Archive for the ‘A J Bird’ Tag

Police Station – East Cordova Street (1)

This 1956 image shows Firehall #1 on the left, (still standing today as the Firehall Theatre). Dating back to 1905, it was designed by W T Whiteway. Next door was the Coroner’s Court, which today houses the Police Museum. Designed by A J Bird, it was converted to the museum in the early 1980s, but was built in 1932.

Next door today is the concrete East Wing of the police station (hidden by trees in the summer), built in 1978 and designed by Harrison Kiss Associates. In this 1956 image an earlier (and taller) police station stood on the same spot. Built in 1913, The East End police headquarters cost $250,000, was built of ‘concrete and stone’ and designed by Doctor, Stewart & Davie. Initially it was shown as costing $175,000 in 1912 (and on Powell Street, which was an earlier intended location). An extra $70,000 was approved in 1913. The Beaux Arts style building had a cream terracota and stone façade over the concrete frame.

Surprisingly, for such a substantial investment, the building didn’t last very long. In 1956 Ernie Reksten photographed the building being demolished. Earlier that year the Vancouver Sun had reported the intention of clearing the site “to call tenders for demolition of the historic building on Cordova near Main. A survey of the old building, built in 1914 and located behind the new station on Main, shows It is good only for light storage purposes. Aldermen decided not to put the building up for sale as the land it occupies is urgently needed for the parking lot and possible expansion of police facilities. The heating plant has been removed. The elevators are cranky antiques and all electrical services require replacement. “It would cost a tremendous amount to put the old pile back into any reasonable shape,” said Alderman George Miller, properties committee chairman.”

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-63 and CVA 2010-006.170 (flipped)

0897

Advertisements

Posted August 22, 2019 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with , ,

Capitola Apartments – Davie and Thurlow

capitola-pharmacy-and-apartments-davie-thurlow

The upper floors of building haven’t really changed much since it was built in 1909. According to the building permit it cost $20,000 and was designed by A J Bird for J Seabold. (The Contract Record said Seabold and Roberts were the developers. We haven’t successfully identified who John Seabold’s development partner was.) In 1991 four dwelling units were converted to retail use, so there are now just 10 apartments in the building, but there were more in this 1924 image. The Daily World, in announcing the development, said “the design will be of classic character”.

John A Seabold developed a number of other apartment buildings around the city, including the Empire Hotel on East Hastings, our first post on this blog. He started out building houses, then apartments, and eventually was in partnership as Seabold and Roberts, building significant buildings for the day including Blenheim Court two blocks further along Davie Street.

seabold-1909seabold-1917Seabold was an American, and the source of his success was explained in a story published in an Indiana newspaper in November 1909; the Jasper Weekly Courier, published in Jasper, Dubois County. He was quoted saying that Western real estate “is better than a gold mine”. In 1913 he acquired the Clarence Hotel on West Pender Street. However, Mr. Seabold’s perspective changed quite quickly. Vancouver changed significantly from the city that only a few years earlier had elected a Jewish German mayor with a noticeable accent, David Oppenheimer.

A 1917 article in another Indiana newspaper, the Bluffton Chronicle, clarifies a point we’ve noted about several other Vancouver residents during the First World War. If there was any suggestion of German family origins it was wise to change your name or move south. The 1911 Census said that John was from a German family, but had been born in the USA. He was married to Louise, also born in the USA into a German family and they had a son, Ralph aged nine. John and Louise Schwartz were married in Michigan in 1900. They were shown having arrived in Canada in the same year, and appeared as John and Louisa Seabold in the 1901 census, lodging with Minnie Matthias. At that time John was a waiter, while in 1911 he was shown as a builder.

The 1917 news story explains that Mr. Seabold had tried to sell his property, but ‘found this impossible’. That wasn’t necessarily anything to do with Mr. Seabold’s origins – the economy of the city hit the skids around 1913, and the war didn’t improve things.

The main reason for heading to the USA was being drafted into the Canadian forces, which would have potentially have seen Mr. Seabold (who was aged 40 when the war broke out), expected to fight in Europe. The newspaper reported that some of Mr. Seabold’s property had been confiscated, presumably as a result of his decision to leave the country.

In 1944 Ralph Seabold was married in Los Angeles,  and John and Louise were living there in both the 1930 and in 1940 US Census records. They moved south to California in the 1930s; in 1920 they were living in Seattle where John was working as a contractor.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N324.

0596

Posted October 17, 2016 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

Tagged with ,

Woodbine Hotel – 786 East Hastings Street

700 E Hastings south

The Woodbine, like many of the remaining hotels in this part of East Hastings, was built in the city’s dramatic development boom around 1912. This was built for George Woodcock, and designed by A J Bird. Despite the sign on the cornice looking like it’s been on the building for it’s entire life, the name only dates to the 1960s – and not even the early 1960s – it wasn’t on the building in this 1965 image. When it was first built (at a cost of $35,000) it was called the Oak Apartments.

George Woodcock was said by the 1911 census and the street directory to be a builder, the census adds that he was originally from England, as was his wife Mary, and they lived with their five children (including 11-year-old twins) on East 9th Avenue . They’d arrived in 1901, so all five children would have been aged under seven, so George had either done well in the following decade to build the rooming house, or perhaps he borrowed the money with the intention of selling off the completed building. In 1908 he was shown as a bricklayer. In 1910 he designed and built his house on East Broadway (E 9th) which cost $2,700 to build.

H C Woodcock was listed as the builder of the property – although George was listed as a builder in the census, Hubert Woodcock was the more experienced if later building permits are to be believed. From their daughter Gladys’s wedding in 1923 and Florence’s in 1924 we know her mother Mary Woodcock was originally Mary Etherington, and so we know George and Mary married in Tamworth, in Warwickshire, in 1892. There’s a Hubert C Woodcock living in Tamworth in 1901, aged 19, so he’s almost certainly a relation of George – possibly a younger brother. Hubert married in Tamworth in 1906, and had been born in Wooton Wawen, also in Warwickshire. He first shows up in the Vancouver street directory in 1912, although the permit for the hotel was issued in December 1911, so he must have arrived in the second half of the year.

Either Mr. Woodcock sold his investment, or he allowed somebody else to manage his property. In 1914 Mrs L McLeod was proprietor of the apartments.

George and Mary Woodcock stayed in the East Broadway house. George worked as a bricklayer until he was 75, and Mary died in 1939, aged 66, just as he finally gave up working.  George died in 1948, aged 85. Hubert and Edith Woodcock settled in Vancouver, had a family, and they were living in Victoria, with Hubert still alive when Edith died, aged 90, in 1971.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-22

0483

Posted September 21, 2015 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

Tagged with ,

Washington Court – 998 Thurlow Street

Washington Court 998 Thurlow

Here’s one of the West End’s apartment buildings that were built over 100 years ago. It’s Washington Court, built in 1910 for Peter Agren and designed by Arthur J Bird. Today it has 44 apartments on five floors. When it was built it cost $95,000 and had five floors, but subsequently, about seven months after the initial building permit another floor was added at an additional cost of $18,000.

Washington Court fire Nov 1966 VPLWe’ve seen the other building that Agren developed on Thurlow Street, where again A J Bird was the architect. We identified what we had found about Agren, a Swedish contractor and builder, in that post. Agren’s home on Comox Street (now part of Mole Hill) is still standing as well. Agren appeared in Vancouver in 1904, and two years earlier we can find him applying for two timber cutting licences in Revelstoke on his ranch there.

What seemed curious is that today that additional top floor has been removed, and the building is back to five storeys. It took place some years after 1928, when this picture was taken. Thanks to Dennis who told us when it happened – this VPL image from November 1966 shows the building on fire. The top floor was so badly damaged that it was removed, and only the original five floors were restored.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-264

0389

Posted October 27, 2014 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

Tagged with ,

Trafalgar Mansions – Nelson and Hornby

Trafalgar Mansions

A J Bird designed the Trafalgar Mansions at the corner of Nelson and Hornby for the Hose Investment Co in 1910. It cost $75,000 and was built by Adkinson & Dill. The company name came from F E Hose, the company’s President. Francis Hose was an Investment Broker who had arrived in Canada around 1900. He was born in 1870, and was married to Sybil Gwilt in 1893 in Roydon, Norfolk, UK. That same year they arrived in the US, travelling to New York on SS Teutonic, arriving on the 21st of June. He was described on arrival as a farmer. It’s possible he had been in the US from 1887 and returned to marry: the earlier immigration date is shown in the later US Census records. In 1901 their son Charles was born, and in 1911 they were living at 1659 Davie, and in the Census Mr. Hose was listed as Frank rather than Francis.

Mr Hose wasn’t just an Investment Broker – he was also in partnership with J G Brooks as Hose & Brooks, liquor dealers at 514 Main Street. From 1902 Mr. Hose had run the company with Arthur Hose, probably his older brother, and Mr. Brooks was a later partner. In 1902 (the first year he appears in Vancouver) he was partner with T Allen as owners of the Stanley Park Brewery on Chilco Street, as well as the liquor store – the brewery partnership (and the brewery) seems to have been very short-lived.

1922In 1912 Frank and Sybil had moved to Pasedena, California and J Brooks was managing Hose & Brooks on his own, with John Law running the Hose Investment Co. (Arthur Hose also disappears from the City Directories around this time). Frank Hose seems to have made enough money to effectively retire in his 40s – he was shown in the 1920 US Census as a fruit preserver, apparently at his home. He was still in California in 1931 when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken – he was in the Whittier Judicial Township, Los Angeles in 1940.

As far as we can tell Frank Hose didn’t take an active role in the company that continued to carry his name. Nevertheless, he was probably aware that the company made the news in 1922. This was after the liquor distributer had survived despite the prohibition years that started in 1917, and finally ended in 1921 (in British Columbia). A year later Fred Summers, was arrested after selling policemen a half case of whisky. Liquor and beer were found that were said to be from the Hose and Brooks warehouse on Keefer Street, and the Provincial authorities closed it down while the investigation commenced. A few days later the building, and it’s $50,000 of stock, were returned to the company.

Trafalgar Mansions stood for over 50 years. Today Nelson Square occupies the corner, designed by Romses Kwan and Associates and completed in 1982 for a Hong Kong developer. The top 5 floors are residential; the rest of the 25 floor building is offices.

0372

Posted August 28, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

859 Thurlow Street

859 Thurlow

Today this is called ‘Le Guernsey’ and it’s an apartment building on Thurlow Street on the corner with Haro. It was built in 1912, although there was a house built here in 1896 initially occupied by M T Quisley, the assistant chief operator for the C P Railway. It started life with 20 units, but over the years they’ve been reconfigured to 34. A J Bird was the architect for owner Peter Agren, although the Permit (for $125,000) suggested Agren himself designed it. An earlier 1909 permit that wasn’t pursued would have only cost $50,000. When it was built it was called Victoria Court, and later it became known as Bush Manor, although not until some time after this 1935 Vancouver Public Library photo.

Peter Agren was a contractor, so he almost certainly did build the apartments. He has a number of other permits for houses that he designed, including two still standing today in the Mole Hill development. He was a Swede, and in 1911 he was lodging with Charles and Hilda Anderson (also Swedish) with Manuel Agren, who was probably his younger brother, a carpenter (and probably really Emanuel). The two appear for the first time in street directories in 1904, although they disappear again until 1908 when they were at 1136 Comox. Charles Anderson was probably either a close friend or a relative, as he was the resident manager of this building later in 1911.

The  34 unit building was recently offered for sale for $8.5 million. Next door is the much smaller 1926 ‘Cameron’ apartment building designed by A E Henderson.

0353

West Pender Street – 100 Block (1)

100 block W Pender n sideHere’s an image of the north side of West Pender looking west from Abbott in 1981. The biggest change is the addition of Pendera, a non-market housing project designed by Davidson & Yuen and built in 1989. We saw it when we looked at the history of the building that has been replaced since. That’s the building used by The News Advertiser and then The Vancouver Sun at 137 West Pender. Closer to us is the Duncan Building which the Statement of Significance for its heritage value says was ‘first-class, modern and fireproof when it first opened, with retail stores on the ground floor.’ They attribute the design to H L Stevens, a Vancouver architect. As with many heritage statements, this was somewhat incorrect. H L Stevens were based in New York, although they had offices in Chicago and San Francisco, and briefly in Vancouver. Howard J Duncan, who developed the building, was a lawyer (he represented the Japanese business community when Mackenzie King investigated the 1907 riot), and he entered a frantic market with unfortunate consequences. With a collapse in demand due to a recession in 1913 the building ended up in foreclosure and was bought by The London & British North America Company Ltd., a real estate and financial firm, in 1916.

It was renamed as The Shelly Building when it was bought in 1925 by Cora Shelly. Her husband, William Curtis Shelly was an entrepreneur and philanthropist, who the Heritage Statement credits with founding many businesses, including Home Oil, Pioneer Timber, Canada Grain Export, Nanaimo Sawmills, Canadian Bakeries, and Shelly Bakeries. He was a Vancouver City alderman and Park Board chairman, playing an important role in the development of the City’s beaches. He also served as Minister of Finance in the Tolmie provincial government in the late 1920s and 1930s.

On the corner is the Lotus Hotel – unusual for bearing the same name that it was originally given back in 1912. It was designed by A J Bird in 1912 and built by R McLean and Son for Thomas Matthews at a cost of $95,000. He was an Irishman who moved to Ontario initially and then to BC in 1884. He settled first in Victoria, arriving in Vancouver a month before the city burned to the ground. He worked as a tailor/clerk in a clothing store, but invested successfully in real estate. The Lotus was a joint venture with Loo Gee Wing who often worked with a white partner to avoid hostility to his business interests outside Chinatown (which were extensive). Today the Lotus is an SRO Hotel, recently refurbished, and the Shelly Building is one of several hundred-year old office buildings still in demand in the city’s Downtown.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.15

0332