Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

2196 Columbia Street

This modest wooden Mount Pleasant church is seen here in a 1970s image. Unusually, we admit to processing the ‘before’ picture slightly, as the image was very dark and slightly discoloured on the Archives website, and hard to make out. The church dated from 1928 when it was erected by the United Church as a mission. While the Japanese community based on Powell Street was well known, and has been mentioned on this blog many times, there was another Mount Pleasant community that’s less well known.

The Japanese community here mostly worked in the sawmills and the other industries along the south shore of False Creek. In 1921, the Powell Street Church board agreed to set up a second mission in Fairview, and rented part of a grocery store at Yukon and West 4th Avenue. The Japanese United Church record that “In 1928, the United Church purchased property at the corner of West 6th Avenue and Columbia Street for the mission. A new building was constructed through a grant of $5,000 from the WMS, $4,000 from the Board of Home Missions, and $2,000 from the Japanese community. The new church was known as the Fairview Japanese Mission, and was always considered an off-shoot of the “Mother Mission” on the corner of Powell and Jackson.”

The Building Permit in 1928 reflects the budget; submitted by the United Church of Canada, G E Copeland was the builder of the $9,000 new church. George was a carpenter who previously had been a chemist in a chemical company. He and his wife Edna were from Ontario, and they had two of Edna’s young relatives, Esther and Evelyn McGill, born in Manitoba, living with them in 1921. We know their father had died in 1912, and their mother may have died in 1916. There’s no reference to any architect associated with the construction.

The new church flourished: “in 1933, in addition to Sunday worship, English night school and midweek prayer meetings, children and youth activities flourished: there were 214 in the Sunday school, 70 in the Saturday school and 55 mothers in the Kindergarten PTA“. Once the Japanese were forced to leave the Lower Mainland in the early 1940s, the Woman’s Missionary Society had a kindergarten here. St Giles church at W10th and Quebec held their Sunday School here until 1949, the year the Board of Home Missions renovated the building and reopened it as the Columbia Street Mission – no longer a Japanese congregation. In 1955, the English-speaking congregation of the Vancouver Japanese United Church began sharing the building with the Columbia Street congregation, worshiping here in the evenings. By 1958, both English- and Japanese-speaking congregations were worshiping here, before moving to Renfrew United Church in 1962. The Columbia Street congregation disbanded in 1969, and the building was sold and demolished in 1977.

The single-storey industrial building that replaced it was completed in 1984. Today the area is seeing huge change as high-tech and bio-tech businesses are moving in, with many new hybrid multi-storey industrial/office projects being developed. It seems likely that a modest low density building like this will be redeveloped.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-32

Posted 14 October 2021 by ChangingCity in Gone, Mount Pleasant

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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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Vancouver Auditorium – West Georgia Street

The Vancouver Auditorium – or Georgia Auditorium – initially the Denman Auditorium – was built in front of the Vancouver Arena and opposite the Horse Show Building (which had by then become the Stanley Park Armories) in 1927. It was developed by the Patrick family’s Vancouver Arena Co, and it didn’t have an architect design it, but an engineer, L T Alden and cost $60,000 to build. Frank and Lester Patrick built the 2,500 seat building to promote shows that were too small for the cavernous Arena, next door. In its early days, there were boxing and wrestling matches, (as there had been in the Horse Show Building early in its life) and rallies and political meetings. The Arena was destroyed in a huge fire in 1936, but although damaged, the Auditorium continued in operation.

During World War II, it was taken over by the Canadian Navy and was temporarily used as a storage facility by Boeing Aircraft. The Palomar Supper Club owner Hymie Singer returned from the war, and bought the Denman Auditorium and Arena site apparently intending to build a new Arena (but that was never pursued). He promoted shows in the Auditorium: in 1948 jazz vocalist Kenny Hagood brought his show to town, in 1949 the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and in 1950 violinist Jascha Heifetz performed. The building was renovated as a concert venue in 1952, renamed the Georgia Auditorium, and the mix of shows, rallies and large meetings continued. Dave Brubeck played in 1953, as did Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald. She returned in 1955, and Jascha Heifetz again played the venue.

In 1957 a ‘who’s who’ of contemporary music appeared. The Province critic’s review was less than enthusiastic: “The young patrons, the great majority in the 15-year-old bracket, sat through two hours of brash musical noises highlighted by Fats Domino. The first show started at about 7 p.m. and the Auditorium was cleared to allow another show to go on at 9:30 p.m. The Audience was amazingly well behaved as special duty policemen patrolled the aisles. Guitarist Buddy Knox, who rose to fame with a record called “Party Doll” did three songs and was well received.” That same year both Ella Fitzgerald and Dave Brubeck returned their tours to the auditorium.

A year later Sir John Gielgud appeared in a world tour of “Shakespear’s Ages of Man”, and also in 1958 operatic soprano Lily Pons performed. The venue closed in 1959, with the opening of the new civic theatres Downtown, with the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and The Playhouse offering a much better (and more comfortable) customer experience. This image was taken that year, with a sign offering ‘This Valuable Corner Property For Sale’. By August it had been demolished, and the site sat for many years. Various residential tower schemes were proposed, some by local developers, one by a New York developer, but none found acceptance. Eventually residential buildings were allowed further east, and this became a park that joins into Stanley Park known as Devonian Harbour Park after the Calgary charitable foundation that donated $600,000 to move the project forward.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1123-6

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Posted 16 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Robson and Bute – north east corner

This image is labelled as the former Bute Street Private Hospital, seen in an Archives image taken somewhere in the 1940s to the 1960s. The Library have a copy too, and say it was photographed in 1960.

Dr. Simon J Tunstall was born in St. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec in 1854, and after qualifying in medicine in Montreal he headed west in 1881, working for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Lytton and Kamloops, where he established a medical practice. He was married by a ship’s captain in Victoria in 1885 to Marianne Innes, daughter of the naval storekeeper at the naval base in Esquimalt. In 1892 they moved to Vancouver, where Dr. Tunstall’s office was on Cordova, and they were living initially on Hamilton Street, then East Hastings, and in 1898 at 1036 Robson, with the doctor’s office moving to the Flack Block. The Tunstall family had moved to this house by 1905.

It first appears around 1900, home to Bertha Wolfe, a Jewish widow who had previously lived across Bute Street on the next block along. Described as a boarding house keeper, in 1901 she lived with her daughter, Ethel, her niece, Minnie Meyer, three Chinese domestic servants and eleven lodgers. Bertha (who was also born in the USA) had been married to Marcus Wolfe who was an insurance agent and real estate broker in Nanaimo, born in New Orleans and who died in 1896. In 1881 he was living in Hope, working as a clerk, living with Isaac Oppenheimer and his family. He shot himself in what was described at his inquest as “death by his own hand during a fit of temporary aberration”. He had apparently been in financial difficulties, so it’s unlikely that Bertha had the funds to build the house, although she may have been able to borrow them. She ran the boarding house here until 1904; by 1905 Dr. Tunstall had moved in. There’s no sign of Mrs. Wolfe in the city after this. Her daughter Babette, (Ethel was her middle name), married in 1906 to Alexander Green, who became a bank manager and in 1915 they moved to Victoria. In 1930 he drowned in the Thompson River in Kamloops while he was on a train journey from Vancouver to Toronto.

The Tunstall’s needed the large house; the 1911 census shows five daughters at home, aged 15 to 24. That year Dr. Tunstall built a garage, but in 1902 he had become a much more ambitious property developer, building a large commercial block on the corner of Dunsmuir and Granville. He maintained his practice until around 1912, when the house was sold and the family moved to West 2nd Avenue. He added an additional two floors to the Tunstall Block. In 1913 Marianne was living in the West End – Dr. Tunstall apparently suffering from problems with alcohol, entered a nursing home The Tunstall’s apparently moved again to another house on West 2nd in 1914, although Marianne had taken her daughters on a trip to Europe ‘for a year’ in 1913. Dr. Tunstall died in 1917, leaving an estate estimated at $250,000 (although eventually it was assessed at $134,000). His will had a disputed codicil, added in 1916, leaving funds to Emma Playter and her son. The Tunstall family members alleged that Simon had made the codicil while he was the victim of alcoholic dementia, but the case was settled in 1918 before it could be heard in court. Marianne stayed in Vancouver, and all five daughters married. Her second daughter’s husband, John Browne, died in 1920, and Marjorie and her three young children moved in with Mrs. Tunstall. Marianne died in 1935 aged 73.

The private Bute Street Hospital operated from 1913, run by Mrs. Mildred A Moran. The Province had earlier announced “Bute Street Lot Sold For $80,000: English Capitalists Buy Site of Private Hospital in West End: Will Erect Pressed Brick Business Block in Near Future”, but in practice the house was retained as the hospital. In 1913 (Emily) Pauline Johnson, the poet, died here of cancer, and in the same year, W R Angus, pioneer and developer of a house nearby. In 1917 hockey legend Fred ‘Cyclone’ Taylor had his ruptured appendix fixed, and despite fears that he wouldn’t be able to play again, was skating five weeks later. Fortunately the hospital saw many births as well as deaths: pioneer Vancouver oncologist Dr. Richard Beck was born here in 1913. The last year the hospital was listed was 1931; a year later it had become Minaki Lodge, and it remained a rooming house (again) until it was demolished, probably not long after this image was taken.

Next to the hospital (on the edge of the picture) was J McRae’s 1928 Robson Garage, designed by Townley and Matheson. By the early 1970s this was the site of a Texaco Gas Station, only to be replaced in 1985 with a 2-storey retail building that includes a London Drugs store, and smaller retail units on Bute Street, designed by Hale Architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2011-010.1800

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Posted 13 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Vancouver Arena – West Georgia and Denman

The Vancouver Arena was sometimes called the Denman Arena, as it sat on the water side of West Georgia Street, to the west of where Denman Street crosses. It was developed in 1911 and is seen here around 1920 (and not 1913) in a Vancouver Public Library image. It was the city’s biggest venue, with 10,500 seats around the artificial ice surface, used for ice skating, ice hockey and curling. Thomas Hooper designed the $300,000 arena for the Vancouver Arena Co., Ltd, controlled by Frank Patrick. (The permit was for $80,000, but that was just the cost of the structure; the land and ice making equipment added significantly to the investment).

It was the first artificial rink in Canada, and was claimed as the largest indoor ice rink in the world at the time it opened (although Madison Square Gardens was actually bigger). Frank Patrick was from Ottawa, and came to Vancouver in the early 1900s when he ran the local operations of the Patrick Lumber Co. based in Nelson and run by his father, Joe. A former professional hockey player, he founded the Vancouver Millionaires hockey team in 1911, bringing Fred ‘Cyclone’ Taylor to lead the team in 1912, and winning the Stanley Cup in 1915 by beating the Ottawa Senators at the Denman Arena.

In 1914, the Arena was used to house over 1,000 soldiers who were assembling to form the 23rd Infantry Brigade. The soldiers left Vancouver in August 1914 to be deployed as the first Canadian troops in World War I. The arena was also used for other sports, musical performances and public assemblies. Here’s the 1917 motor show on the floor of the Arena.

In 1921 it hosted the first international women’s ice hockey championship, organized by Patrick’s Pacific Coast Hockey Association. In 1924 William Lyon Mackenzie King, the Canadian Prime Minister, during a tour of the west, broadcast a speech from the arena which may have been the first political broadcast in Canada. The CCF held a political rally in 1935 that attracted 16,000 people – the largest indoor gathering that the city had ever seen.

Wooden buildings in Vancouver had a history of burning down, and in the mid 1930s the Arena was given a brick skin (and a new nickname, ‘The Pile’) in order to avoid the fate of the Victoria and New Westminster arenas. In August 1936 a crowd of around 4,000 watched a boxing match between Max Bauer and James J Walsh. Later that evening the nearby boat builders yard caught fire, and around 1.30am the flames spread and engulfed the Arena. Two lives were lost and three firemen injured. The Arena was destroyed, along with seven industrial buildings, two homes and fifty-eight small boats.

The Patrick family announced plans for a replacement, but that never happened. They had built a smaller building in front of the Arena, the Georgia Auditorium, and although damaged that was saved from the fire. In 1945 the Arena site was sold to Hymie Singer, a local theatre and club owner, for $80,000, and he announced a new million-dollar arena, that was also never realized. Once the Auditorium closed in 1959 the site was eyed by several developers for a forest of towers, but eventually it became part of Devonian Harbour Park.

Image sources; Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 94-56

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Posted 9 September 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Pacific Street from Burrard

We’re looking southeast from Pacific Street on March 13 1931. These houses aren’t that old, but they’re about to be demolished for the new Burrard Bridge. Further north, Burrard was a wide boulevard, lined with big houses, but here it narrowed and dropped down a steep grade to False Creek. That all changed when the Burrard Bridge was built.

The houses on Pacific (on the left of the image) were built during the lost permit period, but we’ve traced several of them. Edward Hunt developed one of the homes in 1907, as a permit reference in the Daily World mentions the lot number. That house cost $2,000, and five months earlier Edward built another house on Pacific for $1,800. The 1908 street directory confirms there were four houses here (where there were none in 1906), and Edward Hunt was living in 934, the third in the row from Burrard. William Rickson, a merchant was at 928, Daniel MacLaren, a tailor at 940 and John Allen, a real estate agent was in the corner house, 946 Pacific.

We initially couldn’t find Edward in the 1911 census, (although there was another Edward Hunt who was a developer in the city at the time). Fortunately our contractor had been in the city in 1901, when he was a carpenter, living on Howe Street. That year’s census showed him from England, aged 44, having arrived in 1888. His wife, Mary was a year older, and they had three daughters. The eldest who was 18 was born in the US, her 14 year old sister Ethel, in England, and 11 year old Nellie in BC.

Edward built several other houses on Pacific and elsewhere in the West End, sometimes in partnership with George Calder. Down the hill H C and L Elliott built at least three of the houses in 1906 and 1907, each costing $2,500 each to construct. We think house-building was a side gig for the Elliott brothers: Harold (Clinton) Elliott was a shipwright born in Pugwash, Nova Scotia in 1870, while Lloyd was a ship’s carpenter, born four years later. They were from a family with ten children, and we think their older brother, Frederick had also come to Vancouver around 1902 with Harold, and Lloyd arriving a little later. Their father was a farmer, born in New Brunswick.

While some of those lasted decades, these houses didn’t last much longer than this picture – barely 25 years. All the houses here were cleared away as part of the construction of Burrard Bridge, which had started in 1930, with the new bridge opening in July 1932. In January 1931 The Province reported “Houses on Right-of-way of Burrard Bridge Doomed – Tenders will be called by the city for removal or demolition of several houses on property acquired by civic authorities for the northern right-of-way for Burrard bridge. This was decided by the civic bridges and railways committee Monday afternoon. It was reported the buildings are In need of repair and decorating.”

There’s still potential for development to the south, but a recent reconfiguration of the offramp from the bridge to incorporate a bike lane has altered the developable space.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Br N38.1

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Posted 26 August 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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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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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.

1104

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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