Archive for the ‘Still Standing’ Category

West Hastings Street – 100 block, south side

This row of early buildings were almost totally abandoned by the turn of the 21st century, but today they’ve all been restored to architectural splendour, and active use. In 1981, when the ‘before’ shot was taken, the area was already in decline, but Woodwards was still open across the street, so there was still a draw to the neighbourhood. The White Lunch cafeteria on the left occupied the main floor of half of one building, and the whole of its neighbor to the west. The building on the extreme left is the Henderson Block, designed by G W Grant for Henderson Brothers in 1899. (We noted their history in connection to another building they developed in 1911),

The next building is the Ralph Block, designed by Parr and Fee for William Ralph, and also completed in 1899. Several historians point out that when it was opened here in 1913 by Neil and Thos Sorenson the White Lunch name reflected a policy of serving and hiring only white people. That changed later, but the name lived on. Elements of the restaurant’s past were still visible in mosaic floors when the buildings were restored in 2009. Initially the White Lunch was only in the Ralph Block. The Henderson Block restaurant in the 1920s was the Honey Dew restaurant.

Parr and Fee’s design for Ralph’s block used cast iron to allow for larger windows. The use of brick piers enclosing cast iron mullions was pretty remarkable in a city only thirteen years old. Ralph was a wholesaler and retailer who sold McClary stoves, ranges and furnaces, as well as Cleveland and Rambler bicycles. The Statement of significance for the Ralph Block will tell you that he started out as a bridge builder who specialized in iron structures for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Dominion Bridge Company. That’s actually an entirely different William Ralph, who came from Quebec.

The William Ralph who developed the Ralph Block was said in the 1901 census to be aged 36, living with his 27-year-old wife May, their infant son, John, and his brother and sister, Ross and Eva. He was from Ontario, as was May. In 1891 he was a boarder, aged 30 and listed as a store merchant, (with his store on Carrall Street) lodging with Peter Larsen at the Union Hotel on Abbott Street. He first appeared in Vancouver in 1888 as a tinsmith, working for R E Dodds. By 1911 William had aged to 51, and there were two younger children at home (Robert and Kathleen), but no John. There was also a servant; Hettie McLeod. In 1921 Robert and Kathleen are still at home with William and May, and William’s sister, Isabel also lived with them.

The next building, 130 West Hastings was probably built around 1906, and was first occupied by F J Hart & Co, real estate agents. By 1981 the original appearance had been disfigured; an exemplary restoration has recreated something much closer to the original appearance of the building. The company was involved in insurance, real estate, mortgage loans and investments, and incorporated by Frederick J. Hart in 1891 when he was only 21. It had its head office in New Westminster, with this branch office in Vancouver as well as Victoria, Chilliwack, and Aldergrove. Frederick was from Newfoundland, and his wife Alice was English. In 1901 they had two children, a servant and Alice’s sister living with them in New Westminster.

Over the years this block of buildings gradually deteriorated and had no legal active uses (although some were sporadically used, often in unauthorized ways, despite their condition). The redevelopment of Woodwards and the attraction of older spaces for tech and startup companies has seen the whole block restored and returned to active use over the past 10 years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.20

Advertisements

835 Cambie Street

This modest 1929 warehouse has been repurposed as an office building for many years. Originally it was built for Electrical Distributors Ltd, a company wholesaling electrical wires, cables, conduit, lamps, ranges, heaters and radios. They were also the BC Distributors of Ice-O-Matic Electrical refrigerators (still in business today making commercial ice machines). Gardiner & Mercer were the architects for the building, and in 1991 Musson Cattell Mackey designed the conversion to office space, used as classrooms by the Law Society who built their offices on the adjacent site to the south.

The electrical supply firm only occupied the space for a few years; by 1936 it was vacant, and at the end of the 1930s Barham Drugs were using the warehouse. From 1940 for at least 15 years this became a warehouse for Coast Paper, later joined by Package Productions, who were wholesalers of cartons. Before it was restored in the early 1990s it was also used as a distillery and as a restaurant. It’s seen here in 1985.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-1776

Posted January 25, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

553 Hamilton Street

The Del Mar Inn started life as the Cadillac Hotel. Built in 1912 for A E Hansen, according to the permit, it was designed by W P White and built at a cost of $33,000 by Frantz Construction. We haven’t successfully identified the developer’s identity; The only potential developer with a name that matched the permit living in the city at the time was Alfred E Hanson, who was listed as a contractor, and it seemed unlikely that he could fund a $33,000 development. (There was an A E Hansen in Seattle, and as the architect also came from that city, it was possible he was an absentee investor).

The Daily Building Record said Mr. Hanson lived at 1236 East 12th Avenue; Albert E Hanson lived on East 12th, but at 1033. The address of 1236 wasn’t recorded in the street directory. Adding to the confusion, the 1911 census recorded Mr. Hanson as Albert A Hanson, aged 50, retired and born in the USA. He was shown as arriving in Canada in 1909, although that seems inaccurate as his three children living at home, aged 19, 18 and 14, were all born in BC. His wife, Mary was from Ontario. The 1901 census said Albert Hanson was in Vancouver in 1901 as a hotel keeper, with wife Mary and five children at home. He was American, aged 44, and had arrived in Canada in the 1880s. Albert Hansen was shown in the 1901 street directory running a boarding house at 852 Powell Street. In 1891 they were living in Yale, with the CPR employees, where he was aged 34 and described as a retired foreman, presumably of a railway construction crew. Mary was shown born in Quebec in that census.

In 1913, when the hotel opened, it was run by William Jureit. He had been lodging on West Hastings in 1911 with his wife and three children, and was a builder who had just arrived in Canada from Germany in that same year. In 1915 Mrs Helen Mulholland had taken over running the building, which was partly a rooming house rather than a hotel, with a bookkeeper and a warehouseman among the tenants, and a real estate company occupying the main floor space.

In 1920 there were different proprietors, Mrs E Montgomery and Mrs J Carmichael, who also both lived in the property. By 1925 the name had changed to the Cadillac Rooms, run by Mrs E Fletcher, but by 1930 it had reverted to the Cadillac Hotel run by Mrs Jennie Cook. In 1935 Mrs K Sobotka was in charge, and in 1940 Joseph Fay. By 1945 it had become known as the Coast Hotel, run by S B Farmer, and by 1955 the name was changed again to the Del Mar Hotel, run by Joseph Lasky.

In 1975 the Hotel was bought by George Riste, born in Alberta during the 1930s, but who moved to Vancouver in 1960 after working in the pulp mill in Port Alberni. He leased a number of hotels over the years, the Bon Accord, the Hornby, the Senator, and then the Del Mar. Then he bought the Del Mar, and ran it as both rooming house and hotel. It was popular with passengers from the nearby bus depot, often recommended by Greyhound drivers. In the early 1980s BC Hydro started acquiring property on the block, assembling most of the land – except the Del Mar. Mr Riste, who by the mid 1970s managed the building as a 30 room SRO hotel, wasn’t interested in selling, at any price. After years of offers, BC Hydro gave up and built around him. A small, hand-painted sign was placed over the entrance. It reads: “This property is not for sale and it has not been sold. Thank you. The Owner.”

In 1990, Mr. Riste collaborated with the artist Kathryn Walter with whom he wrote the slogan: “Unlimited growth increases the divide”. A typographic artwork, with seven inch-tall copper letters, was installed as a frieze on the building’s façade. Art galleries have occupied the main floor for many years, including by the mid-1960s, the Bau-Xi gallery, and today the Or Gallery; our image shows it in 1977. George continued to actively manage the property until 2007, and died three years later just short of his 90th birthday. His family continue to own and manage the property as exemplary privately owned low-income housing.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-44

Posted January 11, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

150 West Pender Street

For 48 years this has been a parkade (seen here in 1974). Built by the Downtown Parking Corporation in 1970, a public/private partnership at the time, today it’s still the same structure (with patches) and now run by the Parking Corporation’s successor, EasyPark. One day this could well be one of the larger ‘land reserve’ sites in City ownership that will see a significant development project replace it.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-256

Posted December 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

Tagged with

646 Seymour Street

Since 1959 this has been a parkade. Developed by the Hudson’s Bay Company to provide parking for the store across Seymour Street, there’s a high-level pedestrian bridge link over the street. In 1974 the Bay’s name was still visible; since then it has become the Parkwell Plaza, now owned by a developer; the Holborn Group.

The 1950s canopies have been replaced, and neither Duthie Books or Purdy’s Chocolates trade here any more, but the stores along the street are still operating, and cars still park above. No doubt in the near future the parkade will be replaced, developing almost all of this block including the Dunsmuir Hotel. When it does, there will have to be a substantial parade underground, as the developers have to provide several hundred spaces for The Bay as well as those required by their own project.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-417

Posted December 29, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

Tagged with

Chinese Nationalist League of Canada

In 1920 the Kuomintang, also known as the Chinese Nationalist League, built themselves a new headquarters on the edge of Chinatown. Dr. Sun Yat-sen had lived in Vancouver for protracted periods and had raised substantial sums in support of the Chinese Revolution that ended the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Sun Yat-sen was appointed to serve as Provisional President of the Republic of China when it was founded in 1912. A year later the Kuomintang party was formed in China with him at its head, but the party was removed from power in a coup. In 1917 they established a rival government in Guangzhou, and the Kuomintang became a powerful political force in all the overseas Chinese communities. The Vancouver branch was built in 1920 to house the Western Canadian headquarters. Edwardes Sproat, a Glaswegian, designed the $60,000 building. He was an odd choice in some ways as he mostly designed classy houses in Shaughnessy Heights and Point Grey.

Our 1920s image shows that some of the top floor featured an open balcony on the Gore Street façade, and a corner pagoda on the roof, now lost. In 1927, after a civil war, (and two years after Sun Yat-sen’s death) the Kuomintang gained control of all of China. At the time, the Kuomintang was probably the most prestigious Chinese organization in Vancouver. In 1949, they lost control of China to The Communist Party of China and retreated to the island of Taiwan.

The building for a while was also the location of the “Chinese Public School”, one of several Chinese schools operating in Chinatown. Today the Chinese Nationalist League still operate from the building along with retail tenants including a  herbal medicine store and a Filipino restaurant.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99 – 3202

 

Posted December 4, 2017 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

Tagged with

May Wah Hotel – East Pender Street

The May Wah was developed in 1913 at a cost of $75,000 by Barrett & Dean as ‘apartments/rooms’, designed by W F Gardiner. The building opened in 1915 as the Loyal Hotel, a name it retained until at least 1930. Mr. ‘Dean’ was really Evans Deane, born in Australia. He built a block in New Westminster as well, and in 1910 newspapers was described as ‘Evans B Dean, capitalist’. Mr. Barrett was George A Barrett, another broker. Both were involved in 1910 in a rail car company, drydock and ship building. Barrett and Deane also built the Empress Theatre on East Hastings. The street directory showed three partners in G A Barrett & Co; George Barrett, Evans Deane and Harry Musclow.

Evans Deane had first been in Vancouver around 1880, when he was working on tunneling contracts through the Rockies for the CPR. He moved to San Francisco from 1882 and 1887, and lived in Oakland, where he was a printer. He had first arrived in San Francisco in 1876 when he worked for a stockbroker for a number of years. He met his wife, Sophie who was from San Francisco, and they married in 1885, and apparently moved to Vancouver a year or two later. By 1891 Mr. Deane was a real estate broker and insurance agent in Vancouver. From 1903 to 1920 the Deane family, including their four children, lived in the West End.

In 1917 the Daily World reported a complex case involving the hotel: “TENANT MUST VACATE Lease of Hotel Property Held Not to be Good One. Evans B. Dean, a former owner of the Loyal Hotel, after conveying his title to other parties, made lease of the property for five years at $75 per month to a Chinaman; when as a matter of fact it is stated that the place can easily be rented for $200 per month. This morning the mortgagees, the Sun Life Insurance Company, who are now in possession of the title, made an application in supreme court chambers to have the lease broken and the tenant evicted. It was stated by Mr. H. A. Bourne that the lessor at the time he rented the property had no power to do so. and that the present tenant really stood in the position of a trespasser. The present titleholders had an opportunity to lease the place for $200 per month for the first six months, and at $250 per month after that period. Mr. Alex. Henderson, K. C, for the tenant, claimed that his client had acted in good faith, and it was not certain the lessor at the time the lease was made did not have power to make it. His lordship, however, ruled that it had been shown with sufficient clearness that the lease was not a good one, and ordered the tenant to vacate by the end of March.”

In 1918 Mr. Deane retired from real estate, and concentrated on his main interest, yachting. He was a life member of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. As well as owning yachts, including at different times Tillicum, Wide Awake and Alexandra, Mr. Deane owned a powerboat called Davey Jones. The family appear to have moved to Washington in the 1930s, but when Sophie Deane died in 1940 it was in Vancouver, and Evans was still here a decade later when he died, aged 91.

George Barrett was a builder in 1901, living in the West End in a house he built in 1901. The census shows him with his wife Mary, their four children, and sister in law, Laura Blackwell. He appears to have been born in England, but his wife came from Ontario, where they married in 1887 and where their 11 year old son, Henry, was born. The seven-year old, Meryl, was born in BC, so they presumably arrived in BC in the early 1890s. By 1903 he had moved into real estate, and in 1911 the family moved to a new house on E 19th, developed (according to the building permit) by Mary Barrett.

The Loyal was renamed the New Orient in 1947, the Le-Kiu in 1950, the Garden in 1956, the Sydney in 1969 and finally the May Wah in 1980. Le-Kiu are a Chinese grocery wholesalers who from 1967 to 1995 had a store at 262 East Pender that was the first Western-style supermarket in Chinatown, where instead of telling a clerk what you wanted to buy, it was self-serve. The company were formed by H Y Louie’s grandsons, although they are a different branch of the family from the Louie family who own London Drugs.

The hotel was bought by the Shon Yee Association in 1926, and has been used as a Single Room Occupancy hotel for almost a century. Our 1985 image shows that it has hardly changed over the past 30 or so years. Most recently it has been acquired in early 2017 by the Chinatown Foundation. More than 100 low-income seniors, mostly women, as well as a few businesses call the single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel home. The intention is that over the next few years the building will be renovated including seismic upgrades as well as cleared fire exits, and repaired roofs and walls.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2386

Posted November 16, 2017 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

Tagged with , ,