Archive for the ‘Adolphus Williams’ Tag

Granville Street – 700 block east side (4)

This undated image shows the other buildings that were replaced when the Best Buy / Winners retail building was built here in 2003. We looked at the buildings to the south (just out of the picture, to the far right) in our previous post. In the ‘before’ image the two-storey building on the right of the picture has been split up, and part of W T Whiteway’s 1904 façade is obscured with sheet steel on Murray Goldman’s store. We know from another Archives picture from the early 1970s that to the south of the Goldman store, Le Chateau had a store here, so this image probably dates to the mid to late 1960s. We also know it dates to before 1974 because that’s when the Birks Building (past the Vancouver Block) was demolished in 1974.

The Goldman stores were a Vancouver institution; Mr. Goldman’s advertising (and humour) were well known, and popular. His 2011 obituary noted “The downtown outlet moved to Granville Street, where it thrived until the city banned street parking in favour of a bus-and-pedestrian mall. The move drove away shoppers. “Business would start slow in the morning,” Mr. Goldman complained, “then taper off through the rest of the day.” He moved the outlet indoors and underground at the nearby Pacific Centre Mall, where it would later become Goldman and Son. He had introduced a son, David, to the business when he was 14. The family business is now best known for its Boys’ Co. stores.”

To the north, behind the Brill trolley bus, was a two storey building with bay windows on the upper floor. In 1906 it was home to The Opera Café (run by J A Byers), Larson Bros, tailors and Direct Importing Tea & Coffee Co, managed by Herbert Cragg, with four apartments upstairs. That’s the first time it appears, so it was built around 1905, a period when the building permits have been lost. Our earlier image of this block suggests the central part of the building had an ornate pediment, lost by the 1970s. The Opera Café soon became the Granville Café, the Opera Pool room was in the middle, behind a shoe store, and Sam Scott sold clothing in the third retail unit. The apartments were occupied by Rhoda Backett, a masseuse, Thomas J Ogle, who was proprietor of the Windsor Hotel, (next door), John Glenn of Glenn & Co, an agency that dealt in timber and coal lands, and Mrs. I M Paterson. Rhoda was unusually independent: she was born in Lambeth in England in 1876, arrived in Canada in 1905 (having sailed to Boston), and had Emily Short, who was 10 years younger, lodging with her in 1911. In 1909 she owned the Turkish Baths on West Pender, and in 1911, she applied to buy 640 acres of land in the Coast District ‘near the Red Stone Indian Reserve’ in the Chilcotin. A year earlier she applied to buy 640 acres in Omineca, near Fort Fraser. It doesn’t appear she was successful in acquiring the land: she stayed in the city and became a nurse. She was still single when she died in Vancouver in 1949. In 1913 Thomas Fee said he owned the building when he carried out $400 of repairs, but there’s also another owner, Mr Doud (who owned the Boston Lunch, on West Hastings) who had Walter Hepburn carry out repairs to the Imperial Lunch here that year. He probably ran the café, rather than owning the building. In 1919 The Orpheum Café (another name change that occurred a few years earlier) paid for more alterations.

Beyond it was the former Windsor Hotel, although by the mid 1910s it was the Castle Hotel. It started life just 50 feet wide, as this 1909 image shows. There was an initial $10,000 building here in 1904, developed by A Williams, built by Baynes & Horie, and designed by Grant & Henderson. It looks like it was only a small building, with retail space – described as ‘brick and stone store’. The hotel appears in 1908, so was probably built above or alongside the retail building, but it too is in the ‘lost permit’ period. It also added a new four storey element to the south, and then was increased in height in 1911, with Grant & Henderson designing a $55,000 three storey addition built by C F Perry (again for A Williams). The resulting building is shown on this 1920s brochure, published by Glen Mofford in his history of the Castle. Subsequently two storeys were removed, so our 1970s image shows only five floors.

There were several A Williams in the city; the most likely to have the funds was Adolphus Williams, a lawyer and politician, born in Ontario but practicing in Vancouver since 1889. He developed another building on East Hastings, and possibly other properties as well. On his death in 1921 half of his property was bequeathed to his wife. On her death three years later it passed on to other relatives. A legal case in 1945 finally settled a complex taxation question related to the estate, which was described as being principally made up of real estate interests in Vancouver. In 1913 he also held successful gold mining interests near Lillooet.

Walter Hepburn (who repaired the building next door) was shown as the owner of the building in 1915 when he submitted a permit listing William Blackmore as designing $10,000 of work to alter the interior of the Castle Hotel, enlarging the lobby, bar & grill. As Blackmore had died in 1904, it was probably his son, E E Blackmore who designed the work. There was a main floor bar and lounge, with tapestries on the wall, transformed into men and women’s beer parlours a year after the end of prohibition in 1922 and a full three years before they were legally allowed to exist in Vancouver. (They used a “private club” legal loophole that many other Vancouver establishments adopted). In the 1950s the bar became known as a gay drinking establishment, although management threw out anyone who touched a same sex partner, leading to a “kiss in” protest by the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s. Like all the buildings here it was demolished, in this case in 1990.

Between the Vancouver Block & the Birks Building was another small 3-storey building, dating back to 1912. It was another Grant & Henderson design, for John West, who spent $15,000 building the three storey structure, dwarfed by the $400,000 Vancouver Block completed two years earlier, and the $550,000 Birks building completed in 1912. It created another example of the ‘saw tooth’ pattern of development seldom seen outside Vancouver, and slowly disappearing as more consistent height buildings maximize permitted density across the city.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-437 and CVA 64-4.jpg

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Posted January 6, 2020 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with , ,

East Hastings Street – 100 block, south side (2)

Here’s the eastern end of the 100 block of East Hastings in a picture from 2002. (We looked at the western end in an earlier post). On the left in Molson’s Bank building, while the tallest building is the Regent Hotel, and on the far right of the picture is the Empire Hotel. The pale brick Molson’s Bank was designed by H L Stevens, who was based in New York but had a branch office in Vancouver for a few years from 1911 and was responsible for several landmark buildings in Vancouver and the United States. Molson’s had an earlier 1898 branch on West Hastings, while this building, the East End Branch, costing $80,500, was approved for construction with a concrete frame in 1912. The bank continued to use the building until the 1930s, and the upper storeys were initially used for offices for doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other professionals, (including court interpreter and notary public W A Cumyow), but by 1922 had become the Graycourt Hotel (rooms).

Later the whole building became the Roosevelt Hotel, over the years becoming more run down and in the late 1990s home to some of the women who were victims of the Pickton murder case. It was acquired by BC Housing, and is now run by the Portland Hotel Society, with 42 units of non-profit housing for Downtown Eastside residents. The community members are largely individuals dealing with physical and mental health issues, social stigma, emotional trauma, substance dependence, and other issues.The building underwent a major renovation in 2015 as part of BC Housing’s SRO Renewal Initiative, and reopened, beautifully renovated, in August 2016.

162 E Hastings, to the west, was probably completed in 1913 (as 148 E Hastings), although it received its building permit in 1911. Designed by Parr and Fee for Adolphus Williams, it was purpose-built as a Billiard hall & cigar stand built by Hemphill Brothers and cost $10,000 to build. Mr. Williams was a lawyer, magistrate and former politician; (he represented Vancouver City in the BC Legislative Assembly from 1894 to 1898). Mr. Williams apparently sold the building to real estate agents Hope and Farmer, who carried out a number of repairs and alterations including a 1919 permit to use it as the Veteran’s Canteen. In 1916, Mr. Williams sued Art Clemes (described as a rancher from Spences Bridge) for trespass. Presumably the building was built just over the property line onto the land owned by Mr. Williams.

Next door to the east is the Regent Hotel, which the City of Vancouver are seeking to expropriate because of the condition that the owner has allowed it to fall to, and east of that was the Pantages Theatre, designed by E E Blackmore in 1907, and tragically demolished and redeveloped as a controversial condo building in 2011.

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