Archive for the ‘B T Rogers’ Tag

Colonial Apartments – 589 Burrard Street

589 Burrard

The Colonial Apartments, seen here in 1917, were six years old when this Vancouver Public Library image was shot. The building permit describes the building as ‘Apartments/rooms (also 1008 Eveleigh Street); five-storey brick & steel store & apartment’. We saw it in a larger context in an earlier post. The architect was listed as Kennerley Bryan, and the developer B T Rogers, the American sugar baron who ran the Vancouver sugar refinery and also developed the city’s first up-scale ’boutique hotel’. J H Vickers was the builder of the $50,000 investment property.

There’s surprisingly little information available about the architect, who designed several buildings for Rogers at the sugar refinery between 1912 and 1917; buildings for Sam Kee including the famous ‘narrowest building in the world’ on the edge of Chinatown as well as the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club in Stanley Park in 1910. From the 1911 census we know that he was an American, living with his English wife, Cecilia, 18-year-old daughter Margaret, and his sister-in-law Harriet Ruddock. They moved to Canada in 1908 – his wife is in some records shown as Cecelia; she was from Aston, near Birmingham; (her birth and christening records confusingly show her as both Celia and Cecila). It appears that in arriving in Vancouver Mr. Bryan reinvented himself as an architect – before his arrival he was an engineer. Perhaps this explains why he favoured steel frame buildings, even when they were relatively small – although surviving the San Francisco earthquake could also be a factor.

Records suggest he was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1867 and he appears to have been a civil engineer, rather than an architect when he was in The US. The first reference to anyone called Kennerley Bryan was attending the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1892, and working in New York. As Kennerly Bryan we can find him in Chicago as an engineer in 1888, and in New York in 1889 as a junior engineer at Otis Engineering. The chief engineer of the Hale Elevator Co of Chicago in 1893 had the same name and moved to the Winslow Bros Elevator Co in Chicago in 1894 “As Consulting Engineer we are fortunate in securing Mr. Kennerley Bryan, who leaves his important position as an engineer of Otis Brothers & Co., of New York, to assist in our enterprise. Mr. Bryan has had the advantage of years of experience with the Otis Company, known throughout America and Europe as manufacturers of elevator machinery of the most approved type. He now has the reputation of being one of the most skillful and experienced engineers in the art of elevator building.

In 1900 he was shown by the US census to be living in Manhattan in New York when his son, also called Kennerley was aged 10. That same year he was living in Brooklyn when he obtained a patent for the ‘main operating valve for hydraulic elevators, etc’. He took charge of the Otis Elevator Co in San Francisco in 1900, and was running the Bryan Elevator Co there in 1906 when the earthquake devastated the city. He arrived in Vancouver in 1908, and was responsible for a series of buildings through boom and bust. The last time we can find Mr. Bryan as an architect in Vancouver is in 1919, when he represented the Architectural Institute of BC at a national meeting of architects with S M Eveleigh. He was in partnership with W Gillam that year (as he had been for several years) and was living on Broughton Street. In 1920 the architectural partnership had folded, Gillam was now in a new partnership and this was the last time Kennerley Bryan was living on Broughton Street, (recorded as an engineer, rather than architect). Kennerley Bryan junior was married in 1920 in New Westminster, moved to Ohio in the 1930s, and returned to Point Roberts in 1940. He had an older brother, Cecil, who was born in Brooklyn, New York two years before him, in 1888, and an earlier sibling also christened Kennerley who was also born in 1888 and died in 1889.

We think it’s possible the architect returned to New York, and returned to being an engineer. The record of his son’s wedding confirms that “Kennerley Bryan, 29, engineer, Titusburg NY, Vancouver, s/o Kennerley Bryan, engineer & Cecilia Ruttick, married Jean Christine MacEwen, 29, teacher, Paisley Ont., New Westminster, d/o Peter McEwen, clergyman & Christine McEwen, witnesses: Mrs. P.H. MacEwen & Cecilia R. Bryan, 19 Jan 1920 at New Westminster”. A Mr. Bryan was lodging in New York in 1920 where he was recorded as ‘Kennersly’, and an engineer called Kennerley Bryan in 1921 commented on the design of the Holland Tunnel – although we’re not sure if this is father or son. Although the death record refers to ‘Kennerly Bryan’, we’re pretty sure the architect died in Sacramento in 1935, and his son in Kitsap, Washington in 1970.

Today Eveleigh Street is no longer here and the site of the Colonial Apartments is home to a bank, part of the Bentall Centre designed by Frank Musson & Associates; (we think this part was built in 1971).


Posted 6 August 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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West Pender and Burrard – sw corner (2)

Pender & Burrard 2

We saw this corner in 1956, when there was still a building here. And we just posted the story of the garage that was built next door, to the south, in 1930. Here’s the view in 1965 when Walter E Frost recorded the mostly cleared site Pender & Burrard sw enlargeawaiting the construction of the Bentall Centre. The Marine Garage was Ltd was offering collision repairs, and down the road was 555 Burrard with a variety of mining companies in office space upstairs and Home Oil occupying the main floor (and the advertising space on the side of the building).

Beyond Eveleigh Street (which used to come through to Burrard Street) is an apartment building completed in 1912, designed by Kennerley Bryan for B T Rogers. Rogers was the Philadelphia born sugar magnate who created BC Sugar and also developed the Glencoe Hotel. As far as we can tell these were his only commercial investments; his only other developments were his home on Davie Street, Gabriola, and his later amazingly expensive Granville Street home, Shannon. He was said to have been a very cautious investor, and avoided jumping into Vancouver’s development frenzy – which might help explain the $1.2 million estate he had on his death.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-352


Posted 24 February 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Glencoe Lodge – West Georgia and Burrard

Hotel Belfred

Across the street to the west from the Christ Church Anglican Church, B T Rogers built a hotel in 1906. To be more accurate, he assembled a hotel, at a cost of $30,000. He bought two houses, one of them the former home of J M Browning (the CPR Land Commissioner) that had been designed by Bruce Price and built in 1888. He then hired Grant and Henderson to design his hotel by lifting the houses, adding two storeys beneath, and linking them to create a rather eccentric looking building. Glencoe Lodge, as it was named, was run by Jean Mollison. She had managed the CPR’s Chateau Lake Louise so Rogers (a CPR Director) probably knew her well.

Rogers was the American entrepreneur who could arguably be called Vancouver’s Sugar Daddy. Born in Philadelphia in 1865, he enjoyed a privileged upbringing and family ties to important businessmen in the American sugar industry. While his father owned a refinery in Philadelphia, and later a sugar plantation in Louisiana, Benjamin learned the sugar industry the hard way, studying sugar chemistry in Boston, working in a refinery in Brooklyn and then headed to Vancouver in 1889 to establish his own business. It was an expensive business to create, but CPR directors bought shares in the British Columbia Sugar Refining Company. J M Browning, as chair of the finance committee of Vancouver City Council proposed the refinery should be given a site, a tax exemption on land and improvements for 15 years, free water for 10 years, and a municipal loan. In 1890 electors approved this package by 174 votes to 8. It didn’t hurt that Browning was also representative for the CPR Directors. Although the enterprise struggled to make money in the early years, and despite Chinese sugar being imported below cost, by 1895 the plant made a profit and has continued to do so to today. By 1916 the company’s assets had increased from an initial investment of $250,000 to $7.5 million and its daily capacity of refined sugar went from 30,000 to 900,000 pounds. When he died, Rogers was worth over a million dollars. He was a cautious investor, and Glencoe was one of only two property investments we know about.

Glencoe Lodge drawing room postcardGlencoe attracted classy visitors, and was said to more exclusive than even the railway’s own Hotel Vancouver – which might explain why Donald Smith – Lord Strathcona – the Scottish head of the CPR stayed here. Indeed, his full title may explain the hotel’s name ‘Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, of Mount Royal in the Province of Quebec and Dominion of Canada and of Glencoe in the County of Argyll’. Miss Mollison’s eclectic tastes were on view, including William Morris designed wallpaper.

The Whitehern Museum Archives have this wonderful 1912 postcard from Ontario resident Mary Baker McQuesten to her son Thomas From: Glencoe Lodge Vancouver

My dearest Tom

Here we are in most delightful quarters. We look out from one window on an ivy-covered church across the way and a little further over facing on out street the beautiful new court house with a point like the Parthenon all in pure white with grecian columns across entire front. M. [Mary] will try to get snap shot, there are no p.c as yet and further we see C.P.R. Hotel. Then from our other window we see the water (what particular part do not yet know) with steamers sailing along & ships beyond. We were pretty tired when we reached last night at 11 pm with gazing all day at the most magnificent scenery all the way through the Rockies till dark at 9 o’clock. But we slept right away till morning and took our breakfast after 9 o’clock of cream of wheat (fruit if we liked. M. had lovely oranges), tenderloin steak beautifully cooked & a pot of tea & coffee. Chinese lads wait and a particularly nice one born here runs elevator. We found Mrs. McLagan & Frankie in dining room, Grace Weir Hastings met us at elevator, lives here. Then we sallied forth to find directions as to Skagway trip. At the corner of our street & Georgia St. (the street leading to depot) are the Hudson’s Bay stores. We found a very pleasant young man at inquiry office at the Depot and heard that steamers only leave every Saturday night. The fare for four days there and four return including a room to ourselves with double berth is $60 each. The steamer is a new one the Princess Sophia. When we reach Skagway the Steamer remains long enough for us to make round trip to the summit of the White Pass by White Pass [?] Ry. & if sufficient number go will remain while the trip to White House is made. So it seems as if we would get the worth of our money. On the way back met Mrs. Steele who had been up to Glencoe Lodge, she told us Mrs. Henderson & Miss George were going same day up the Alaska trip so we will be alone. Then I spied sitting in an auto by the side of street Mrs. Gillard while I was speaking to her, up came Alice Smith, who was most cordial and I think owned the auto for she promised to call us up and arrange to show us things.

Must close, my one great regret is that you are not with us, my dearest boy. With fondest love.

Your mother

Glencoe also had many permanent residents; the 1911 Census showed 39 staff resident in the building, including 6 bellboys and 5 cooks (one who doubled as a waiter). In addition there were 48 boarders including a surprising number of families; Frederick Schofield and his wife Edith; Edgar and Lillian Lee and their 9 year old son Douglas; Gideon Robertson who was aged 70 and his wife Elizabeth and their 40 year old daughter Annie and the Calland family who had three daughters aged 5 to 12. Perhaps the best known family living in the hotel was W H Malkin, his wife Lillian and four children. Quite why they were there isn’t clear – they had a home on Davie Street but perhaps they were getting ready to move as they commissioned a grand new Maclure & Fox house on Marine Drive in 1912.

The hotel lost business in the late 1920s, and despite a name change in 1931 to the Hotel Belfred (seen in our picture) closed in 1932. Miss Mollison’s resident guests are said to have owed her $11,000 they were unable to pay. The site was redeveloped in the 1930s as a gas station, only to be redeveloped in the 1970s boom as the Royal Centre, with an office tower, the Hyatt Hotel and an underground shopping plaza.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Hot N3