Archive for the ‘Fred Hoffmeister’ Tag

West Pender Street east from Bute

This image was taken around 1910, and is titled “View of Pender Street looking west, showing Elysium Hotel and Hoffmeister Bros. garage” Actually it’s looking east – because the Elysium Hotel was on the south side of Pender. We looked at the history of the hotel in a recent post. It was designed in 1909 by Sholto Smith, with the developer described as ‘C C Smith’ in the permit – although we haven’t found anyone with those initials in the city at the time.

On the left is another 1909 development, but this one more modest. Fred Hoffmeister developed the $5,000 repair garage here, designing the building himself. (His brother Henry also designed and developed repair garages, and the Hoffmeister family had extensive real estate holdings, both as investments, and associated with their engineering and car repair businesses). Although other Hoffmeister family members were in the city in subsequent years, Fred appears to have moved on. The garage flourished, with the Hoffmeisters (whose office was in the prestigious Winch Building) selling a range of both electric and gasoline powered brands.

Here’s a 1911 image from the Vancouver Sun showing both the electric powered Waverley and The Marmon and Thomas Flyer gasoline vehicles. The Waverley was produced from 1908 to 1914 in Indianapolis although it had been built for a few years before that as the Pope-Waverley. It used Edison batteries, and the models shown here could seat two. The cars were popular with lady drivers, as they didn’t require hand cranking to start them. The Marmon was produced from 1902 through to 1933, and was also built in Indianapolis. The first Indy 500 was run in 1911, and a Marmon won. The company introduced a variety of new features, including the first rear view mirror. The Thomas Flyer was a big car, seating seven, built in Buffalo, New York. The company existed from 1902 to 1919. A 1907 Model 35 with 4 cylinders and 60 horsepower won the 1908 New York to Paris Race, the first and only around-the-world automobile race ever held. (The car is on show in Reno, Nevada these days).

After the war the building was used by the Soldiers Civil Retraining establishment. Canada was one of the first Allied countries to implement a system of retraining for its wounded soldiers, and by 1920, when they were using the premises, 26,000 wounded ex-servicemen were being retrained.

On the right in the foregroound is a house designed by Crowe and Wilson for Mrs Lipsett, who apparently built it herself, if the permit is to believed. It cost $3,200, which was a substantial sum. her husband, Edward, was originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and became an important manufacturer in Vancouver, making sails on Water Street. He added to his business over the years, by 1914 working from a larger building and described as manufacturers of canvas goods – sails, tents, tarpaulins, aprons, coats and overalls.

On the right today are a row of office buildings. Closest to us is 1166 West Pender, built in 1974, designed by Paine and Associates, and already proposed to be demolished and redeveloped with a building over twice as tall. Next door is a 1985 office designed by Hamilton Doyle in 1984, and there are two red brick clad buildings from 1980 and 1960 beyond that.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 1577

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Posted September 30, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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