Archive for the ‘West End’ Category

Stuart Building – Chilco and West Georgia Street

The Stuart Building, seen here in 1973, was a retail and apartment block that was completed in 1910. It was designed by Henry B Watson for lumberman W W Stuart, and sat near the entrance to Stanley Park. There were buildings on the north side of the street in those days, so some views of Burrard Inlet were interrupted, but the building ran along Chilco, with clear views of the park.

Whitfield Walker Stuart was born in New Brunswick, but started making money in Massachusetts. He was living in Boston in 1886, in his mid 20s, working as a carpenter. He married a local woman that year, and they had two children before he moved west around 1891, initially to New Westminster and then to Dewdney, where Mr. Stuart worked as a farmer, and they had a third child. He first showed up in Vancouver in 1898, living on Barnard (now Union) and having returned to working as a carpenter. He moved around the same area, to Keefer, and then Heatley, before moving to the West End. In 1904 he spent a remarkably low $300 building a store and house at this location.

Only four years later he moved to Robson Street, and the house and store were demolished, and the building in the picture was erected at a stated cost of $13,000. No doubt this reflects a much lower value than if Mr. Stuart hadn’t been a contractor with his own supply of lumber. By 1907 his electric powered mill was in operation on Front Street (now 1st Avenue, in Mount Pleasant). In 1908 it was reported that “The W. W. Stuart Lumber Company of Vancouver report that they have been running steadily at full capacity all winter, their output being used chiefly for local trade. They have recently put up a new moulding shed and office buildings”. His wife died in 1916, and two years later he remarried, to an Australian, and they had two children (the first born in Australia in the same year that they were married). They moved to Kerrisdale, and Whitfield Stuart died in 1927, and was buried with his first wife in Mountain View cemetery.

The Stuart building became home to an early bicycle hire business, and later an art gallery, but by 1982 there were plans to demolish it. The Vancouver Sun reported “The Stuart Building, a three-storey apartment block with a turret lookout on top, a stained glass panel over the front door and a seven-foot-wide staircase, was built in 1909 for lumberman W.W. Stuart. At the time, it overlooked a Lost Lagoon that was still tidewater. The first park causeway was built 14 years later. Edith Clark has operated the Gallery of B.C. Arts on the ground floor of the Stuart Building for the past 20 years. On Tuesday, they’re pulling down the building that has stood as a landmark at the entrance to Stanley Park since 1909. She is furious. But she is still praying that a miracle will save the building she and her husband, Herbert, have grown to love. Clark is one of 2,500 West End residents who want to preserve the turret-ted frame building at 674 Chilco at Georgia Street. Seven city aldermen voted Tuesday to tear it down.

Clark is furious that seven council members could cancel out the wishes of thousands of people who cherish the landmark across from Lost Lagoon. She still has not given up hope of saving it from the wrecker’s ball. “I can’t abandon hope for this building. I have about 2,500 signatures on a petition to save it,” Clark said Friday as she and Herbert loaded the last of the gallery’s paintings and pottery into a moving van. “We love this building. We’ve had 20 years here with many good times. Mayor Mike Harcourt was good to consider trying to save it and for a while it looked so hopeful,” she said. Clark said she cannot understand why, when building owner Stanley Ho of Hong Kong agreed to cooperate in preserving the building, seven council members can order it destroyed. “Maybe we can hold them off a little longer, stall until the next election and get a few of those aldermen off city council.” Upstairs in suite three, pensioner Rita Pinder prepared to move from the three- bedroom unit she rented for $220 a month into a tiny West End suite that will cost $380 a month. “It’s hard to decide what to give up. This place has been so spacious and so gracious,” said Pinder who lived for 13 years in one of the eight apartments.”

The building that replaced the Stuart is a strange one. For many years standing alone, it was developed by Hong Kong based billionaire and Macau gambling mogul Stanley Ho, who acquired the lot in 1974 for $275,000. He owned property throughout the city, including the Sutton Place Hotel, and according to a Vancouver Sun article Ho offered to upgrade the building and give the city a 30-year lease in exchange for zoning incentives on another property, but a majority on Council instead approved redevelopment. There are now three huge apartments and a wedding chapel in the 5 storey replacement building, designed by Ernest Collins, and completed in 1995.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 447-85

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Posted July 22, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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The Marlborough, 1111 Jervis Street

This 1928 image shows the just about completed Marlborough Apartments. They replaced a house that stood here for around 30 years. The Archives caption says the building is on the corner of Jervis and Broughton – which is impossible as those are parallel streets – actually it’s on the corner of Pendrell and Jervis. It was designed, built and owned by Oliver Lightheart, one of six brothers who all lived in Vancouver, and developed apartment buildings throughout the Downtown and West End. The family were from Nottawasaga, Simcoe in Ontario, (on Lake Huron), and Oliver was the youngest son, born in 1888.

In 1921 he was living with his PEI-born wife Margaret and their one-year-old son Lloyd, and their servant, Louise Bestwick, who had been born in BC. Oliver was listed as a contractor, builder. At the age of 31, (a year after the census) he built a $200,000 apartment building on Bute Street, The Berkeley, also still standing today. The Marlborough followed six years later, not long after he had moved to the $8,000 house on Cypress Street that he had built for Mrs. M Lightheart, (presumably his wife).

Ninety years later the building looks almost identical, and continues to provide rental homes in the heart of the West End.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N263

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Posted June 27, 2019 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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1915 and 1925 Pendrell Street

These two houses were replaced by Gilmore Court in 1981 – a condo building with a decorative eastern front, and a distinctly plainer western end. When this image was photographed in 1968, an earlier rental building with the same name took up the lot to the east. The houses, and the apartment building were demolished to make way for the larger 44 unit condo.

By 1910 there were three houses on the lot; (the two in the picture and one that was built on the lane). The first to be built was 1923 Pendrell, the house on the left, (numbered as 1925 when this photo was taken). We know it was the first, because it was the only house standing shown on the 1903 version of the insurance map. Development in this part of the West End wasn’t fast – there was only one other house on the entire city block that year. A second home was also given a permit in 1903, but the first was issued to ‘O Mitchell’ – who owned, designed and built it. It cost $1,400, while the second, owned and built by Robert Kerr only cost $200. On that basis we think Mr. Kerr’s home was the second, laneway house, while the Mitchell house was the first. Although nobody called Mitchell had the initial ‘O’ in the city in 1903, the street directory shows carpenter Robert Kerr lived at 619 Hamilton Street, and so did another carpenter, Andrew Mitchell. That’s why we surmise he was a friend of Mr. Kerr, and built the house on the left of the picture, in spring 1903. Robert Kerr built the second house on the back of the lot, later that year. In 1907 a second house appeared on the street, 1915 Pendrell, and as it’s was in the ‘lost permit’ period, we don’t know who built it, although Mr. Mitchell was still in the city, and still building houses (but so was Robert Kerr, although he had moved to Point Grey).

Andrew Mitchell was aged 35 in 1903, and like his wife Mary was from Ontario. They had two children, and Andrew was listed as a builder in the city in the 1911 census. His brother James, a plasterer, and sister-in-law lived with the family on West 10th Avenue, on the corner with Birch. Robert Kerr also came from Ontario, so he may have known Andrew Mitchell before they came to Vancouver.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1348-15

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Posted May 23, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Gilford Court – 1125 Gilford Street

These two buildings look quite similar, but one is an early rental building, and the other a more recent condo. Cyril Tweedale was the developer: an investment broker and realtor who hired architects Sharp & Thompson to design the $33,000 investment property. It was completed in 1912, and it was the first structure built on the site as this end of the West End took some years to build out. It was developed by the London and Western Canada Investment Co, where Cyril Tweedale was managing director. We looked at Cyril’s history in connection with the Tweedale Block he built on East Hastings. The Investment Company were involved in both finance and insurance, specializing in handling transactions for English investors. Rents were advertised from $37.50 for a 5-room suite.

The building was demolished in 1981, (in the days when rental properties weren’t protected) and in 1984 a new Gilford Court appeared. This is a 44 unit condo building. In 1984 they cost from $72,900 – although financing that year cost over 10%. Today 2-bed units sell at over $900,000.

Image source: Jan Gates, on flickr.

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Posted May 20, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Pacific Palisades – Alberni Street

The major redevelopment of this block took place in 1969. Bing Marr Architects designed two residential rental towers (off the picture, to the right), and this office building that had an entrance on Bute Street. (We’re looking along Bute Street from Alberni). The North American Life Assurance Co were the developer, and the two 23 storey residential towers were a significant change in scale from earlier residential buildings – houses in this stretch of Robson and Alberni.

The office building lasted a relatively short time. It was still standing in this 1981 image, with the 1967 Blue Horizon Hotel that’s on the same block showing behind. By 1996 it had been replaced with James Cheng’s circular 32 storey condo buildings. The two original rental residential towers were converted in 1984 to the Pacific Palisades Hotel, only to be converted once again in 2009 back to rental apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W10.10

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Posted April 25, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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834 to 846 Thurlow Street

It looks as if these three houses may have been built by the same builder. Their condition in this 1974 image was pretty good considering that they had been standing for 80 years. The first two appear around 1894 in the street directory – although they could have been there a year longer. Their first occupants included W Crickmay and E B Welsh, but there were no numbers associated with the buildings. A year later we have H St.John Wright at 834 (the house on the corner of the lane, on the left), F G Monserat in 846, on the right, and there’s another house on the block on the corner of Haro (off the picture to the right) with George Robinson living there.

840 Thurlow, the house in middle appeared in 1895, with E Atkinson living in it. W Patterson had moved into 846. 840 and 846 saw several changes of tenant, but Mr. Wright stayed at 834 for many years. In 1899 David Hunter moved into 840, and he also stayed for several years. In 1902 only 846 had a new occupant: D A Grant, a post office clerk, (who replaced a family called Grace who were there in 1901).

We weren’t confident that we had found the Wright family in the 1901 census, and the street directory never stated where Henry St.John Wright’s was employed. His son, Henry Wright was living at home in 1894 and was a clerk with Scott and Hughes, auctioneers, and in 1896 with J S Rankin & Co, also auctioneers. Another son, R F Wright was a clerk with R W Armstrong, a barrister. By 1902 Richard F Wright had become a linesman, and M J Wright, a clerk was also living at the same address with both Henry Wrights. That suggests that Henry Wright was listed in the census as Harry Wright. He arrived in Canada in 1893 from Ireland and was a land agent aged 62. There’s just one reference to anybody called Henry St.John Wright who an Irish land agent. He was on a jury in 1867, and he lived in Killeena in Skibbereen. Harry’s wife was Olhelia, 55, and three children were shown; son Richard, 20, a clerk, daughter Marcia who was 18, and 15-year-old son Monsarrat, also a clerk. Henry (or Harry) junior wasn’t noted (in 1901).

By 1906 the family had moved on, to Barclay Street, and Wilfred Huston identified in the street directory rather cryptically as ‘pianos’, had moved into their old home. David Hunter, a clerk was still at 840 and David Grant was still at 846. David Hunter was also from Ireland, aged 40 in 1901, with his 31-yea-old wife Minnie, from Ontario and their children Erskine, 9 and Browne, 7.

The houses saw many families come and go, and a complete list would be exhausting. In 1980 a residential and commercial project called City View was built here by Qualico Developments, with the commercial element fronting Thurlow.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-443

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Posted July 16, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

1128 and 1132 Robson Street

We don’t know much about these small almost certainly speculatively built houses on Robson Street because their construction pre-dates 1900. When they were built they were numbered as 1130 and 1132, and they were constructed before 1898 when T F Watson of H M Customs, and H J Thorne were resident. Mr Watson stayed on, but T C Gray was in 1132 in 1899, and in 1901 George O’Loan, an engineer. At 1130 Alfred McMillan, another engineer, had moved in that year.

We could create a long list of tenants who occupied the houses over the years, (it seems unlikely that the houses were sold every year or two), but the point of interest is how this part of Robson Street stayed residential in character for a surprisingly long time. Even in 1921 only one of the two houses had a commercial use. Charles Pearse and John Ross were listed as living in the properties. Charles was a checker for the CPR, living at 1130, while John was a baker, running his business at 1132 while living on Cardero Street. A decade later 1130 was empty, and 1132 was occupied by C H Knight, a tea and coffee merchant. In 1941 1130 was the West End Dairy & Cake Shop, with Mrs. E Bartlett living upstairs, and 1132 was home to Kyra’s Ladies Wear.

Two years before this 1957 image was taken 1130 was home to Ace Radio & Electric, while Bonita’s Dress Shop was at 1132. Both businesses were still in the same place when the picture was taken. At least we know who designed the redeveloped retail buildings in 1999. W T Leung was architect for a new retail unit that for a while was home to Ghirardelli Chocolates. Today there’s a restaurant upstairs over a nutrition supplement store, with an optician next door.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives Bu P508.63

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Posted July 2, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End