Archive for the ‘A E Hansen’ Tag

553 Hamilton Street

The Del Mar Inn started life as the Cadillac Hotel. Built in 1912 for A E Hansen, according to the permit, it was designed by W P White and built at a cost of $33,000 by Frantz Construction. We haven’t successfully identified the developer’s identity; The only potential developer with a name that matched the permit living in the city at the time was Alfred E Hanson, who was listed as a contractor, and it seemed unlikely that he could fund a $33,000 development. (There was an A E Hansen in Seattle, and as the architect also came from that city, it was possible he was an absentee investor).

The Daily Building Record said Mr. Hanson lived at 1236 East 12th Avenue; Albert E Hanson lived on East 12th, but at 1033. The address of 1236 wasn’t recorded in the street directory. Adding to the confusion, the 1911 census recorded Mr. Hanson as Albert A Hanson, aged 50, retired and born in the USA. He was shown as arriving in Canada in 1909, although that seems inaccurate as his three children living at home, aged 19, 18 and 14, were all born in BC. His wife, Mary was from Ontario. The 1901 census said Albert Hanson was in Vancouver in 1901 as a hotel keeper, with wife Mary and five children at home. He was American, aged 44, and had arrived in Canada in the 1880s. Albert Hansen was shown in the 1901 street directory running a boarding house at 852 Powell Street. In 1891 they were living in Yale, with the CPR employees, where he was aged 34 and described as a retired foreman, presumably of a railway construction crew. Mary was shown born in Quebec in that census.

In 1913, when the hotel opened, it was run by William Jureit. He had been lodging on West Hastings in 1911 with his wife and three children, and was a builder who had just arrived in Canada from Germany in that same year. In 1915 Mrs Helen Mulholland had taken over running the building, which was partly a rooming house rather than a hotel, with a bookkeeper and a warehouseman among the tenants, and a real estate company occupying the main floor space.

In 1920 there were different proprietors, Mrs E Montgomery and Mrs J Carmichael, who also both lived in the property. By 1925 the name had changed to the Cadillac Rooms, run by Mrs E Fletcher, but by 1930 it had reverted to the Cadillac Hotel run by Mrs Jennie Cook. In 1935 Mrs K Sobotka was in charge, and in 1940 Joseph Fay. By 1945 it had become known as the Coast Hotel, run by S B Farmer, and by 1955 the name was changed again to the Del Mar Hotel, run by Joseph Lasky.

In 1975 the Hotel was bought by George Riste, born in Alberta during the 1930s, but who moved to Vancouver in 1960 after working in the pulp mill in Port Alberni. He leased a number of hotels over the years, the Bon Accord, the Hornby, the Senator, and then the Del Mar. Then he bought the Del Mar, and ran it as both rooming house and hotel. It was popular with passengers from the nearby bus depot, often recommended by Greyhound drivers. In the early 1980s BC Hydro started acquiring property on the block, assembling most of the land – except the Del Mar. Mr Riste, who by the mid 1970s managed the building as a 30 room SRO hotel, wasn’t interested in selling, at any price. After years of offers, BC Hydro gave up and built around him. A small, hand-painted sign was placed over the entrance. It reads: “This property is not for sale and it has not been sold. Thank you. The Owner.”

In 1990, Mr. Riste collaborated with the artist Kathryn Walter with whom he wrote the slogan: “Unlimited growth increases the divide”. A typographic artwork, with seven inch-tall copper letters, was installed as a frieze on the building’s façade. Art galleries have occupied the main floor for many years, including by the mid-1960s, the Bau-Xi gallery, and today the Or Gallery; our image shows it in 1977. George continued to actively manage the property until 2007, and died three years later just short of his 90th birthday. His family continue to own and manage the property as exemplary privately owned low-income housing.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-44


Posted January 11, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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