Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

Pendrell Mansions – 1419 Pendrell Street

Seen here in 1975 (and almost unchanged, apart from the increase in foliage in summer) this apartment building is another that now offers heritage rental accommodation, although on a different basis than most.

Claude Percy Jones was listed as the architect, and H C Elliot hired him to design the Georgian styled $16,000 building in 1910. This was one of only two apartments Mr. Jones apparently designed between arriving from England in 1906 and leaving for New Zealand by 1916. He doesn’t seem to have had a lot of work here, although he won a competition to design one of Hastings Park buildings, and designed a biscuit factory on West 1st Avenue.

We think Harold C Elliott was (perhaps briefly) one of the city’s earliest residents. He was a shipbuilder, from Pugwash, Nova Scotia, and it seems likely that he was the H C Elliot building a stern-wheeler in Vancouver in 1889, intended for Harrison Lake. There’s a passing reference to Harry Elliot being in the original consortium for the first streetcar, but we can’t be completely certain it’s the same person. In 1895 he was in Nelson, building boats with G W Hale, who took over the business. He doesn’t appear in any street directory until around 1902, but he wasn’t living far away. In 1900 he married (Isa)Bella McTaggart in Seattle. (Bella was born in Victoria). Their son, Harry, was born in Vancouver in 1904. In 1906 or 1907 H C and L Elliott built three houses on Pacific Street.

In 1921 H. C. and his younger son, Clint Elliott built the ‘Bella E’ at Beach Avenue Shipyard, at the foot of Burrard St. In 1929 H. C. Elliott and his sons Clint and Harry built the ‘Anywhere’, a 45′ yawl, at the foot of Angus on the North Arm of the Fraser River, built of yellow cedar that was selected, cut and trimmed from standing timber at Deep Cove, on Burrard Inlet by the Elliotts. Clint Elliott sailed Anywhere for at least 35 years. Harold Clinton Elliot died in Vancouver in 1956.

When it was first built, this was called ‘The Pendrell’, and the residents were well off, and the apartments were advertised having six rooms including two bedrooms. At least one family lived here with their 7-year-old child, as they advertised for a live-at-home young girl, to assist. In 1914 another ‘small family’ was looking for a girl for general housework, in exchange for ‘room and board and small wages’. In 1922 one family (with no children) wanted a female ‘cook general’. By 1919 it had become Pendrell Mansions, and there were still only 7 (huge) suites.

In 1929 a 34-year-old resident of the building was killed when the car he was travelling in plunged off a bridge on Marine Drive in West Vancouver. Dennis St Denis Duchesnay lived with his mother, Lilly, in an apartment here. She had been a widow for 28 years; her husband, Edmund, was superintendent with the CPR, and was killed instantly when a rock struck him on the head while he was standing at the mouth of the Cariboo Joe tunnel five miles east of Spuzzum, after fighting a fire nearby. The driver of the car was charged with Dennis’s manslaughter. Having lost another son in the Great War, and a third who was living in California, Mrs. Duchesnay left Canada for England in 1930, where she died four years later.

There were still just seven suites in 1940, when four of the tenants were female; Mrs. Julia Hastings who managed rooms on Broughton Street, but lived here, Mrs. Berta Madden, a widow, Mrs. Ida McDonell, another widow and Mrs. Lillian Cavanagh (who was also a widow, and the caretaker for the building). Mrs. Madden and Mrs. McDonell were both still living here a decade later.

By the 1970s the apartments had become a hotel, with 8 suites, known as the Pendrell Apartment Hotel Rooms. In 1993 a Los Angeles production company switched filming for a new TV series to Vancouver, and rented six of the apartments here for cast and crew. When the second series of the X-Files was greenlit by Fox, one of the suites was used as Dana Scully’s apartment, with a backdrop of Manhattan added for ‘authenticity’. Today you can find Pendrell Suites on the Trivago travel platform, but the suites can also be long-term rented. A 3-bed 1,800 square foot apartment was recently offered at $4,500 a month.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-422


Posted 22 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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2224 Alberta Street

This 1913 apartment building is today surrounded by industrial and commercial building. Sitting in what is now the Mount Pleasant Industrial Area, it’s only a block from the headquarters and laboratories of a major bio-tech company, and a block and a half from the offices of Best Buy Canada.

The architect was J Y McCarter, Dominion Construction were the builders for the $22,000 investment, and W G Elliott was the developer. In 1913 he was living at 226 W6th Avenue, which was the house that was on this lot before the apartments were built. The first resident here was in 1905, listed as W G Elliott, agent, and the 1903 permit for the house was issued to E M Elliott.

He had been in Vancouver since 1890, when he had rooms at the Leland Hotel, and worked for J. M. Holland & Co., a real estate company. In 1891 he was shown in the census as born in the US in 1862, although his death record shows he was William Gallogly Elliott, born in 1861. He married in 1893 to Eunice Madella Peet, who was 25 and from Braut Co, Ontario, while her husband was from Ohio. In 1893 W G Elliott threatened he would hold the City liable unless the snow was cleared off Cambie and Hastings Street near his property. No doubt Eunice was the E M Elliott who obtained the building permit for their 1903 house.

By 1894 W G was a newsagent and tobacconist on Cambie, living on Homer Street, and his first daughter, Carrie, was born almost exactly a year after his wedding. Alma followed in 1896, and the 1901 census showed a son – so new he was listed as ‘Baby Elliott’. He didn’t survive, but Hiller did, born in 1907. In 1910 William G Elliott was still listed as a newsagent, but in 1911 he was in real estate,

The building featured in The Vancouver Sun in January 1913, with expectations of completion by June. “In designing the building Mr. J. Y. McCarter, a Vancouver architect, has closely followed the colonial style of architecture, producing a most admirable as well as artistic effect. In all there will be twelve suites of three rooms each in the structure, four of which will be considered suites de luxe and will be elegantly equipped with disappearing beds. All, however, will contain individual telephones, tiled bath-rooms fitted with the latest inventions and will be hot-water heated by a most modern system. The usual decoration of British Columbia fir will be used for the panneling and other interior wood work. Elaborate decorations and flooring of marble and tile will be used in finishing the entrance. In the basement of the structure will be placed a laundry, locker rooms for each tenant and a janitor’s comomdious and comfortable living quarters

In 1914 Alma Court was listed for the first time in the street directory, showing 10 apartments on 2 floors, and initially a basement unit as well. That reappeared later, with 12 apartments on two floors. William continued to be shown living at 226 W 6th, even though it had been demolished to develop the apartments, but in 1917 the directory clerk corrected that to 222 W 6th, (so he was living next door). In a change of occupation, he was shown as working as a farmer in 1916 and again in 1921. We’re not certain what happened to the family after this. One daughter, Alma Elliott married Leopold Miller in 1921 in Los Angeles. Earlier that year Carrie Elliott had married Lorne McIntosh, in Vancouver.

W G Elliott is shown farming in Richmond in 1925, and Mrs. W G Elliott won a prize for her eggs and was shown resident in Eburne (which was where Richmond residents were listed in the early 1920s). Whether it’s the same W G Elliott we can’t be sure, but it seems likely as Mr. Elliott advertised both livestock and real estate from his ‘Bridge No. 1’ Eburne address during the 1920s and early 1930s. The family were still in Vancouver in 1933 when Eunice Elliott’s father passed away, aged 88, and the couple had moved to E 29th Avenue, where William was shown as retired. In 1934 Mrs. W G Elliott was noted as having returned from Glendale, California, where she spent the winter with her daughter. In 1939 she took another trip to California with her other daughter and son-in-law.

In 1936 William wrote a letter to the press from his home, back at 222 W 6th Avenue. He advocated construction of a highway to gainfully employ the thousands of unemployed, and (in a thoroughly modern suggestion) answered the question ‘how do we pay for this?’ answered simply ‘print the money as required’. William died in 1943, and in 1945 Eunice took a trip ‘by aeroplane’ with her daughter for two months, visiting her other daughter, and to Palm Springs. She was living there when she died in 1947, as was her son Hillier.

Over the years the apartment building had a few tenants who made the papers. There were three different tenants with DUI charges, and in 1946 a tenant was driving a car that struck and killed a pedestrian – but he was not charged in that case. In 1961 another tenant received a 2 year prison term for passing $152 of forged cheques. In 1976 Gregory Baumeister stood trial for possessing a pipe bomb that police found when they raided his apartment here. An electrical technician aged 19, he was found guilty and sentenced to 9 months in prison.

In 1966, and into 1967 the building was offered for sale at $75,900, with a rent roll of $10,500. In 1973 it was offered for sale as 13 suites, with the adjacent lot, for $150,000 ($17,000 down payment). Our picture was taken in 1978. It was offered again in 1982 for $299,000 – said to be land value. The gross rent was $32,000, and expenses estimated at $11,000. ‘Level – easy to build on’. Either it didn’t sell, or was flipped – a year later in July 1983 it was $379,000, although rent was only $1,000 more. It had dropped to $319,000 in November ‘best deal in town’ – (although the building ‘needs some work’) and the rent roll now brought in $37,000.  It was offered for sale as a development site again more recently at $4,500,000, and today has an assessed value of just over $7,500,000 (although the building is only valued at $20,000) – a number that would have shocked William Elliott.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-41.01


Posted 19 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Mount Pleasant, Still Standing

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The Buckingham – 925 Cardero Street

This is yet another West End apartment building that is nearly a century old. It was developed by C S Gustafsom, and the architect was Henry Holdsby Simmonds. It cost $60,000 to build in 1927, and the owner also built it.

We’ve seen other buildings developed by Carl Gustafson, who was Swedish. He built houses in the West End as early as 1903, and developed the Clifton Hotel on Granville Street in 1910, and The Bilmore on Thurlow in 1928.

Carl Sidof Gustafson was born in Hinneryd, Kronoberg, Sweden in 1874. The newspapers reported that he married Hannah Johnston in 1904 at the bride’s family home on Homer Street. Actually, legally she was Hanna Carolina Johansdotter, born in Hallingeberg, Kalmar, Sweden, and two years younger than Carl. In the 1911 census Carl was 36, having arrived in Canada in 1890, living with his wife Hannah and their three sons and their domestic servant, and a lodger. Two more children followed, in 1912 and 1918. Mr. Gustafson was an early motorist, with BC Licence #2844.

Carl Gustafson often appeared in the local news buying and selling properties, and obtaining permits for development. The Buckingham was noted in 1927 as a two-storey brick veneered building.

The building is mentioned for the usual letting opportunities (both furnished and unfurnished suites were available), deaths, marriages and sales. In 1929 one resident’s experience suggested the state of the economy was tough, and that Vancouver was far from crime-free. “Winston Morcroft, 16, of 925 Cardero street, was held up shortly after 7 pm. Tuesday at Barclay and Burrard streets by two men and robbed of 75 cents, he reported to the police. He said that one man pressed the muzzle of a revolver against his side while the other searched his pockets.”

In 1935 Eddie File briefly rented here, but soon had his home raided by police. He was convicted of living off the earnings of prostitution. He was alleged to have a half share in the Panama Hotel in Victoria, which was being used as a brothel. His wife was identified as someone who owned a house of ill repute in Gold River – the house had to be physically moved because of its proximity to the school.

Also in 1935: “The efforts of a marooned Vancouver couple to stave off hunger and cold for fifty hours were related today when Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Caesar, 925 Cardero returned to the city after being stranded In their automobile and a trappers’ cabin between Hope and Chilliwack from 2 p.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday. “We were snowed In while trying to get through to Hope,” Mrs. Caesar said today, “and for the first nineteen hours we kept warm by running the car motor for half-hour periods, which supplied warmth through the car heater. “We had some cold turkey, bread and butter, and some coffee with rum in it. If it hadn’t been for the small lunch, which we made last until Thursday, and for the car heater, we would have been in a bad way. After the first nineteen hours the couple took refuge in a cabin a quarter of a mile up the mountain from where their car was stranded

In 1937 Frank Forshaw was held up at gunpoint in his apartment here, when a stranger buzzed his front door, claiming to be delivering a parcel. The parcel turned out to contain an automatic pistol, that the assailant held onto, before making off with $100.

The building was reported sold for $78,500 in 1946. In May that year Mrs Rita Forshaw had her suite ransacked, and $2,000 of jewels stolen, including a platinum brooch set with diamonds, valued at $1,000. A month later Mrs W. C. Cooper answered the door one morning to two men who asked for a room. She slammed the door in their faces. The men then held up Harold Crooks, of 1601 Barclay, in front of his home. “One of the thugs shoved a gun in his back, Crooks stated, and said: “O.K. Buddy, stick-em-up, let’s have your money.” Mr. Crooks fought, and escaped from the men.

In 1947 John Heffernan was living here, when he was arrested and charged with dangerous driving after striking a parked car in the 1000 block of Granville Street

The building doesn’t appear to have featured in any further crime stories. It was sold in 2000, and had been refurbished in 1989 when studios were $550 and large 1-bed units were $695. Our image is from 1985. The rent in the late 1980s was quite a bit more than in 1973, when the 1-bed suites were $140. In 1960 they were $75 (and up).

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-5.10


Posted 15 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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93-95 West Cordova Street

The Union Bank of Canada commissioned this single storey masonry-fronted brick building built in 1910. They hired A J Bird to design it, and Adkinson & Dill to build it for $12,500. In 1910 The Union Bank of Canada had one branch in Vancouver; their modest office building at 550 West Hastings that they had moved into in 1907. In 1911 there were four new branches in the city, including this one, but most were in existing buildings.

There had been an 1887 wooden 2-storey building on this corner, built very soon after the fire that destroyed the city, where Quebec-born Z G Goldberg had his clothing store. Not long after it was built he was allowed to rebuild the verandah after a stray team of horses destroyed it. In 1891 he was known as Z Gordon Goldberg, and in 1881 he was still at home where his older brother David was head of family, a pawn broker, with parents Hyman and Leah who were from Poland. He was recorded as Zabelon, and also had an older sister, Sarah.

His Cheapside Clothing Co remained in operation for many years. In 1896 it was noted that “For the last three months a dog belonging to Z. G. Goldberg has been in the habit of following the streetcars along the double track portion of the line. Nothing seems to break it of the habit, and if locked up it starts out again as soon as let loose. It never makes itself a nuisance by barking.” By 1909 Joseph Izen was selling second-hand clothing in the store, and a year later the site had been cleared.

Referred to as the ‘pioneer bank’ of western Canada, the Union Bank followed the railway across the prairies to the West Coast. It was the first to provide an extensive branch system throughout the prairies, but suffered during post-war depression and was absorbed by the Royal Bank in 1925, who closed this branch.

Fred W Thompson took the premises, and converted it to a shooting gallery. By the early 1930s it was home to Service Confectionery. In 1932 a thief grabbed $30 in cash, but only after a strenuous tussle with the Japanese owner, ‘K Inoueze’, who gave chase to the ‘armed bandit’. “The Japanese overtook him and made a grab for the money. He later discovered he had retrieved only a bunch of old letters.” It was burgled in 1936, but the would-be thieves were disturbed and police found a tablecloth bundled up around cigarettes ready to be removed. The company was still owned by K Inouye in 1941, but with the forced removal of the Japanese from the coast, S Quon took over. In the 1950s the business was being run by C B H, H and D Loo.

In 1965 there was a barber’s shop here run by Bill Allen, and in 1980 this was home to fast food restaurant ‘Chicken On The Run’, but the business was liquidated in 1983. There was an optometrist here in the early 1990s, and today it’s a kitchen showroom, part of the Inform furniture business.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2128


Posted 12 September 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Beach Lodge – 1080 Gilford Street

This 1920s West End apartment was developed and built by Hugh A Warner, who hired E Evans & Sons to design the building in 1928, and spent $70,000 to build it. It was one of 14 building Mr Warner constructed in a five year period, only one other in the West End.

Originally Mr. Warner was a south London carpenter. His wife, Emily, died in 1909, and soon afterwards he moved to Canada with his 2-year-old daughter, Dorothy. In 1914 he remarried, also to Emily, and they had a daughter, Betty, in 1919.

This site had been addressed as 1100 Gilford, and had a substantial house built around 1907, initially occupied by Mrs. Charlotte Mackedie. In 1922 the entire contents of the house were sold at auction, (including a Karn piano, an Italian mandolin, and a Hotpoint electric vacuum sweeper). Three years later Mrs W A Allen sold off the contents of the home again. There was another piano, antique furnishings, and a grandfather clock. The house was advertised as Beach Lodge, with attractive suites and single rooms, but that only lasted a couple of years before Mr. Warner’s redevelopment.

The new Beach Lodge (seen in this undated Vancouver Public Library image) offered West Wind ventilating fans, and radios in every suite. Mr. Warner clearly didn’t hang onto his apartment building, (and probably didn’t make a huge profit, either). In 1931 it was sold to Mrs. Filtness by Mrs. Margaret Hall. The sales pitch to rent here in 1932 didn’t try too hard – it was advertised as ‘a satisfactory residence’. In the 1940s there were the usual stories of residents dying, getting married, or moving. Those types of story ended around 1949.

Through the 1950s into the 1970s it was hard to tell if this was an apartment building or a hotel. In the early 1950s it was described as having ‘fully furnished transient apartments’, and in 1958 it was the ‘Beach Lodge Apartment Hotel’. In 1963 it was briefly called ‘Beach Lodge Motel’ and in the 70s it was still available at daily, weekly or monthly rates, fully furnished, with a maid service.

In the past 35 or so years the building has returned to regular apartment rentals, in what is now a heritage building.


Posted 1 September 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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The Hall Building – West Pender Street

This 1929 image is very unusual for the angle that was used. The image is attributed to Stuart Thomson and shows a newly completed office building that was overshadowed by its flashier neighbours from the same era, the Marine Building, the Royal Bank, the Georgia Medical Dental Building and across the street, the Stock Exchange Building.

It’s unusual because the architects were from out of town – Northwood and Chivers were a Winnipeg firm of architects, and almost everything else they designed was in that city. While today it’s just known by its address, 789 W Pender, and earlier as The Hall Building, when it was being developed it was called the Coast Investment Building. It was 10 storeys high, and developed by the Hall Investment Corporation, whose President was E E Hall, who also ran Coast Investment. Hall Company Limited were Investment Bankers, and a January 1929 news story explained the development history. “Acquiring the half-interest of Sir Stephen Lennard. E. E. Hall of the Hall Investment corporation becomes sole owner of the $700,000 office block now under construction on the northeast corner of Pender and Howe streets, under the terms of a deal completed today. Mr. Hall has purchased all the stock of Sir Stephen in the Coast Investment company, which was formed for the purpose of erecting the building.”

The building was constructed by Carter-Halls-Aldinger, and they rushed to complete it in September ahead of the Marine Building. The Winnipeg architects weren’t acknowledged in the Vancouver press; McCarter and Nairne were described as the designers – we thought their role was to supervise the construction, but this 1929 sketch in the Vancouver Public Library gives equal billing to both firms. The likely reason for a Winnipeg designer became evident in the notice of the death of Elmer E Hall, in 1939, aged 74. He had arrived in Vancouver from Winnipeg in 1928, and had been born in Nashua, Iowa. He grew up as a farm boy before taking employment at a bank in Iowa. He came to Canada in 1906, and started a banking business in Outlook, Saskatchewan. He moved to Winnipeg in 1908, and his company The Central Grain Co became highly profitable. When it merged in 1928 he brought his funds to Vancouver. He was a director of many businesses in Winnipeg, including Equitable Trust, a Western Grocers and Security National Insurance Company of Canada, which operated a large line of grain elevators.

In 1970 McCarter Nairne and Partners designed an adjacent 15 storey building for the Montreal Trust, set back from the 1929 heritage building’s facade, and replacing single storey restaurant buildings. The expanded building still operates as successful multi-tenanted CBD office space.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3792


The Beverley – 1225 Nelson Street

This 1925 apartment building was showing signs of wear when it was photographed in 1978. It’s looking better today, after a recent render and paint restoration, but it’s still missing the architectural details on the pediment that had been included on the original structure, seen in this 1920s Vancouver Public Library picture.

At first we thought this might be the first building constructed on this part of Nelson Street. In 1921 there was a row of houses facing Bute Street, to the right of this lot, but there was only one house on the remainder of the entire block, a few lots to the west, with glasshouses along the lane and a large garage. In 1911 John W Gibb was the owner, a broker whose history we looked at in relation to an investment warehouse he built on Beatty Street.

There had been another house on the street, on this lot, developed by E J Maitland in 1901. It was occupied by Frank Henderson in 1911, but had apparently been demolished by 1912.

W G Patrick developed this building, in 1925 which the permit says cost $29,000 to build and was designed by Gardiner & Mercer. Mr. Patrick lived just outside Vancouver, on West 16th Avenue (on the other side of the street, in South Vancouver). He was born in Dundas, Ontario in 1881. In 1921 he was manager of Ford Motors, living with his wife Eva, their children, Beverley and Jack, his niece, Hazel Wilson, who was 21, and a Japanese domestic maid. The couple had married in 1906, and two earlier children, born in Ontario died in infancy. John (Jack) was born in 1912 in Vancouver, so the family had arrived around the turn of the decade.

By 1940 they had lived near UBC for over a decade, and William was working for Ocean View Development, who owned the Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby. Eva died in 1945, and William married Rose Brooks, (ne Staley), who died in 1955. W G Patrick died in New Westminster in 1968, aged 87.

The apartments were completed quickly, in September 1925 it was reported that “Mr. and Mrs. Neill McAllister have recently moved from their Kerrisdale home to the West End where they have taken up residence at “The Beverley,” 1225 Nelson street”.

The property was for sale in 1957 “OUTSTANDING INVESTMENT To Be Sold Immediately THE BEVERLEY 1225 NELSON ST 22 SUITES CARPETED HALLS OAK FLOORS TILED BATHROOMS HEAVY OIL BURNERS ELECTRIC LAUNDRY REVENUE $19,000 , PRICE $125,000.” Today the building is getting close to a century old, and is still rental apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-2.18


Posted 25 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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St Paul’s Church – Pendrell & Jervis Streets

Here’s St Paul’s Anglican church in the West End, in it’s new location after it was moved from Hornby Street, along Davie. Except this is a different St Paul’s Church, as the previous church was only used for a very short time here before it was moved to the side of the site, and then subsequently redeveloped (twice) with a new hall before this 1939 image was taken.

The church on the corner was built in 1905, so it was just completed in this image (right). The former church that was moved from Hornby can be seen alongside, repurposed as a hall for church functions. While we don’t know who designed the first church (erected in 1889, and moved here in 1898), we know the architect of the 1905 building was William Henry Archer. The news report of the permit for the $13,000 project showed ambitions for further improvements that were never undertaken. “Church; 57-ft x 111-ft; tower & spire to be erected at a later date and also veneer entire church w/ stone from the present high basement up”. Mr. Archer, who was from Ireland, is unusual in that as well as St Paul’s, he designed both a Buddhist and a Sikh temple in Vancouver.

A rectory and parish hall were built in 1910, designed by Grant and Henderson, (although the permit described it as a $15,000 Sunday School building). They had also designed alterations to the school room a year earlier. In 1929 Frank Mountain designed a new hall, the redevelopment built by Nye Construction costing $28,000, with the new gothic styled building, still standing today. A house was apparently purchased by the church on Pendrell a block from here; repairs were carried out in 1929, and the Rev King, the rector, was living there in 1930.

As with so much of the West End, the landscaping and street tree program has completely changed the character of the neighbourhood, and in summer it’s almost impossible to tell that the church and adjacent hall look exactly as they did in the 1939 image. It looks as if the street tree was already planted in 1939, but the fire hydrant has been relocated.

The one addition to the street is a Victorian style streetlight, with a red bulb, unveiled in 2016. Located to the right of the tree, it acknowledges the diverse community of sex workers who lived and worked in the area from the mid-1960s until 1984, when a street-activities bylaw forced them into other locations, mostly on the Downtown Eastside.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Ch P50 and Ch P52.


Posted 15 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Blenheim Court – 1209 Jervis Street

This is one of the earlier West End apartment buildings that’s still standing today. Built in 1910, it was developed by John A Seabold, who spent an impressive $85,000 on its construction, with Arthur Bird hired as architect. A year earlier the same development team developed The Capitola, also on Davie Street, and also still standing today.

We looked at Mr. Seabold’s history in that post; an American, he was in the city from 1900, and his wife Louise joined him in 1901. When he arrived he was a waiter, aged 26, and soon elected president of the waitresses and Cook’s Union. Less than 10 years later he built this apartment, with 42 suites, which, according to a full page advert taken out by Arthur J Bird, the architect,  “thirty-three of which include parlor, dining-room bedroom, kitchen and pantry, and also a bathroom. Some of these have balconies, and all suites are fitted with clothes and linen closets. The bathrooms are floored with terrazzo flooring, furnished by the British Columbia Supply Co. The doors in the building are all fitted with Sargent’s locks, which were supplied by Messers. Lewis & Sills. One very modern convenience in this building is that the suites have a complete system of local phones, connecting to city phones, which will be a great boon to the tenants.”

At the start of the First World War Mr. Seabold was said to have abandoned some of his property in Vancouver, and headed back to the US. At the age of 40 he said he was called up, and with a German family background he was unwilling to be involved in the fighting. However, he had already sold his interest in Blenheim Court. In December 1911, Roberts Meredith and Co sold his half share in the building for $85,000 ‘to Vancouver and London capitalists’. (He also managed to sell the Clarence Hotel for $40,000 in 1914.) Early residents of the building included Charles Bentall, at the time newly married and an employee of Dominion Construction, a business he would end up leading in subsequent years.

In 1959 the building was in the news when Robert White, a barman at the Arctic Club, was murdered in his apartment. One of three ‘bachelor murders’ in the West End that year, his killer claimed self-defense (despite stealing the victim’s wallet), and was sentenced to 3 years for manslaughter.

In 1990, five years after our image was taken, the property made the news when the owners at the time, PCI Realty Corporation, made substantial financial payments to tenants to move, so that a floor-by-floor renovation could be carried out. Gladys Vines, who was 83, and had lived in the building for 51 years, was offered $3,000, based on $50 a year of tenancy, plus moving expenses. (Eviction notices were also issued, so it was goodwill gesture rather than a requirement in those days).

More recently, in 2015, new owners of the building were accused of using a loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act by only issuing fixed term leases, and then increasing rents as much as 20% in subsequent leases for the same tenant. That led to a change in the Tenancy Act in 2017 to ensure that rents couldn’t be increased by more than a legislated amount.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-1682


Posted 4 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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1150 Haro Street

This is one of the earliest houses still standing in the West End, dating from around 1892. It would have been based on a ‘plan book’ of standard designs for a local carpenter to erect. This 1985 image shows it before a comprehensive restoration returned its appearance to much closer to how it first looked.

We’re only looking at the earliest residents here, or this would be an even longer post. The first time the building appears in the street directory is in 1892, when it was numbered as 1120, and three different members of the Francis family were listed. Arthur had rooms here, there was Mrs. Lizzie Francis, a music teacher, and William Francis, a professor of music. Miss Maud Purvis was also shown at this address, although the name section shows her as a lodging house keeper on Richards street. The family had been in the city for the 1891 census. Arthur was aged 21, the brother of William, 27. Their mother was Elizabeth, who was 59. Both William and Elizabeth were from the Isle of Java; Arthur had been born in Holland, and it looks like he might have been a hack driver, (the clerk’s writing is hard to make out), while William was listed as a school teacher.

William’s death in 1946 shows his father was Emanuel Francis, and his mother before she married was Elizabeth Purvis. Emanuel and Elizabeth had been born in West Sumatra. in Indonesia, but they got married in Germany in 1860. They had four sons between 1861 and 1869, and Emanuel died in 1874 when Arthur, the youngest, was only five.

The Francis family seem to have done well in Vancouver; in 1910 the ‘Dominion Instant Heater Co’ was incorporated with a $100,000 valuation. The corporate members were William Francis, a broker, Emile Chevalier, an accountant, Arthur Brydon-Jack and Edwin Ross, solicitors, all of Vancouver, and ‘Arthur Oliphant Philip Francis, gentleman, of Victoria B.C.’. The company was established to purchase the rights to Gray’s Instantaneous Heater from Edmund Francis.

William and his brother Edmund were lodging together in 1901, where they were both recorded as accountants. Elizabeth Francis died in 1893, and two of the brothers later married, quite late in life, Edmund in 1908 in Ottawa, when he was 41, and William in 1911 when he was 47. Both their wives were younger, and both had two children. Arthur never married. Edmund died in 1942, aged 75 and William and Arthur in 1946 at the ages of 81 and 76 respectively.

We think this must have been a rental property initially, as the residents changed quite often. In 1894 ‘Campbell Johnson’ was living here. He was Ronald Alexander Campbell-Johnston, born in Suffolk in 1863. He was apparently sometimes referred to as R C Campbell Johnson, and in 1895 he had moved to Granville Street, and this house was vacant. He was listed as a metallurgist, assayer and mining engineer, who had been educated at Sherbourne School, England, and in the Royal School of Mines at London, from which he was graduated in 1881. He managed mines in India, before returning to the United Kingdom, working for a Welsh company, refining nickel copper and cobalt in Swansea before going to the United States in 1888 in charge of the zinc mines at Joplin, Missouri. He was there for two years then moving to manage a nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario, before setting up as an independent assayer and moving to Vancouver.

He was only in the city until 1896 before heading to the Kootenays, before returning to Vancouver in 1906. His wife, Amy, often accompanied him on trips, collecting many native artifacts and costumes in areas where few if any western women had gone. Some of her collected material, and paintings can be found in the Museum of Vancouver, while the writings and mining reports by Ronald Campbell-Johnston can be found in the UBC Library collections. In the Weekly Report for a Vancouver newspaper Ronald Campbell-Johnston wrote: “Indian relics on this coast, when not carefully preserved, are fast disappearing, and sent abroad; also being altogether and ruthlessly destroyed through the agency of the missionaries, in order to force these tribes to forget their old ceremonies” Amy was also involved in the suffrage movement along with Mary Ellen Smith – the province’s first woman MLA. Her daughter, Masie Hurley, collected an important collection of native art and artifacts that are now in the collection of the Museum of North Vancouver. She, like her mother, advocated for Indigenous peoples’ basic human rights as well as for changes to the Indian Act.

When the family were living on Haro, Masie was shown born in Swansea, and aged nine, and her brother Ronald, born in India was five. Another brother, Alexander was born in Wales in 1900. Both sons died on active service in France in 1918, a day apart and only two months before the Armistice. Their father died in 1929, and Amy in 1948, both in Vancouver. Their daughter, Masie, died in 1964.

In 1896 directory David Sterling and Samuel Prenter were both living in the house. Samuel was chief timekeeper for the CPR, and David was a clerk for the CPR, and the father of Samuel’s wife, Annie. Samuel had been born in Antrim, Ireland in 1865, and his father-in-law David (who was Charles David in some records) ‘at sea’ in 1837. He had worked for the CPR, and his daughter, Annie, was the oldest of six children, born in Bruce Mines in Ontario in 1868. She had married Samuel in 1893, and the family moved to Burrard street in 1897. David was in Seattle when he died, in 1909, and Samuel was trainmaster for the CPR, and living in a different house on Burrard (which was a quiet, wide tree-lined boulevard lined with houses at the time). His family were still in Vancouver in 1921. By then he had become the secretary-treasurer on the Vancouver Brewery, aged 56. Annie was 53, and their son, Reginald, was 25, and still in the family home, which was now on Harwood Street. He was a partner in the law firm Macdonald, Macdonald & Prenter. Daughter Kathleen was 17, and a student. Annie died in 1937 and Samuel in 1938.

John Roland Stitt, a former grocer and dry goods merchant, lived here with his family from 1897. He was previously the manager of the store at Hastings Mill. In 1901 there were four daughters at home. John was from Ireland, and his wife Isabella was French, and John was working in the City Treasurer’s office. They were still living here in 1902, when the numbering reallocated it as 1150 Haro. In 1905 they moved to West 8th Avenue, when John was working at the News-Advertiser but later that year he was appointed to be the Clerk in the Land Registry Office at a salary of $60 a month.

Clara Thicke, the widow of Walter moved in. We’ve seen Clara before, standing in front of her 1893 home on Hornby Street. He husband, Walter, died in 1903, when they were living on Robson Street. Clara was here for two years, before moving again, to Thurlow (with her three sons).

William J Twiss, an insurance manager lived here from 1907 to 1909. He was also from Ireland, from County Kerry, and in 1906 at the age of 36 had married Sadie Jewel Brenton, who was 25 and born in Newcastle upon Tyne. James was the British Columbia manager for Mutual Life of Canada, and played a prominent role in the bankruptcy of the Dominion Trust Company. He built a beautiful craftsman style house on West Boulevard in 1912, and was later described as ‘a prominent businessman, property developer, military man, Point Grey School Board Trustee, and Alderman for the City of Vancouver’. The couple had four sons and two daughters, although one son was killed in an airliner crash in 1941. Sadie died in 1957, and William, aged 83, in 1953.

From 1910 to 1917, Joseph McTaggart, of McTaggart and Sons grocers, owned the house. McTaggart and Sons Grocers was located at the corner of Granville and Robson.  Joseph was from Ontario, and would have been 62 when he moved here with has wife, Minerva, who was shown four years younger, two adult children, (one a lawyer, the other a bookkeeper), and a niece. They had lived ‘over the shop’ on Granville before moving here, and had seven sons, two of whom died as young children. All but the youngest (Charles, born in 1890) had been born in Kemptville, Ontario. Joseph died in 1917, and Minerva stayed for two years before moving to another house on Haro, a block away. She died in Ontario in 1937, aged 84, and was buried in Vancouver in Mountain View Cemetery. Their lawyer son, Donald McTaggart, became the counsel for the City of Vancouver, drew up the Vancouver Charter, and was an alderman when he died in 1956.

For a while this was a seniors centre, but it sold in 2013 for $1.7m and is now a rental property. The 3-bed 2-bath house rents at $7,495 a month.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 791-0727


Posted 21 July 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End