Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

Granville Street – 800 block, west side (1)

The corner of Smithe and Granville has a single-storey building dating back to 1910, designed and owned by Leonard Wett, and built by Lewis Yarco at a cost of $5,000. This 1913 Vancouver Public Library image shows it when Turner’s store sold Crockery, Stoves and Graniteware – and Furniture. Mr. Wett continued to own the building for several years, with repairs in 1915, 1916 and in 1920.

Leonard Wett appears in several newspapers from as early as 1896, in connection with his mining interests in the Highland Laddie, Duke and Duchess Mineral Claims north of Campbell River, although the deposits were only developed in the 1930s, producing silver and gold (and are still offering promising assay results). Although his appearance in both the census and street directories is spotty, we know he was born in Germany around 1858, arrived in Canada in 1882 and became a citizen ten years later. He apparently arrived in Vancouver two months before the 1886 fire, and initially worked in the Hastings Mill. A year after he developed the building he was shown as a baker, lodging on Richards Street. Leon Wett, a baker, was recorded in the 1891 census, but so was Leonard Wett (although there’s only one Leonard Wett in the 1891 directory). We thought it could be a duplication error – except one was shown as Lutheran, and the other as Roman Catholic, so it’s less likely they were close relatives. His death was recorded in 1955 when he was 97, survived by nieces and nephews living in Germany and the US.

The two storey building next door was originally built in 1911, designed by Higman & Doctor for William Catto, costing $9,800 to build. It was apparently rebuilt again in 1928, and has seen further regular redesigns of the façade, most recently when a McDonalds restaurant moved in. No William Catto lived in Vancouver, or even British Columbia, but there was one who visited. Dr. William Catto was a physician in Dawson, in the Yukon, but was also part owner of the Lone Star mine, one of only a handful of bedrock gold mines in the Yukon, albeit a small-scale operation. The mine produced a small amount of gold between 1911 and 1914. He was recorded as staying in Vancouver in 1912 (at the Hotel Vancouver).

Next door was the Maple Leaf Theatre. We already looked at the history of the theatre, which later became the Plaza, and more recently the Venue (a nightclub).

 

By 1951 this VPL image shows the corner unit was a ‘Silk Hat famous fruit salads’ cafe, operated by Hank Oliver who also owned the Aristocratic Restaurant chain, including one located immediately across Smithe Street. (The Plaza was showing ‘Night Without Stars’ a 1951 British black-and-white dramatic thriller film, starring David Farrar, Nadia Gray and Maurice Teynac.)

By the early 2000s the corner had the McDonalds restaurant, (seen here in 2004), but they moved next door to the adjacent building, and today there’s a sports goods store on the corner.

0868

Advertisements

Richards Street – 700 block, east side (2)

We looked at the buildings to the north of here in the previous post. Here are several modest buildings, of which two (for now) are still standing. On the left is a three storey commercial building, 726 Richards, built in 1923 by B C Stevens Co. They were a medical supply company who had operated in the city for many years, and more accurately they were the Stevens (B.C.) Company Limited. Before they developed this building they were based in the main floor of the Passlin block, three doors down the street. The company opened its first office in Western Canada in 1889 in Vancouver under the direction of George Stevens, a son of the founder of the business. The Contract Record of 1 August 1923 referenced that “Work is to start at once on a store and warehouse, to cost $20,000, at 730-748 Richards St.; owners, B. C. Stevens Co Ltd., Vancouver; architect, Franklin Cross, 448 Seymour St., Vancouver”. The address was a bit inaccurate; the building permit identifies 730 Richards. It’s possible that the single storey 738 Richards was part of the same development – the two structures share a single lot. Next door at 742 Richards was another single storey commercial building. In 1920 owner A L Hood hired A E Henderson to carry out alterations to the property there costing $2,500, but we don’t know if the single storey building is the result of that investment, or a later development.

The four storey building on the right of the picture (748 Richards) was developed by Albert J Passage and Oliver Tomlin (hence Passlin). Albert was President of the Western Canada Trust Company, worth over $300,000 before its collapse in 1913. He was an American, born in Clairmont, Minnesota, and he moved to Canada in 1892. In 1901 was in Yale, working as a clerk in the railroad office. In 1909 he was in Vancouver, working as an accountant for the Great Northern Transfer Co. His success in real estate was fast; he only formed the Financial and Real estate brokerage with Oliver Tomlin around 1910. By 1911 he was living with his wife Mary, from New Brunswick, their 3-year-old son, Victor, her father, Goodwin Passage, and her brother, Ray Passage.

With the collapse of the real estate business, and a war hitting the national economy, Albert, Mary and their son emigrated to the USA in 1916. By 1930 they were living in Mount Vernon, Westchester, New York, and had another son, Douglas, aged 8, who had been born in New York.

We’re reasonably certain Oliver Tomlin was from England, although he appears to have been missed in the 1911 Census. He shows up in Vancouver around 1908, when he was a shipper with the Albion Iron Works. A year later Passage and Tomlin were in the real estate business, with a series of permits for houses, and just one in 1910 for a larger building, this four storey apartment building on Richards, costing $35,000 and designed by W M Dodd. They sold their development to a real estate syndicate they had put together, with significant British money involved (shown by this article in the London Daily Standard from 1911). The headline shows that property bubbles are not new in the city.

By 1911 Oliver Tomlin was living in the Atlin Block on West Pender. The building in our image was known as the Passlin Hotel. (Given the conjunction of the names for this building, it seems a reasonable conjecture that Mr. Tomlin might have also developed the Atlin Block with a different partner). In 1917 Oliver Tomlin, and his English wife Louisa also emigrated to The USA, and in 1930 were living in Los Angeles. We’re reasonably confident this is the same Mr. Tomlin who was working as the Manager of a Real Estate Finance Company (and that’s why we think he was originally English)’

The Passlin block was demolished and redeveloped in 2007 as part of the L’Hermitage development which also has a hotel, two-storey retail and a condo tower. The Passlin, which was operating as an SRO hotel, was redeveloped as Doug Story Apartment residences, with 46 units managed by Coast Mental Health, named after an SRO resident who was a member of the Coast Resource Centre from 2001 until his death in 2006. The City of Vancouver made a small grant (of $720,000) to help fund the building, but most of the capital cost was carried by the developers, who received additional residential density for the tower. They then gave the building to the City of Vancouver as an air right parcel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E09.36

0867

Nelson Street – 700 block, south side

While the foreground has changed since this 1981 image was taken, the building further east are unchanged. On the corner of Granville and Nelson is a hotel, just rebranded from a Comfort Inn after extensive renovations. It started life at the Hotel Barron, designed by Parr and Fee for W H Forrest, and completed in 1912. We think Mr. Forrest was agent for the actual owner, Colonel Oscar G. Barron. In it’s new grey and pink paint job it will revert to another earlier name, the Hotel Belmont. Next door the shorter hotel is the Glenaird Hotel, built in 1910 by, and for, contractor Malcolm Griffith, and also designed by Parr and Fee.

On the right of the picture today is Fortune House which had a ‘Now Selling’ sign when the photo was taken, and only finally completed in 1988, seven years later. It was office space from the second to the 10th floors, with the top two floors as residential, but only eight years later the office floors were converted to condos. It hides the view of the back of the Royal Hotel, another Parr and Fee design for Dr. Robert Boyle and Lewercke, and completed in 1911.

In between Granville and Fortune House, on the corner of Granville and Nelson, are a row of single storey retail buildings. There was a store built on the corner here in 1901, designed by ‘Fripp’ (architect R Mackay Fripp) for Mrs. D Gibbons. In 1920 Honeyman & Curtis were hired by F T Andrews to design retail units on the back of three lots, designed to face Nelson Street. We assume Mr. Fripp’s earlier store on Granville was incorporated into the project. Today you can buy pizza from the corner unit, and the three on Nelson offer the choice of poutine, tacos or a drink in The Moose bar. Here they are as they appeared in 1981.

Mrs. Gibbons, who developed the corner, doesn’t show up in the 1901 census – or at least, not as Mrs. D Gibbons. However, Catherine Gibbons, a widow, was head of a household of five children: two daughters (one a domestic, and one a milliner) and three sons, one a clerk and two still in school. Going back to the 1891 census shows Catherine was married to David Gibbons; he was from Ireland, and she was an American, and there were three other older sons who had left home by 1901. The family had arrived in Canada in 1890, and all the children had been born in the USA. In 1901 they were living at 640 Harris Street (today’s East Georgia Street). David Gibbons was a contractor, and he started impressively by getting a contract to grade and plank a Downtown sidewalk in April 1890 – as soon as he arrived in Vancouver. He died in 1897 or early 1898, and Catherine stayed in the brick-built family home until 1912. It was built in 1894 by Irish-born bricklayer and contractor John Henry Freney, a relative of Mr. Gibbons.

Mr. Andrews, who built the Nelson stores twenty years later has proved more elusive – at least as far as census records are concerned. He had built a garage a couple of years before this building, further south on Granville, and in 1907 had been involved in a complicated land sale court case in connection with a Hastings Street lot that he sold to Angelo Calori, the owner of the Hotel Europe. (Mr Calori almost lost the hotel to Mr. Andrews, but the courts sided with Mr. Calori). He also developed another Granville Street property in 1913. The difficulty in tracking him down may possibly be because he seems to have spent quite a bit of his time out of the city. The land deal with Angelo Calori was all arranged initially by cable, while Mr. Andrews was ‘residing temporarily in Engalnd’, and the deeds for the property were in Toronto.

Frederick T Andrews was district manager for the Dominion Permanent Loan Co, based in Ottawa, in 1898. In 1908 he was inspector for the same company, based in Vancouver, but had spent the previous year in England. In 1912 the Province reported ‘Mr F. T. Andrews of this city has returned from a visit to England extending over eighteen months. On the return trip Mrs. Andrews remained over in St. Thomas., Ont., to visit relatives.” In 1913 he added a substantial three storey addition to the Palms Hotel on Granville, that he had also acquired, and he was living there in 1917 when we think he may have built another garage on Granville Street. In 1915 the Canadian Northern Railway bought one of his properties in conjunction with their arrival into the city. That was after another legal fight over the acquisition of the False Creek land by the railway company – who weren’t keen on compensating former owners in a particularly timely manner.

We think F T Andrews had family members in the city: Frank M Andrews, a salesman, also lived at the hotel in 1917, as well as J Andrews, a clerk. In 1921 Francis Andrews lived with his wife and baby on Commercial Drive, and was shown as having arrived in Canada in 1911. John M Andrews was living with his uncle, Frank T Andrews, and had also arrived in 1911 – so they would have been missed by the 1911 census. It would seem that F T Andrews wasn’t living in Vancouver in 1921.

Surprisingly, the single storey retail stores still stand today, although renewal and densification are starting to change this part of Granville Street.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W03.05 and CVA 779-W03.04

0864

Posted April 29, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

Nelson Street – 600 block, south side

This 1981 image shows that not everything has changed Downtown – yet. If heritage status could be conferred on surface parking lots, this one might qualify, as it has been a vacant site for at least 40 years, with no sign yet of a development proposal.

We’ve seen the buildings that were on the site before it was cleared in an earlier post. There were houses here until at least the mid 1950s. Across the lane (fronting Granville Street) is a 1912 hotel, built as the Hotel Barron for  an absentee American owner, O G Barron. Parr and Fee designed the hotel, as well as the Glenaird Rooms to the south. For many years the hotel was known as the Belmont, then the Nelson Place Hotel, and more recently has been a Comfort Inn. The bars and cellar bar have been reinvented many times, including in their last iteration as Doolin’s Irish Pub and the Belmont Bar.

Currently the hotel is getting a comprehensive make-over under new owners, reopening as a boutique hotel that will once again bear the Hotel Belmont name, with the Living Room restaurant and Basement Bar.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E03.08A

0859

Posted April 11, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

Tagged with

East Pender Street – 100 block, south side

While parts of Chinatown (including these buildings) are seeing change to the businesses occupying the main floor retail units, the bricks and mortar have remained unchanged for several decades. The exact date for the image is unknown – it’s said to have been taken between 1960 and 1980. In the background, across the street, the sign for the Marco Polo Club is visible. It was demolished in 1983, and opened at the end of 1964, so we can narrow the date a bit, and our best guess is the early 1970s – possibly 1972.

The most westerly building on the block (on the right) is the Sun Ah Hotel, home to the Ho Ho Restaurant (more recently Foo’s Ho Ho, currently being refurbished). It was designed for Chinese merchant Loo Gee Wing by R T Perry and R A Nicholais, and completed in 1911. The European style of architecture has no obvious reference to Chinatown, even though the client was a prominent Chinese merchant and property developer. There was an earlier building on the site, with Chinese merchants based here from before the turn of the 20th century (when the street was still Dupont Street). The Lung Kong Tien Yee Association acquired the building in 1926, and today it’s an Single Room Occupancy dwelling.

Several of the city’s ‘working ladies’ had houses in this location in the late 1890s, including Bilcox McDonald and Gabrielle Delisle. In 1909 the middle building in the group was constructed, replacing one of the houses. It was a very different style – occupied by The Chinese Benevolent Association. In the first half of the 20th century this was the most important organization in Chinatown. We don’t have an identified architect for the building, started in 1908 and supervised by Chinese merchant Yip Sang. In 1909 Michael O’Keefe was hired at a cost of $10,000 to design and complete the Chinese Hall here, and he had designed and built other properties for Yip Sang’s Wing Sang Company in the early 1900s. The imposing council hall featured a shrine to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, and the room was furnished with elaborately carved armchairs from the Qing Dynasty. In the 1970s, the CBA lost most of its influence. It has since been restructured and has once again become an important organization in the Vancouver Chinese community.

It housed an organization with deep roots in China. It evolved from the Hongmen movement, which is said to have originated as a group opposed to Manchu rule. In 1910 and 1911, the organization, in their old Vancouver headquarters at Pender and Carrall streets, hid Dr. Sun Yat-Sen from the agents of the imperial Manchu government. The organization is also said to have mortgaged its previous building with the proceeds going to help pay for the Chinese revolution of 1911. Today, the Chinese Freemasons in Vancouver through the Dart Coon Club own and administer this and another building on Pender Street, and two non-profit housing projects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-473

0848

Granville Street – 800 block, east side

This is a view that will probably change a lot in the near future. The owners are reported to be contemplating redevelopment of the first three or four buildings from the corner of Robson Street. The building on the corner is from 1922, designed by Townley & Matheson for the Service Investment Co, costing $31,000. For now it’s the Lennox pub, with the closing Payless shoes alongside and upstairs.

Next door is a small building recently occupied on a temporary basis by Indigo Books. It was designed by Parr and McKenzie for Mrs. Sophia Cameron in 1912, built by E J Ryan and cost $12,000 to build. We don’t really know much about Mrs. Cameron. She’s not obvious in the 1911 census record, but there was a Mrs. Sophia Cameron living near here in 1901. She didn’t appear in the street directory, but her son, Maxwell did. He was listed as a clerk at Woodward’s departmental store, although he seems to have managed the clothing department. A few years later he established his own clothing store on Cordova Street, and moved from 404 Robson to the West End, first to further west on Robson in 1909, then to Thurlow by 1911. He is also unidentifiable in the 1911 Census. Both Sophia, who was 50 in 1901, and Max, who was 25, were shown born in Ontario, and Sophia was listed in 1901 as being on the Women’s Voting List.

Maxwell still had his clothing store, and still lived on Thurlow in 1921, so we can find him in the census of that year, and Sophia, his mother is still living with him, although twenty years after the 1901 census she’s only fifteen years older. In 1891 they had been living in Brantford, Ontario, where Sophia was already a widow, aged 40, and 16-year old Maxwell was working as a clerk.

Next is a four storey building, designed by Braunton & Leibert in 1913 for R A Allen. The 4-storey apartment and retail building, now known as the Clancy Building, cost $35,000. When it opened, the second establishment of Allen’s Café was here, and Robert A Allen was associated with the business, although the owner was listed as Osro M Allen. The Province newspaper clarified their relationship: R A Allen died in 1929, and he bequeathed $110,000 to his brother, Osro. “The assets include a lot at 814 Granville Street, worth $100 000. which is subject to a mortgage, so that the estate’s equity amounts to $79,720“. Osro’s father, and his wife, were both American, but Osro himself was born in Canada. In 1921 they were living in Point Grey (on Granville Street) and his American born children, George (29) and Jeanette were at home. Jeanette was divorced, with a two year old daughter, Elizabeth. Osro and his family had arrived in Canada, (presumably from the USA) in 1913. Robert was single, living on Hastings Street, and ten years older than his brother. He was born in Quebec, and was already running Allen’s Café and Rooms on West Hastings when his brother moved to Vancouver. He had originally run Allen’s Café at an earlier address on West Hastings from 1906.

Next to the Clancy Building was the Capitol Theatre. In its 1922 design it had a simple arched window. That was altered to a more contemporary (for the time) design in the 1940s, and it was redesigned again before the theatre finally closed in 2006. A simple glazed retail box replaced it, and another was built next door two years later.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E02.28

0846

 

Granville Street south from West Pender

We’ve seen some of the buildings here, on the eastern side of the 500 block of Granville Street in a post from a few years ago, but looking northwards and in the 1930s. This ‘before’ picture is undated, but we’re pretty certain it was shot in the late 1960s or early 1970s before any street trees had been planted. That’s one of the 1954 Brill buses in BC Hydro livery – so between 1962 and 1973. When the new vertical white lights were added to Granville Street a few years ago, and the surface redesigned and replaced, this short section of street was the only one where the existing street trees were considered worthy of retention, and so a taller, more mature canopy exists here.

On the left is Somervell and Putnam’s 1916 design for the Merchant’s Bank, expanded in 1924 by the Bank of Montreal to Kenneth Guscotte Rea’s designs. More recently, in 2005, Paul Merrick designed its conversion to the Segal School of Business for Simon Fraser University.

Next door, across the lane, is an 1898 building, still standing today. Designed by GW Grant, it was built for W H Leckie and Co and occupied in part by the Imperial Bank, (although that use ended decades ago). William Henry Leckie was born in Toronto in 1874, and moved west in 1896. Although he managed the family business with his brother, Robert, only he was noted in the city’s early biography, although by the early 1900s, R J Leckie and Company also had a successful boot and shoe manufacturing business in Vancouver. Robert had arrived in 1894 to run the Vancouver branch of the business established by their father, John Leckie, who had immigrated to Canada from Scotland. He established a dry goods store in Toronto in 1857 which evolved into fishermen’s supply store, selling oilskin clothing, imported netting, sails, tents, and marine hardware. The firm began to manufacture its own goods, and the brothers continued that expansion by not only establishing this retail and warehouse building, but also owning a tannery on the Fraser River. Later they built a much bigger factory and warehouse on Water Street.

William Leckie didn’t constrain his activities to footware; by 1913 he was a Director of the Burrard Land and Improvement Co, the Capital Hill Land Co and of the Children’s Hospital.

Next door was a two storey building, completely obscured in the 1970s, and today refaced with a contemporary frontage. Originally it was developed by Hope, Fader and Co in 1898, and designed by W T Dalton.

To the south is a third fifty feet wide building. Today it has a 1909 façade, designed by Parr and Fee for owner Harry Abbott. The building dates back to 1889, when it was designed for Abbott (the Canadian Pacific Railway official in charge of the west coast) by the Fripp Brothers.

While the collection of buildings has retained the same scale for over a century, rumours suggest a development may see a new office tower that would retain two original heritage buildings facades.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-455

0843