Archive for the ‘Gone’ Category

B C Electric Substation, Main Street

The Vancouver Public Library say this image was shot on 8 July 1920 by the Dominion Photo Co. It shows the electric substation for BC Electric that dominated the street – and especially the wirescape – around this stretch of Main Street. It was built and rebuilt several times over a few years. Some work was designed in-house, but in 1903 Blackmore & Son had designed the substation on the corner here, costing $32,000 and built by E Cook.

This image shows a $12,000 addition built in 1912 as well; (the building on the right). A year earlier one of the the concrete smoke stacks had cost $16,000, designed by C C Moore and Company. They were specialist engineers who also supplied the boilers in the sugar refinery, and they had constructed the first $6,000 chimney in 1910 designed by Weber Steel Concrete Co, a US specialist chimney designer.

After this image was shot, in 1923, Coughlin & Sons were hired to carry out another $15,000 of alterations, although there’s no obvious difference to the buildings in this 1929 VPL image, except there seems to only one chimney remaining for the auxiliary power supply. (B C Electric had built a hydro-electric generating station at Buntzen Lake as early as 1903).

B C Electric built a new substation just to the north of these buildings, between 1945 and 1947. The Murrin Substation is still standing, and in use, today. Designed by McCarter and Nairne, the open air transformer yard replaced the buildings to the west, down Union Street. A new smaller substation building designed by Sean McEwan was added more recently on the corner. (William G. Murrin was the president of the British Columbia Electric Railway Company from 1929 to 1946.)

The Murrin Substation is currently expected to be decommissioned around 2030. BC Hydro reviewed a number of options, including rebuilding a new substation on the Murrin substation site. A new site has been acquired, as upgrading the existing facility isn’t a viable option because it sits on seismically unstable soil. It’s technically not feasible and cost prohibitive to seismically upgrade the site to appropriate levels.

With the viaducts to the immediate south expected to see removal and redevelopment, this stretch of Main Street will look very different in a few years time.

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Posted 15 July 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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1460 Howe Street

Briefly, this storage warehouse had a final blaze of glory as a sales centre. It’s seen here ten years ago, before that transformation took place. Now the location has been developed with one of the City’s ‘iconic’ residential towers. Vancouver House is justifiably memorable as it sits next to Granville Bridge on a triangular base which gradually expands to a rectangular upper part. Designed by Danish architect Bjarjke Ingles, the tower is clad in brushed steel panels with a copper inset under each balcony, and the engineering required to manage the cantilever saw some huge reinforcing steel added to the concrete skeleton.

The building that sat here before the tower was built had been here for just over 100 years before it was demolished. It was built for $50,000 by Baynes and Horie, a construction partnership that operated for several decades. The developer was one half of the partnership, William Horie, originally from Port Daniel, in Quebec. He arrived in the city in 1889, a carpenter, and teamed up with English born builder Ed Baynes a few years later. They quickly adapted to building in reinforced concrete when that technology spread in the early 1900s, and tackled ever larger jobs, as well as investing in commercial and residential buildings for themselves.

Initially this reinforced concrete building was the Canada West Auto Garage in 1920 on the insurance map, but Begg Motor Co (No. 2) in the street directory. That company had built another multi-storey garage in 1912 on West Georgia. They continued to occupy these premises until the 1930s, but in 1933 it was vacant. For a few years this was a warehouse for Dominion Furniture, but by 1944 Johnstone National Storage had moved here (seen in this 1946 image).

They also had a large multi-storey warehouse nearby on Richards Street. Over time this, like their Richards Street building, was converted to a self-storage building, still operated by Johnston. More recently, like this site, a residential tower has replaced it. New self-storage buildings have been developed in several of the remaining industrial areas outside Downtown.

Elmer Johnston was from Ontario, where his obituary was published in 1949. “Died in Vancouver General Hospital after an operation ten days previous. Survived by wife and son Harry, of Vancouver. Brother to Herbert C. Johnston, Barston, Calif.; Mrs. L. Olsen, Bremerton, Wash.; Mrs. J.A. Dutcher, Bradford, ON; Mrs. George Gardiner, Victoria; and Mrs. Rowland Pike, Vancouver. Born in Bradford in 1883. Moved to Vancouver in 1903. Founded the Johnston Storage Co. in 1913. President of Johnston Terminals Ltd., Johnston National Storage Ltd., Terminal Cartage Ltd., Birke and Wood Ltd., Brade Storage and Distributing Co. Ltd., and affiliated companies. Past president of the Vancouver Tourist Association, member of the Vancouver Kiwanis Club, past president of the Vancouver Terminal City Club, The Evergreen Playground Association, the Canadian Warehouseman’s Association, and the transportation section of the Vancouver Board of Trade.”

Secondary image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-4180

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Posted 8 July 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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550 and 564 Cambie Street

The smaller building, on the left in this 1974 image, is still standing today. We think 550 Cambie dates from around 1929. There was an earlier building on the site; in 1909 it was shown as ‘cabins’, which was true until about 1920, when we assume the site was cleared. It was still shown vacant on the 1928 insurance map. In 1929 Cope and Sons were shown occupying 550 Cambie, so they might have developed the building.

Fred and his son Frank Cope ran an electrical wholesaling business here, and had been in the city since the 1890s. Frederick Thomas Cope was born around 1861, and had come from England in 1875. (As far as we know he wasn’t related to Fred Cope who was the third mayor of Vancouver, who was born in Ontario). His wife Marjory was from Ontario; their two children, Frank and Bert were born in Manitoba in 1886 and 1888, and Fred was a housebuilder in Brandon in the 1891 census. They first show up in Vancouver in a street directory in 1900; Frederick Thomas Cope was in an electrical wholesaling business with Charles Frey on West Hastings, and F I Cope (who lived at the same address on Hornby Street) was a contractor. In 1905 the directory identified F I Cope to be Frank, who was by then an electrician. By 1910 Bert had also joined the family business, although it was still Cope and Son. By 1913 Fred was company president and Frank company secretary, and both had moved to West 13th, while Bert was living on Granville Street, By 1922 all three lived on W13th at different addresses, and were all working at Cope and Son.

In 1939 The Wellington Plating works were here, offering to re-chrome motorist’s headlight reflectors. They were located at the back of the building. Cope and sons were still here, with H Morris and General Printers and Publishers. In 1956 fire men fought a $75,000 two-alarm blaze which ripped through top floor of warehouse of Van Horne Electrical Supply Co. 550 Cambie. (They were the successor of Cope & Sons). 

The site where the larger building sat (564 Cambie) was developed with a building shown on the 1901 insurance map occupied by the Vancouver Transfer Co. We’ve seen another building that the company developed later on Mainland Street (in 1912), when we looked at the company history.

Founded by Victoria businessman and politician Francis Stillman Barnard of Barnard’s Express in 1886, it was controlled by Fred and Clarence Tingley in the early 1900s. In 1904 Reid Tingley built an addition to the company’s stables here, almost certainly seen in this picture of their premises around 1908, published in Greater Vancouver Illustrated.

Once Vancouver Transfer moved out, George Jones ran the Cambie Street Boarding Stable here through the First World War. By 1918 Julius A Tepoorten had taken ownership, and spent $150 on repairs. By 1920 Central Sheet Metal works had moved in, with Albert Morris, a cabinetmaker and J Morris’s export and transfer company. The Sheet Metal Works was still listed here in 1928. There were possibly major alterations in 1921; J A Tepoorten obtained a permit for $5,000 of repairs and alterations built by Dominion Construction. It’s possible this was initially a single storey structure; in 1974 the windows on the upper part of the building don’t match those on the main floor.

We suspect the redevelopment and additional floors probably occurred at the end of the 1920s. Tepoorten Ltd was first listed here in 1929, with Western Distribution Ltd and Cunningham Drug Stores. The building was now numbered as 560 by 1930, and Knowles and Macaulay, and Terminal Drug Stores had replaced Tepoorten Ltd in the building.

Julius Tepoorten was born in Michigan, and went to school in Ontario. He was apprenticed to James E. Davis & Company, wholesale druggists of Detroit, and went to Victoria in 1887. He travelled the whole of BC representing Langley & Co until 1909, when he set up his own wholesaling business. He married Mary Dolan in Michigan in 1889, and they had ten children, eight of whom survived. His business was based on Water Street, but moved here in the years he amalgamated with National Drug and Chemical Co of Canada. He retired in 1929, but retained a shareholding in the company, and died in 1939.

In 1940 there were seven businesses in 560 Cambie; Knowler and Macaulay, Western Distribution, Ryan Cotton (manufacturers agents), Latch & Batchelor (wire rope) C Korsch Ltd (millinery), Barham Drugs (wholesale) and F W Horner Ltd (pharmaceutical manufacturers). In 1955 there were only two companies shown, BC Leather Co wholesale and Pro-Made Golf Co. They were a Vancouver golf club manufacturer, founded by Roy Francis. Following his death his sons inherited the company, and moved production from Pender Street to here. They sold the business in 1957, but it continued with other brands as well, with Pioneer Envelopes, Pro-made Golf Company, Royal Scot Golf Company and Golfcraft occupying 560 Cambie that year.

In our 1974 image Van Horne Electrical Supply were still at 550 Cambie, and Joe Boshard’s painting company was about to give 560 Cambie a makeover. The building was demolished by 1990, replaced in 1994 by The Seimens Building, designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates as the local offices of the international engineering company. This is effectively the back of the building, with the front facing West Georgia and Beatty, curved and cantilevered out over the Dunsmuir Tunnel that cuts across the edge of the site. The tenants name has changed over the years, with Seimens replaced by Amec, and now by Wood Canada Ltd. There’s a proposal to replace 550 Cambie with a much larger office building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-56

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Posted 17 June 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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391 Powell Street

This 3-storey building was a $35,000 apartment building designed (according to the permit) by ‘Horton & Phillips’ for ‘Mrs. Tuthill”. She lived in Glencoe Lodge at the time, and was originally from New York State. She married David S. Tuthill, an accountant, in 1874, and by 1878 had moved to Portland, Oregon. His apparent success in business was an illusion; by 1897 he was involved with several businesses including as president of the Acme Mills Ltd. The San Francisco Call reported on his death that year “David S. Tuthill, a prominent citizen and cashier for the firm of Allen & Lewis, committed suicide some time between 11 o’clock last night and 7 this morning. When his sister went to call him. as was her custom, she received no response. Opening the bedroom- door she found her brother stretched on the bed, dead, with a gaping bullet hole in his right temple. It is the general opinion that Tuthill was short in his accounts. The opinion is based on the fact that yesterday he deeded all his property to the Security and Savings Trust Company for a nominal consideration. Tuthill had been connected with the firm of Allen & Lewis for nineteen years. He was a native of Ellenville, N. Y , where his parents reside. He leaves a widow and one daughter.

Records suggest David and Emma had two daughters, but Mary was four when she died in 1881. Helen, who survived, was born in Ulster County, New York in 1875. By 1899 Emma Tuthill had moved to Vancouver, and she seems to have succeeded where her husband hadn’t. For an investment of $20,000 she become a special partner in F.R. Stewart and Company, a firm of wholesale produce merchants on Water Street. Her daughter, Helen, married a Portland bank manager in 1898, and they also moved north, where he became manager of the Vancouver branch of the Bank of British Columbia. Her husband, John Johnson was originally from Spalding, in England, and when the bank was dissolved he became the accountant at B.C. Sugar. They had a daughter, Beatrice in 1899, and in 1901 Emma was living with her daughter and son-in-law, their infant daughter, servant, and Chinese cook.

Helen and John had another daughter who they christened Helen, in 1904. John was in Fiji from 1905 to 1907, managing the Vancouver-Fiji Sugar Company, but he became ill, and returned to Vancouver as secretary of the British Columbia Sugar Refining Company. In 1912 the family moved to The Crescent in Shaughnessy, but in 1915 John’s wife, Helen, died, aged 39. John remarried in 1918 and from 1931 to 1936 he was the lieutenant governor of British Columbia.

From around 1910 Emma Tuthill moved into Glencoe Lodge, although her presence was only sometimes recorded in the street directory. She developed this building in 1912. The architects were actually Horton & Phipps, but the clerk could be permitted the error as they were a Victoria partnership. Emma died in 1927, and like her daughter was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

The apartment building was completed in 1913, and became The Maple Rooms in 1914. Located in the heart of the Japanese community, their management was listed as ‘Japanese’. The stores downstairs were operated by K Imahori, a confectioner. and I Enata who ran a dry goods store. In 1917 the rooms were bought by Kurita Shojiro, who for a while was a contractor in the fishing industry.

In 1920 the Canadian Japanese Club was here, alongside the confectionery store. In 1925 the rooms had became the Nankai Hotel, and by 1930 the Victory Rooms run by K Nakashimada, with Ashai Paper Box on the main floor, alongside a restaurant run by T Kato. In 1940 the rooms and the box factory were still operating with the same owners, but the restaurant was the Sumiyoshi Cafe. After the war, when the Japanese had been cleared from the area, H Eng Soo was running the Victory Rooms. Harry Soo Eng was still running the rooms in 1955, with Choi Har Moon Pon. In 1972 the interior of one of the rooms was recorded by Niriko Hirota, who photographed its resident, Kiyoji Iizuka, one of the few Japanese who returned to the area. He had fought in WW1 as a volunteer soldier.

Residential use apparently ended in 1975. The facility was taken over by the St. James Society with the building renamed Victory House, offering a program for those with psychological disabilities. That was probably operating here when our 1978 image was taken. The building was deemed unfit, and was replaced by a new Victory House on East Cordova in 1997. Five years later St James built a new non-market housing building here; Somerville Place, with The Bloom Group (the new name for St James) having offices on the main floor.

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Posted 7 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Robson and Howe – south east corner

‘Infinity’ is a rental residential block over a substantial retail podium, built in 1998. Designed by Musson Cattell Massey for PCI Group, it was home to Chapters bookstore for over 20 years, before they downsized to a new store and it was refitted for SportChek, who added the bright red ‘swoosh’ to the tilted box on the facade.

In 1968 Bob’s market sold flowers, grocery and meats until 2am from a somewhat run down single storey building. The building permit shows W A S Richards (an obscure architect with very few commissions) designing a $6,000 brick store here in 1910 for Mrs E Gould – almost certainly Emma Gold, who later hired builders to carry out repairs seven times between 1916 and 1923. Emma was the widow of Louis, and together they ran The Gold House on Water Street, one of the city’s earliest hotels. Louis arrived in the early 1870s; he was born in Poland, and was in Kentucky for a while. He initially leased a store from Jack Deighton, selling pretty much anything in the first Jewish-owned business in the area.

Emma followed a little later, and was a trader independent of her husband. She was born in Prussia (later she said Germany) somewhere between 1830 and 1835, and was probably christened Fredrica. She ran the Royal City Shoe and Boot Co in New Westminster in the late 1880s, and from 1892 referred to herself as a widow, although Louis didn’t die until 1907, in Kamloops. In 1901 Emma and her son Edward were living in Vancouver, where Edward was listed as a commercial agent. Emma was an active developer in the city; she had property on Water Street as well as this lot. Emma was 91 when she died in New Westminster in 1929, so was in her 80s when she commissioned the various alterations of this building through the 1920s. She was buried with her husband, Louis, in Mountain View Cemetery.

Here’s a 1948 picture of the same corner. The image shows the earlier version of the building, before a stucco ‘modernization’. Alongside on Robson Street in both pictures was a two storey frame building with residential bay windows over stores, dating back to 1903. It was developed and built by David Evans at a cost of $3,000. In 1921 Maclure & Lort were hired by the then ‘owners’, Sharples & Sharples to carry out $3,000 of alterations to remodel the two store fronts and create a separate entrance to the top floor. Sharples and Sharples were agents, who represented absentee owners like Edward Farmer who was in the US, in Forth Worth, but hired them to look after his building next east on Robson, on the corner of Granville.

David Evans was shown in the 1901 census aged 50, born in Wales. His wife was 41, and they had a 2 year old daughter, Joy.  We know he was a merchant tailor, and the reason we know he’s the correct D Evans is because he moved his business here from Homer Street when it was completed in 1904. His father-in-law, Peter Awrey and Peter’s wife Rachel were living with the family. Peter died aged 83 in 1905, after a fall while looking at a construction site from the uneven wooden sidewalk.

David was shown in 1911 aged 60, having arrived in Canada in the early 1870s. He wasn’t shown as having employment. His wife Martha was from Ontario, was nine years younger, and their BC born daughter was aged 12. David died in 1916, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. His infant son, Caradoc, was the first burial in the cemetery in February 1887, and the headstone shows that Martha was known as Nellie.

The Daily World reported “Mr. David Evans, 65 years of age, died at his home at 1235 Tenth Avenue West at 11:30, after a lingering illness. Mr. Evans came to Canada 43 years ago, and has been a resident In Vancouver for the past 30 years. He was a native of Carmarthenshire, South Wales, and leaves a widow and one daughter to mourn his loss. Mr. Evans was a retired merchant tailor, having retired from business about six years ago. He was the first bandmaster in this city, and was cornet soloist In the first regimental band formed In this city.”

In 1921 Martha Evans and her daughter Joy were recorded in the census living on West 17th, with Joy shown as a civil servant. Later Martha moved to Seattle, but she returned to the Pioneer’s Picnic in 1939, when she recorded aspects of her family history.

“Mr. David Evans came to Vancouver before I did; he came before the Great Fire, June 1886; I came November 16th 1886. The planks on Hastings Street were not laid at that time; afterwards they planked the centre of it. I remember that, once, Mr. Evans and I went for a walk up Granville Street; the Hotel Vancouver was building; they had more than the foundations finished. Mr. Evans and I stopped and stood in the stumps, about Robson Street somewhere south of Georgia Street; the stumps were all around us, and Mr. Evans said to me, ‘I wouldn’t be at all sure but there will be business on this street some day, but it won’t be in our day.’

“The first burial in Mountain View was my little son, Caradoc, about ten months old; February 1887; the date is on the headstone. At that time Mountain View Cemetery was just a little clearing in the forest; the fallen trees lying about everywhere as they had fallen.” Martha Evans died in 1948 aged 87.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-341 and Str P258.

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Posted 27 May 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Swedish Lutheran Church – Dunlevy Avenue

This was the first Swedish Lutheran Church built in Vancouver, seen here in 1904, the year it was built, photographed by Philip Timms. It was built on the north-east corner of Princess (today that’s East Pender) and Dunlevy and was known as The First Swedish Church. There had been a house on the lot in 1903, and it looks like it was relocated next to the church, on the north side, and then altered and moved again in 1909, closer to the lane.

This building was founded by a visiting Augustana Lutheran, Pastor G A Anderson, whose congregation was in LaConner, in Washington. The newly established church had 34 members in 1903, and a year later the Rev. C Rupert Swanson organized the construction of the building that seated 100. It was 25 feet by 38, and cost $595 to erect. The census tells us that there were a number of Swedish carpenters in the city, and it’s likely that the cost was mostly the materials rather than the labour. The congregation grew, and in 1910 there was a new church that could seat up to 1,000, built a block away to the east.

This building was listed for several years into the early 1920s as ‘Miner Hall’, but there are no records of it being used, or any events associated with it. By the mid 1920s it was once again being used as a church – a Chinese Presbyterian congregation moving in, but by 1930 the address was no longer listed. However, the United Church Chinese Mission were based at a Dunlevy address from 1929. We think the new church was the ‘United Church Chapal and Seminary designed by H S Griffith in 1930. (The Chinese Presbyterians also built a new church on Keefer near Gore in 1930).

This new, larger building extending slightly further east. There was also a Christian Education Centre, and for nearly 70 years the mission relied on the Board of Home Missions and the Woman’s Missionary Society for financial support and leadership, and was known as the Chinese Mission, United Church of Canada. It achieved full self-support in 1955, and became known as the Chinese United Church.

Today the Chinese United Church Lodge provides 29 units of non-market housing, almost hidden by the landscaping. It was completed in 1993 and designed by Joe Wai Architects. The Chinese United Church joined congregations with the Chown Memorial United Church, and they jointly retain ownership of the land, which is leased to the Housing Society.

Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-50.01

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Posted 20 May 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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East Hastings Street – 800 block, north side

This is the north side of the 800 block of East Hastings around 1965, looking eastwards from Hawks Avenue. Only some of the surprisingly modest buildings remain today. Several of the 2-storey buildings date from the 1950s, and one from 1923 for Bowman’s Storage, designed by Maurice Helyer. There was only one significant (three storey) rooming house on the north side of the block, nearly at the end, at 873 E Hastings. It was designed by Parr and Fee, cost $20,000, and was built by E Beam for E and W J Beam – and was one of the earliest buildings on the block.

Eli Beam was born in Ontario in 1853, one of at least 9 children in a Mennonite family. In 1881 he was still in the township where he was born, Bertie, in Welland, where he was working as a farmer. He was married to Maggie, and they already had three children. He may well have been in Seattle in the late 1880s; In 1889 The Blaine Journal reported “Mr. Eli BEAM, from Seattle, has been in Blaine this week looking over the field for establishing himself in the drug business at this point. He has bargained with our merchants for their stocks of drugs, and says he will be ready to open up a first-class drugstore here in two weeks. His store will be built near the school house, where he has purchased two lots.” By 1890 he was in Victoria, working as a builder and contractor. He built two houses, (still standing today), one for his own family. His wife, Maggie died that year of blood poisoning; she was only 34. She had been Margaret Rock, and they married in 1876. The census in 1891 showed he was a widower with five children at home, and the youngest two, aged 7 and 8, had been born in the USA (supporting the idea that he was in Seattle).

He won the contract to build the Ancient Order of United Workmen hall in 1894, but was bankrupt four months later. The Colonist reported “Eli Beam, contractor, of this city, has assigned to John Fullerton, of 101 Government street, his real and personal property, in trust for the benefit of creditors.”

In 1900, the year he moved to Vancouver, he had a patent for a cutting tool, with two separate blades. A year later his census listing shows three of his children still at home. His son William, who he was in business with as a builder, his daughter Amy, and another, Ina, who was married to Walter Brown who also lived at the same house, along with four lodgers (two of them carpenters, and one, Lucius Brown, an American advertising agent). Two other daughters had left home, Lola who married that year aged 17 and Mary, who was 21. She was married in Whatcom in 1909.

In 1901 William Beam built a frame and sash factory on East Hastings, and in 1904 on Prior Street. In 1907 ‘The Beam Manufacturing Company was established, acquired William’s factory and built a sawmill. In 1907 it was reported that “Mr. E. Beam and Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Bentson have returned from an extended tour of Eastern Canada and Southern California”. In 1909 Eli extended the frame and sash factory on Prior Street. The Daily World reported a conflict with the City; “A letter was read from the assistant city solicitor that he had given the Beam Manufacturing Company notice to vacate the south end of Gore avenue by the 11th. This concern claims that it has a lease, given two years ago, but has never paid any rent for the use of the street end. They have erected their mills across the street and filled out over the tide lands belonging to the city.”

The 1911 census showed Eli as a factory owner, living in a house he had built on Semlin Drive, with two employees, C S and Willa Ned, who were American. William lived near Trout Lake. That year Eli also built a Victoria building, The Mount Edwards Apartment House, and designed and built an apartment building on East Pender which was an investment by a Main Street barber. William J Beam was living with his wife Jessie and two young sons, Bertram and Wallace, and was shown as owner of the sash and door factory. William and Jessie Rock had married in Michigan in 1905, although she was from Canada (and perhaps related on her mother’s side of the family)..

Eli Beam died on 5 February 1914, aged 61. William was shown as divorced when he died in 1946.

The building opened in 1913 as the Melrose Rooms run by Ellen Bullock, who lived on West Pender. Within a year they changed to the Villiers Apartments, managed by B B Lawler. In 1915 Mrs J H Mallett took over, and advertised 2 room suites at $12 a month. In 1920 C P Anderson was running them, and in 1940 J Anderson. In 1950 W Donald and Mrs Z Connell were in charge, and A M and S Fox in 1955. The building was known as Fox’s Apartments when it was demolished, some time in the 1970s, replaced in 1984 with a 3-storey commercial building that has recently been refurbished.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-21

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Posted 26 April 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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612 East Hastings Street

This modest apartment building was replaced in 1988 with Shon Yee Place, a Chinese senior’s residence with 72 1-bed apartments. Designed by Davidson, Yuen and Simpson, it was designed for The Shon Yee Housing Association. The external insulated sealing system used, in common with many condo projects of the period, failed in a relatively short timeframe, requiring a make-over in 2009 to remediate and provide a more effective rain screen.

The apartment building that it replaced had been designed by E E Blackmore for George Simons in 1910, and D G Grey built it for $13,000. In 1916 George was shown living here, and in 1918 the building was named in the street directory as Alliston Apartments. In 1913 one of the suites was offered for rent, ‘Furnished 4-room suite, with bath’.

We assume the George Simons who developed this is the same one who was living further east on East Hastings, in 1921. He was aged 56, living with his wife Sarah, who was 7 years younger, and three sons, Alexander, Juilius and Isadore. The family were Jewish, and George was from Austria, as was Sarah. Alexander, who was 19 in 1921 had been born in England, but the two younger sons were born in BC. Records for the family are elusive, but Alexander was married in 1924, and the record shows his mother had been Sarah Simpson, and he had been born in Manchester in 1902. His parents place of birth was also shown as Manchester, not Austria. Alexander was shown as Presbyterian rather than Jewish.

Before this building was constructed, the family lived here, so presumably in the house that sat on the site. George had a business on West Cordova, repairing umbrellas – clearly a lucrative business in Vancouver. He was the only umbrella repairer listed in 1909. In 1911 he had moved (logically so that this apartment building could be constructed). The local press that year reported his offer to build a tram line from the terminus at the time to Port Moody. Mr. Simon was described as ‘a capitalist of Hastings Townsite’. One report mentioned he had ‘large holdings’ on East Hastings. His offer was to construct the line, and then sell it on at cost, plus seven percent interest, once the dispute between BCER (the rail company) and the City of Burnaby was resolved. “Mr. Simons was well backed by the property owners and residents of North Burnaby, as most all were willing to assist him in the construction of this line, as this district is rapidly developing and the need of a car line is so imperative that the people do not feel that they can longer do without it.

We believe George Simons died in 1939; he’s shown living on East Hastings that year, and Sarah was still there a year later, listed as a widow. That year shows this building as The Howard Apartments, with 11 units. The name change came after 1923, although the directory listed it briefly (and we suspect inaccurately) as The Harrod Apartments in 1924. This remained an apartment building, with 11 tenants to the point when it was demolished in the 1980s to make way for the Shon Yee development.

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Posted 22 April 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Chinese Public School – East Pender and Jackson

The Chinese Public School, seen here in 1977, was only the latest use of this early building. From the appearance it’s reasonably obvious that it started life as a church. Looking on the 1912 insurance map, it’s listed as the Baptist Church. However, when it was completed in 1892 it was the Zion Presbyterian Church, with denominations playing musical chairs (or more accurately pews) in a few early years. In 1899 it had become the Zion Baptist Church, with Reverend J G Matthews in charge.

The history of the Presbyterian Church in Vancouver doesn’t mention this building, and it was odd that a congregation should exist so close to the First Presbyterian church which was only three blocks away, and built around 1893. The mystery was solved in a reference to the history of the Presbytery of Seattle. That says that there were 32 churches in the Presbytery of Puget Sound, including Zion Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. So it appears that this was an American arm of the church, founded in the early years of the city. We can find them meeting at first in a commercial building on Main Street, and later in the City Market. The Contract Record said in 1890 “The Zion Presbyterian Church will erect a $10,000 church – Mr. Thos. Hooper, architect for the new Y.M.C.A. building, has been instructed to prepare plans and specifications and call for tenders for the foundations at once.”

The Zion Baptist congregation also got off to a bumpy start. In 1898 the compilers of the street directory seem unsure of which brand of protestant faith to list, and played it safe with ‘church’. That might have been because the minister of the new endeavour was the Rev George Armour Fair. He was from Ontario, and his time in the East End was limited. By July of 1898, Fair “left the church . . . [and] with a portion of his former flock, organized a “non-denomination” group, which apparently held to a “Pentecostal” variety of doctrine.” He moved to a church in the West End, on the corner of Denman and Nelson.

The Baptists had formed a congregation in the area in 1894, and briefly their church was listed on the opposite side of Princess on the southern side of the street, (but also on Jackson). The Presbyterian congregation on Jackson merged in 1898 with the larger Hastings and Gore church, so in 1899 there were two Baptist churches shown on opposite sides of the street. One was the Jackson Avenue Baptist Church, and the other the Zion Baptist Church and Reformed Episcopal, addressed to Princess (which is East Pender today). By 1901 the short-lived Jackson Avenue church was no longer listed. A few years later the church in the picture was known once again as The Jackson Avenue Baptist Church, (although addressed to East Pender). In 1911 the church was altered and an addition was built, costing $6,000. The permit says J Carver was the architect and J G Price the builder. It’s likely that this was accidentally reversed; Mr. Carver was a contractor, and Mr. Price a consulting engineer, although that didn’t prevent him from designing many buildings including several significant ones in Chinatown. The photo on the right is undated, so we don’t know whether it shows the church before or after the 1911 changes.

In 1953 the Chinese Public School purchased and renovated the church. We don’t know how much the building was altered, but the ‘Chinese’ flared eaves in the image were added to the entry porch and tower.

The building was replaced in 1983 with the building designed by Hin Fong Yip that’s there today. It’s the Chinese Social Development Society, who operate a community centre, daycare, and on the second floor the Chinese Public School where Chinese language classes still operate.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-294 and First Baptist Church (Vancouver) Archival Collection.

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Posted 1 April 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Japanese Church – Jackson and Powell

This is the Japanese Buddhist church on the south east corner of Powell Street and Jackson Avenue in 1977. It was designed by Hooper and Watkins in 1905 as the Japanese Methodist Mission Church, part of the western religion’s efforts to convert the Japanese population to Christianity, The Japanese Methodist Mission was established in Vancouver in 1896. What became known as the Powell Street Church opened in 1906, and is seen on the right in 1908. The Powell Street Church began providing medical services at the end of the First World War, when the Spanish influenza hit. Hospitals in Vancouver were filled with Caucasian flu patients, and those who were ill in the Japanese community were unable to receive treatment.

In 1925 it became the Japanese United Church, and  In 1936 the church became independent, but just six years later the Japanese population were rounded up and forced into internment camps, and the church was officially closed and the Board of Home Missions approved a plan to permit First United Church to use the building. They in turn sold it to Welfare Industries, a service society of First United Church, 1953 for $16,000. The Japanese church finally re-established itself in 1978 with the purchase of the former St Luke’s Church in Cedar Cottage, on Victoria Drive. In 2009 the congregation were given an apology for the sale of the property, and in 2018 received a payment to compensate for the building’s sale.

In 1954, the Methodist Church building at 220 Jackson Ave. was purchased by the Buddhist Church, as Japanese returned to the coast after the War Measures Act was lifted in 1949. The renovated building was used until 1978 when a new temple was planned, completed two years later, and still in use today.

Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-293

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Posted 29 March 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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