Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

Helmcken Street – 400 block, north side

This is one of our favourite images of Downtown Vancouver in the Archives collection. Shot over 50 years ago, in 1966, the residential nature of much of the Downtown South area was still very much in evidence, but off in the haze in the distance the headquarters building for BC Electric show that indeed, you are Downtown. Remarkably, three of those houses on Helmcken Street are still there today, and perhaps more remarkably there are now five houses here, (hidden among the dramatically expanded tree cover).

Originally Wellington Brehaut built five identical houses here in 1907. They were probably initially leased rather than sold off, although over time they became freehold dwellings. By 1966 two had been lost, but as part of the condo tower built on Richards Street, two houses from further up the street (1062 and 1080 Richards) were relocated around the corner to complete the row. We looked at the history of those buildings, and the ‘hold-out’ owner of one of them, Linda Rupa, in an earlier post.

Wellington W Brehaut was a contractor who lived in the West End, in a house he shared with the builder of the house, D M Fraser. They were also partners in their contracting business. He was a carpenter from PEI, and seems to done well, from being a lodger in a rooming house in 1901 to owning his own home (still standing) on Nicola Street by 1908. He was married in 1904, to Florence Morrison, who was four years younger, from London, Ontario. Her death was recorded in the newspaper in 1911, and Wellington died in 1916 aged only 45 while in Los Angeles, although he was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. He was obviously a well respected Freemason; the Daily World reported that “An emergency meeting of the Lodge will be held in the Masonic Temple, corner of Seymour and Georgia Streets, on Thursday, May 11 at 2 p.m., for the purpose of conducting the funeral ceremonies of our late Bro. Wellington W. Brehaut”.

Another piece added a fascinating detail to Mr. Brehaut’s relatively short life story: “Some fifteen months ago Mr. Brehaut went to California in the hopes of improving his health, but without permanent results, and his many friends in this city will learn with regret of his decease. The body Is being brought to this city for interment, the funeral, which will be under the auspices of – Cascade Lodge, A. F. & A. M , of which the deceased was a member, being held on Thursday afternoon next. The late Mr. Brehaut was a popular member of the Terminal Club. Some six years ago Mr. Brehaut was the central figure in a sensational hold – up case in the city, he being held up by an armed man, with whom he grappled. His assailant was sentenced to a long term which he is at present serving.”

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-41

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Posted October 15, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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139 East Cordova Street

This building, with its fancy brickwork patterns, dates back to 1912 when it was built by Dominion Construction at a cost of $22,000. The developer was A C McNeil, and helpfully, we don’t need to look for him in the city’s street directories as he was recorded on the building permit as ” (of Montana, USA)”. He hired J P Matheson as his architect on the building that would open as the Harbour Rooms, run by Mrs. Essie Thompson. There had been a house on the lot before this development was built.

Quite why Mr. McNeil chose to build here is unclear, but there is a Butte resident who regularly visited the west coast, including Washington and Oregon. In 1917 A C McNeill was recorded as having taken a 1,300 road trip from Butte to ‘Spokane and the west’ with his wife and daughter – a remarkable distance for a road trip at the time. He visited Vancouver Island in 1929 and seems to have been a hotelier later in the 1930s, in Butte.

By the 1920s the spelling of the name had taken on the US preference – the Harbor Rooms – run by Mrs Ella Kelly in 1920, and Charles T Berryman from 1921 (who arrived in the city after the 1921 census). He also ran the Harbor Bar downstairs. By 1930 the name had changed to the New Harbor Rooms, run by H Anderson, and by 1934 the New Harbour Rooms, run by C Traversy. (The new art deco black retail façade might have been added around this time, although it could have been in 1945 when the building’s name was changed). In 1938 The New Harbor Rooms were run by Uda Zenkichi. In 1942 there was still a Japanese proprietor, H Iwasaki, but a year later he would have been interned, and Quon Hon had taken over. In 1945 the proprietorship changed to Pang Mock, and the name to the United Rooms. It still had that name when this 1985 image was taken, and today when the rooms are managed as a privately owned SRO rooming house by the Shun Chi Company.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2450

Posted September 20, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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West Pender Street – 100 Block (2)

We looked at this block of West Pender from the other end in an earlier post. Here, we’re looking east and down the hill from Victory Square. On the corner of Cambie Street is the Edgett Building, actually developed by Francis Carter Cotton and later used by H A Edgett for his wholesale fruit and vegetable company. Today it’s the home of the Architectural Institute of BC. Next door is a vacant site, soon to be redeveloped with a non-market rental building, but originally home of the Calumet, a rental building that may have been one of Sam Kee’s investment hotels, where he hid his ownership (as the building was outside Chinatown) by having the Building Permit submitted by his lawyers, Parkes & McDonald.

Next door going east were two hotels, still standing today and operated as well managed privately owned SRO Hotels. The Silver was developed by W S Silver, and English born broker who lived in Burnaby (with Silver Avenue being named for him). Designed by Grant & Henderson, it was completed in 1914, five years after the Savoy Rooms, later the Avalon Hotel, designed by Parr and Fee for McLennan and Campbell.

The Vancouver Public Library picture (above) was taken in 1912, while the one below dates from 1981, after the Calumet had burned down. In 1981 137 West Pender was still standing; a warehouse built in 1915 probably developed by an advertising executive called I N Bond. That was replaced in 1989 by Pendera a non-market housing building designed by Davidson & Yuen that was part of the Jim Green era Downtown Eastside Residents Association development program.

Image sources Vancouver Public Library and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.12

 

Posted September 13, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone, Still Standing

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50 East Cordova Street

This is an SRO building in the Downtown Eastside that displays some similar characteristics to its neighbours on either side (designed by the same architect, and built in the same year). Built in 1911 for Daniel Campbell, it was designed by Hugh Braunton. and Edgell & Dixon were hired to build the $30,000 investment. Completed in 1912, it was initially named the Cordova Rooms.

There were several Daniel Campbells in Vancouver, but only one was a real estate broker. Born in Ontario in 1863, he lived at 1201 Georgia with his wife Kate, who was three years younger than Daniel, and in 1911 their bookkeeper son William who was aged 17, and who had been born in the US, and arrived in Canada aged two. Daniel was a partner in the Campbell-Walker Brokerage Co.

Like many other real estate businesses, things went badly for Campbell-Walker as the Great war added to the recession that had already hit the economy. The 1915 Government Gazette lists a number of lots where they had failed to pay the appropriate taxes, and where they were in arrears.

Renamed as the Wonder Rooms, this property briefly achieved notoriety as one of the properties co-owned by a former pharmacist, George Wolsey, who lost his pharmacy licence for forcing residents at the buildings he owned to get their methadone prescriptions filled through his pharmacy. In 2012 a court-appointed receiver assumed control of the buildings and began hunting for prospective buyers, and Vancouver-based nonprofit Community Builders agreed to take over running the building. Sold for over a million dollars, tenants who had successfully launched a class-action lawsuit against the owners of the two dilapidated single-room-occupancy buildings in 2011 were unable to obtain their $18,000 payout as Mr Wolsey failed to show up in court, or make payment. During the lawsuit the state of the building was described. “Structurally, the building is falling apart, the fire seals are breached, the fire escapes are blocked, the toilets don’t work, there is a single shower for three floors of people.” Things are better than that these days, but the rooms no longer let at the welfare rate.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2444

Posted September 3, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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102 Powell Street

Pilkington Brothers built a new showroom, warehouse and glass processing building to the east of this building in 1910, completed a year later. They also occupied the former Oppenheimer Brothers warehouse to the west that had originally been constructed in 1886, one of the city’s earliest structures still standing today. This two storey warehouse might have been an Oppenheimer construction, but it’s more likely to have been Pilkington’s work. Pilkington’s replaced Oppenheimmer’s in 1903, and this was probably built soon after that, in the few years that the building permits are missing. It had the second floor added in 1916 at a cost of $4,000, designed by Somervell & Putnam, who were usually involved in much grander buildings.

In the late 1970s this was the warehouse home of US based furniture chain Pier 1 Imports, as seen on the left in a Mercantile Mortgage Company Ltd copyright image. In the early 1990s the building was bought by Bryan Adams, who converted the Oppenheimer’s part of the property to the Warehouse Studios, a world-class recording studio. The later 2-storey building was retained in the conversion (designed by Don Stuart Architects) as a screen wall, with parking behind.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2416 and CVA 810-155

525 Carrall Street

This 1985 ‘before’ image of a Chinatown society building would have looked very similar, although somewhat more battered, up to two years ago. Now after extensive repair and restoration work the building looks almost identical to when it was first built in 1903. Known today, and since 1923 as the Lim Sai Hor Association Building, it was first developed by Chinese scholar Kang You-wei, with financial support from leading local merchants (including Chang Toy, owner of the Sam Kee Company, who probably donated the land). It was the Vancouver home to the Chinese Empire Reform Association, an important Chinese-Canadian pre-Revolutionary association.

Kang You-wei arrived in Victoria in 1899 as a political refugee who escaped a death sentence in China after he supported the Guangxu Emperor’s short-lived reforms aimed at modernizing Chinese political, economic, military and educational systems. The Emperor’s aunt, the Empress Dowager Cixi, was opposed to modernizing the country and she carried out a coup d’etat three months after the reforms were announced, placing the Emperor under house arrest.

Kang You-wei hoped to raise support from American and British governments to restore the Emperor and the reformist movement, but he was barred from entering the United States due to the Chinese Exclusion Act and received little assistance from the British government. He was, however, warmly received by Chinese communities in Victoria, Vancouver, and New Westminster. Kang founded the Chinese Empire Reform Association (CERA) in Victoria on 20 July 1899. This organization was also known as the Society to Protect the Emperor, or the Baohuanghui. One of their first pieces of business was to send a birthday telegram to the Empress Dowager which started: “Birthday congratulations. We request your abdication.” In 1903 Kang’s equally famous associate, Liang Qichao, laid the cornerstone of this $30,000 building.

Oddly, the original architect appears not to be known, although in 1914 W H Chow designed $2,000 of repairs to the building. It appears to have been built as two separate structures, with the Shanghai Alley part built separately and then linked. The original façade elements of the building that were recently replaced could have been removed when Lim Sai Hor Kow Mock Benevolent Association purchased and renovated the building in 1944-45. The family association for ‘Lim’ Chinese named members was established in Vancouver in 1923, although dating back to 1908 in Victoria. When the Association bought the building they paid just $10,250, and raised $26,000 by issuing shares to members to pay for the building and the renovations. There was a retail unit on the main floor, leased out; 18 rooms on the second floor, and the meeting room and offices of the organization on the top floor as well as another 8 rooms, which like the second floor rooms were leased to members as living space.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2408

120 Powell Street

Today, this former warehouse is an architect’s office with six generously sized (and expensive) strata residential units upstairs. First developed in 1910, it was converted to residential in 1991. Dalton and Eveleigh were hired by Pilkington Brothers, a British based glass company to design the $80,000 warehouse constructed by Smith & Sherborne.

The design is an early example of a concrete frame, allowing the creation of large spaces without internal walls. Pilkington’s were already on this block, as from the early 1900s they also occupied the warehouse buildings to the west, including the corner building that had been developed in the late 1880s by the Oppenheimer family for their grocery business.

The sale of 120 Powell Street in the late 1950s followed the completion of Pilkington’s new glass factory on Vancouver’s Southeast Marine Drive. In this 1985 picture it was being used as a warehouse by Army & Navy Stores, but was being offered for lease.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2417

 

Posted August 13, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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