Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

1629 Comox Street

This 1906 house was developed by A J Crowe. He was a house builder who lived quite close to here at 1110 Nelson, and this was apparently one of the earliest he built in the city. He was in the area, building houses from an earlier date. The 1891 census finds him living in New Westminster, aged 34, a house carpenter. His wife, Annie, was seven years younger, and they were both from Nova Scotia. They had two children, Roland and Clarence, aged four and two. The 1911 census shows why a year earlier Mr. Crowe spent $800 raising his new Nelson Street home, and three years earlier adding an addition. (Interestingly, he didn’t build himself a new house from scratch, although he built at least 30 others over a long career as a builder/developer). As well as Roland and Clarence, who were still at home, there were (in descending age), Bertrand, Edna, Raymond, Edith, Ruth and Douglas (who was 9). The census also tells us that Mr. Crowe was called Andrew, although he never appeared to use anything but his initials in business. The household also had three lodgers.

This home followed a pattern that Mr. Crowe replicated throughout the city. It appears that the buyer of the house was Arthur Kendall, a doctor, who lived here from 1907. He died in 1910, and Mrs. Arthur Kendall is listed as the head of household for some years after this. The 1911 census identifies her as Vina, aged 32 with her 7 year old son, Lloyd Arthur, and three-year-old twins, Francis and Kathleen. The house would have been full as she also had four lodgers, and her cousin, William Woodley, living with her.

An obituary in a climbing magazine included more details about Dr. Kendall. “In Vancouver, on October 8, 1910, occurred the death of Dr. A. L. Kendall, a most highly valued member of the Alpine Club of Canada. Dr. Kendall was bom at Rockland, Ontario, in 1876. He lived in Texas for a few years, but his heart was always Canadian, and he returned to his mother country in 1889, making his home in Sapperton, B. C, where he lived for some ten years. He attended High School in New Westminster and entered McGill University in 1897, graduating in 1901. In 1902 he married Miss C. Woodley of Moose Jaw, and settled in Cloverdale, B. C. During 1905 and 1903 he studied special branches of his profession in the hospitals of Boston, Chicago and other great cities. Finally he settled in Vancouver, where his fine record in major surgical operations gave ever promise of a most distinguished career.

He had a keen interest in every movement that tended to the benefit of the community. Though he took no practical part in politics he used his influence – no small one – to promote the highest standard of purity in the party to which he belonged. It was the purely national spirit of the Alpine Club of Canada which first attracted him to that body. He graduated to Active membership on Mt. Huber during the period of the O’Hara camp. There the mountains threw their spell upon him and held him to the last. His trying trip to Mt. Baker and the characteristic unselfishness which made him give up his chance of attaining the summit on order that he might not imperil the success of the others are recorded elsewhere. With his death the Alpine Club mourns the loss of one of its most enthusiastic supporters and feels the deepest sympathy for his surviving relatives.”

The last time Mrs. Kendall appears in the street directory is in 1922. That year Vina Kendall, a widow, born in Rockland Ontario married Matthew Jones, who was 15 years younger, in Victoria.

In 1931 the Vancouver Sun reported the death of the builder. “A. J. Crowe Was B.C. Resident Since 1890 Prominent In building circles in New Westminster and Vancouver since 1890, Andrew J. Crowe, 79, died this morning at the home of his son, C. B. Crowe, 4522 West Sixth Avenue. He had been in poor health for several years. Coming from Bass River, N.S., 42 years ago, Mr. Crowe resided In New Westminster until 1909, when he moved to Vancouver. During these years he was associated with construction of many public buildings. Three daughters and four sons survive“. Three sons were in the Great War, and Bert died in 1917 at Vimy Ridge.

Our 1966 image was from the sale offer. Described as ‘an older style revenue house’ the rent income was $305 a month, but the value was assumed to be purely as land value for redevelopment. The owner, Mrs. Isabel Coe was hoping to sell at $26,500; cash only. The house was replaced in 1981 by a four-storey wood frame strata building called Westender One.


Posted July 9, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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1661 Nelson Street

We don’t know who developed this house, probably around 1906, but we know that S H Horstman added a garage in 1924. There’s nothing outstanding about the house – it’s a standard style for the era, so without a permit it would be impossible to guess at the builder. Next door, just on the edge of the image, were a pair of less common houses. Built by the Vancouver Construction Company at a cost of $5,000 each the 1907 permit is for ‘Two concrete dwellings’. This was their only building permit the company sought, and they were a new business in 1907, managed by A V Crisp.

The houses were expensive to build – about 50% more than a typical wood frame house here at the time, but we assume they were ‘proof of concept’ for a new construction system. The US patent, from December 1907 explains. “Be it known that we, JAMES LAYFIELD and ALBERT V. CRISP, citizens of the Dominion of Canada, residing at Vancouver, in the Province of. British Columbia, Canada, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Cement-Block-Molding Machines, of which the following is a specification.

This invention relates to a machine for molding cement building blocks which, although particularly designed for forming a patented cement block wherein the outer and inner wall members are bonded together by sheet metal ties embedded in the cement of the wall members, is equally applicable for molding cement blocks of ordinary construction.

The invention comprises chiefly the means whereby the elevation of the frame to which the mold plates are attached, will, in the act of elevation and before the plates themselves move up, first withdraw from the faces of the block the several plates between which the block has been molded.

In 1909 it was reported in The Province newspaper that the Vancouver Construction Company were to construct the largest and finest ice rink in the world – to be located at Richards and Pacific. Despite an announcement that the building would start 60 days later – it never happened.

At 1661 Nelson, John F Watkins, a printer, was the first resident in 1906. In 1908 George A McNicholl, purchasing agent for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad moved in, staying for four years. The census shows he was 35 in 1911, living here with his wife Ella, their three children, and an aunt; Gertrude Clarke. The entire family had been born in Quebec. In 1914 Mrs Matilda Bowen was living in the house, but the occupants changed regularly through the war years. In 1919 Mrs Isaac L Woodley moved in and stayed until her death in 1924. The 1921 census tells us Emma Woodley was a widow aged 69, had been born in England, and had a lodger called Frank Hamilton, who was also from England, and aged 47. Mrs. Woodley died after a long illness of ‘heart trouble’, and had four children, a son in Vancouver, and three married daughters in Vancouver, Moose Jaw and Los Angeles. The family lived in Moose Jaw from 1901, moving from Ontario, and “Mrs. Woodley took a prominent part in social work and was well known as a temperance worker.”

Our 1967 image is from the sale particulars. The house was offered at $35,000; potential buyers were instructed not to disturb the tenants. They were unlikely to want to, as the building was described an apartment site. It wasn’t too long before that became true; today there’s a 1972 strata building called Hempstead Manor, (originally a rental, but converted in 1984) designed by D M Sarter.


Posted July 6, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

West Georgia Street – 500 block, north side

This 1929 image shows the demolition of a number of buildings that had been here less than 30 years.

The Cycle shop had to vacate by 31st January – ‘Everything must go – at cost’ – they had also cut keys. Next door the Vancouver Dress Maker had also offered tailoring, cleaning, pressing and alterations. The next office offered Calgary Oils and B C Mines Real Estate, then The Bay Cleaners and Dyers, and the Georgia Shoe Repair store, with a barber’s shop at the end of the row.

The buildings seem to have been developed by A K Stuart, who also built others on this block to the east, possibly still standing (much altered) today. Mrs A K Stuart obtained a permit for a house on Richards Street in 1902, and A K Stuart obtained another for a house on Georgia Street in 1906. A K Stuart had two other permits for alterations to these lots, in 1907. There may have been other permits, as some from this period have been lost. The 1903 insurance map shows the left hand of these two stores had been built, and there’s a house in the centre of the block, (relocated from where it stood on Richards in 1901) and another house at the Richards Street side of the lots. By 1912 both these matching stores had been completed, along with the rest of the block.

Mrs A K Stuart would have been Margaret, who Allan Stuart had married in 1892. She was from Ontario, but Allan Stuart was born in India in 1861, was in London in 1881 and arrived in Canada in 1883, becoming a CPR draftsman who helped bring the railway through the Rockies, and then settling in Vancouver in 1885. He worked for architect Thomas Sorby, helping design the first CPR buildings including the first Hotel Vancouver. From 1893 to 1901 he worked as Assistant City Engineer, before joining an engineering company supervising mines in Canada and Mexico. In 1907 A K Stuart, recorded as being a civil engineer, was shown living in the house at the centre of the block, and he is no longer in the street directory in 1908. By 1910 Allan and Margaret were living in Hope, (technically part of the Cariboo at the time) with their daughter Marjorie.

An early 1929 edition of the Vancouver Sun saw the announcement for a major redevelopment. “10-FLOOR OFFICE BUILDING TO COST $275,000. S. W. Randall Co. Plan Building on Richards at Georgia. Construction of a ten-storey office building costing approximately $275,000 will bo started on the north-west lane corner of Richards and Georgia streets within the next month, it was announced today. The building will be constructed by 8. W. Randall A Co.. Ltd., Vancouver stock brokers, 375 Richards street. S. W. Randall, head of tho firm, said today that demolition of existing buildings on the site will be started on Friday. Tho building will occupy a ground area of approximately 4500 square feet, with a frontage of 60 feet on Georgia and 73 on the lane. It will be of reinforced concrete construction. Stores will occupy tho ground floor of the structure. Plans for the building have been prepared by R. T. Perry, architect, West Hastings street. Property for the office structure was acquired by Mr. Randall several months ago.”

By March it became apparent that the project was much less ambitious. The permit was for a $50,000 building, and as built it’s possible to see that the building, known as ‘The Randall Building‘, only had 7 floors. In the early 1990s jeweller Toni Cavelti restored the building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-289


Posted June 22, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Eveleigh Street from Burrard

This image took a bit of careful calculation to shoot, because Eveleigh Street doesn’t reach all the way to Burrard Street any more – but it did when this 1925 image was taken. Eveleigh Street was developed in the early 1900s, and most of the houses visible here were built between 1901 and 1903 by James Astell, who acted as developer, architect and builder. Before he started developing buildings, James was listed in the census as a plasterer. He first arrives in the city around 1892, although we think his younger brother, Sebastian was here a few years earlier, working as a carpenter for the CPR. James was still in Minto, Ontario in 1881; aged 21 and working as a farmer, (while his brother, who was 18 was listed as ‘farmer’s son’).

In Vancouver, Sebastian was listed as head of household, and his older brother as lodging in his brother’s house, which was on West Pender just behind these houses. James never married, while Sebastian had an English-born wife, Annie, who was 15 years younger, and in 1911 they had six children aged from 3 to 12 at home (and two lodgers as well). Sebastian was 36 in September 1898 when he married Annie Hicks, who was 20 and born in Wivenhoe, Essex in England. (The 1921 census tells us she had come to Canada in 1896). James was witness at their wedding, with Clara Hicks. Annie’s father, Valentine was listed as a Travel Agent & Collector in the 1881 census, when the family lived in Ipswich St Margaret, Suffolk.

In 1901 James had his own home, and Sebastian & Annie and their two small children shared their home with a lodger and Josiah Astell, a younger brother who was a day labourer. In 1921 James was still living with his brother, and all six children were still at home. James died in 1929, aged 71, having never married, and Sebastian in 1937.

The houses here remained until the 1950s, when the Bentall company acquired the site, with groundbreaking for Tower One of The Bentall Centre taking place in 1965. A second tower followed in 1967, and Charles Bentall was present for the third tower’s commencement in 1971 at the age of 89.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 357-3


Posted June 18, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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630 Alexander Street

Unlike a couple of other buildings that were developed on this block with potentially more innocent intent, we can be certain that this was developed as a brothel (even if the permit said it was a rooming house). It was far from cheap for such a modest building – $15,000 – and developed by Ollie Gilbert. She hired on of the city’s more upstanding architects, W F Gardiner, and E J Ryan as builder in 1912. Six years earlier she had built a very expensive house on Harris Street (E Georgia today) for the same purpose. The street name was briefly changed again to Shore Street, and Ollie and all her girls were listed there in the 1911 census. She was 38, from the US, having arrived in Canada in 1906. She had 10 female lodgers, most with no stated occupation, but two claiming to be musicians, one a hairdresser and one a dressmaker. They were all from the US, except Jeanette Gibson from Quebec.

Ollie managed to keep her business out of the papers, except for one unusual case in 1915, when two local men, W. J. Taylor and R. J. Lewis appeared on charges of conspiracy to defraud, in connection with the sale of land in Oregon. She had already closed her establishment, although from the court case it was clear she was still in the city. “Miss Ollie Gilbert was the first witness called, and she testified to having been induced by the accused to pay $250. She believed she was buying 160 acres of land in Oregon.” The accused were selling documents which appeared to give title to the land, but actually were only forms that allowed an application to acquire the land. As the land itself was subject to another court action in the US, the offer was fraudulent. The men were convicted of fraud and sentenced to two years and 18 months’ imprisonment respectively. (Another witness who lost money on the same scam got minor satisfaction. William Hayes, a CPR employee from North Bend explained that “when he had learned that the land he had paid $260 for was worthless and that the land game was “bunco” he had Interviewed Taylor and In the argument had thrashed him and he himself had spent a night In the cells for it while Taylor put two weeks in the hospital.

After the first war this part of Alexander had been ‘cleaned up’ (although Nellie Arnold was still living here), and this became a Japanese owned rooming house operated by H Soga in 1922. By 1941 Howard Harman was running the rooms here (and also working as a machinist at the Heatley Machine Works, so probably his wife, Bessie, was running things), and in 1955 Tony Fediw. While several of the former brothels are still standing today, Ollie’s building was replaced in 1985 with the Dera Co-op, designed by Davidson & Yuen, with 56 units of non-market housing.


Posted June 8, 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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578 Alexander Street

Marie Gomez was only in the city for a few years. In many ways her timing was unfortunate. She arrived in a boom; invested funds to develop her business, and then saw a combination of civic hostility, economic recession and a war see her financial return disappear. Claiming to design the building herself, Marie spent $9,000 to have R C Douglas build her new rooming house.

Although she commissioned it in 1913, this building didn’t appear in the street directory until 1915. Marie was already in town; in 1912 she was fined $200 for selling liquor without a licence at 621 Alexander. In 1913, under the name of Alice Graham, she was fined for running a ‘Disorderly House’ (the legal term for a brothel), and for serving liquor without a licence at another house at 407 Keefer. That was actually the worse crime – she was fined $102 for the liquor charge, but only $52 for the disorderly house.

In 1972 (six years before our picture of the building) Curt Lang photographed the doorway of Marie’s building. It shows that Marie wasn’t hiding where she lived; her name was picked out in the custom tilework in the doorway. The notes accompanying the photo say her establishment was for “Spanish sailors who came from Philippines to [the] nearby Rogers Refinery.” As Lani Russwurm has noted, it seems likely that Gomez might have been a Filipina, and that “Alice Graham” was her alias, rather than the other way around. As well as her name on the vestibule, Marie got her name into the street directory here in 1915, as other ladies were packing up and leaving, or finding less obvious premises to operate from. The police note refers to Marie’s premises on the 600 block as ‘The House of All Nations’. In 1916 this building was empty, and in 1917 it was listed as a Sailors’ Home – which wasn’t so different from a few years earlier, although the company was probably less exotic.

The building was run as an unnamed rooming house by Mark Zagar, and became the Camp Lodge Rooms in 1953.

The building was redeveloped a few years after our 1978 picture with a less-than-beautiful non-market housing building (seen on the right), named after Marie Gomez. The building only lasted 25 years. Managed by DERA from 1989, the wood-frame building was poorly built, and fire alarms triggering the sprinkler system left the frame rotting and mould in the walls. DERA owed $2m in a mortgage, but couldn’t keep up with repairs, and increasing numbers of stories of abuse of residents and visitors started to emerge. In 2006 a newspaper ran a story quoting a police officer who described the building as a “house of horrors”, where crack-addicted prostitutes were tortured and their heads shaved with razors by drug dealers collecting debts.

BC Housing acquired the building, demolished it, and in 2014 a new concrete building was completed with 139 suites on 10 floors, designed by GBL Architects, and operated by PHS Community Services Society.

We don’t know what happened to Marie, but in 1933 the Wilkes-Barre Times in Pennsylvania reported “Marie Gomez, alias Nancy Carroll, of 2 Dyer lane, charged with conducting disorderly house, was fined $100 and costs today in police court. A woman charged with being an inmate was fined $25 and costs. A man who testified that he was thrown out of the house and suffered a laceration over the left eye was charged with frequenting and was fined $10 and costs. A fourth man, who said he was a friend of the husband of the proprietress, when he Interceded at the hearing for the woman and acknoledglng that he was present at the time, was likewise fined $10 and costs on a frequenting charge.


Posted June 1, 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Nicola Street north at Robson

This image is already out of date, because the building on the right in our ‘after’ shot has just been demolished. It’s the end of the Empire Landmark Hotel; now a big hole in the ground as two new condo and rental buildings replace it. This 1958 image shows a house where the hotel would be built, and another across Robson Street. We know who built that one, and the owner. It cost $3,500 in 1904 when J J Dissette built it for A Ferguson. This was Andrew Ferguson, a mining promoter according to the street directory. He retained that employment for many years, moving from here in the mid 1910s to 1 Fir Street. He was in partnership with Adolphus Williams, developing the ‘Union Jack Fraction’, ‘Corasand’, ‘Great Fox’ and “Emmadale” in the Lillooet Mining District in 1913. In 1916 they developed the ‘Sunset’, ‘East Pacific’ and ‘Clifton’ claims. A history of the mine tells us that in 1911 Peter and Andrew Ferguson, Arthur Noel, Adolphus Williams and Frank Holten bought the Bralorne mine from Fred Kinder for $26,000. Subsequently Noel and Holten sold their shares to the others and, in 1915, Pioneer Gold Mines Limited was incorporated. Between 1914-17 the partners built a small mill and power plant and produced about, $135,000 in bullion. In 1921 a Vancouver syndicate headed by A H Wallbridge and A E Bull bought controlling interest; within two years they, too, after investing a further $50,000 suspended operations.

In 1932 an almost destitute Andrew Ferguson, who, with his brother Peter and others had bought the Pioneer sued Pioneer Gold Mines. He charged that, “From January 1921 to July 1924, the defendants, being in full control fraudulently conspired to refrain from mining and producing gold so as to bankrupt the company.” Pioneer Gold Mines, which had sold out in 1928 for $1 1/2 Million, had never paid him the agreed upon asking price of $50,000, he said. Ferguson, after losing the first suit, carried his case to the Appeal Court of British Columbia, which ruled that the defendants were guilty of a deliberate breach of faith. However, because Ferguson had not sought to set aside the 1924 sale, the defendants were not held liable . The Privy Council in London subsequently dismissed the suit on the technicality that Ferguson was not the proper party to bring the action, but allowed a new trial. A settlement, details of which were never revealed, was finally reached in 1937, while the latest action was before the British Columbia courts.

An unnamed lawyer who became involved in the case told the Vancouver Province that Ferguson gained little from his legal battling. “When I knew him during the case, he was a little man, meek and mild. The life had been squeezed out of him. He was not bitter, though there had been a battle and he hadn’t won it. It was the 1924 option and sale to the new company that squeezed out the original shareholders.” Ferguson became a recluse in a tiny upstairs suite in Kerrisdale, and died at the age of 81. In the summer of 1934, midway through his fight in the courts, it was reported that the Pioneer Mine had yielded well over $1 million dollars in profits in a six-month period.

On the right, the large house at 800 Nicola has eluded our search for a developer or architect – it’s too early. The first resident was Charles Stimson, who probably developed the building around 1900. He owned a wharf at the foot of Abbott Street, and in 1901 was aged 59, living with his wife Linda and their Chinese cook, Wong Ching. The Stimsons were from Quebec, and an 1896 profile of Mr. Stimson said he had arrived five years earlier from Montreal. He started as a commission agent, representing a number of eastern businesses in the fast-growing Vancouver. They included the St Lawrence Starch Company, the Montreal Rolling Mills (steel manufacturers) and the Bell Telephone Company of Montreal. for the first couple of years in the city Mr. Stimson had rooms in the Hotel Vancouver, before moving to an address on Robson Street, and then here around 1900. In Montreal Charles had been a leather merchant., and in 1891 his wife was recorded as Mary. 1906 is the last directory that Charles is included; his death (aged 64) was in May, and the death notice tells us he was from Compton, Quebec. For three years from 1907 Mrs M Stimson was shown living here, ‘widow of Charles’. The 1908 ‘Elite Directory’ tells us that Mrs. Charles Stimson received visitors on Tuesdays. In 1911 Alexander McRae had moved in; the manager of Fraser River Lumber Company.

The 34 storey Empire Landmark opened in 1974 as The Sheraton Landmark, and across Robson a condo building called The Colonnade was completed in 1983. The Georgian Tower beyond was completed in 1955, three years before this picture was taken.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P508.47


Posted May 28, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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1900 block West Georgia Street – north side

This image required a double-check that we were in the right spot for the ‘after’ image. Today there’s a park; Devonian Harbour Park; on the north side of Georgia, looking out over Burrard Inlet. We knew there had been earlier industry closer to Stanley Park, but hadn’t appreciated how the wall of commercial buildings totally blocked the view as recently as 1964.

On the corner is the Parkway Inn, which looks to have been developed in the late 1920s or 1930s. There was initially a house here developed by Miss Moorehouse in 1910. Next door, one of the 2-storey buildings may have dated back to 1909. J B Mathers of Baker & Mathers built stores and a dwelling house here. James B Mathers was a broker, from Ontario, and also developed a Mount Pleasant apartment building. To the east C D Smith was owner in 1913 when he built a frame stable. A year earlier William Turner built a 2-storey frame boat building. That could be the pitched roof just showing. The picture doesn’t really show the scale of the buildings here, which all stretched back a long way towards the water on reclaimed land.

The earliest development here dated back to the 1860s when it was settled by several Hawaiian families and consequently was known as Kanaka Ranch. They grew fruit and vegetables as well as fished and hunted to sustain their small community. They also sold coke, which they made from the local coal, to Hastings Mill, located near Gastown, where the men worked. The children trekked daily along a shore path to school at the Mill.

Further down the street were a series of buildings constructed over a number of years by the Hoffar Motor Boat Co. Named after Henry and James Hoffar (often called Jimmie), the boatyard here built over 20 wooden motor yachts, workboats and fishing vessels between 1911 and 1925. The brothers were the sons of noted Vancouver architect N S Hoffar. Henry Stonestreet Hoffar was born in Vancouver in 1888 and James Blaine Hoffar in 1890. The first buildings were down the street, constructed in 1909, and more were added over the next decade, expanding westwards. In 1907 Henry was working in a saw and planning mill, and James was still at school, but a year later they were both listed as boat builders. Their father died in the winter of 1907, and the brothers moved from Westminster Avenue with their mother to Robson Street. The Hoffar Motor Boat Co appeared that year with two other partners, C E Kendall and George E Lewis.

The Hoffar brothers built their first seaplane, the H-1, in 1914, using plans found in a magazine. James learned to fly it by trial and error, and in 1917 the Department of Lands commissioned a plane to support their forestry survey work. This 1917 image identifies the pilot as ‘Hoffman’, but it’s the Hoffar brothers plane.

A test flight in 1918 saw the plane crash land on the roof of a Bute Street home; the plane was destroyed; the house damaged, but the pilot survived with minor injuries. The Department dropped the idea of aerial surveying.

The company merged with the neighboring Beeching Boat Yard to become Hoffar-Beeching in 1925, continuing to build a variety of workboats. In 1929 the Seattle based Boeing Aircraft Co bought the company, building both boats and seaplanes here – it was Boeing’s first seaplane factory and test site. Henry Hoffar became General manager of the Boeing Aircraft of Canada, Ltd, and then president, and James ran a marine engine company, Hoffar’s Ltd and later Vancouver Shipyards.

Henry married Lillian Olsen who was from South Shields in  England in 1907, and they had a son, Norman, in 1911. Henry died in 1978 aged 89. James married Lovina Pethick born in Orillia, Simcoe, Ontario in 1916, and they had a daughter in 1918. James died in 1954, aged 63, and Lovina in 1980, aged 86.

In the early 1960s a New York developer acquired the land and in 1964, the year our picture was taken, sold it to a local development consortium who unveiled a plan for 15 apartment towers here. The project went nowhere, and in 1971 the Four Seasons hotel group bought the site and proposed a 3 tower hotel complex. The NPA of the day supported the idea against much opposition, including a squat by about 70 people who established ‘All Seasons Park, and lived here for nearly a year. Council announced a plebiscite to decide the future of the project, but set a 60% bar for rejection, so 51% voting against it still allowed it to proceed. In 1972 the federal government decided not to sell the water rights here, shutting the project down. Council bought the land in 1973, and it took over a decade to establish the park. The philanthropy of the Devonian Institute of Alberta, (and hence the name, Devonian Harbour Park), allowed the park to be completed in 1984.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-358 and Air P71


Posted May 25, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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East Georgia Street – 300 block, north side

We took a while to confirm that this is the correct place to take this picture. It required us using aerial photographs, as today the 300 block of East Georgia is in the middle of the MacLean Park housing development. (It doesn’t help that most of the Archives images of the area are inaccurately labelled ‘McLean Park’). The name comes from the city’s first mayor, Malcolm MacLean.

In 1947, UBC Professor Leonard Marsh started looking at ‘urban renewal’ in Vancouver and in 1950 published “Rebuilding A Neighbourhood; Report on a Demonstration Slum-Clearance and Urban Rehabilitation Project in a Key Central Area in Vancouver“. The neighbouhood was undoubtedly poor, “There are cases of 20 people sharing a toilet, and many instances of children having to play in the streets around pool halls and beer parlours because they have no yards.” From 1959 the plans to redevelop the Strathcona neighbourhood were in place, and the first new housing was built on top of the only park in the area; MacLean Park. A new park was developed a couple of years later, when the residents could be offered new rental homes in the new housing.

The new housing was a mix of row-houses and high-rise blocks, and the initial phase at the western end included four blocks, three with homes and businesses, and one the park. East Georgia Street disappeared for two blocks, including the 300 block, one of the last to be redeveloped. Seen here in 1966, the businesses had already closed down, including the Moon Glow Cabaret, owned by railway porter Daddy Clark, and for a while home to a mixed-race R&B band featuring Tommy Chong on guitar, ‘The Calgary Shades’ – seen in this Rob Frith collection poster published in the Vancouver Sun. They were renamed as Little Daddy & The Bachelors, before becoming Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, signing in 1965 to Motown’s Gordy Records.

Seen here just before demolition in 1966, the 3-storey building was approved for development by Rogers & McKay in 1911, but only appeared for the first time in the 1914 street directory as The Edinburgh Rooms. Fred Weiner, a butcher occupied the store downstairs. The developers were both carpenters, so they quite probably designed the building, which would have been a wooden frame with a brick façade on East Georgia. They developed at least eight buildings, one on Keefer Street costing twice the $15,000 this building was said to cost. Rogers was probably William H Rogers, listed as a builder in the street directory. In 1911 he was living in the West End with his wife Daisy and four lodgers – everyone in the house had been born in Prince Edward Island. There were five carpenters called McKay, and no references we can find successfully identifies which one partnered with Mr. Rogers.

The two buildings to the east were both developed by Campbell and Grill, who were sheet metal workers, and occupied the building on completion. The hired Campbell & Bennett to design the building, and are recorded as building it themselves, although they hired Rogers & McKay to build another property a block away from here. The earliest work here we can identify was in 1909, and the right-hand block was built in 1911. There were hundreds of Campbells in Vancouver in the early 1900s, but fortunately their partnership was recorded so we know it was John A Campbell who was partners with Albert Grill. John Campbell lived on East Cordova. None of the many John Campbell’s in the 1911 census seem to be the developer. If there are too many John Campbells, there was only one person called Grill – and the 1911 census missed him. Fortunately the 1921 census identified him, with his wife Catherine and children Edith and Charles. In a caption that the Vancouver Sun probably wouldn’t publish today, Edith, who was four, was one of 3,000 children entered for the ‘Prettiest Child’ contest and was pictured as “Chubby Girlie Poses Prettily”. In 1921 Albert was 38, and from Ontario, but Catherine, who was six years younger, was Scottish. That year saw the partnership of Grill Sheet Metal Works dissolved, with Albert’s partner, Isaac Kidd, leaving him as sole proprietor of his business.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-335


Posted May 14, 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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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


Posted May 11, 2020 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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