to the town in 1924. He had lived in BC since 1887, and we’re pretty certain he was born in Erin, in Wellington, Ontario, and that his brother James was three years older. The directory says that in 1910 James A Thomson was living at 1238 Cardero, so across the street from his brother.

The photograph shows the businesses located on Cordova Street included G.R. Gregg and Co. Ltd., The Borden, and Richardson Jensen Ltd. Ships’ Chandlers. The businesses in the Arcade were addressed from Cordova Street; The Borden was actually the The Borden Milk Co (so not a bar, despite the name). The heritage description for The Arcade says “The covered passage, with shops on both sides, served the bustling community with commercial and retail services.” In reality there was very little, if any retail – the building was full of commercial offices and some pretty specialized services. Here’s the complete list of businesses in 1914: Robt D Dickie – com agt, Alex Smith – accordion pleater, Searson & Russell – whol men’s furngs, Mendelson Bros – whol silks, A Olmstead Budd – produce broker, Walter D Frith – mdse broker, M B Steele – mdse broker, Hayward McBain & Co Ltd – com agents, corn, Dan Stewart – tailor (workroom), Hugh Lambie – com agt, Chas Schenk – tailor, Produce Distributers Ltd, Successful Poultryman, Excelsior Messengers, BC Assn of Stationary Engineers and Sandison Bros – mfrs agts.

During the 1970s the building was spruced up, with odd details that included facemasks of the entrepreneurs responsible for the revival of Gastown in the 1970’s. In recent years there have been a number of restaurants in this location, renamed Le Magasin, most recently the short-lived Blacktail. No doubt another concept will pop up soon.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-1

Posted March 13, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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West Cordova Street – east from Cambie (3)

W Cordova 100 block looking east

Here’s the same street that we looked at in the previous post just fourteen years later (in 1902). There’s been extraordinary change in that relatively short period. On the extreme right hand edge McDowell, Atkins and Watson have had John Parr design a building that’s still there today (as the Cambie Hostel and bar). Next door is a building from 1888, occupied here by James Rae’s boot and shoe store, that had been built in time to show up in the previously posted 1888 image.

There’s a two storey building next to the telegraph pole that also pre-dates 1888; next door is a 2-bay building that was built in 1889, the Grant Block at 148 Cordova. Beyond that is the building designed in 1887 by T C Sorby for the Hudson’s Bay Company – although by the time this picture was taken they had already moved up to a new Granville Street location.

Towards the end of the block (about where the Woodwards pedestrian bridge crosses the street these days) McLellan and McFeely, who would later build some impressive warehouse buildings, built premises for themselves on Cordova in 1891. The Daily World reported “This is one of the most enterprising firms in the city, as well as being the leading in its line. They are wholesale and retail dealers in and carry a complete assorted stock of hardware, paints and oils mantles, grates and tiling, gas fixtures and lamp goods, plumbers and tinners’ supplies, stoves and house furnishings, and are manufacturers of galvanised iron cornices, hot air furnaces, ate. They also do plumbing and gas fitting. The building they occupy, at 122 Cordova street, is owned and was built by the firm and is two stories in height, each floor ’25 x 132 feet.”

We’ve looked at the buildings on the left in an earlier post: the Wetham block built in 1888, designed by N S Hoffar and the Savoy Hotel, built as the Struthers Block, which was completed in 1889 and also designed by N S Hoffar.

Today it’s a virtually windowless telecoms hub, while on the right the Woodwards development with its 43 storey tower has transformed the neighbourhood.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2 – 143

Posted March 6, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

West Cordova Street – east from Cambie (2)

 

Cordova east from cambie 2

We looked at this block (the 100 block) of Cordova looking east before, but that was looking at the north side of the street. This shows the south side, and this Vancouver Public Library picture is said to be from 1888, just two years after a fire destroyed the city and everything on Cordova Street. Cordova was rapidly being redeveloped as one of the most important commercial streets in the city (at the time), although this part of the street was still emerging, falling roughly half way between the C P Railway’s ‘new city centre’ at Granville Street and the original city centre which started as the Old Granville Townsite to the east around Maple Tree Square.

On the right are some of the fast-built wooden buildings that were created to accommodate the trade of the recovering and rapidly expanding city. Some of them lasted only a handful of years, including the offices of Douglas and Hargraves, the real estate agents on the far right-hand edge of the picture. That building, with the three to the east were redeveloped by 1899 by McDowell, Atkins & Watson designed by J A Parr – either with his partner Thomas Fee or just possibly Samuel McClure, and a few years later occupied by Stark’s Glasgow House (later the Carleton Hotel and today the Cambie Hostel).

To the east there’s a decorative 2-storey building, recently completed in this picture. So far we have failed to identify either the architect or the developer of that building.

Down the street, after a gap, is another new 2-storey brick building. That one we have been able to identify – it’s the first of two almost identical structures, also built in 1889. Robert Grant, who developed one (and possibly both) structures was a Scotsman who in partnership with Henry Arkell sold groceries, dry goods, hardware boots and shoes from just before the fire of 1886. Like many pioneers he had moved on to work in real estate by 1891, and was elected an Alderman five times between 1899 and 1905. He died in Los Angeles in 1930. His nephew, Major J R Grant was engineer for the Burrard Bridge.

Beyond the next gap are the twin peaked gables of the new Hudson’s Bay store designed by T C Sorby. Our earlier post  shows it in greater detail.

Posted March 2, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

Holland Block – Cordova and Water Street

water-w-cordova-2

We looked at this corner, with its early flatiron building, in an earlier post that took a more distant view of this building. This 1892 Vancouver Public Library view of the Holland Block shows it just completing construction. It was designed by C W H Sansom for James M. Holland, described as ‘an early real estate developer’.

Nothing seems to have been recorded of Mr. Holland’s history – other than his middle initial, and his area of employment. Before 1890 he was in partnership with W O Elliot as Real Estate Agents, as his partnership was dissolved that year. He also had interests that year south of the border: “Jas. M. HOLLAND has been appointed agent in Blaine for the Northern Pacific railroad, thus giving Blaine even advantages with other places in securing traveling privileges“. He may have been in a real estate partnership in Blaine as well; the Blaine Journal reporting that “HOLLAND & McFARLAND have just completed them a real estate office at the corner of H and Washington avenue“.

In 1891 James M Holland was registered in the Canada census as aged 32, an American and a lawyer. The Daily World confirmed that in 1890, announcing that “James M. Holland, the well known real estate agent of this city, has been admitted as an attorney in the Superior Court of Washington”. He was listed as lodging rather than owning property in the census, which the street directory confirmed; he was living in rooms at the Leland rooms at 131 E Hastings. His offices were on Cordova Street where he dealt in real estate, loans and insurance.

The first time he appears in a directory was in 1888 when he was the manager of the Vancouver Real Estate Exchange. Representatives from 25 companies created and signed a formal constitution and bylaws. The Exchange collapsed after almost three months and 24 meetings; there wouldn’t be a similar organization in the city until 1919. James didn’t stay here too long; the last entry we can find for him was in 1895, when he was listed as a capitalist, and living here, in the Holland Block. He had previously moved to Seattle in 1891, but apparently returned and built this corner building after that.

He was in a business partnership in Seattle as early as 1890, so seems to have divided his attention between BC and Washington State over several years. In 1892 he was president of the Bank of Sumas, in Sumas City, announced in the Daily World in 1891. In 1893 he acquired property in Blaine: “Documents were signed last week which makes James M. HOLLAND of Seattle the owner of the Lindsey block, sitting on the corner of Washington avenue and Martin street. The sum named in the conveyance is $20,000. This is one of the finest pieces of rental property in the city, being built of brick and in every way central and convenient. Mr. HOLLAND is to be congratulated on coming into possession of this fine piece of real estate, and it can but prove a remunerative investment. Mr. HOLLAND, as is shown by this investment, has an abiding faith in the future prosperity of Blaine.”

An 1895 announcement suggests he had got married: a Blaine newspaper reported that “Mr. and Mrs. James M. HOLLAND of Vancouver have gone for a visit to New York City.” Earlier that year the Holland Building in Whatcom was destroyed by fire, but was fortunately insured. There the trail goes cold; there are no further references in any Seattle, Vancouver or Blaine publications we can find.

hollandWe now know that he initially stayed in New York – James M Holland wrote in 1931 from Wall Street, recalling joining Theta Chi (a fraternal organization) fifty years earlier in Vermont “During fall quarter in 1881, Norwich University was reduced to only 12 students and Theta Chi’s membership was reduced to one undergraduate member, James M. Holland. In November of that year, Phil S. Randall and Henry B. Hersey approached Holland and insisted that they be allowed to join Theta Chi; Holland agreed, thus saving the Fraternity from extinction“.

Theta Chi have a history that includes a biography for James Michael Holland, and it includes a reference to him being in Vancouver, so we can be sure it’s the same person. He was born in Northfield, Vermont, in 1859, went to university and then studied law, being called to the Michigan bar in 1884. From 1885 to 1887 he represented a Boston bank in Fargo, North Dakota, then in real estate in both Seattle and Vancouver until 1895. That was the year he married and moved to New York, where he practiced law, engaged in real estate and public utilities, buying, improving and then selling to the municipality the water supply for Northfield. He was a trustee of Norwich University (where he obtained his degree) for 20 years. He died in Northfield in 1944.

Posted January 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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