Archive for the ‘West End’ Category

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

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

1201 Pendrell Street

Here’s a house in 1956, the year before it was redeveloped. The building that replaced it is an 80 unit rental building designed by Peter Kaffka, called Barracca Court when it was built in 1957. The house it replaced dated back to 1903, although it had a significant rebuild in 1912. The owner then was cannery owner A J Buttimer, who spent $3,000 on repairs and alterations, (more than many houses cost to build in that era).

Initially it was owned by Duncan Rowan, also a salmon canner, who hired Parr and Fee to build the house, which cost $9,000 to construct. Duncan owned the Terra Nova Canning Company with his brother, Jack. They had both previously worked for J H Todd and Son’s Richmond and Beaver canneries. Duncan Rowan became district manager when the British Columbia Packers Association was formed. In 1901 the Rowan family were still living in Richmond (nearer the cannery interests). Duncan was 41, and his wife, Mary, five years younger. They were both born on Ontario. There were no children at home, but they did have a domestic, Sarah Rowan, and a lodger, Thomas Robinson.

Alfred Buttimer, who moved into the house around 1911, was a partner with George Dawson in Brunswick Canneries. (There was initially a third partner as well; George Wilson). All three men came originally from New Brunswick. George Dawson was Alfred’s brother-in-law, and another of Alfred’s sisters, Annie, also joined him in Vancouver.

Alfred Buttimer arrived in Vancouver around 1890, and was married in 1904 in San Francisco to an Ontario-born divorcee called Margaret Cunningham. They had a son two years later, who died as a baby, and they seem to have had no more children. He continued to be involved in the fishing industry until he sold his interest to B C Packers in 1925, concentrating on his real estate interests until his death in 1934. Alfred and Margaret continued to live in the house until then, when William and Alice Francis moved in. They stayed in the house, but by 1940 it was listed under their name as ‘rooms’, a role it retained until it was demolished. In 1950 John Bota, a labourer for the city was running the rooms, and in 1956 it was known as The Pillars, split into 7 apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P508.82

Posted January 18, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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The Buchan – 1906 Haro Street

This has to be one of the city’s lesser known hotels. We took the picture when there were no leaves on the trees – taken now the building is almost impossible to see. Built in 1935, and designed by H S Griffith, it still has the name it was given when it was opened. For some reason the current hotel website believe it dates back to 1926, but through to the early 1930s there were three families living in a property owned by the Royal Trust Company. Previously the house had been owned by Major Barwis, who added a garage in 1911. Our Vancouver Public Library image dates back to 1943.

William Bailey Barwis was the manager of the Vancouver office of the Manufacturers’ Life Insurance Company, born in Magantic in Quebec and resident in a house here from 1908 to 1918. In 1936 this address appears for the first time in the street directory as the Buchan Hotel, shown as being managed by Mrs L L McCallum, (although Charles B McCallum is listed as the manager elsewhere in the same directory).

It’s claimed that the hotel was named after novelist and politician, John Buchan. As Baron Tweedsmuir he visited Vancouver twice, in 1936 and 1939, having been appointed Governor General of Canada in 1935, the year the hotel was being built. On his second visit Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir visited the City of Vancouver Archives and met Major Matthews – an event appropriately recorded in a photograph in the Archives today. This is one of the later designs of H S Griffith, who designed dozens of Victoria and Vancouver commercial and residential projects over a period of over 30 years.

Posted August 10, 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Kenmore Apartments – Gilford Street

The Kenmore Apartments have been on the 1000 block of Gilford, in the West End, for over 90 years. The building was designed by McCarter and Nairne, better known for their commercial buildings (including the Marine Building) than residential projects. The building was supposedly completed in 1926, and has 32 rental apartments. This 1943 image suggests the stucco didn’t perform too well on what was a relatively new building, and since then the cornice (which was never tremendously prominent) has been lost.

During the 1950s Malcolm Lowry and his wife Margerie would winter here, when it was too uncomfortable to live in his squatter shack on the North Shore. The proximity of the bar of the Hotel  Sylvia was no doubt an attraction. The Kenmore was also home to Colonel E S Davidson, a retired widower in his 80s and owner of Tippie, a Yorkshire terrier who got her own obituary in the local newspaper when she died in 1940, aged 19. There’s more about the Colonel (and Tippie) on westendvancouver.

There was a house here before the apartments were developed. It was addressed as 1900 Comox, and completed around 1906 when J A McCrossan was the first occupant, described as an ‘inspector’ in 1906 (actually he was the city’s electrical inspector), and manager of  B C Dental Supply Co in 1908. This was apparently a short-lived move; In 1907, he had resigned his position as the city electrician so that he could become manager of the new company. It appears that he reconsidered this approach, because after 1909 he continued to be the city electrician for another four years. There’s more on him, also at westendvancouver.

The first time The Kenmore appears in a street directory was in 1928, so there seems to have been a delay in completion. Even at that point twelve of the apartments were vacant. The agents for leasing the building were Macaulay Nicolls Maitland & Co Ltd. Today there’s never a problem in filling a vacancy.

Posted March 30, 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Beaconsfield Apartments – Bute Street

beaconsfield

The Beaconsfield is one of the earlier apartment buildings built in the West End. Completed in 1910, the building permit tells us it was designed by J S D Taylor and built by McLean & Fulton at a cost of $85,000. The developer was A J Woodward.  The building’s features include the bays filled with wooden balconies and some art nouveau details, with a slightly incongruous Palladian style window in the recessed entrance court.

We’re reasonably confident that Mr. Woodward was unrelated to the Woodward family who were rapidly expanding their Downtown departmental stores. We don’t believe he was (at the time of the building’s construction) a Vancouver resident; we think that it’s Arthur Joseph Woodward, the owner of the Vancouver Floral Company, living in Victoria. (There was another Arthur J Woodward in Vancouver, but as a bartender living in rooms, he seems an unlikely developer)

The Victoria based Arthur was born in England, as was Adelaide, his wife, and according to the 1911 census had arrived in 1905 with at least eleven children, all still living at home in 1911, aged from six to twenty-seven. In fact Mr. Woodward had arrived in 1888, and established a large seed and floral business with significant glasshouses and nurseries in both Ross Bay in Victoria and in Kerrisdale.

In 1914 The Woodward family built a new British Arts & Craft style home in Saanich. Five years earlier A J Woodward had paid for the construction of a new Gospel Hall in the 1100 block of Seymour Street. We’re pretty confident that it’s the same developer as the apartment building because the architect and builder were the same, (apparently Mr. Taylor’s first Canadian design). For many years this building was ‘women only’, offering apartments to nurses at St Paul’s Hospital.

Today the building still offers rental apartments, although the street is closed and the tree canopy almost hides the entire structure in summer, and the cornice has been lost.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives M-11-57

Posted January 16, 2017 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Holly Lodge – Davie Street

holly-lodge

Here’s the only Vancouver residential apartment building designed by San Francisco architects Wright, Rushforth & Cahill. Wright was the lead partner, and originally from England, but Bernard Cahill was the likely designer, from San Francisco. It dates from 1910, and was completed a year later. The building permit estimated a cost of $100,000, but as designs were clarified the cost was raised to $157,000. In submitting the permit, the architects (who had opened a Vancouver office) claimed to be the builders This was unlikely to be true; they co-ordinated the trades who were the builders: the Wells Construction company carried out the initial site works of excavation and basement construction.

The developers were the Pacific Investment Corporation, and the Contract Record published some of the details of the project: “There will be 82 apartments in all, comprised as follows: 56 3-room, 22 4-room, 2 5-room and 2 2-room. In addition, there is a store on the comer suitable for grocer or druggist. Provision is also made for a cafe below the ground floor on Davie street, with stairway from the entrance vestibule. The basement will contain the heating plant, hot water service, vacuum cleaning plant, storage rooms, and janitor’s quarters. For the convenience of tenants, there will be dumb waiters, messenger and telegraph call boxes, mail chutes, patent sanitary garbage chutes, and vacuum cleaning system. Near the passenger elevator will be a ‘phone with connection to each apartment.”

The Pacific Investment Corporation’s fiscal agents were Wolverton & Co, run (in Vancouver) by Alfred N Wolverton and managing stocks, bonds and investments in real estate and timber. Newton Wolverton was president of Wolverton & Co, but was based in Nelson. He was president of Sunset Mills (a lumber company) and of Pacific Investment Corporation. He was born in Ontario, had an extraordinary career; he obtained a law degree, became Principal of Woodstock College (a Baptist training college) and then of Bishop College University in Texas from 1897 to 1903. He then became Superintendent of the Brandon Experimental Farm before moving to BC to take up finance and real estate in 1907.

It appears that the building is still owned today by a company with the same name, which may well have been an investment vehicle to develop the building. The investment opportunity was offered in February 1910: “The Pacific Investment Corporation, Limited, has purchased for the sum of $25,000 a double corner, 132×132 feet, the southeast coiner of Davie and Jervis streets, the very finest apartment building site in Vancouver’s exclusive West End. (It is immaterial that the company his since been offered $27,000 for this property). The company is going to erect the finest and most up-to-date six-storey apartment block in Western Canada on the business unit system and the estimated cost of property and building is $135,000. The company is now placing on the market 750 business units at par $100 each $25 cash, balance in two, four and six months, without interest. About one-third of these units is already subscribed.”

Our image dates from around 1911, when the building was featured in a postcard now in the BC Archives collection. As far as we know the store, and lower level café were never built. Bernard Cahill’s buildings after Holly Lodge include the Multnomah Hotel in Portland, also still standing today.