Archive for the ‘Yaletown’ Category

1200 block Homer Street (4)

1200 block Homer 3

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

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Posted July 24, 2014 by ChangingCity in Altered, Still Standing, Yaletown

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1200 block Homer Street (3)

1200 block Homer 1

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

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Posted July 21, 2014 by ChangingCity in Yaletown

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1200 block Homer Street (2)

1200 block Homer 2

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

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1290 Homer Street

1290 Homer

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.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4432

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Posted July 14, 2014 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, Yaletown

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Sweeney Cooperage

Sweeny

From as far back as the 1890s until the early 1980’s the site to the east of the Cambie Bridge made barrels. The earliest reference we can trace is the 1899 street directory, and the 1901 Insurance Map shows a large industrial cooperage alongside the bridge. Although it was identified as the Cambie Street Bridge, the road that led to it was considered to be Beatty Street, not Cambie, although the cooperage was addressed as Cambie (but not allocated a street number). It was operated by the BC Sugar Refinery as their cooperage, and seems to have replaced the BC Oil Co who seem to have occupied the site before 1898.

Cooperage 1912By 1912 the BC Sugar Refinery Cooperage continued to occupy the site, there’s a new bridge next to where the earlier structure had been located, and the Cascade Coal and Wood Co also seem to operate from part of the same wharf that pushed out beside the bridge into False Creek. By 1916 there were two cooperages on the waterfront of False Creek, one on either side of the Connaught (Cambie) Bridge. The BC Cooperage and the Vancouver Cooperage & Woodenware Co were both here.

It’s likely that the BC Cooperage was the “small branch plant established in Vancouver on False Creek” that Michael Sweeney established in 1914. Initially Sweeney, a cooper from Newfoundland, set up shop in Victoria in 1889, and his first Vancouver cooperage was in 1914. In 1921 the firm amalgamated with Vancouver Cooperage, and with an interest from an Oregon company the name was changed to Canadian Western Cooperage Limited. The firm expanded in both Victoria and Vancouver, rebuilt in both cities after spectacular fires (in 1937 in Vancouver’s case). The Sweeney family bought back the company shares in 1939 and the company regained the Sweeney Cooperage name

Sweeney barrels 1950 VPLAt one point the cooperage was the largest barrel manufacturer in the British Empire producing 2000 barrels a day, selling them to customers in more than 40 countries with branches in Montreal, Portland and Seattle. Sweeney barrels were used to ship goods from strawberries to salted salmon around the world.

The sawmill which produced the wooden barrel parts (shown in this 1960s image) was built in 1946 and the cooperage closed in 1981 to make way for the construction of B.C. Place and the new Cambie Street Bridge. Some of the factory lives on – McGinnis Wood Products in Cuba, Missouri acquired some of the barrel making machines and now has the largest air dried inventory of bourbon barrels in the world.

Today Concord Pacific’s Cooper’s Mews has replaced the Expo activity with four condo buildings containing over 500 units designed by Walter Francl, Hotson Bakker and Hancock, Bruckner, Eng & Wright.

Thanks to Jennifer Sweeney for the detailed (and accurate) company story.

Image sources, VPL, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-489

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Posted May 8, 2013 by ChangingCity in Gone, Yaletown

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1014 Homer Street

1014 Homer - General Motors

In 1931 Dominion Construction built this 3 storey building on Homer Street. It’s a reinforced concrete structure, a technique Dominion were familiar with building. but it was the financial structure of the developer that was novel. While the recession hadn’t really bitten, Dominion’s boss, Charles Bentall, started to use the recently created New Building Finance Company to keep his construction workers employed. General Motors wanted a new building, but they wanted to lease it, and Dominion were the contractors and designers and were prepared to help finance the construction. When the time came, rather than the New Building Finance Company funding it the building ownership was taken on by the Selman family, owners of Canadian Wood Pulp and Tank Limited.

Our photo shows the building a year after construction, and General Motors continued to occupy the building until 1950. They had offices for their finance division as well as their warehouse (presumably for parts). A couple of years later Barr and Anderson, plumbers, moved into the building, and at some point it became known as the Stall Building.

Eighty years on the building looks remarkably similar to when it was built, but the occupants are quite different. Today the tenants, among others, are architects, a book publisher and a computer store. And somehow, (possibly during a 1986 renovation) while almost every building that had a fancy cornice has lost it, the Stall Building managed to acquire one it never had.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4156

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Posted February 15, 2013 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, Yaletown

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1028 Hamilton Street

1028 Hamilton

We now know a bit more about this Yaletown warehouse than has been recorded anywhere else. We know who designed it – it was Raphael A Nicolais, an architect about whom we can find very little information. Sometimes he partnered with Richard Perry, and his name was as often as not recorded as Nicolas, or as Nicholais, although we think it was most accurately (and mostly) written as Nicolais. Unlike some blog subjects, he can be found with his wife and family in the 1911 Census, living in Point Grey on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Trimble. There he was recorded as Ralph A Nikolias, he was only aged 28 and he was born in Italy, arriving in Canada in 1910.

The builder was George Baker, and the owners were Buckley and Baker. They don’t seem to have ever built anything else, so are hard to track down. It seems most likely that Baker is the same George B Baker who built the Gray Block, and the most likely Buckley is Frank L Buckley who had a new house built on Osler Avenue in 1913. He was recorded in the street directory as Managing Director of the British Canadian Labour Corporation, a position he continued to hold over a number of years. We think he must have been the Frank Buckley who in 1911 was the American manager of B C Lumber Mills, and lived with his American wife Rosa and two children, James and Helen, and their Norwegian domestic, Bertha Ostrom.

The building was built in 1911, and is recorded on the 1912 Insurance map as the King Warehouse when it was apparently numbered as 1050 Hamilton. In 1924, as our picture shows, it was used by the Consolidated Exporters Co. During the 1940s and 50s it was home to Crawford Storage, where Mrs M M Crawford was company president. More recently it continued to be a warehouse for clothing, but now operates predominantly as office space.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3487

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Posted February 15, 2013 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, Yaletown

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