Here’s the McClary Manufacturing block on the corner, and next door at 311 Water is the Martin and Robertson warehouse built a year later and completed in 1898. It started life as a 4 storey building, and each floor had a different style. It started with a rustic stone base, a square second floor with paired sash windows on either side, Romanesque arches on the third floor and six sash widows on the top floor. W T Dalton was the architect, and as he featured in a brochure, we even know all the suppliers of materials – from Thomas Dunn for the glass to Geo H Hinton for the electrical fittings. As this 1900 photo from the brochure shows, the Canada Paint Co were in the building in 1900, but Martin and Robertson who developed the building were here too. Although described in some descriptions as ‘Klondike Outfitters’ they were importers and suppliers of dried foodstuffs – not just to would-be miners heading north. In 1903 W T Dalton (who had added the extra floor on McLary’s a year earlier) designed the $4,500 2-storey addition to the building for Mr Martin, built by ‘Horrobin’ – (contractor Theodore Horrobin).
Martin was Robert Martin, born in 1851 and Robertson was Arthur Robertson, who we think was seven years younger. Robert Martin was from Ontario, his wife Lydia was English, ten years, younger, and in 1901 they had four children aged seven, six and five as well as a 9-month-old baby. The household was completed by a ‘lady’s help’, Caroline Watson, and Jin, the domestic. Scotsman Arthur Robertson was looking after the company’s other warehouse, in Victoria. Both partners were interested in other investment opportunities; in 1903 the Times Colonist reported: “anticipating the boom that is likely to strike Port Simpson on the commencement of the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific enterprise, speculators are hastening to ‘get in on the ground floor’. Robert Martin of Vancouver and Arthur Robertson of Victoria are applying at Ottawa for a grant of foreshore rights at Port Simpson”. Whether they obtained the rights or not we’re don’t know – they might have been better off being turned down, as the railway terminated in Prince Rupert instead.
In 1908 a new 6-storey building was designed for the company by Parr and Fee (although we’re not sure where it was located), although Martin and Robertson were still in this original building in 1910. They were described then as ‘manufacturer’s agents’, and Duncan Gavin was the manager. They moved to new premises in 1911 to a warehouse they developed with John Burns at 329 Railway Street. That could be the Parr and Fee building – although the building permit, taken out in 1910, suggested that they had designed it themselves (which seems unlikely). This building was used by the Northern Electric and Manufacturing Co, who hired Thomas Hooper to design $1,500 of changes in 1911. Their name was truncated to Nortel many years later. The company started life in the 1890s as the manufacturing subsidiary of Bell Telephone of Canada.
Martin & Robertson advertised in ‘Canadian Grocer’ in 1918 in their Railway Street premises as Rice Millers, Importers and Manufacturers Agents. They distributed Japan, China and Siam Rices, as well as “BEANS, PEAS, SPLIT PEAS, TAPIOCA AND SAGO, SPICES, TEAS AND COFFEES, PINEAPPLES, DESICCATED COCOA-NUT, CURRANTS, DATES, FIGS, NUTS, SHELLED AND UNSHELLED, RAISINS, Etc., Etc. Representatives in all distributing centres throughout the Dominion”.
The 1907 Vancouver Public Library image above shows pretty much the same set of buildings that can still be seen today, as they can in our 1970s slide below. The biggest change is that the Martin & Robertson warehouse wasn’t red forty years ago, while the other buildings on the block were.
This Water Street warehouse dates back to 1897. Built for the McClary Manufacturing Company, it is the only building in the city designed by the architects. McClary Manufacturing were formed in 1871 and produced stoves, tin, copper, and pressed wares, agricultural implements, and other ironware and machinery, based in London, Ontario. The company expanded across Canada, establishing a Vancouver presence in 1894. Partners John and Oliver McClary were initially tinsmiths in New Hampshire, starting work together in Canada in 1852; Oliver, as an older brother, taught John the skills, and John developed the business.
William E. Drake moved to Vancouver in 1892 to work as manager of the Vancouver branch of the McClary Manufacturing Company, and although we can find a reference to him in the city that year, the company’s presence only shows up around 1895 when they were occupying a warehouse a little to the west of this building. In 1898, he was declared the attorney for the Company at its British Columbia headquarters on Water Street. He resigned from the company in 1911, replaced by James Galloway.
London-based architects Moore and Henry were hired to design of all the McClary warehouses, thanks to the marriage of John Moore to Oliver McClary’s daughter. The building is Classical Revival – a style not generally favoured by Vancouver’s architects. In 1902 another floor was added in a sympathetic addition, designed by W T Dalton and built by Edward Cook at a cost of $7,000. In 1920 McClary’s were still here, but later in the 1920s they became General Steel Wares of Toronto (who bought McClary’s in 1927), as can be seen in this 1940 Vancouver Public Library image.
Now converted to offices, the building has recently picked up awards for the careful renovation supervised by Chercover Massie & Associates, Architecture & Engineering, in association with Donald Luxton & Associates.
Here’s another of the diamond-decorated Townsend and Townsend buildings that they designed between 1908 and 1913. They used the motif on many, but not all of their buildings, irrespective of the use. The previous post showed a rooming house on Granville Street – this is a warehouse. It cost $26,000 to build and was built by William McPherson in 1912 – this picture shows it two years later.
We’re reasonably certain that the most likely of the several William McPhersons who were living in the city at the time was a Scottish canneryman, who co-owned the Dinsmore Island Cannery with William Hickey. In 1911 he was aged 58, living with his wife Jessie and their domestic, Jane Hastings. Ten years earlier they had a different domestic, Tommy Kado. The cannery was sold to British Columbia Packers Association and Hickey partnered with Robert Kelly (of Kelly, Douglas) to obtain the exclusive rights to seine fish the Smith Inlet salmon run. McPherson had been a partner in an earlier cannery – a very much earlier cannery in Steveston called the Lulu Island cannery which ran from 1891 to 1895 before it was sold and renamed the London Cannery, (it had been demolished by 1911). The 1901 census tells us that William had arrived from Scotland in 1872, while Jessie arrived much later in 1893. William died unexpectedly in 1917.
In the picture the tenants were Bernet Bros; Joseph, Ernest and Martin Bernet were from New York, merchants whose warehouse was initially on Cordova, then Granville in 1911 and finally here. Joseph had started in Vancouver as a financial and real estate broker around 1910 in partnership as Bernet and Helm, and from 1918 to 1919 was a wholesale jeweler in a different partnership, Bernet and Gluck. Bernet Brothers seem to have ceased operations in 1914 when they were described as electrical wholesalers and Martin and Ernest Bernet were in partnership as Ernest & Martin Bernet that year. In 1916 G R Gregg & Co occupied the building, wholesaling Japanese Goods and European Silks, with Herbert Geddes as manager. They had moved here from the Buscombe Building, two buildings to the west.
Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 983
Here’s a pair of Granville Street buildings – one that’s still standing, and one that’s no longer there. The Rialto hotel at 1140 Granville (as it was called in our 1978 picture) was built in 1912 by R G Wilson & Son for Mrs. Clough at a cost of $21,000, and the tell-tale diamond brick pattern identifies it as the work of Townsend & Townsend, a British-born father and son partnership with considerable success in the five years they were in the city.
When the building was first completed these were the London Rooms, run by Amie Hiquebran. Mrs. Clough was Laura A Clough who in 1911 lived at 848 Howe Street with her son, Henry. Laura was an American who had arrived in 1909 and whose occupation was listed as ‘none’ on the 1911 census. In 1910 there was no sign of her, although Henry was listed as a student, living on Hornby Street. She came from Concord, New Hampshire, was called Clough before her marriage (in 1880) to George Clough, and it appears that both Laura and Henry shaved 10 years off their true ages in the 1911 census as she was born in 1842 (not 1853 as she claimed) and Henry Blaine Clough was born in 1884 (and not 1894). Laura was already head of the household in 1900 when she was still in New Hampshire, probably because George was aged 63 or 64 when he married 38 year-old Laura.
Assuming there was only one George Clough in Concord, New Hampshire, George worked as a conductor on the Concord Railroad for over 20 years, and accumulated a significant fortune including a number of property investments. In 1865 he was accused of stealing from his employer, who sought $100,000 in restitution. The verbatim court record shows that Mr Clough had allowed some passengers to travel without payment, but with the approval of company managers. The local newspaper reported that, on being ordered to repay just over $12,000 in total, he considered the outcome to be a moral victory. In the process of the hearing Mr. Clough’s entire assets were revealed, valued at $127,000. His first wife, Eliza, died in 1874 and he remarried to Laura in 1880; Laura had been the schoolteacher in Concord in the 1860s. Mrs Clough was missing from the street directory in 1913 when the building was occupied, although there’s one mention of a Mrs. Clough in a 1914 newspaper. We haven’t found what happened to her or where she moved to after leaving Vancouver, although it looks as if Henry may have moved to Australia, got married and had a son also called Henry.
The building that’s still standing was the Clowes Building, designed and owned by J Clowes. According to the permit it was built by J Hoffmeister at a cost of $18,000. John Clowes was living in Richmond in 1911, but in Vancouver in 1901. He was listed in the 1911 census as a carpenter, born in Quebec in 1849. He had lived at the address where the building was constructed from as far back as the early 1890s, in the city from the late 1880s, and was probably the John Clowes who died in Burnaby in 1922.
The Rialto was replaced by the first new market rental building in some years, developed with incentives from City Council to encourage more rental housing, ‘The Standard’.
Here’s Royal Mansions in the West End, on Pacific. It was built in 1912, but in 1938 when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken it was still in great condition. It was designed by a British-born father and son architectural team, Townsend & Townsend. They only used two colours of brick on their buildings; red and buff, but generally they liked to mix the two with huge diamond shaped red motifs on a buff ground. Uniquely, as far as we know, this is all red – and has some fancy rustic stonework on the corners as relief. The building permit says it cost $80,000 to build for M B Wilkinson. The Townsends were only in the city for a few years, from 1908 to 1913, but they were responsible for designing at least 25 buildings worth over $800,000 in that period. They may have come from Manchester, and disappeared from the city as the economy started to face serious decline. We think Alfred Townsend (who might have been christened Joseph, like his father) may have fought in the First World War, and possibly returned to the US after the war. This seems to be the most expensive project that the partners designed.
In 1887 a new company was incorporated – the ‘Vancouver Brick and Tile Company Limited’. The five Trustee shareholders made an interesting group: David and Isaac Oppenheimer, the Gastown merchants who controlled much of the land in the Old Granville Townsite, George Black; pioneer butcher who would become a hotel-owner, Sam Brighouse, one of the ‘three Greenhorns’ who bought 222 acres of land now making up today’s West End, and W H Armstrong – a local contractor. The Canadian Mining Manual for 1890-91 shows that the company – at least briefly – were in production, manufacturing 750,000 bricks in 1889, and that the company secretary was M B Wilkinson.
A complicated court case that lasted for many years revealed the relationship between Mr. Wilkinson, and Mr. Brighouse, and their involvement in the Royal Mansions. Michael Wilkinson by the point the case was settled (in 1929) was known as Michael Wilkinson Brighouse – he changed his name as a result of a requirement of Sam Brighouses’s will. Michael was Sam’s nephew; Sam had no wife or children, Michael came to Vancouver in 1888 at the age of 24, settled with Sam on his Lulu Island farm, and eventually took over running Sam’s extensive business and property interests. Michael’s mother (Sam’s sister) kept house.
We know what Sam and Michael looked like from an Archives image that shows them setting up a bar in the hollow tree (something the Park Board haven’t contemplated). The photograph shows Michael Wilkinson, Sam Brighouse, William Beech, A. McCallum (serving drinks) and others around 1890.
A 1906 will left most of Sam’s assets (worth over $700,000 at his death) to Michael, but Sam was ill a couple of years later, had a prostate operation in 1908 and returned to England in 1911 in poor health. He died there in 1913, soon after changing his will to leave Michael the Richmond farm (on condition that he couldn’t sell it), and all the other property to other relatives. The court case (brought by Frederick Morton on behalf of Sam’s estate) eventually determined that this final version of the will was the legal one, leaving Michael merely extremely well off, rather than very, very wealthy. It also showed that as well as managing a company called the Royal Ice and Dairy Company on his uncle’s behalf, in 1912 Michael had developed Royal Mansions at a cost of over $80,000 on Sam’s land. The judgement allotted Sam’s estate $30,000 of value and Michael and his brother Arthur mortgages of $25,000 each. on which interest was paid. The initial court case in 1916 created this arrangement – the final 1929 Supreme Court judgement appears to have reversed it. Michael ran Richmond’s Minoru Race Track on its opening in 1909, and he married – in 1921 the Daily World reported “Mrs. M. B. Wilkinson of the Royal Mansions entertained at the tea hour on Wednesday”.
This Vancouver Public Library image from 1943 shows the St Margaret Apartments, one of the last buildings designed by prolific architect W T Whiteway. Built in 1928, it was part of a flurry of investment that dried up a year later as the recession and stock market crash severely impacted the development industry. Today it’s barely visible behind evergreen foliage, but it’s still providing rental accommodation with 19 apartments, and sold last year for $7,275,000 (at a price per unit higher than we bet the whole building cost when it was built).
With the help of Patrick Gunn we tracked down the developer of the building, confirmed by the 1928 street directory: John J Perrigo, proprietor, St Margaret Apartments (living in apartment 27) who in 1926 appeared for the first time in the city as the owner of Viola Court, a block away at 1200 Haro, living on Seymour Street. It seems likely that he’s the same J J Perrigo who in 1924 was living in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
John Joseph Perrigo died in 1959 in Vancouver, born in Ontario in 1880, and his wife Paula, who was Austrian and six years younger died in 1957. Their death notices each recorded a quite different set of children, and his wife was shown as Paula Blackburn, rather than Paula Glowozuk, her maiden name. Given this, it’s possible that this was a later marriage for both of them. In 1891 John was living in Eganville in Ontario, and in 1911 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where he was a lodger.
The apartment replaced the house we saw in the previous post, home to J F Galbraith and mayor Fred Cope among others.
This picture was taken in 1890 and shows a very new home, identified as the home of merchant and mayor Fred Cope. The ‘official’ version of Fred’s history says he was born in Oxford, England in 1860. It also says that when he was elected mayor in 1892, in a closely fought race that saw him win by just 11 votes, he was the youngest mayor elected in the city’s history, at just 32. The 1891 Census record shows a quite different record; Fred Cope was born in Ontario in 1850, so was aged 41 (and 42 when elected mayor). His wife, Annie, (Ann on her wedding certificate) was shown as three years younger, and they married in Vancouver in August 1889, although she had also been brought up in Norfolk County, Ontario, and born in Walsingham. When he ran for mayor, The Daily World had a testimonial confirming that he was born in Ontario where he had previous elected experience as a Councillor, Reeve and County Councillor. However, the house was actually developed and occupied a few years before Fred moved in.
Fred first appears in Vancouver in the fall of 1888; he was in partnership with Frank Young, selling dry goods, clothes millinery and carpets, from West Hastings near Richards, in a building we showed a few years ago. In 1889 both partners had a room in the Leland Hotel. In 1890 Fred was living on Hamilton Street, and when the 1892 directory was published this was the home (for the first time addressed as 1100 Haro) – of J F Galbraith – Fred was still on Hamilton Street. Julius Galbraith ran the ‘Japanese Store’ on West Hastings, appeared for the first time in a street directory living at 30 Haro Street in 1889 – which we think might well be this house, as the street was completely re-addressed in 1892. Like Fred, he was from Ontario, as was his wife Sarah. Unlike Fred and Annie he had children – in 1891 there were four daughters who had been born in Manitoba, one in Ontario and a son and infant daughter in British Columbia. We assume that’s the family pictured on the balconies. It looks as if the family later moved south to Oregon; they’re shown living in Grant’s Pass in 1910.
Fred Cope was elected mayor of Vancouver in 1892, and again in 1893 (with an improved majority), taking over from David Oppenheimer (with whom he was closely aligned). His timing was unfortunate: the economy was in a steep decline, businesses were headed to bankruptcy and soup kitchens were opening. The mayor and council were forced to restrict investment in new facilities, cut wages and lay off city employees. Fred moved to this house in 1893 or 1894, (the first street directory that shows him here). By the end of the 1890s the house looked very different, with significant street trees (one we think is still growing today). Cope and Young continued in business for a while as house furnishers with premises on Cordova Street.
In 1897 there are two people called Fred Cope living in the city – Frederick T Cope, (a contractor who was born in England) lived on Richards Street. He was younger than the former mayor, and he’s probably who the biographies got the mayor mixed up with.
In 1899 Mrs Cope was shown living on Robson Street. In the fall of 1897 Fred had headed for Alaska with a pack train to supply the gold rush that had helped reinvigorate the Vancouver economy. He was crossing a ford between Shallow and Middle lakes when the horse he was leading fell. He tried to help the horse and the current swept him away. His body wasn’t found until June 1898, and his wife discovered that although he had $5,000 of life insurance, the company would not pay up because the Canadian area of the Klondyke next to Alaska was ‘uncivilized territory’. His obituary confirms he was 47 when he died, and that he had first entered business with Frank Young in Simcoe, Ontario. They had sold the furnishing business before Fred had the idea of making money from running a pack train to the Klondike with Ambrose Blayney, with his wife accompanying him as far as Skagway. After his death Annie Cope took on running a lodging house at her Robson home, shown in the 1901 census living with her servant Sui Chong and a number of lodgers including three couples.
In 1901 this was the home of Howard Walters of Britannia Mines. The metal-bearing ore at Britannia was discovered in 1888, began production in 1905, and after nearly 70 years of underground operation produced more copper than any other mine in British Columbia. At one time it was the largest copper mine in the British Empire. For most of its life Britannia was owned by the Howe Sound Company of New York, which was formed in 1903 for the purpose of financing the development of the mine. the Britannia Copper Syndicate was headed by Howard Walters of Montana and J A Adams of Vancouver. By 1901 the Syndicate had acquired numerous claims along Britannia and Furry Creeks with 75 acres of waterfront where the town of Britannia Beach was eventually built.
From 1904 for over 20 years the house was the home of Thomas F Paterson, who with his brother William (W Innes Paterson) ran the Paterson Timber Company. T F Paterson had started life in Ontario in teaching, and then studied agriculture (obtaining a degree from Toronto University), moved to British Columbia and helped establish the province’s Agricultural Institutes, before joining the editorial board of the Vancouver Sun.
He acquired a third share in a Port Moody lumber company in 1898 before forming his own company with his brother in 1902, adding further businesses in the next few years. He continued to have a financial and Board position with the Vancouver Sun’s parent company as well as pulp and paper interests. Up until the 1920s Mr. Paterson and his family (three daughters and a son) lived in the house at 1100 Haro Street, before moving to a new house on West 3rd Avenue just before the replacement apartment block (still there today) was constructed.
Image source City of Vancouver Archives Bu P144.2 and SGN 349