Archive for the ‘A G Ferguson’ Tag

West Cordova Street – north side from Carrall

We’ve written about the Rainier Hotel, on the south side of Cordova, and the Boulder Hotel on the north side of this 1969 W E Frost picture. The Boulder was built as a 2-storey building designed by the Fripp Brothers for A G Ferguson in 1890. The Rainier dates back to 1907 and was designed by Emil Guenther for John Quann. Before the Ranier was built this was a two-story wooden building. It started life very soon after the 1886 fire as The Burrard House and then became the Balmoral Hotel in 1890. By 1901 The Quann Brothers had their office in the Balmoral Saloon, and lived on Hornby Street. William (Billy) Quann ran the Balmoral Saloon, and John (who was known as Jack), and Thomas ran the Balmoral Hotel. The Balmoral wasn’t very old when it was demolished – about 20 years old.

Thomas Quann was born in 1845, in New Brunswick, to an Irish father and a mother born in Barbados. He clearly moved to the United States at some point, as his sons, Billy and Jack, and daughter Mamie were shown born in the USA in the 1891 census records. William and Mamie (shown as Mary, the same as her mother, in some records) were both born around 1873, and John in 1875, and Thomas outlived both sons. He arrived with his family in 1886, and was soon running a hotel; (he applied for relief (welfare) for two of his tenants in April 1887). He applied for a license for the Central Hotel on Cordova in 1888. At age 17 Billy was working as a messenger, but soon went into the hotel and bar trade. In 1896 both Billy and Jack were running the Central Hotel, and Jack continued to run it in 1910 when it was redeveloped as the Manitoba Hotel. In 1903 John was running the Merchant’s Exchange Hotel, and the Pacific Bottling Works, distributing Rainier beer. In the early 1900s the brothers branched out into the entertainment business, owning the Majestic, Rose and Maple Leaf theatres.

Both brothers died within a year. Jack’s obituary in the Vancouver Daily World noted his early sporting involvement, and his business interests “Jack Quann, one of the best known business men in the city, as well as a very prominent sportsman, died last night In the General hospital. The late Mr. Quann had been suffering for some time with a weakness of the heart, but it was not thought that the Illness would prove fatal. At the recent race meeting at Minoru Park he was taken ill and was hurried Into the city, where, aftar a few days’ treatment, he recovered sufficiently to allow him to go on a fishing trip to Nanalmo and other points on Vancouver Island. The fishing party were returning to Vancouver last night when the late Mr. Quann was seized with one of the periodical fits, which he had experienced In recent years. When the steamer reached port he was removed to the General hospital, where he died at 9:45. The late Jack Quann was In his thirty-fourth year. A widow and one child, his father, Mr. Thomas Quann, his brother, W. H. Quann, and a sister, are left to mourn his loss. As a lacrosse player he Is still remembered as one of the greatest and most fearless goalkeepers that ever stood between the flags. He has participated in dozens of gruelling battles between Westminster and Vancouver, always acquitting himself with honor. He was conceded to be one of the most enterprising of Vancouver’s business men. He was In partnership with his brother In the proprietorship of the Balmoral hotel when that hostelry was considered to be the rendezvous of all sportsmen, With his brother he was later connected with the ownership of the St. Francis.” Jack’s death was in August 1911, and hundreds of people attended his funeral.

Billy’s death was recorded in June 1912, and the cause of death was noted as cirrhosis of the liver, an ailment often noted in bar owners. Both men had young widows. Billy was married to Lillian, shown as four years younger in 1911, like Billy, born in the US, with sons William and Thomas 16 and 13, born in BC.  Jack was married to Phoebe, although they were missed by the 1911. She was running a tobacco store on Granville Street in 1913, but after 1914 there were no references to any of the family in the street directories. Pheobe Ann Quann (ne Butler) married Robert Mundell in Vancouver in 1914, so that probably explains her apparent disappearance. She was also an American, born in Helena, Montana in 1886 or 1890, and she married John Henry Quann in November of 1909. (When she married Jack she showed her birth as 1886, but her second marriage showed 1890).

Beyond the Boulder are two hotels developed by Evans, Coleman and Evans; the Stanley (designed by Grant and Henderson, and completed in 1907), and the New Fountain, which is an earlier building. All four buildings are still standing today, although the Stanley and New Fountain are being redeveloped behind the retained façades, for a mix of market and non-market rental units.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-356



837 West Hastings Street

Ferguson home 815 W Hastings

We featured an office building erected on this lot in an earlier post. Here’s the house it replaced that dated back to late 1886, built by and for real estate pioneer A G Ferguson. The reason that it’s so difficult to compare the image with what’s there today is that the house was built on the sloping lot on top of a cliff, with a commanding view out over the beach towards the forests on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet. Today the site has been leveled, the cliff is no longer apparent, and the forest that remains starts a lot further up the mountains. This was numbered as 815 Hastings when it was built, but the numbers have shifted and we’ve referenced the contemporary address.

On almost every document and publication that mention him he was referred to as A G Ferguson; his first name – Alfred – is never used. He was an American, born (according to his marriage certificate) in New York in 1843, and married to Marion Dixon of Michigan in Pottawattamie, Iowa, in November, 1869. He appears in the 1891 Canadian Census as Alfred Graham Fergusson, born in 1844 in the US to an English born mother and American father. In the 1901 census he was listed as Arthur, but that census collector spelled his wife’s name incorrectly, and recorded him as Fergusson.  The 1901 household was completed by Elizabeth Orange, a companion, and Mabel Williams, a 24 year old domestic with James Williams, also a domestic aged 20 years.

A G Ferguson came to British Columbia as a tunnel builder. He was in charge of the Cherry Creek Tunnel work about 13 miles west of Kamloops in 1884. He almost certainly arrived in Granville in 1885; he doesn’t appear in the 1885 Street Directory, but his wooden building was definitely standing at the corner of Carrall and Powell Streets in the spring of 1886, and Frank W Hart in a 1933 conversation recalled “Even in 1885, A.G. Ferguson was noted for being a C.P.R. tunnel contractor, and wealthy; a very nice man to boot. He built the Ferguson Block at the southeast corner of Carrall and Powell streets—burned down in the fire shortly afterwards”. In June 1886, within days of the fire, Mr. Ferguson confirmed he would build a ‘cottage’ high on the bluff on Hastings Street. W T Whiteway designed the replacement of his burned down office investment at Carrall and Powell; he may have designed this house as well, although as an engineer Mr. Ferguson could also have designed his own home. In 1887 he’s listed as a Civil Engineer, living on Hastings Street. By 1888 his description has changed to ‘capitalist’.

When the CPR sold off land, A G Ferguson was at the front of the line. It perhaps didn’t hurt that the sale took place in the Ferguson Block, or that the CPR’s Vancouver executive, Harry Abbott, lived next door. Walter Graveley in conversation with Major Matthews in 1935 recalled the sale; “Ferguson had his hand on the handle of the door; Ferguson was first; Dr. LeFevre was second; F.C. Innes was third; then came R.G. Tatlow; C.D. Rand was next, and I was behind C.D. Rand. The first three, Ferguson, Dr. LeFevre, and Innes had sat up all night in Ferguson’s office in the same block; the Ferguson Block was the wooden block on the corner of Carrall and Powell streets, where the C.P.R. had their first offices in Vancouver; we were waiting for the C.P.R. office to open; that was why we were there; there was no rush; we just walked in when the office opened that morning; Ferguson was first; he had his hand on the handle of the door.” The speed of growth of A G’s investments can be seen in the assessed value of his property. In 1887 it was $20,000, in 1889 it was $100,000 and in 1891 it was $140,000. In that year his holdings were the sixth largest in the city. He built a series of buildings that had his name associated with them, all somewhat confusingly called ‘the Ferguson Block’ as well as the Boulder Hotel on Cordova.

A G Ferguson enjoyed an active social life as well as his business and civic duties. He was an extraordinarily hands-on chair of the Parks Board, helped design the grades of the roads, and funding the Board’s works out of his own pocket when funds ran out. He was the first president of the newly formed Terminal City Club in 1899 (although the city’s merchants had been meeting together from 1892 as the Metropolitan Club). He had a luxury steam yacht, the Nagasaki (probably built in Japan). He fell ill in 1902, and died in San Francisco in 1903. His house became home to Otto Marstrand, partner and brewer at the Vancouver Breweries. He in turmn sold it on his return to Denmark in 1906 to the Terminal City Club, who in turn sold it to the Metropolitan Building Co. Appropriately enough, today the site is home to the Terminal City Club. Perhaps the city’s most mixed-use building, it combines the club, retail uses, office space, a hotel and strata apartments in a 30 storey building designed by James Cheng and Musson Cattell Mackey completed in 1998.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 67


Posted 30 June 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Glory Hotel – 204 Carrall Street

Parts of the Glory Hotel date back to the rebuilding of the city soon after the 1886 fire. The site had a number of businesses by 1890 in a single storey structure owned by A G Ferguson who also owned the building at No. 2 Carrall Street and the site next door that he added to in 1889. Businesses included coal wholesalers and teamsters at no. 6 and the Royal Tea Co at no. 8.

In 1909 Frank Filion hired Parr and Fee to remodel and add a two storeys of hotel above the stores. They used their trademark white glazed bricks and centre-hung windows that are found in most of their hotel buildings along Granville Street. Filion and his wife Hanah were from near Montreal in Quebec, and had been in the city since 1891 (arriving from Port Arthur). Mr Filion’s first Directory entry was in 1892 when he was a grocer with Mr W L Davis at 109 Carrall Street. He appears to have replaced Mr Chilberg who was Mr Davis’s partner in the business as far back as 1888, although in 1890 Mr Davis was in business on his own with Mr Chilberg having set up his own grocery operation right across the street at 112 Carrall. Filion bought Davis’s interest in 1893 and in June 1895 moved to 204 Carrall Street, where he was described as “carrying a very desirable stock of goods”.

The upstairs premises weren’t always called the Glory Hotel. In 1910 they were called the Beaver Rooms, and there were two stores, Frank Filion and Max Freeman’s clothing store. (At this point the address had become 204 and 206 Carrall Street). The Beaver Rooms (not to be confused with the Beaver Rooming house on East Hastings) were run by W S Wainwright. In 1920 the Beaver Rooms were still over Filion’s grocery store, but next door was a barbers and a billiards room. In 1925 the barbers had become the Stockholm Cafe. In 1927 Miss Jinde was running a barber’s in 204, which she was still doing in 1940.  By 1930 the Beaver Rooms had been joined by the Beaver Pool Hall and the cafe was now the World Cafe. When the name changed to the Glory Hotel isn’t clear – by 1947 they were known as the Carrall Rooms, but our 1978 photo shows them as the Glory Hotel, as they are today as a privately owned single room occupancy hotel.


West Hastings and Richards – sw corner

Back in 1889 this corner (the southwest corner of Hastings and Richards) seems to have M Reynell and Co as tenants. They imported Japanese goods into the city, although they were shown in the street directory as being at 422 Pender Street. In 1890 Fred Cope and Cope and Young were here, both importing dry goods. (Cope and Young had the middle store in the photograph). By 1895 the Bank of BC had premises here, and by 1900 the Royal Bank had taken over. By 1905 all the tenants had changed again – they included the Board of Trade saloon, Mortimore Bros, tailors and the Colombo tea Co. In 1908 there were a number of real estate offices including those of C T Dunbar and Count A V Alvensleben, as well as William E Green’s timber lands office. In 1910 and 1911 the Bank of Ottawa are on the corner, and the Regent Hotel has been established on the upper floors. And then it’s gone – in the 1913 directory it’s called ‘new building’

The building was one of a series of buildings in the city designated ‘The Ferguson Block’ – Mr Ferguson seemed to like to have his name associated with all his developments which gave him name recognition while causing some confusion for researchers today. This Ferguson Block was built in 1889 and the architects were the Fripp Brothers who designed a lot of buildings in the city in only a couple of years from 1888 to 1890. They also designed both the Boulder Hotel (for Mr Ferguson) and Dougall House on Cordova Street.

By 1916 the new building was listed as the Standard Bank Building. It was briefly known as the Weart Building named after its promoter, J W Weart, but it quickly got named after its most important tenant. Like the Birks Building and the Yorkshire Building built in the same period the Standard Bank Building was supplied with ornamental ironwork from the Chicago Ornamental Iron Co. The steel frame was tested by The Robert W. Hunt & Company Engineers’ Bureau of Inspection, Tests and Consultation, of Chicago, (as was the Hotel Vancouver and the Bank of Ottawa). Seattle architects Russell Babcock and Rice carried out the design.

The new building had a variety of tenants – there was the Venetian barber on the main floor, a tea room on the second floor, and the Canadian Red Cross had offices on the third floor, as well as Brighouse and Brighouse, dentists. The other floors had a thorough mix from lawyers, accountants, steelworks offices, lumber mills offices, a fish company, a creosote company and up on the fifteenth floor J W Weart’s own office as well as Winifred Kindleyside’s public stenographers.

Today, with no Standard Bank left in town it’s just the Standard Building, and at 100 years old showing absolutely no sign of being irrelevant to the 21st Century city. The Ferguson Block lasted 25 years. So far the Standard building has 100 years on the clock, and looks good for 100 more.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Ferguson Block 1901 CVA LGN 707


Boulder Hotel – 1 West Cordova (1)

The Boulder Hotel is the building that was until recently home to Boneta restaurant. As the 1901 photograph shows, it started life as a 2-storey building in 1890, and later grew another at some point before 1920 and after 1907. The latest picture of a 2-storey version is dated 1907, and it appears in the background of a 1920 picture. It was designed by the Fripp Brothers (Robert and Charles) for American tunnel builder turned real estate mogul A G Ferguson. Unusually for the time it’s a stone masonry construction (on the front) with plain sash windows – it’s faced with sandstone over a granite foundation. We thought for a while that, unusually for Mr Ferguson, it wasn’t called the Ferguson Block (while almost everything else he commissioned apparently was). Then we noticed that on the 1901 Insurance Map it is indeed called the Ferguson Block – Mr Ferguson was nothing if not consistent.

It sits on the corner of Carrall and Cordova, which was one of the prime spots in the early city, and is on the spot Angus Fraser had his house (Fraser was one of the earlier and more successful loggers in the area). Frank Hart, one of the pioneers of the city in a 1934 conversation recalled “There were very high ceilings in the Boulder. They had a fad for high ceilings then, the higher the ceiling the fancier the store; they had a fad for, well, sixteen feet ceilings were common.” 

A 1908 ‘Vancouver Illustrated’ article references the demand for skilled contractors, specifically “David Gibb & Son, whose office is at 1259 Robson street. Mr. Gibb, senior, left Glasgow, Scotland, in 1879, and after spending ten years in New York and Chicago, became a resident of this city in August, 1889. Since that date he has been actively engaged in cut stone contracting”. The Boulder is listed as his, along with Christ church and the Commercial Hotel. The building is getting a makeover at present – plans for a more elaborate addition didn’t pencil out as a logical choice, so the building will probably retain it’s current height.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 718


Posted 28 December 2011 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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2 Carrall Street (Ferguson Block)

We’ve featured the second Ferguson Block on Carrall Street in our buildingvancouver blog.  W T Whiteway designed it to replace the first block, completed just before the 1886 fire that destroyed the new city including Mr Ferguson’s new investment. This new block was completed pretty soon into 1887, and was designed to be fireproof. It was doubled in size in 1889 with the Fripp Brothers acting as architects but clearly using Whiteway’s design as a template. Ferguson also owned the next single-storey building to the south which in 1909 was expanded to three storeys designed by Parr and Fee for the new owner, Frank Filion. (Over the years addresses have changed; these days this building is 200 Carrall Street)

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P80