Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

Dawson Building – 375 Main Street (2)

George Dawson developed this building on the corner of Main and Hastings in 1911, and we first looked at its history in 2012. At that time we looked at the background of the builder and ‘architect’, Bedford Davidson. We didn’t really examine the background of the man who paid the $180,000 to develop it. George was not a canners agent as described in the Historic Building Statement; rather, as Dawson & Buttimer, George was an active owner and developer of canneries. Fred Buttimer (actually Alfred) was his younger brother-in-law, and briefly, when the 1911 census was conducted, the two families were sharing a house on Burnaby Street while the Buttimer’s were waiting for their new house to be completed.

They both came from New Brunswick, and George looked after the books and sales, while Fred managed the production. Fred was said to be short, quiet and even tempered, while George was large, distinguished looking and generally silent unless aroused to fury – which was said to occur quite often.In 1893 with their partner George Wilson they acquired their first cannery, in Steveston, which they called Brunswick #1. Their second, Brunswick Cannery #2. was opened in 1897 at Canoe Pass in Delta. Brunswick #3 was in the Rivers Inlet District. They sold all three canneries to the B C Packer’s Association in 1902.

In 1903, now as Buttimer and Dawson, (or Dawson and Buttimer – there was no consistency to the company name) they established a new cannery on Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island (which they sold to Wallace Fisheries in 1911). In 1905 they bought a cannery on Harlock Island, opposite Steveston, a year later they built the Kildala Cannery in Rivers Inlet, described in the New Westminster Daily News as being constructed with the aid of “an immense pile-driver”, and then in 1907 another called the Manitou Cannery in Northern BC. The also bought the Carlisle Cannery on the Skeena River in 1905. B C Packers were unhappy with the increased completion, especially as part of the agreement to buy the Brunswick Company in 1902 suggested that Buttimer and Dawson would not compete. Not only did they compete; they did it with the money B C Packers had paid for their earlier investments.

George Dawson was from Bathurst, married to Vina Buttimer, 16 years younger, and they had one son, David. We haven’t found a great deal about George, although his marriage was noted in the Times Colonist in 1895. For some reason it took place in Winnipeg “George W. Dawson, canner, of Vancouver, was wedded here today to Miss Vina Buttimer, of Bathurst, N. B. who had journeyed half way across the continent to meet her lover.” There are almost no references to George’s involvement in civic life, although know he was involved in local politics because he was the seconder nominating Walter Hepburn when he stood for the 1916 election for mayor (Hepburn wasn’t elected). He died in 1935, aged 83. Vina lived on until 1965, when she died aged 96.

Alfred Buttimer (and we suspect George Dawson) continued to be involved in the fishing industry until 1925, when their remaining cannery interests were sold to B.C. Packers. Alfred devoted his time to Vancouver real estate, and died in 1934.

In 1940, when our image was taken, this was still an office building. It retained that use until 1985, when it was converted to residential use, designed by Adolph Ingre and Associates. Today it’s non-market rental housing run by the Affordable Housing Society.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P296

Posted July 20, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Granville Street – 400 block east side (2)

This picture was taken in June 1945, showing a No. 11 Stanley Park car turning onto Pender Street from Granville Street. The #11 travelled along Kingsway, then Main Street and along Cordova before West Pender and ending up turning in Stanley Park. Streetcar #406 was a PCC, ‘President’s Conference Committee’ car, designed just before the second war to offer a North America rival to the ever-expanding automobile.

Only one Canadian manufacturer built the cars, Canadian Car and Foundry, and in 1939 when the new design was first ordered for Vancouver they were rapidly shifting production to build Hawker Hurricane aircraft for the war effort. Only 36 of the new cars arrived in the city through the war years. Around the time this picture was taken there were serious questions being asked about whether the investment in replacing all of the other vehicles, (like the one on the right of the picture), and maintaining the tracks and electrical equipment was worthwhile. Instead the decision was taken to move “from rails to rubber” and replace the network with buses – in the case of Vancouver those would be electric trolley buses.

The decision was compounded by the fact that streetcars ran down the centre of the road, not at the curb like buses. Getting off and on was becoming increasingly dangerous with the rise of the automobile. The decision to replace Granville Bridge with a new structure added to the potential cost as new tracks would have to be laid. The conversion from streetcars effectively left the network intact, but with trolley buses.

The buildings here are all featured elsewhere on this blog; on the right is Gould and Champney’s Rogers Block for Jonathan Rogers, completed in 1912. Beyond it is the 1908 Canadian Bank of Commerce designed by Darling and Pearson, and across West Hastings is the 1929 Royal Bank building designed by S G Davenport. One thing that unites these buildings is that none were designed in Vancouver. Gould and Champney were from Seattle (although they opened a Vancouver office managed by Albert Wood, and A Warren Gould who designed the building was originally born in PEI), Darling and Pearson practiced in Toronto and S G Davenport was the Royal Bank’s chief architect, based in Montreal.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-3876.

Posted July 3, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

143 Dunlevy Avenue

Sareena’s Place is nothing much to look at, but it’s a valuable facility within the Downtown Eastside.  The structure dates back to 1909, although we’re willing to bet that the stucco dates from around 1950. It’s changed colour many times – back in 1979 when our ‘before’ image was taken it was the Wings Hotel, and pale blue. In the early 2000s it was pink, and the New Wings Hotel. Today it’s name reflects the clientele; a privately owned SRO housing building with 56 rooms now managed by Atira for women facing multiple barriers and challenges, paying welfare rates. It’s now named after Sareena Abotsway, one of six women identified as victims in the Pickton trial. Atira took over management after the City of Vancouver closed the property in 2005, a year that saw three murders in the building. The owner spent a million dollars in repairs before it reopened.

Vancouver Public Library have an image of the building when it was much newer, from around 1910, and it was known as the Dunlevy Apartments. When it opened Frank Vandall was the proprietor, but he just managed the property; the 1908 building permit was issued to Parks & McDonald. John Parks and Donald Bain McDonald were miners, and obviously pretty successful as a couple of years after this building they built another on West Pender. We know they retained this building from subsequent repairs to the building submitted by John Parks and Parks & McDonald in 1921. By 1930 the Dunlevy Rooms had become part of Japantown, managed by K Kaminishi. The building was still listed as the Parks and McDonald Block in the 1940s street directories.

Donald Bain McDonald was Scottish and about 10 years older than his Irish partner, and in 1911 both lived on Jackson Street. We traced them to the ‘Unorganised Territories’ in the 1901 Census – they were both miners, working on ‘their own account’, lodging with Charles Redmond and his wife, Ella, at Bonanza Creek in the Yukon. They had arrived in Canada in 1894 and 1893.

Mr. McDonald was involved in a curious case that led to the dismissal of the Gold Commissioner for the region. In 1902 the Dawson Daily News told the story of two women who started an action that led to the dismissal. “No. 13 (on upper Dominion) was originally staked by H. J. Burt, the packer, but he having left the country, it lapsed by non-representation and was subject to relocation under the proclamation of Gold Commissioner Fawcett. Burt’s title to the property lapsed at midnight August 31, 1898, and Mrs. J. T. Kelly and Mrs. E P Minor were on the ground ready with stakes prepared beforehand. At exactly midnight they drove their stakes, Mrs. Kelly staking the lower half and Mrs. Minor the upper half. Ladies First. Alex McDonald held Burt’s note for $2,000 and it was alleged he was given permission to relocate the ground. The relocation was made by Alex’s brother, Donald McDonald, the staking, however, being a few minutes subsequent to the staking by the ladies. The ladies, by having provided horses near the claim and a boat at the mouth of the Hunker, outstripped Mr. McDonald in the race for this property, he having chosen the Bonanza trail overland. Although both their staking and their application for record were prior to McDonald’s, Fawcett refused to allow them to record. His reason for refusing being that he recognized McDonald’s right to relocate. On October 11 the ladies compromised with the McDonald interests and were permitted to record. Through this claim and through these facts came about the famous Minor Case, which resulted in the Royal Commission being appointed to examine Commissioner Fawcett’s case. Mr. Fawcett was afterward dismissed from the office of Gold Commissioner.”

By 1920 the building was known as the Dunlevy Rooms, a name it retained until at least 1955. We think Mr. McDonald died in Burnaby in 1952, aged 91, single. There’s a John Parks, retired, living on Water Street until 1941, but we can’t be sure if it’s the same John Parks.

Image sources; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-323 and VPL.

Posted June 29, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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844 Dunlevy Avenue

This house is pictured in 1968, so very nearly 50 years ago. It was built in 1899 by Frederick William Sentell.  F W was elected as a City of Vancouver alderman for a single year, in 1890. Some of the family history can be extracted from interviews with Major Matthews, the City Archivist, but those records are somewhat confused, and not totally in line with contemporary records like the census.

The Sentell family arrived from New Brunswick in 1886. Piecing the various records we can pull together we think there were at least five Sentell brothers, all carpenters and house builders, Ephrahim, Alfred, Frederick, James and George, and there were at least six sisters, Margaret, May, Sophia, Charlotte, Ann and Florence, although we’re only sure that Florence and Charlotte lived in the city (and Florence might have been known as Ann). The 1891 census shows Edward, their father living in the city, listed as an 83-year-old farmer, his wife, Margaret (shown as Margrett), aged 66, with Ephraim, James and Florence as well as a granddaughter, Annie, with her father, Meelett Fowler, who was also a carpenter (and C M Fowler in the street directory). George Sentell lived with his wife, Clara, next door to Edward, E B and G J Sentell on East Hastings Street. Frederick (aged 31 in the 1891 census) lived with his wife Alice, who was from Quebec and aged 19, and their infant son, Fred. The street directory has some different ideas about who lived where, but in 1891 all the different families were either living at 409 or 417 E Hastings. Before arriving in Vancouver the Sentell brothers had worked on building the railway, both in Brandon and Winnipeg, and their last job was building a bridge across Granite Creek.

Frederick Sentell & Alice Slade married in Vancouver on 13 May 1889. Fred was 30, Alice just 17. Alice’s parents were shown as John and Margaret Slade; both from England, but Alice was born in Quebec. We might know what Fred and Alice looked like; there’s part of a picture said to be of an 1888 church outing: the Vancouver As It Was blog identifies them sitting behind each other. Fred has his younger sister Charlotte on his knee; Alice Slade is sitting behind him to the right.

In 1871 John Slade was an English-born house painter, living in Montreal with his Irish wife Mary and infant son, John. In 1881 he was still in Montreal, but he had shaved a few years off his age (or the 1871 census was inaccurate), and his wife was now Harriet, and son John was 11. They were the only family called Slade listed in the province of Quebec. In 1891 the family were listed in Vancouver: John Slade was listed as a house painter, living close to here on Prior at Gore. A second son, William, born in Montreal in 1883; older son John was at home, a clerk in a drug store. An Irish-born labourer, Patrick Fox and his wife Alice lived next door.

We haven’t found any birth records for Frederick Sentell’s wife, Alice Slade, in Montreal, but there was only one Slade family in the province, so although she seems to slip from the census, it seems likely that she was John’s daughter, born to his first wife, (Mary, or Margaret), and sister to his eldest son, John. The Archives have a family picture of Alice and John Edward Slade from 1878, when they were small children, photographed in Montreal. John Slade seems to have remarried and moved to Vancouver with a new wife, Harriet, and they had a son, William. (When William married in 1915 his mother’s name was recorded as Harriet Anne Morgan, born in England). John Slade’s death was recorded in summer 1895. In 1901 Harriet Slade was shown in the street directory as ‘widow of John’, living on Gore Avenue (at Prior). The census shows she shared the house with her son William, and Alice Fox, listed as her sister-in-law.

The Sentell brothers had built a number of the city’s earliest wooden structures, including the first City Hall on Powell Street soon after the fire. They started on September 1st on the $1,290 contract, and completed it in 30 days. When the City Council of the day couldn’t pay them for the work, they locked the building and refused to hand it over until they received their money, which took two weeks. There’s a hint in a Chilliwack newspaper that the brothers were not just builders. One brother (F W from the records that show where some of his children were born) lived for a while in Chilliwack in the mid to late 1890s (possibly farming, like his father Edward). Two other brothers visited in 1898 on their way to the Upper Country, “where they own some valuable mining property”. Ephraim Sentell in 1931 wrote to major Matthews in 1931 to tell him that he, F W, and A J arrived in the city in August 1886, from Granite Creek Mining Camp.

In 1901 the street directory says that Fred W Sentell was living on Westminster Avenue, in Mount Pleasant, while Edward B and G J Sentell were living on Grove Crescent, with Alfred Sentell, also a carpenter. The brothers had bought a large piece of land overlooking False Creek, and built their home here. To their shock the decision was made in the 1910s to fill the creek in, and much of their land, (five legal lots), was expropiated, for which they received $103,500. The census shows that Edward B was actually Ephraim Blair, who in 1901 was shown as aged 49, while Alfred James Sentell was 44 and George Jordon Sentell was 38. Their mother, Margaret Sentell was aged 76, and living with her daughter Lottie (presumably Charlotte) and her son-in-law, John Johnson, who was Norwegian, and worked as a drayman. (The Johnsons had been living on Grove Crescent with the three brothers in 1898).

In the 1901 Census Fred Sentell was aged 42, his wife Alice was aged 28, and they (perhaps inaccurately) they had two ten year old children, Alice born in April 1890 and Fred, born in July 1890. As only Fred had been shown in 1891, either Alice was adopted, not really a daughter, or it was an error by the Census Clerk. We can’t find any further records of an Alice Sentell born around 1890. There were three other children; Clifford, Otto and May, and there are birth records for William, born in 1892, who presumably had died as a child. In 1911 Clifford, Otto and May Sentell were still at home, and there were four younger siblings, John, William, Dorothy and Grace, the baby. Fred was 53, ‘Alisse’ was 39.

Ephraim and Alfred Sentell never married, and continued to live together as a household for many years. Alfred died in 1931, single, aged 71, Ephraim died in 1948, aged 96, also single and George the same year, aged 85, widowed.

844 Dunlevy is a good example of a pioneer Queen Anne Victorian style. It features bay windows on the front and side extending the full two storeys, gingerbread detailing and a decorative front porch. The house was first leased to Ontario-born grocery clerk William John Lamrick and his two daughters, Bessie and Sarah. From 1907 to 1920 Harriet Slade lived here. We’re reasonably certain she’s Alice Sentill’s step-mother. In 1911 she had her youngest child, William, still at home, and shared the house with her sister-in-law, Alice Fox, who had lived next door in 1891 with her labourer husband, Patrick.

The house was bought around 1920 by Mrs. Emma A. Winchcombe (widow of Isaac), and the family continued to own the house for many years. By the late 1960s it was in an area that was destined for demolition; a third of Strathcona was eventually demolished for ‘urban renewal’ and it was intended to clear all the houses, and build a freeway to Downtown on this spot. Fortunately those plans never came to fruition, and unusually, nothing was changed on the house, it had the original wooden windows, mouldings, even the wallpaper. In 2004 new owners took on the task of comprehensively restoring the house. In 2007 they won both a Vancouver City and Provincial Heritage Award of Merit for the saving and restoration of their house.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 808-18

Posted June 26, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Winch Building – West Hastings Street

R V Winch developed one of the largest and most prestigious office buildings of its day. Five storeys, over a basement, designed in the Beaux-Arts Classical style, it was completed in 1911. Mr. Winch, originally from Ontario, started in the city as a meat and game dealer with a store on Cordova Street. We looked at his second retail location on that street in 1890. He had hired Thomas Hooper to design a retail store in 1889, and he returned to Hooper and Watkins in 1907 to design this building. Construction took 3 years, was completed in 1911, and cost a reported $700,000. It was described as “an entirely modern Class A office building, the first of its kind in British Columbia” It’s something of a departure from some of Thomas Hooper’s other buildings – here he was given a generous budget (initially costs were estimated at $380,000) so he designed a stone-clad building (albeit on a steel and reinforced concrete frame) that would look at home in London or Paris.

There was no cost-cutting on the interiors either; the interior woodwork was carried out by Stewart & Co of Guelph, Ontario, although most of the other trades were local. It was one of the earliest reinforced concrete buildings to be erected in the city, closely following the adjacent Post Office, (also completed in 1911, which is probably when our BC Archives image was taken) The six-storey building featured 312 steel grillage beams, granite piers and reinforced concrete floors. It contained 130 offices and two Otis Fensom elevators. The stone for the façade came from the Fox Island Quarry at the mouth of Jervis Inlet.

Initially there were many businesses with their offices here, including of course Mr. Winch himself. During the 1920s an increasing number of the offices were rented as federal government facilities, and the building was eventually purchased by the Federal Government for a number of departments in 1928. In 1939 the new owners added more office space, but reduced the interior design of the original by removing the first floor’s glazed domed ceiling seen in this early interior shot.

While still a Federal Building, and used as offices on the upper floors, the building was dramatically transformed in 1983 by Henriquez Architects with Toby Russell Blackwell into the Sinclair Centre, with retail stores as well as the government offices around a central atrium that combines four heritage structures.

Image Sources: BC Archives and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-14

Posted June 22, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Silver and Avalon Hotels – West Pender Street

These two hotels are now joined together, but started life as rivals. The Silver, on the left gets its name from the developer, W S Silver. Designed by Grant & Henderson, it was completed in 1914, and was built by J J Disette for $30,000. The Avalon is five years older, and was designed by Parr and Fee for McLennan and Campbell. You can still see the Parr and Fee central pivot windows, in the $35,000 building constructed by Purdy & Lonergan. (Contract Record published the price as $45,000). When it started life it was known as the Savoy Rooms, run by Mrs Lillie Schadt, with a number of commercial tenants: the Mail Publishing Co, the Vancouver & Provincial Brokerage Co, Modern Office Supply Co, Upton & Heighton, real estate agents and Newmarch Cooper & Co, manufacturers agents.

William F Silver was from England, born in 1861, listed as a broker in the 1911 census. He had arrived in Canada in 1903 with wife Isabelle, who was shown as a year younger than her husband and born in Ontario. The Silvers had spent some time in the US, as the 1911 census shows sons William, a 24-year-old plumber, Kenneth, 23, a farmer, Neil, 21, and Hugh, aged only 8, had all been born there. Edith Brand, their 13-year-old niece also lived with them in Burnaby, on the corner of Kingsway and Silver Avenue. In 1900 they had been living in King County, Washington, where William was a life insurance agent.

The US Census for 1900 tells us that Isabelle’s mother was from New York and her father from Scotland. The three oldest sons had been born in Wisconsin, but there was a 1-year old son called Hugh born in Washington. (Either he died, and the family had a subsequent son also called Hugh, or the 1911 Canadian census recorded his age inaccurately). The birth certificate of one of the older sons tells us the family were living in West Superior, Douglas, Wisconsin, and that Isabelle’s maiden name was Isabelle McKinnen. Their marriage certificate from their wedding in 1863 shows that Isabelle was Jane Isabella McKinnon, born in 1860, her father was Laughlin McKinnon, and that she was a year older than her husband. Isabel Silver’s death was recorded in 1937, when her birth was shown as 1858 and her father’s name as Lachlan.  William F Silver died in December 1943, also in Burnaby.

McLennan and Campbell appear to be a development partnership of convenience, rather than an established business. Although there were many McLennans in the city, our guess would be that it was R P McLennan, the hardware mogul originally from Nova Scotia. In partnership with Edward McFeely of Ontario he built a huge warehouse on Cordova Street, and another on Water Street. Another company building was also designed by Parr and Fee and built by Purdy and Lonergan a few years earlier. There were hundred of Campbells in the city, so establishing which one developed the building is impossible without a clearer indication of a connection to an individual.

Over the years the upper floors have retained their residential use as the Silver Rooms and Avalon Apartments, (the Savoy name having been dropped by 1920). Retail uses have come and gone on the main floor; in the 1950s Haskins and Elliott sold bicycles and A E Marwell sold artist’s supplies. The cycle shop had been there over a decade.

Today the two buildings operate as a single privately owned SRO Hotel. The Avalon Hotel was purchased by Mario & Mina Angelicola in the late 1970’s. Our image dates from 1981. It was turned into an SRO (single room occupancy) in the late 1990’s and houses approximately 85 low-income tenants today.  Jenny & Josh Konkin, grandchildren of Mario and Mina have managed the hotel since 2010, also establishing Whole Way House in 2013 to provide support to the residents.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.13

Unit block – West Pender Street

We’re looking at the north side of the unit block of West Pender Street in 1981. Several buildings have changed, and that will be even more true in future as development is likely to finally develop the corner lots. As we’re looking east, we’re counting down from the former gas station at 99, already closed down and used as a car rental lot when our ‘before’ image was shot 36 years ago. There was a gas station here 80 years ago when it was identified as the Pender Abbott service station – gas and oil, and a century ago in 1917 it was the Central Gas Station, managed by W Noble who lived next door in Patricia Lodge.

Before the gas station opened there’s a 1909 image showing this block; it shows no structures on the corner lot, so ignoring the small gas station kiosk, this must be one of the only never really developed lots in the city. The two storey building was occupied by Stevenson Bros, wholesale boots & shoes, numbered as 83 W Pender. It dates back to the turn of the century, appearing in the street directory around 1901 as the Boyd Burns & Co warehouse, (addressed then as 45 Pender Street). That company, which dealt in plumbing and engineering supplies  including Portland Cement, built a new warehouse on Alexander Street in 1907, and a bigger one on Powell a few years later. The building survived many years, and was only incorporated into the gas station site after the 1950s.

The first building still standing is the Arco Hotel at 81 W Hastings. It was designed by Braunton & Leibert for John Walker, and completed in 1912. When it was built it was called Patricia Lodge and it seems to have a delayed opening until 1914. Then the building was described as a ‘private hotel’, seen in this early image by William Stark. It cost $53,500, and was described as “reinforced concrete stores & rooms”. John Walker was listed as a real estate developer in the Street Directory, living on Bute Street, but we haven’t conclusively linked any of the John Walkers in the 1911 census to this development.

Next to the Arco is a 2-storey building dating from 1927. In the 1950s it was occupied by an advertising company and Regal Greeting Cards. Beyond it is a large warehouse building, either rebuilt or remodeled in 1951. There was a clothing manufacturing company, a wholesale sportswear company and Safeway of Canada’s Training School here when it was first completed. Before that W T Whiteway’s design for the Palmer Rooms Hotel was completed in 1913 for Storey & Campbell Ltd. We’re not sure if the bones of the residential building are underneath the 1950s warehouse, although the building’s appearance suggests that might be the case. Surprisingly, it appears to continue in use as a warehouse today.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E17.22, Sc P57.3 and LGN 1185.5