Archive for the ‘Yaletown’ Category
In 1912 J M McLuckie obtained a permit for a $41,000 5-storey warehouse that he designed and built. On the permit it was shown shown at 1106 Helmcken, but we’re almost certainly it was really this building; 1106 Mainland Street. It was developed by Kelly, Douglas & Co, and the building here was initially used by the Kelly Confectionary Co, a company created by Robert Kelly. He was the son of an Irish tailor and was born in Ontario. He travelled to Vancouver in 1886, but finding things a bit slow, moved south and managed a general store and telegraph office in McPherson, just south of Los Angeles.
Kelly returned to Vancouver in 1887 and established a wholesale fruit and provision business with William McMillan on Water Street. Two years later he became a travelling salesman for Oppenheimer Brothers, leaving the job in 1895 and teaming up with William Braid to form Braid, Kelly and Company, wholesale grocers specializing in tea and coffee. Business was good, but the partnership lasted less than a year as Kelly’s loud style didn’t work with Braid’s more conservative approach to business.
Frank Douglas from Lachute, Quebec arrived in Vancouver in 1896. Douglas would be described a few months later by the Vancouver Daily World as “an able and progressive business man.” Despite their differing personalities, the pair created Kelly, Douglas and Company, wholesale grocers and tea importers. The firm prospered, helped by the Liberal political connections that Kelly established. Douglas spent each summer visiting the Klondike to meet clients and secure orders; he was on one of these trips in 1901 when the Islander, the steamer on which he was travelling, hit an iceberg and sank in Lynn Canal, Alaska. Kelly continued running the business, and Douglas’s brother became a partner a few years later.
The company’s Nabob brand was registered in 1905 and soon became known for the high-quality pre-packaged teas and coffees that are still sold, (these days as part of Kraft Foods). In 1906 the firm built a huge nine-storey warehouse on Water Street.
The Kelly Confection Company Limited was established that year to market confectioneries, and business was good enough for the firm to require its own warehouse, built in the area now known as Yaletown, that the CPR released a couple of years earlier. By 1941, as this VPL image shows, the Mainland Street warehouse was being used by Kelly Douglas for their Nabob branded foods. As in our 1970s image there was a smaller 2-storey building next door; that was replaced in 1989 with a new ‘heritage style’ office building that looks like a former warehouse.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-813
This 1970 Archives image shows how little this part of Yaletown has changed in nearly 50 years – at least physically. There are far fewer added street trees on this side of Homer Street, so you can still see the buildings. That’s not true of the west side or many other nearby streets, especially to the west of here in Downtown South; (the area realtors like to call Yaletown, or sometimes New Yaletown).
We looked at the history of 1138 Homer, the Frank Darling Block, in the previous post. That’s the three storey building to the left of the telegraph pole in the centre of the picture. Next door is a 2 storey building that also dates from 1913 and like its neighbor cost $40,000 according to the Building Permit. It was built by R & F Watson for Adamson & Main, who claimed to be the architects. The same developers, Adamson & Main, were also responsible for the adjacent five storey white brick building at 1180 Homer developed in 1910 and designed by architects Campbell & Bennett, costing $35,000. (Only four storeys are visible in the picture, and there is also an additional storey on all of these buildings on Mainland Street where the other façade of this block is a full storey lower).
Adamson & Main are a mystery. The only reference to any partnership under this name in contemporary sources is for the permit for this building. There are only a few possible people called Adamson in the city between 1910 and 1914; one possibility is Robert Adamson who was the accountant for the BC Sugar Refinery; the only other well paid Adamson was J Adamson who was Chief Engineer on the Empress of Russia (and in the 1900s on the Empress of India). He seems more likely to be the developer partner, as James Adamson hired the same R & F Watson to design and build a $15,000 apartment building on Oak Street in 1914. James Adamson had been first chief engineer since the Empress service was started in 1891, and he would have been well paid. His appearance in the street directories (but with no home address) suggests Vancouver was his home base. J Adamson had Parr and Fee design a $2,000 house on Burrard Street in 1903, although nobody called Adamson appears to have lived there. J Adamson appears in the 1901 census, but apparently aboard ship (as most of the members of the recorded ‘household’ are ship’s crew, including the Head of Household who was the First Mate). Apart from identifying his job as Chief Engineer, and that he was of English origin, all other details are missing. The ship would have been The Empress of India. Adamson was Chief Engineer on the Empress of Russia from her maiden voyage in 1913 when she broke the record for crossing the Pacific in an easterly direction by 28 hours. He ended his career in 1919 as Chief Engineer on the Empress of Asia.
Main could have been James Main, a hardware merchant, but David Main, is a much more likely candidate. A 1914 biography said: “for many years he has been engaged in the building trade but now practically spends his time in looking after his valuable realty holdings.” He was from Nairn, in Scotland. His father was a sea captain who “at the age of seventy-three years died suddenly of apoplexy, passing away after four hours of illness.” David Main trained as a carpenter, arriving in Philadelphia in 1887 where he worked as head carpenter on a training ship before moving to Vancouver in 1891. For a few years around 1900 he worked in Atlin in Northern BC, where he shipped lumber to White Horse and built the hospital and the Presbyterian church. On his return to Vancouver in 1902 he briefly worked as a carpenter before running a building materials company with T G McBride before retiring to manage his property interests in 1911.
The taller, narrower white brick building is known as the McMaster Building these days, and was turned into condos ten years ago. The original plan was to renovate the building, but it was in such poor shape that it had to be completely rebuilt with the façade retained and tied into the new structure. The original tenants in the building were William J McMaster and Sons. William was from Northern Ireland as was his wife Elizabeth and they had at least five sons, four of whom were shown in the census living at home in Toronto in 1901. It appears that for a while William also lived in Vancouver: he was shown on Georgia Street in 1901 and Haro Street in 1904. James was shown living in the city as early as 1899, and W J appeared in 1897, living at the Mountain View Hotel and a year later in the Leland Hotel. In using Census records we quite often note that someone resident in the city according to the street directories was missed by the census. In this unique example, William, James and Edward McMaster are shown living at home in Toronto and also lodging in Vancouver in the 1901 Census.
The Vancouver directors were James and Edward McMaster. Edward had been born in Montreal and attended Trinity University; a 1914 biography says he worked as a travelling salesman for the family company before taking on the sales manager’s role in the newly established Vancouver location in 1906. Actually he was already resident in Vancouver in 1901, and married here in 1904 to Mary Stewart, from Glasgow. He was elected an alderman in 1911 and was a Director of the Vancouver Exhibition Association. His brother James was also in Vancouver in 1901, marrying Lena who was from Ontario.
The company was a clothing wholesaler, and street directories show that their earlier premises were on Cordova, operating as Manufacturer’s Agents, specializing in Gloves and ready-to-wear. They lasted a very short time as W J McMaster & Sons – but they continued to operate from the property. In 1916 the BC Shirt and Overall Manufacturing Co were here: James McMaster was the foreman and Edward the manager. A January 1916 edition of ‘Industrial Canada’ noted that “McMasters Ltd., manufacturers of shirts and overalls, Vancouver, have sold their undertaking to the B. C. Shirt and Overall Manufacturing Co., Ltd.” The Manufacturing Co was a new operation, incorporated that year and capitalized at $25,000. There had been a severe depression of the economy before the war, and in many cases businesses already in existence carried out a re-arrangement of business to avoid bankruptcy. This doesn’t seem to have helped the McMaster operations: both 1176 and 1180 Homer were vacant in 1917. By 1919 the Ives Modern Bedstead Co were in 1176 Homer and Torry-Lee storage in 1180. James McMaster had a job as an accountant with Fleck Brothers, a job he retained for several years. Edward’s employment isn’t noted in 1919, but in the early 1920s he was a manufacturer’s agent.
James L Torry was an importer, and the Homer Street facility was his warehouse with the storage and distribution business offered as an adjunct. By the mid 1920s another firm moved in, Pioneer Envelopes Ltd. Envelopes were obviously the thing on Homer Street. Pioneer were here right through to World War Two, and the company still exists in Richmond and Langley. They were replaced in the 1950s by the Norfolk Paper Co. The McMaster name was still used for the building.
The shorter building to the north also saw variation in tenants and change over the years, with, among others, an upholsterer, an outdoor advertiser and De Laval Co Ltd, dairy supplies (who were in the building for several decades). Closest to us is the Smith Davidson & Wright warehouse , also selling stationery, designed by Ted Blackmore in 1909 and completed in 1911.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-54
This is another of the Yaletown warehouse buildings built after the Canadian Pacific railway released some of their land for development around 1910. Frank Darling & Co built this warehouse in 1913. Honeyman and Curtis were the architects, Frank Darling was the client, and Irwin Carver and Co were the builders of the $40,000 structure.
Frank Darling was an electrical equipment supplier, living on Nicola Street in 1911 with his wife Frances and their three young children, David, Elizabeth and Ruth. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Frances was American, and the children had all been born in BC. Frank’s company was established in Vancouver in 1906. Frank was one of four brothers (with Arthur, Edward and George) who owned Darling Brothers, founded in 1888. Frank set out on his own in 1906, leaving the day-to-day management of the manufacturing arm of Darling Brothers to his three siblings and acting as an agent for their products in British Columbia. At the height of its production the Darling Foundry was the second largest operation in Montreal, with over 100,000 square feet of space. Each of its 4 buildings was dedicated to its own specialized purpose: inventory & stock, a showroom, the iron works, and the assembly plant. The company closed in 1991, and in the early 2000s repurposed as an Arts Centre.
In Vancouver, Frank’s business stayed here until the 1940s, sharing the building with Rennie Seeds for a while after the war before moving to premises in Burrard Slopes. Advertisments in the Vancouver Daily World offering space for lease suggest that Frank continued to own and lease the parts of the building his own business did not need.
In this 1924 picture H J Heinz were using the Hamilton side of the building as their warehouse, staying here through to the 1930s. In the early 1950s a variety of companies operated here including Industrial Adhesives and Barclay & Co, importers and exporters, joined rather unexpectedly by the Consulate of Spain. Frank was still alive in the early 1950s, but retired from the business, with the former manager, W G Metcalf as President of the company that still dealt in pumps and other machinery.
In 1973, when the image was taken, Luxford International Housewares were operating their warehouse here. Today it’s the Brix and Mortar restaurant on the main floor (on the Homer Street side) next door to the New Oxford pub, with another restaurant on the lower loading dock floor and a market research company occupying the upper floors.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3446 and CVA 447-96
The main building in this picture is identified by the City Archives as Milne and Middleton’s. Actually that was different building – one that’s still standing today. This building is a late addition to Yaletown; it was built in 1948, and was first occupied in 1950 by R E Johnson and Co who dealt in plumbing and heating supplies. In this 1981 image there’s a public stenographer and a Mailing Services company advertising their presence. The building that replaced it in 2002 was technically a conversion, although clearly the Homer Street façade is almost completely rebuilt. It’s part of Rafii Architecture’s ‘Alda’ project that includes the new-build part to the south as well.
To the north was another site that went undeveloped until 1998 when ‘The Grafton’ was completed (although at least one realtor would have you believe it’s a conversion). Designed by Linda Baker, it contains 27 strata residential units over office and retail.
Next door is genuine conversion of a warehouse to residential uses, known as ‘The Ellison’. It was originally built for George Baker in 1929 and designed by Sharp and Thompson. We assume it’s the same George Baker who was a builder and who had been involved in building much of the area including both the Gray Block up the street and 1028 Hamilton Street. Howard Bingham Hill designed the 27 unit conversion and addition, completed in 2007 by the Holborn Group. For many years it was the home of the Ellison Mill and Elevator Co, although by 1950 it was multi-tenanted including National Carbon Batteries, Memba Pectin Co, Independent Biscuits, A J Sinclair’s upholstery supplies and J E Stark food distributors.
We featured the two buildings at the end of the block (including the Gray Block) in a post we wrote last year.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.18
The warehouse on the right of the shot is the H S Griffith designed building built in 1910 for W R Arnold that we featured in the previous post. Inexplicably, there’s a vacant site in this 1981 image that isn’t the result of a demolition. No building was ever constructed between the 1948 warehouse on the left of the picture (1250 Homer) and the 1910 warehouse/factory.
Today Rafii Architecture’s ‘Alda’ building is here; completed in 2002 with a combination of 59 residential strata units, office space and retail along Homer. It also incorporated the warehouse on the left of the picture, with a completely new façade.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.17
We saw the building on the right of this 1981 picture in the previous post. It was built in 1910 as MacPherson & Teetzel’s hardware warehouse and designed by Parr and Fee.
The more substantial building next door was built in the same year for W R Arnold by Adkinson and Dill for $48,000. It was designed by H S Griffith and described in the permit as a reinforced concrete warehouse. The first tenant was Hamilton Smith’s ‘Smith Biscuit Co’. Mr. Smith lived in the Hotel Europe, on Powell Street, along the street from one of his rivals, the Mooney Biscuit & Candy Co, based in Stratford, Ontario. In 1907 Mooney’s advertisement claimed they were ‘the fastest growing business in the Dominion’, and had added a fleet of their own rail cars to ship their ‘Perfection Cream Soda’ biscuits around the country.
H S Griffith was based in Victoria, having moved from England, and he established his Vancouver office in 1910. This warehouse, and another in Yaletown, were both issued with permits on the same day, and appear to be the first issued to Griffith. William Arnold was, in 1910, the Managing Director of the Dominion Trust Company who had also built a West Pender building through another subsidiary, also designed by H S Griffith, as well as the Dominion Building that they took on when the Imperial Trust ran into financial problems. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Arnold developed this warehouse as a personal project, or on behalf of The Dominion Trust Company. In a later court case (after Mr. Arnold’s death), the judge described him as ‘a man of endless speculations’.
A couple of years after the construction of Dominion Trust’s portfolio of buildings the economy went into a ‘severe financial re-adjustment’ (as it was described at the time). The final straw may have been over-extended company finances on a planned harbour scheme on Lulu Island (that was never built), and the company’s liquidator concluded that Mr. Arnold had advanced a series of unauthorized loans that were very risky. The $5,752,232 of book assets were estimated to actually be worth under a million dollars. W R Arnold shot himself, aged 31, in 1914 in what was initially reported as ‘a bad accident’. An initial court judgement agreed that it was an accidental death, and his insurance company was to pay $100,000 to the Dominion Trust. However, the insurance company won on appeal, and the death officially became a suicide.
In 1912 the Mooney Biscuit & Candy Co acquired the Smith Biscuit Co as part of their Canadian-wide expansion, allowing them to bake their branded biscuits in the west coast market, rather than having to ship them from further east. The First World War may have caused something of a problem for Mooney’s – by 1916 they were in receivership (which may be the reason for the VPL having a photo of their empty ‘melting pots’ from that year). The building was apparently vacant for several years, but in 1919 the Canadian Nut Co were here, and in 1920 they were joined by the Mainland Confectionery Co, managed by Chas. Rimmer.
By 1924 the confectionery company were still here, but the nut company had been replaced by Ogilvie Flour Mills Co. Ltd. The Montreal-based millers retained the location (and soon replaced the confectionery company) for over two decades. (The archives have some great images of their delivery trucks for Royal Household flour at the warehouse). By 1944 they shared the building with a wholesale confectioners, McBride Jackson Ltd, and a commercial artist and printers, R H Storer & Co.
By 1981 when these images were shot, Moore & Middleton occupied the building. The company was a manufacturer of knitting yarns for Cowichan and Icelandic sweaters and North American distributor of knitting yarns, needlepoint, sewing supplies, laces, trims and hobby crafts; it was dissolved in 1985. Today the building has office space on the upper floors and Yaletown’s last billiard hall on the Hamilton Street loading dock side of the building.
Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.16
This modest warehouse has been around in Yaletown for over a century. Inaccurately labeled in the archives as 1090 Homer Street, when it was photographed in 1935 it was already a 25-year-old building. It was built in the flurry of construction when the CPR released the area near their tracks for new wholesale facilities for the fast-growing city. The permit says it was designed by Parr and Fee for MacPherson & Teetzel and built for $2,500 by Smith & Sherborne. Undoubtedly it cost more than that – so either that was just the foundations, or a digit was missed by the clerk.
MacPherson & Teetzel were a relatively new company, formed in the fall of 1907, but founding partner D MacPherson had already sold out to his partner in 1908 – although Archibald Teetzel didn’t change the name of the business when he took sole control. He was a fairly young entrepreneur, having been born in western Ontario in 1880. He worked at a general store for 8 years, before moving to Vancouver in 1901 when he became a traveling salesman for a firm of wholesale grocers for six years. He was married in Revelstoke in 1906, and settled briefly in Nelson in 1907 before selling out a few months later and moving to Vancouver where he shifted to the wholesale hardware business. In 1912 he added a new business to his portfolio, the Pacific Rubber Tire & Repair Company Ltd on Granville Street. By 1928 MacPherson & Teetzel still occupied this building, but were now known as Elliot, Teetzel and Wilson Ltd. They seems to have gone by 1930, when the building was empty, replaced briefly by Dominion Canners (wholesale) before Dunlop took the premises.
Today, unusually, there’s still a 2-storey office building (3 storey on Hamilton) – with no additions to the height or conversions of the space on the loading dock to restaurant.