1025 Main Street

“Morrow Coal and Ice. Co.” first appear at this location (initially 1027 and then 1025 Main Street) in 1924 . Their motto, over the entrance was the punning ‘Phone TO MORROW For Your COAL TO-DAY’. The yard in 1922 was owned by Alberta Pacific Coals Ltd and Kirk & Co’s Yard #2, with A L Amiel at 1029 Main.

Alfred Amiel emigrated to Vancouver from Deal, Kent, England in 1902. He worked as a teamster for Vancouver Ice and Cold Storage Company c. 1908-1910, before becoming the manager of the Almond Ice Company, manufacturers of ice. The company history says that by 1914, Amiel was the proprietor of the company. In 1915, he opened the Amiel Ice & Fuel Company at 406 E Pender Street. The following year, the company moved to 1024 Main Street next to the Almond Ice Company. This part of the story isn’t quite accurate; in 1915 the street directory shows the Almond Ice Co on West Pender (at #406) next to the Almond Ice Cream Co, owned by H E Almond (at 400). Mr. Amiel was the owner of the Almond Ice Co at 1025 Main. In 1917 the company became a coal and ice company, run by A L Amiel. Before Amiel’s move here the site was home to the Main Horse Repository.

The company history says William Morrow purchased the Amiel Ice & Fuel Company in 1922 after original owner Alfred Lewis Amiel went bankrupt. That year the street directory shows Morrow Ice Co and the Alberta Coal Co (owned by William Morrow) sharing this yard. (However, in 1923 Amiel was still shown in business at 1029 Main St, although that might be an error, as he actually stayed on working for Morrow as retail manager of the ice company). William Morrow was the manager until his death in 1930 when G.A. Strickland took over, and Myldred Morrow, William’s widow, was president. By 1935, William and Myldred’s son William J.T. Morrow was the manager and his mother remained the company president. In 1967 William became the president and the business moved to 1251 Charles St. In 1978 a second location is given at 745 W. 54th Ave which then was no longer listed after 1985. Wm Jorgensen became president in 1988 and the business closed the same year.

We can find Myldred Morrow’s death certificate from 1970, so we know she was born in Melborne, Australia, in 1885, and that her father was James Tyrell. He husband was William Bradshaw Morrow, born in Ireland and dying in 1930, aged only 47. In the 1911 census he was lodging in Vancouver Mansions, and a year later in the St James Rooms on Granville Street, working at a sheet metal works. Just before he took over the Alberta Coal Co he was running the Alberta Woodyard.

By 1931, when this Stuart Thomson image was taken, they had ’15 Trucks to Serve You’, and their yard was on a finger of filled land with a wharf to the west. Today you can buy a laser-cut HO scale model of their coal dock, built by Fairbanks Co. The company specialized in lifting bucket mechanisms used to empty the  hoppers. The coal dock was used to fill coal sacks for delivery to retail customers, usually on flat bed trucks. Coal was unloaded into the hopper type building, then dispensed through a number of chutes.

The truck seen here is a pre-1927 Stewart, built in Buffalo, New York, by a company that existed from 1912 to 1941. Morrow’s also owned at least one Ford truck, shot in almost exactly the same image configuration as this one, also in 1931.

Today this is the retail and non-market housing component of Citygate, the high-density housing project built over twenty years from the early 1990s after the site had been part of Expo 86.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4147

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Posted July 10, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Dunsmuir Viaduct – western end

As the plans evolve to remove the only vestiges that were built of the 1960s Downtown freeway plans, the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, this image shows that even the parts we have today have evolved over time. Back in 1974 the viaducts had been completed for a couple of years, and rapid transit into the Downtown was still just a very good idea that hadn’t actually been built.

The row of warehouses on Beatty Street ended abruptly in a warehouse advertising French Maid products. We have no idea what those were, and don’t bother trying to research that on the internet! Where the new Chinatown Stadium SkyTrain station was completed in 1985 there was a vacant site, with a slip road heading north onto Beatty Street from the viaduct.

The recently completed 564 Beatty Street office building, a heritage warehouse with a four storey addition, hides the Sun Tower, but we were able to line the image up because the light fittings haven’t moved and are now over 40 years old. These days they help light up the separated bike path and the bike share station that represents the most recent addition to the corner.

All this will change again soon as the viaducts get replaced. Dunsmuir Street will see the start of a new elevated active transportation bridge (bike and pedestrian use only) that will run through and past some of the new buildings to be constructed between this location and False Creek. Some vehicular access will continue here, on a two-way street to link to Citadel Parade, but mostly this will be the Downtown connection to an elevated linear park.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-64

Posted July 6, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Granville Street – 400 block east side (2)

This picture was taken in June 1945, showing a No. 11 Stanley Park car turning onto Pender Street from Granville Street. The #11 travelled along Kingsway, then Main Street and along Cordova before West Pender and ending up turning in Stanley Park. Streetcar #406 was a PCC, ‘President’s Conference Committee’ car, designed just before the second war to offer a North America rival to the ever-expanding automobile.

Only one Canadian manufacturer built the cars, Canadian Car and Foundry, and in 1939 when the new design was first ordered for Vancouver they were rapidly shifting production to build Hawker Hurricane aircraft for the war effort. Only 36 of the new cars arrived in the city through the war years. Around the time this picture was taken there were serious questions being asked about whether the investment in replacing all of the other vehicles, (like the one on the right of the picture), and maintaining the tracks and electrical equipment was worthwhile. Instead the decision was taken to move “from rails to rubber” and replace the network with buses – in the case of Vancouver those would be electric trolley buses.

The decision was compounded by the fact that streetcars ran down the centre of the road, not at the curb like buses. Getting off and on was becoming increasingly dangerous with the rise of the automobile. The decision to replace Granville Bridge with a new structure added to the potential cost as new tracks would have to be laid. The conversion from streetcars effectively left the network intact, but with trolley buses.

The buildings here are all featured elsewhere on this blog; on the right is Gould and Champney’s Rogers Block for Jonathan Rogers, completed in 1912. Beyond it is the 1908 Canadian Bank of Commerce designed by Darling and Pearson, and across West Hastings is the 1929 Royal Bank building designed by S G Davenport. One thing that unites these buildings is that none were designed in Vancouver. Gould and Champney were from Seattle (although they opened a Vancouver office managed by Albert Wood, and A Warren Gould who designed the building was originally born in PEI), Darling and Pearson practiced in Toronto and S G Davenport was the Royal Bank’s chief architect, based in Montreal.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-3876.

Posted July 3, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

143 Dunlevy Avenue

Sareena’s Place is nothing much to look at, but it’s a valuable facility within the Downtown Eastside.  The structure dates back to 1909, although we’re willing to bet that the stucco dates from around 1950. It’s changed colour many times – back in 1979 when our ‘before’ image was taken it was the Wings Hotel, and pale blue. In the early 2000s it was pink, and the New Wings Hotel. Today it’s name reflects the clientele; a privately owned SRO housing building with 56 rooms now managed by Atira for women facing multiple barriers and challenges, paying welfare rates. It’s now named after Sareena Abotsway, one of six women identified as victims in the Pickton trial. Atira took over management after the City of Vancouver closed the property in 2005, a year that saw three murders in the building. The owner spent a million dollars in repairs before it reopened.

Vancouver Public Library have an image of the building when it was much newer, from around 1910, and it was known as the Dunlevy Apartments. When it opened Frank Vandall was the proprietor, but he just managed the property; the 1908 building permit was issued to Parks & McDonald. John Parks and Donald Bain McDonald were miners, and obviously pretty successful as a couple of years after this building they built another on West Pender. We know they retained this building from subsequent repairs to the building submitted by John Parks and Parks & McDonald in 1921. By 1930 the Dunlevy Rooms had become part of Japantown, managed by K Kaminishi. The building was still listed as the Parks and McDonald Block in the 1940s street directories.

Donald Bain McDonald was Scottish and about 10 years older than his Irish partner, and in 1911 both lived on Jackson Street. We traced them to the ‘Unorganised Territories’ in the 1901 Census – they were both miners, working on ‘their own account’, lodging with Charles Redmond and his wife, Ella, at Bonanza Creek in the Yukon. They had arrived in Canada in 1894 and 1893.

Mr. McDonald was involved in a curious case that led to the dismissal of the Gold Commissioner for the region. In 1902 the Dawson Daily News told the story of two women who started an action that led to the dismissal. “No. 13 (on upper Dominion) was originally staked by H. J. Burt, the packer, but he having left the country, it lapsed by non-representation and was subject to relocation under the proclamation of Gold Commissioner Fawcett. Burt’s title to the property lapsed at midnight August 31, 1898, and Mrs. J. T. Kelly and Mrs. E P Minor were on the ground ready with stakes prepared beforehand. At exactly midnight they drove their stakes, Mrs. Kelly staking the lower half and Mrs. Minor the upper half. Ladies First. Alex McDonald held Burt’s note for $2,000 and it was alleged he was given permission to relocate the ground. The relocation was made by Alex’s brother, Donald McDonald, the staking, however, being a few minutes subsequent to the staking by the ladies. The ladies, by having provided horses near the claim and a boat at the mouth of the Hunker, outstripped Mr. McDonald in the race for this property, he having chosen the Bonanza trail overland. Although both their staking and their application for record were prior to McDonald’s, Fawcett refused to allow them to record. His reason for refusing being that he recognized McDonald’s right to relocate. On October 11 the ladies compromised with the McDonald interests and were permitted to record. Through this claim and through these facts came about the famous Minor Case, which resulted in the Royal Commission being appointed to examine Commissioner Fawcett’s case. Mr. Fawcett was afterward dismissed from the office of Gold Commissioner.”

By 1920 the building was known as the Dunlevy Rooms, a name it retained until at least 1955. We think Mr. McDonald died in Burnaby in 1952, aged 91, single. There’s a John Parks, retired, living on Water Street until 1941, but we can’t be sure if it’s the same John Parks.

Image sources; City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-323 and VPL.

Posted June 29, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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844 Dunlevy Avenue

This house is pictured in 1968, so very nearly 50 years ago. It was built in 1899 by Frederick William Sentell.  F W was elected as a City of Vancouver alderman for a single year, in 1890. Some of the family history can be extracted from interviews with Major Matthews, the City Archivist, but those records are somewhat confused, and not totally in line with contemporary records like the census.

The Sentell family arrived from New Brunswick in 1886. Piecing the various records we can pull together we think there were at least five Sentell brothers, all carpenters and house builders, Ephrahim, Alfred, Frederick, James and George, and there were at least six sisters, Margaret, May, Sophia, Charlotte, Ann and Florence, although we’re only sure that Florence and Charlotte lived in the city (and Florence might have been known as Ann). The 1891 census shows Edward, their father living in the city, listed as an 83-year-old farmer, his wife, Margaret (shown as Margrett), aged 66, with Ephraim, James and Florence as well as a granddaughter, Annie, with her father, Meelett Fowler, who was also a carpenter (and C M Fowler in the street directory). George Sentell lived with his wife, Clara, next door to Edward, E B and G J Sentell on East Hastings Street. Frederick (aged 31 in the 1891 census) lived with his wife Alice, who was from Quebec and aged 19, and their infant son, Fred. The street directory has some different ideas about who lived where, but in 1891 all the different families were either living at 409 or 417 E Hastings. Before arriving in Vancouver the Sentell brothers had worked on building the railway, both in Brandon and Winnipeg, and their last job was building a bridge across Granite Creek.

Frederick Sentell & Alice Slade married in Vancouver on 13 May 1889. Fred was 30, Alice just 17. Alice’s parents were shown as John and Margaret Slade; both from England, but Alice was born in Quebec. We might know what Fred and Alice looked like; there’s part of a picture said to be of an 1888 church outing: the Vancouver As It Was blog identifies them sitting behind each other. Fred has his younger sister Charlotte on his knee; Alice Slade is sitting behind him to the right.

In 1871 John Slade was an English-born house painter, living in Montreal with his Irish wife Mary and infant son, John. In 1881 he was still in Montreal, but he had shaved a few years off his age (or the 1871 census was inaccurate), and his wife was now Harriet, and son John was 11. They were the only family called Slade listed in the province of Quebec. In 1891 the family were listed in Vancouver: John Slade was listed as a house painter, living close to here on Prior at Gore. A second son, William, born in Montreal in 1883; older son John was at home, a clerk in a drug store. An Irish-born labourer, Patrick Fox and his wife Alice lived next door.

We haven’t found any birth records for Frederick Sentell’s wife, Alice Slade, in Montreal, but there was only one Slade family in the province, so although she seems to slip from the census, it seems likely that she was John’s daughter, born to his first wife, (Mary, or Margaret), and sister to his eldest son, John. The Archives have a family picture of Alice and John Edward Slade from 1878, when they were small children, photographed in Montreal. John Slade seems to have remarried and moved to Vancouver with a new wife, Harriet, and they had a son, William. (When William married in 1915 his mother’s name was recorded as Harriet Anne Morgan, born in England). John Slade’s death was recorded in summer 1895. In 1901 Harriet Slade was shown in the street directory as ‘widow of John’, living on Gore Avenue (at Prior). The census shows she shared the house with her son William, and Alice Fox, listed as her sister-in-law.

The Sentell brothers had built a number of the city’s earliest wooden structures, including the first City Hall on Powell Street soon after the fire. They started on September 1st on the $1,290 contract, and completed it in 30 days. When the City Council of the day couldn’t pay them for the work, they locked the building and refused to hand it over until they received their money, which took two weeks. There’s a hint in a Chilliwack newspaper that the brothers were not just builders. One brother (F W from the records that show where some of his children were born) lived for a while in Chilliwack in the mid to late 1890s (possibly farming, like his father Edward). Two other brothers visited in 1898 on their way to the Upper Country, “where they own some valuable mining property”. Ephraim Sentell in 1931 wrote to major Matthews in 1931 to tell him that he, F W, and A J arrived in the city in August 1886, from Granite Creek Mining Camp.

In 1901 the street directory says that Fred W Sentell was living on Westminster Avenue, in Mount Pleasant, while Edward B and G J Sentell were living on Grove Crescent, with Alfred Sentell, also a carpenter. The brothers had bought a large piece of land overlooking False Creek, and built their home here. To their shock the decision was made in the 1910s to fill the creek in, and much of their land, (five legal lots), was expropiated, for which they received $103,500. The census shows that Edward B was actually Ephraim Blair, who in 1901 was shown as aged 49, while Alfred James Sentell was 44 and George Jordon Sentell was 38. Their mother, Margaret Sentell was aged 76, and living with her daughter Lottie (presumably Charlotte) and her son-in-law, John Johnson, who was Norwegian, and worked as a drayman. (The Johnsons had been living on Grove Crescent with the three brothers in 1898).

In the 1901 Census Fred Sentell was aged 42, his wife Alice was aged 28, and they (perhaps inaccurately) they had two ten year old children, Alice born in April 1890 and Fred, born in July 1890. As only Fred had been shown in 1891, either Alice was adopted, not really a daughter, or it was an error by the Census Clerk. We can’t find any further records of an Alice Sentell born around 1890. There were three other children; Clifford, Otto and May, and there are birth records for William, born in 1892, who presumably had died as a child. In 1911 Clifford, Otto and May Sentell were still at home, and there were four younger siblings, John, William, Dorothy and Grace, the baby. Fred was 53, ‘Alisse’ was 39.

Ephraim and Alfred Sentell never married, and continued to live together as a household for many years. Alfred died in 1931, single, aged 71, Ephraim died in 1948, aged 96, also single and George the same year, aged 85, widowed.

844 Dunlevy is a good example of a pioneer Queen Anne Victorian style. It features bay windows on the front and side extending the full two storeys, gingerbread detailing and a decorative front porch. The house was first leased to Ontario-born grocery clerk William John Lamrick and his two daughters, Bessie and Sarah. From 1907 to 1920 Harriet Slade lived here. We’re reasonably certain she’s Alice Sentill’s step-mother. In 1911 she had her youngest child, William, still at home, and shared the house with her sister-in-law, Alice Fox, who had lived next door in 1891 with her labourer husband, Patrick.

The house was bought around 1920 by Mrs. Emma A. Winchcombe (widow of Isaac), and the family continued to own the house for many years. By the late 1960s it was in an area that was destined for demolition; a third of Strathcona was eventually demolished for ‘urban renewal’ and it was intended to clear all the houses, and build a freeway to Downtown on this spot. Fortunately those plans never came to fruition, and unusually, nothing was changed on the house, it had the original wooden windows, mouldings, even the wallpaper. In 2004 new owners took on the task of comprehensively restoring the house. In 2007 they won both a Vancouver City and Provincial Heritage Award of Merit for the saving and restoration of their house.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 808-18

Posted June 26, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Winch Building – West Hastings Street

R V Winch developed one of the largest and most prestigious office buildings of its day. Five storeys, over a basement, designed in the Beaux-Arts Classical style, it was completed in 1911. Mr. Winch, originally from Ontario, started in the city as a meat and game dealer with a store on Cordova Street. We looked at his second retail location on that street in 1890. He had hired Thomas Hooper to design a retail store in 1889, and he returned to Hooper and Watkins in 1907 to design this building. Construction took 3 years, was completed in 1911, and cost a reported $700,000. It was described as “an entirely modern Class A office building, the first of its kind in British Columbia” It’s something of a departure from some of Thomas Hooper’s other buildings – here he was given a generous budget (initially costs were estimated at $380,000) so he designed a stone-clad building (albeit on a steel and reinforced concrete frame) that would look at home in London or Paris.

There was no cost-cutting on the interiors either; the interior woodwork was carried out by Stewart & Co of Guelph, Ontario, although most of the other trades were local. It was one of the earliest reinforced concrete buildings to be erected in the city, closely following the adjacent Post Office, (also completed in 1911, which is probably when our BC Archives image was taken) The six-storey building featured 312 steel grillage beams, granite piers and reinforced concrete floors. It contained 130 offices and two Otis Fensom elevators. The stone for the façade came from the Fox Island Quarry at the mouth of Jervis Inlet.

Initially there were many businesses with their offices here, including of course Mr. Winch himself. During the 1920s an increasing number of the offices were rented as federal government facilities, and the building was eventually purchased by the Federal Government for a number of departments in 1928. In 1939 the new owners added more office space, but reduced the interior design of the original by removing the first floor’s glazed domed ceiling seen in this early interior shot.

While still a Federal Building, and used as offices on the upper floors, the building was dramatically transformed in 1983 by Henriquez Architects with Toby Russell Blackwell into the Sinclair Centre, with retail stores as well as the government offices around a central atrium that combines four heritage structures.

Image Sources: BC Archives and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-14

Posted June 22, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Vancouver Soda Water Works – 719 Gore Street

There were three Meikle bothers in Vancouver, and they all lived in this house and business on Gore Street when this picture was taken at the turn of the 20th Century. John D Meikle was aged 32 in 1901, William was 30 and Douglas was 34. All three brothers were from Scotland, with John, the head of the household arriving in 1894, and his brothers joining him in 1898. Meikle Brothers ran the Vancouver Soda Water Works from around 1900 here on Gore at the corner of Barnard (Keefer) Street.

Early soda bottles from the company show ‘Black Bear Brand’ ginger beer in ceramic bottles (that sell today at auction for several thousand dollars). The business prospered, although Douglas Meikle seems to have left the city quite soon after 1900. In 1904 the business became a limited liability company with $25,000 in shares issued, “to purchase or otherwise acquire the business, property and assets of Meikle Brothers, carrying on business in the City of Vancouver, as manufacturers and dealers in mineral and aerated waters”.

The Meikle’s seem to have picked up an earlier business; the Vancouver Soda Water Works had been in business as early as 1888, located a block west of here in the 700 block of Westminster Avenue (Main Street today). Initially it was run by A C Murchison & A F Derraugh, and in 1890 just by Mr Murcheson (who was Archie in the 1891 Census, but listed in the street directory as Colin), who moved the business to this address in 1892. He was from a Scottish family, but had been born in Ontario. Around 1893 the business seems to have closed for a while, and in 1894 it resumed operations, run by Alex Calley, (wrongly altered to Alex Kelley in 1899), partnered with G D Cross. From 1900 to 1905 George D Cross had his own Soda Water company on Pender Street, later run by A D Hossack after G D and J D Cross severed their relationship with Cross & Company in January of 1905, although the company continued in operation under the original name.

By 1908 Meikle Brothers were merged with Cross & Company and had moved to Richards Street, and of the three brothers only John D Meikle was still in Vancouver. Cross & Co continued in business making flavoured soda until the 1960s. These premises were taken over by Bell & Tedsbury, a lumber supplier, and G N Transfer Co. After the first war S Konokogi, a blacksmith occupied this location, with Joseph Robertson, a cooper, who remained here until the 1920s. By 1930 the site had become the Gasoline Alley service station run by Benjamin and Harry Felstein, later renamed to the Gore and Georgia Service Station, owned in 1950 by Joseph Lopez. In 1999 a new 2-storey retail building was completed, designed by Scott Gordon for J & F Investments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P25

Posted June 19, 2017 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Gone

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