Archive for the ‘E E Blackmore’ Tag

Water Street – 100 block (2)

Water 100 block 1

This is the eastern end of the north side of the 100 block of Water Street – so we’re looking from the corner of Abbott Street, and the picture is dated to 1906. The building closest to us is the Canadian Fairbanks Building at 101 Water Street, designed by E E Blackmore and W T Whiteway for McLennan & McFeely, and completed a year earlier. They only had half the building – the other half was for rent. Next door was the former Methodist chapel which was being used as a flour and feed store by Frederick Allen. The building was replaced in 1923 with the modest 2-storey building still there today, commissioned by Rainsford & Co and designed and built by Dominion Construction.

Next door is a two-storey building known as the Lovell Block. The Heritage Statement of Significance for the buildings says it was built in lovell 18881888-89, and that it was built “for pioneer Vancouver businessman John Badcock Lovell”. In that respect it’s incorrect: J B Lovell was a Victoria businessman, although he did have a number of Vancouver investments including another Lovell Block in 1900 and the Bodega Hotel. Mr Lovell also bought the site of the Methodist church in September 1888. The construction of his new block, like so many at the time, was fast and not very well done. In December it had to be started again, as the Victoria Colonist piece shows, and it wasn’t completed until 1889. Perhaps the more careful reconstruction is why the building is still standing.

Mr Lovell was born in England in 1831 and had been in BC since 1858. He was a miner, ran the Express at Richfield, a number of trading stores and was Coroner in the Stickeen region in 1874. He managed the Victoria Co-operative Company store, although in 1881 he was listed as a miller, and in 1891 and 1901 as a merchant in Victoria. He married Margaret, 28 years younger, in 1873 and they had three children. He died in 1915, aged 84.

Next door was a 3-storey (and basement) building where J Y Griffin & Co wholesaled produce and provisions, managed by Robert Robertson. In 1908 their specialty was packing pork and beef. The building next door was occupied in this picture by F R Stewart, another wholesale produce firm, and Baker, Leeson & Co; wholesale grocers. Two years later Mr Leeson was running his business on his own and moved down the street a bit, and a year after that he had teamed up with two new partners from New Brunswick and built a much bigger warehouse on the next block for Leeson, Dickie Gross & Co. F R Stewart also built new premises after this image was taken at 129 Water St, seen on the edge of our earlier post; designed by Parr and Fee in 1910.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-270



101 Water Street

101 Water St 2

This Water Street warehouse was commissioned by hardware merchants the McLennan and McFeely Company. It was completed in 1905, although they never occupied it as by then they had already started building larger premises on Cordova Street. The architect of both warehouses was E E Blackmore, who worked with the more experienced W T Whiteway on this building. This was an unusual arrangement as up to this point Blackmore usually worked with his father, William, who had designed many of the city’s early buildings, but William had died in 1904.

McLennan & McFeely leased the Water Street building to the Canadian Fairbanks Company; at the time the largest machinery and mill supply company in Canada. They didn’t only use the building as a warehouse, they had a wonderful machine shop – there’s a beautiful picture of it in the City Archives, dating from 1905 like the picture above.

101 Water St 1

By 1930 the building was occupied by Thompson Elliott Limited, wholesale grocers, as this VPL image shows. They moved into the building in the early 1920s, replacing David Spencer Ltd who used the warehouse in conjunction with their rapidly expanding retail emporium.

Like many of the buildings on the north side of Water Street, (the water side), the Canadian Fairbanks building was built on piles driven into infilled water lots. By the 1980s the foundations had decayed to the point where collapse seemed imminent.  Fortunately, extensive renovations in 1987 reclaimed the building for office and retail use.

Image Sources: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P504.4 and Vancouver Public Library


The Lux – East Hastings Street

The Lux

The Lux was a locally designed theatre (although really a movie house) that lasted for over 50 years on East Hastings Street. We looked for a ‘before’ image for a long time before coming across this image from 1994 on Christian Dahlberg’s website devoted to Vancouver’s neon. The Lux was built in 1939 and finally closed in the 1990s after a last-ditch attempt to keep it going by advertising its presence with the dramatic paint job and the offer of a $2.50 double bill. It had briefly taken on a new role in the late 1980s and early 90s as a real theatre – mostly as home to local punk music events. It was a local visual landmark, photographed by both Fred Herzog and Greg Girard.

Princess TheatreThe Lux was originally built by the Odeon chain, designed by Thomas L Kerr who also designed the Odeon on Granville Street (still standing today, much altered and now closed), and had around 900 seats.

It wasn’t the first theatre on the site – that was the Princess. The Princess appears around 1910 (the first reference to it in the Street Directory). Although it has been attributed to E E Blackmore with Charles Shand (who designed the Empress Theatre across the street) we haven’t been able to confirm that, and have some doubts that they were involved. In 1910 there was a $1,000 alteration permit for the theatre carried out by Irwin, Carver & Co for owner and architect (supposedly) Angelo Calori; the Italian hotelier who had recently built the Hotel Europe. There is a court case in December 1905 with Calori contesting a Mr Andrews’ attempt to renege on a deal to sell him a property on Hastings Street. From what we can tell it is the theatre lots. He was successful in gaining ownership by 1907. There is a clipping from March 1910 with him taking out a permit to build a one storey building at a cost of $8,000 pretty much on the site of the theatre, and then the conversion to the theatre (actually a purpose-built movie theatre) that year. (We’d guess Norman Leech was a more likely architect; he designed something similar on Granville Street around this time).

Although this picture is thought to date to around 1920, it’s almost certainly earlier. Both movies that are showing ‘One Month To Live’ and ‘Cowboy for a Day’ were silent films released in 1911. The theatre however was far from silent – it had a pipe organ installed in 1911, hence the notice ‘The Home of the PIPE ORGAN – step in and hear it’

Today there’s a new Lux; one of the more recent non-market housing schemes funded by the Provincial government on land provided by the City of Vancouver. Designed by Gomberoff Bell Lyon and managed by Raincity housing, the Lux provides 92 apartments and was completed in 2009. The site is slightly larger than the cinema, incorporating another building site, but the Lux name lives on in the same location.

Image Sources: Christian Dahlberg,, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-867


Posted December 18, 2013 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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McLennan and McFeely – East Cordova Street

McLennan & McFeely

McLennan, McFeely and Company Limited were the city’s most successful importer of hardware and building supplies at the turn of the 20th century. In 1906 they built themselves a massive new warehouse on the corner of Columbia and East Cordova,  hiring E E  Blackmore to design it; (the son of William Blackmore who designed the adjacent Commercial Block).

Both McLennan and McFeely were in the city before the 1886 fire: Robert Purves McLennan was from Pictou, Nova Scotia and had run a hardware store in River John before moving to Winnipeg in 1882 aged 21. Edward John McFeely was from Lindsay, Ontario, was two years younger than McLennan and also sought his fortune in Winnipeg in 1882. The future partners met there and worked together, but the boom ended quickly (his biography calls it ‘the real estate reaction’) and he headed to Minneapolis. McLennan had gone to Victoria in 1884, establishing an ornamental ironwork and tin cornice company that expanded rapidly. He invited McFeely to join him in business and they bought a lot on Powell Street in Vancouver to build a warehouse. The frame was up when the fire destroyed the town, but apparently the lumber it was built from was still wet, having been floated in a raft, so it didn’t burn and they were able to complete it quickly (covering it with corrugated iron) and cash in on the building frenzy that followed. During the 1890s the firm’s focus shifter from roofing and tinsmithing to wholesaling. In 1891 McLennan had 13 people working with him in Victoria and McFeely 17 in Vancouver.

McLennan & McFeely 1905Further buildings followed; in 1889 their business ‘stoves, tinsmiths and plumbers’ was in a 3 storey building designed for them in 1887 by Elmer Fisher, on the 100 block of Cordova, the main business street of the day. It was apparently extensively covered with the company’s own decorative metal trim,and the city’s library was for a while in a rented room upstairs. In 1900 GW Grant designed a new warehouse on Pender, and in 1905 E E Blackmore and W T Whiteway designed a new warehouse on Water Street that was completed, but never occupied by the company. Hardware and Merchandising magazine explained “McLennan, McFeely Company, Vancouver, have leased the block that Contractor J. McLuckie is erecting on the corner of Water and Abbott streets to the Fairbanks Company. The block will be three stories high, and the estimated cost is $30,000. It will have a private siding from the C. P. R. and, being right on the waterfront, is well located.” Instead they commissioned this massive (150,000 square feet) warehouse on Cordova at Columbia in 1906. In fact, they commissioned two buildings for this site – Parr and Fee designed the building on the left for Cordova and Columbia at some time before 1900 – as far as we know it was never built.

Our top image shows the building in 1910; the one below shows it in 1920. Both McLennan and McFeely became important members of the city’s business establishment. Both were associated with the Board of Trade, and Robert McLennan was also on the School Board, a member of the Board of Governors of UBC and President of the Bank of Vancouver. Edward McFeely owned a motor yacht, the ‘Jolly Mac’ in which he cruised the BC Coast. Robert McLellan owed a 330 acre farm on Gambier Island with extensive orchards and a prize dairy herd. McFeely was mostly responsible for running the Vancouver operation; McLellan supervised the Yukon operations for five years from 1898, his family joining him every summer. He even became mayor of Dawson for a year in 1903 (having sold the retail side of the business in 1902), but in 1904 the remaining operations were sold and McLennan returned to Vancouver. A third partner, E G Prior, was added in the late 1920s to create  McLennan, McFeely and Prior Limited as the company continued to expand after Robert McLennan’s death.

Edward McFeely was married in Victoria in 1889 and there were six children. Robert McLennan married in Nova Scotia in 1887 and had ten children, including one born in Dawson City in the Yukon. McLennan died in 1927, and McFeely in 1928, one month after retiring.

McLennan McFeely 2

In the 1970s the Koret clothing company from San Francisco occupied the building, and the residential conversion completed in 2006 still bears their name. The Koret Lofts has 118 live-work units with an extra floor added to the building with the conversion and restoration designed by Simon Bonnettemaker at Gower Yeung and Associates.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Str P419 and CVA 99 – 3275


Edward Hotel – Water Street

308 Water

Here’s the Edward Hotel (or Hotel Edward when it was first completed in 1907). It replaced the Regina Hotel – the only substantial structure to survive the 1886 fire). We haven’t found an architect, but thanks to Patrick at Heritage Vancouver Society who dug up the details, we know it was built for Charles Edward Beckman at a cost of $21,000. He was a Swede  who arrived in the city in 1899. In 1901 he was a mining engineer, living alone (as a lodger at 512 Seymour Street). There are several other Charles Beckmans, all Swedish, scattered around BC and Manitoba at that time as well, and another engineer at a mill called C E Beckman. In 1906 he was still a mining engineer, with a house at 528 Seymour, but he appears in 1907 as proprietor of the Hotel Edward. A year later he’s no longer in the city and the hotel was being run by John W Deptford. It looks like Beckman may have returned to Europe as he seems to have emigrated to New York in 1913 via Hamburg.

Mr Beckman had initially run into a few problems with obtaining a licence for the new hotel as Mr Wallbridge, the previous owner of the Regina had apparently sold the licence with the hotel, but also transferred it to Thomas Foster who was the lessee of the Regina, and who therefore thought he controlled the licence. The Board controlling the licences appear to have agreed to grant two – one to Foster and one to Mr Beckman. In 1908 Mr Foster was running the Oxford Hotel at 38 West Hastings.

The new owner who bought the hotel from Mr Beckman, John Deptford, was a police officer before he took over the hotel, living on Barnard Street in 1907. He had the right background to run a successful bar and hotel. John came from Upwell in Cambridgeshire where his father (also John) ran a public house. His other advantage was that as a former Vancouver policemen he knew exactly what he should – and should not – do to avoid falling foul of the law. In 1906 the new board of police commissioners tried to enforce the observance of the Sabbath by hotel and saloon owners – in theory the bars were closed. The police were reluctant to enforce the law, claiming they couldn’t see if a bar was open or not. A new by-law was immediately introduced requiring a light over the bar and a peephole to view it from outside. It was suggested that the police – presumably including Constable Deptford – might have been helped financially to not look into the bars, but now they had little excuse. Nevertheless, when the proprietors of the Columbia Hotel were charged with supplying after hours drinks the charge was ‘providing an inadequate peephole – as the slot they created in the shutters didn’t allow a view of the bar. In their defence they suggested Constable Deptford could have seen in if he had stretched his neck – “only if I stood on a box” he is said to have replied. The magistrate remanded the case but required a bigger hole.

In 1909 J W Deptford hired E E Blackmore to make $700 worth of alterations to the hotel – so that might be who designed the building a couple of years earlier. J W Deptford and his wife Ellen both arrived from England in 1899, and the 1901 census shows John working as a labourer. The couple married in Vancouver in 1900; Ellen was from Salisbury in Hampshire, was five years older than her husband, and had no complications with changing her name as she was already Ellen Deptford before she married. In 1891 she was working in London as a servant. In 1911 Ellen was listed a hotel proprietor. and in the Street Directory John is identified as owner of the Alexander Hotel (at 1 Water Street – originally the Alexandra), and they were living on 7th Avenue. We don’t know what happened to John, but Ellen died aged 90 in Cambridgeshire. Both John and Ellen travelled out of North America, through Quebec in 1905 and New York in 1910.

Today the building looks much as it did when it was built. The Water Street Cafe is downstairs, and there are offices rather than hotel above. In 1919 it was given a new storefront, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh, and what’s there today looks very similar. Our 1920 VPL picture shows the building when R S Ford, importers, had taken over the building (around 1919 – presumably when the new store front was added).


1190 Homer Street

1100 Homer Smith Davidson

Smith Davidson & Wright were a newly formed company in 1907 established by Fred Smith, William E. Davidson and Francis Wright. They were primarily wholesale stationers and paper dealers, although they seem to have published postcards in their early years. They selected E E Blackmore to design a warehouse for their business to sit on the corner of Homer and Davie Streets, in the newly released CPR lands to the east of Homer (completed in 1911).

Smith Davidson 1930sFrederick Smith was from Toronto, and took the position of Chairman in the new company. Frances Wright was from Ashburn Ontario and worked at Toronto’s W J Gage, wholesale paper dealers, the same company that Mr Smith had worked for as well. Mr Wright became secretary and treasurer of the firm. We haven’t successfully identified Mr Davidson, or his role in the company.

Our photograph shows the company’s premises in 1921. By 1930, as the magazine advertisment here shows, they had expanded to Victoria, Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton. In 1953 the company, still occupying the same premises, became Smith Davidson & Lecky. The substantial terra cotta surround to the warehouse and office entrance, which had the company name inscribed on it, was totally rebuilt in appropriately matching style to reflect the new name of the business.

Smith, D Lecky sign 1Smith, D Lecky sign 2Although the company no longer exists, the warehouse still operates as an office building with new retail uses on the old rail dock at the back of the building (on Hamilton Street).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99 – 3370, Museum of Vancouver.


St Francis Hotel – West Cordova and Seymour (2)

We saw the St Francis in earlier days in our last post, back in 1925. Here it is in 1981, not long before the wrecking ball paid a visit. The lower cornice, marking the limit of E E Blackmore’s 1907 building has been lost, but J S Pearce’s rooftop cornice is still partly intact. The original bar was by the time this photo was taken a shadow of its former self. In 1906 much was made of the bar having its entrance at Cordova and Seymour, and the hotel an entrance a storey above coming in up the hill on Seymour. In 1918, when J Nation was the proprietor, the hotel advertisement said “The St. Francis Hotel is directly opposite C. P. R. Depot and Wharf, one block from the Post Office and main business streets. The hotel is modern in every particular. Large sitting and lounging rooms overlooking the water and North Vancouver. Dining – room in connection, and the prices are moderate.”

Up the hill you can see that the 1950s rework of the Bank of Ottawa was a simpler box than the building we see today, with its fancier canopy addition. By 1981 the buildings between the St Francis and the bank had also been cleared away.

Image sourc: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E01.17


Posted September 27, 2012 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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