Archive for the ‘Evans Coleman and Evans’ Tag

Stanley and New Fountain Hotels – West Cordova Street

This pair of long-standing Downtown Eastside Hotels have been closed for a while, and the structure behind the facades is in process of being demolished. They’re soon getting a new ten storey building that will replace the 103 welfare rate rooms and shelter beds that were in the old hotels with 80 new self-contained units (that will still lease at welfare rates) and an additional 62 market rental units.

Looking more closely at this 1940 Vancouver Public Library image it’s possible to see that there seems to be a third building sandwiched between the Stanley, and the two storey New Fountain. That seems not really the case – or at least, the permits we can find suggest a slightly different history. The New Fountain, (the shorter building on the left of the picture), was (supposedly) built in 1899, and there were two hotels built to the east of that completed in 1907, with The Russ Hotel occupying the middle three lots and the Hotel Iroquois run by Samuel Albert on the two lots closest to us.

Both buildings were probably built as part of the investment portfolio of Evans, Coleman and Evans, merchants and shipping agents, considered for many years to be one of the leading commercial firms in the province. They hired Grant and Henderson to design the Russ and Iroquois building in 1906, and the hotels opened in 1907. In the Contract record they were described as ‘white pressed brick with cut stone trimmings’.

There were buildings here rebuilt immediately after the 1886 fire. These were initially wooden, almost all built within a few weeks of the fire and then gradually redeveloped with brick and stone fronted replacements over the next few years. We saw what the street looked like in 1888 in an earlier post. By 1889 in this location there were 2-storey buildings with a saloon, an undertakers that also operated a furniture manufacturing business, a grocers, clothing store and bookstore, all with offices and lodgings above. Only three years after the fire, several had already been rebuilt with brick facades. In 1891 the saloon was called the Grotto Beer Hall, run by Swan and Kapplet, numbered as 35 Cordova. A year later it was renumbered as 27, and Edward Schwan had taken over. He was still running the hotel in 1894, but it had been renamed the New Fountain Hotel. The Old Fountain Saloon was two doors down, and that situation continued for a few years. (Some directories listed him as Edward Schwahn, and others as Schwann). He also applied for the licence of the Cabinet Hotel in 1896. The 1901 census called him Schwan, and tells us he was from Germany, and aged 41. His wife Bertha was 33, and also German, and they had arrived in Canada in 1888, where five of their children had been born. Frank, who was the oldest, had been born in the US, so presumably the family had moved north.

There are several confusing aspects of the hotel’s history that we haven’t straightened out. The heritage statement says it was built in 1899, but the name goes back to 1894, and Edward Schwan ran it from 1890 (when he renamed it the Grotto) until at least 1902, and he was replaced by Charles Schwahn by 1905, although the street directory still linked him to the establishment. If the building was completed in 1899, it replaced an earlier building with an identical name, and the same proprietor, (which is perfectly possible).

A second confusion comes from the 1901 and 1903 insurance maps, which call it the Mountain Hotel. We’re pretty certain that’s just an error; there was a Mountain View Hotel – but that was on East Cordova. We think that the hotel operation was run by Mr. Schwan, but the building was owned by Evans, Coleman and Evans. They carried out work on the storefronts in 1902, and then commissioned $13,000 of major alterations in 1909, designed by Parr and Fee. In 1901 only half the building (at least on the main floor) was used as a hotel, while to the west were three store fronts for a drugstore, liquor store and a jewelers.

Evans, Coleman and Evans were three Englishmen, brothers Percy and Ernest Evans, and their cousin, George Coleman. They arrived in 1888, and built up a business empire that included a cement plant, wharves, timber and coal import and export yards and a building supply business. They were often the successful supplier of cast iron pipe to the City of Vancouver as the expanded the sewers and water mains. In 1910 they sold the business to a group of prominent business people including William Farrell and Frank Barnard, although they may have retained their interest in the hotels, which also included the Manitoba, also on Cordova.

There were two earlier hotels among the buildings that were demolished and replaced by the Russ and the Iroquois in 1906. The Elite Hotel was closest to us, and the Hotel Norden, run by Peter Larsen, was in the middle.

In 1911 the Stanley name replaced the Hotel Iroquois – (which was also the name of one of the steamships that often docked at Evans, Coleman and Evans docks). Next door was a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, and then the Russ Hotel, and Al’s Russ Café. Wo Hing’s tailor store and George Graff’s Fountain Cigar Store had storefronts before the Fountain Hotel entrance, and Harry’s Café. A year later the Russ Hotel had disappeared, and the Stanley Hotel’s rooms included both properties.

Property developer and agent William Holden may have had an interest in the Iroquois Hotel, as in 1911 there was a permit to him hiring architect H B Watson to carry out $4,000 of alterations to the hotel, presumably preparing for it to reopen as the Stanley. Watson had his offices in the Holden Building on East Hastings. Holden also paid for some more work on 35 W Cordova a year later. The Building Record newspaper described the work to remodel the Hotel Iroquois to be even more extensive, costing $8,000. Evans Coleman and Evans, who commissioned the building, had further work carried out on the premises by Thomas Hunter in 1917.

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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

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50 West Cordova Street

This is the Hildon Hotel in 1985, and today – almost unchanged over 30 plus years. We’re not sure if the 1955 street directory entry was a typo, or whether the hotel really changed it’s name from the Manitoba Hotel (which it was from when it opened until 1954) to the Hilton Hotel, but it’s been the Hildon for many decades. The pub was, and is, a typical eastside bar, but briefly in the mid 1980s it added ‘exotic dancing’ and entertainment to the 50 Bourbon Street pub just at the point that strippers were starting to be replaced in other bars in the city. Today it’s still ‘The Bourbon’, which claims to be unlike any bar in the city. “Its rich history can be felt as soon as you walk through the doors. Established in 1937, The Bourbon has been many things…a strip club, a biker bar, a live venue, and until recently Vancouver’s first country bar.”

The ‘official’ heritage statement says the building was designed in 1909 by W T Whiteway. We can’t find any reference to substantiate that attribution, and the building’s design, using white glazed bricks is much more reminiscent of Parr and Fee’s work. They used bricks like this extensively on other hotel buildings in the early 1910s, especially on Granville Street. They obtained two building permits for this address, both in 1909. The first was in April, for Evans, Coleman & Evans, Ltd who commissioned $25,000 of alterations to the William Block. Two months later another $7,000 permit for the same address, with the same architects, was approved for further alterations. Both projects were built by Baynes & Horie. The expenditure suggests something substantial in the way of alteration, so there may be part of the structure underneath that pre-dates the 1909 construction, but the street directory identifies a ‘new building’ here in 1909.

Evans Coleman and Evans also owned the hotels across the street, as well as many other business interests in the city. When the hotel opened (as the Hotel Manitoba) in 1910 it was run by J H Quann. John Henry (Jack) Quann had lived on the site before, as his father, Thomas Quann (from New Brunswick) had run the Central Hotel here in the 1890s, and in 1896 Jack and his brother Billy had taken over before moving on to other hotels, including the Balmoral, then the Ranier which they built in 1907, as well as the Rose and Maple Leaf theatres. Once the earlier hotel had closed this location was briefly home in 1902 to the Electric Theatre – Canada’s first permanent cinema (before this movies were shown as travelling shows run by people like the Electric’s founder, John Schuberg). Schuberg sold the Electric and moved to Winnipeg in 1903. Jack Quann died in 1911, and the hotel was then run by Jay D Pierce, and as with other hotels of the day there were a number of long-term tenants as well as visitors staying in the premises.

One strange story recently came to light involving the hotel bar. In 1963 Henry Gourley claimed to be drinking there with two friends, when he told Bellingham police that they overheard a conversation from a nearby table. Three men, he said, declared that if Kennedy were to ever go to Dallas “he would never leave there alive.” The men said they were headed to Cuba afterwards and one, who he suggested was named Lee and wearing a grey suit and brown shirt, said his uncle owned “a foreign rifle.” Gourley told the police that he recognized one of the men from a photo shown on a TV program that was “talking about the rifle.” The FBI investigated the claim, as the conversation supposedly took place about three weeks before the death of JFK. Gourley was found to be an unreliable witness, and his friends didn’t back the story up.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2138

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Cordova Street – unit block, south side

 

Unit block Cordova

We’ve see a number of these buildings (or their store fronts) in several recent posts. The building to the left is 36 West Cordova, and today it’s part of the Army and Navy store, but it started life as the Hayes & McIntosh block – a butchers store founded around 1889. The entire staff and the delivery horses from the company feature in this 1893 image. Next door were a series of buildings that were undoubtedly built very quickly after the fire (probably by 1887, when 56 Cordova was home to the Central Hotel) The hotel was run in 1887 by Thomas Quann, and he continued to run it through to 1892 when the number was switched to 42 Cordova. We know it’s still this building because Hayes and McIntosh are shown in the street directory being located next door, although in 1892 he was listed as Thomas Quamm. His census entry identifies him as Quann, born in New Brunswick and aged 46 in 1891 with his Irish wife, Mary, and his children, 18 year old twins, William and Mamie, and John Henry who was 16, all of whom had been born in the US. There were at least 25 lodgers, showing that the Central had a significant number of longer term residents, most of whom seem to be working in construction trades, or as miners. They were a mixture of Irish, English, American with one from Wales, two from Quebec and two from Scotland. By 1896 the owners were listed as Quann brothers, with Thomas joined by WH and JH – presumably his sons William (Billy) and John (Jack) who had now taken over running the hotel. They went on to build the Rainier Hotel in 1905 on the site of their wooden Balmoral Hotel (which started life in 1886 as the Burrard House, run by John Burrard) as well as running the Rose Theatre, the Maple Leaf theatre, and at one point also the St Francis Hotel.

In 1898 Powers and Farron had taken over running the hotel – James Farron who lived on Melville Street and Thomas Powers who lived at the hotel. They only stayed a year or two; in 1900 Newland and Farron were listed, and in 1901 Arthur Newland on his own. Arthur was English, aged 44, living with his Australian wife, Teresa, (who was 30), and they had just 3 lodgers. A year later the premises were empty, and in 1902 it became the Electric Theatre. This was Canada’s first permanent cinema – before this they were travelling shows run by people like the Electric’s founder, John Schuberg. The Electric cost 10c to get in – and seats were free. There was an usher to see that Ladies got the most Desirable Seats. Schuberg sold the Electric and moved to Winnipeg in 1903.

In 1909 the site was developed with a new hotel, the Hotel Manitoba, run initially by the Quann brothers (although Jack Quann died in 1911, and Billy Quann a year later.. It retained this name until 1954, when it became the Hildon Hotel, the name it still operates under today (as single room occupancy accommodation these days). The ‘official’ heritage statement says it was designed by W T Whiteway. We cannot find a single reference to substantiate that attribution. The design, using white glazed bricks is much more reminiscent of Parr and Fee, who used the material extensively on hotel buildings at this time, especially on Granville Street. There are two building permits for Parr and Fee for this address, both in 1909. The first was in April, for Evans, Coleman & Evans, Ltd who commissioned $25,000 of alterations to the William Block. Two months later another $7,000 permit for the same address, with the same architects for further alterations was approved. Both projects were built by Baynes & Horie. The expenditure suggests something substantial in the way of alteration, but perhaps there’s a part of the structure that pre-dates the 1909 construction.

Today there’s a 25 foot wide gap in the street that had a modest 2-storey building that in this image is occupied by R V Winch who sold fruit and meat, having moved from further east on the block when his previous premises were redeveloped for the Dunn-Miller block. This would suggest the building he is in was built in 1888, but we haven’t successfully pinned down a develop or architect –  it’s possible that Mr. Winch developed it himself.

Further down the street are two buildings that we think date back to 1899 – one developed by F A Boehlofsky and designed by Allan McCartney, and the second right on the edge of the picture that we think is R V Winch’s investment designed by Thomas Hooper. Today the Hildon Hotel – built as the Hotel Manitoba is here; built in 1909 – we think by Evans, Coleman and Evans (Percy Evans George Coleman and Ernest Evans) who had extensive merchant interests from docks to steamships with side interests in property (including two hotels on Cordova Street). Beyond is a 2012 residential building designed by Henriquez Partners for Westbank.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P552

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Posted April 23, 2015 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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