Archive for the ‘Fred Townley’ Tag

1200 block West Georgia Street, south side (1)

consolidated-motor-co-1200-w-georgia

We have another car and truck dealership in one of Vancouver’s main Motordom streets. We’ve previously looked at several vehicle dealerships in the two blocks east of here, and here is another in this 1931 image. On the corner with Bute Street, Consolidated Motor Company Limited had their Willys-Knight and White trucks and busses division. Next door was their Gold Bond used cars department, and to the west was the Hupmobile and Packard car showroom.

Willy-Knight cars were produced between 1914 and 1933 by the Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio, while White (which started in 1900 with steam powered cars) after World War I began producing trucks. The company soon sold 10 percent of all trucks made in the US. Between the wars White produced all sizes of trucks from light delivery to semi – that’s a White chassis sitting outside the showroom. Hupmobiles were manufactured in Detroit from 1909. After 1925 the company made the same mistake that many other medium-priced carmakers were making at the same time; in an attempt to capture every possible sale, they offered many different models. With their relatively low production volume, no model could be produced in sufficient quantity to keep manufacturing costs low enough to provide an operating profit.

The building on the corner was built in 1919; designed by Fred Townley for the Terminal City Motor Co costing $30,000 by AD and AW Snider. It was described as “Factory/Warehouse; two-storey reinfoced concrete garage building, 66×120 ft; rest rooms w/ large open fireplaces, lavatories; owing to diff. in grade, access to repair dept via ramp at Alberni St. entrance, drive a car right into without use of an elevator”. The previous owner of the house here was J Duff-Stuart, who was making repairs to his home as late as 1918.

consolidated-1927Terminal City Motor Co operated a hire car service – an early limo service. In their fleet they had a Cadillac Model 30 that they used to run a tour service around the city. The company was manged by Frank Barnes, and offered sightseeing tours in 7 seat ‘Green Cars’ that set off from opposite the Hotel Vancouver. For $1 you could take a 25 mile tour to Marine Drive through Point Grey. Seeing Shaughnessy Heights in an hour and half drive also cost $1. The brochure advertising the tours mentioned that their stores also sold a range of auto parts. The company had moved five blocks to the west to their new premises. In 1926 they added new premises on Dunsmuir Street and changed their name to the BC Motor Transportation Co. “Operating All Classes of Motor Vehicles, Including Pacific Stages, Vellow Cabs, Sightseeing Cars, Flat Rate Cars, Drive Yourself Cars and Baggage Transfer.” Consolidated Motors expanded eastwards into the corner building in 1929.

They had operated from the third building on the block, 1230 W Georgia, from 1912. Garage premises were initially built in 1911 by the Archibald Motor Co, designed by George Pigrum Bowie at a cost of $6,000. Archibald were founded by Albert William Cruise, originally from New Brunswick. He worked as an engineer in New York, in theatre in eastern Canada, and then in real estate in Vancouver from 1907. He acquired property and fam land, and retired as the 1912 crash hit. That year Archibald was renamed Consolidated, with Mr. Cruise as president, retaining the Archibald name for a related garage business and the Western Tire Company for tires and parts. He hired Doctor, Stewart & Davie to build the property shown in the picture in 1912, built by R McLean & Co at a cost of $30,000. In 1920, when the Vancouver Motor Dealers’ Association had their banquet, under the headline ‘Who’s Who of Vancouver Motordom’ Consolidated Motors were identified as a Packard and Maxwell dealership.

consolidated-motor-co-1230-w-georgia-1936-cva-99-4855In this 1936 image a 1935 Packard 120 Club Sedan is parked at the curb. This was the company’s first year of a lower priced line; the modern looking car probably kept the company afloat during the Great Depression when demand for their more luxurious cars declined. Its style contrasts with the classic proportions of the 1933 or 1934 coupe in front of it. Although the Hupmobile name is still on the façade, the company only sold Packards. Until  1942 Consolidated Motors were still going strong here: A W Cruise was still in charge, and as well as Packards, the dealership was selling Pontiacs. They moved up the street to the 1000 block in 1943. Willys vehicles were later sold from the corner of Burrard and W Georgia; we’ll look later at what happened to these buildings.

Today this is the location of the Residences on Georgia, a James Cheng designed pair of residential towers, completed in 1998, as well as the heavily restored ‘Abbott House’.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3939 and  CVA 99-4855.

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Posted December 22, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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145 Keefer Street

145 Keefer 2

A three storey building  was approved for the Sam Kee Company in 1912, designed by Kennerley Bryan, to be built by R P Forshaw at a cost of $16,000. This permit was for apartments/rooms; described in the more detailed press notice as “three-storey brick store & rooming house; facing is red brick relieved with green tile; window ledges cement; galvanized iron cornice surmounts the bldg.” (Sam Kee was essentially a fictional character, the merchant who ran the company was Chang Toy.) This doesn’t seem like an ideal location for a residential building, and what was built doesn’t fit the description exactly.

This part of Keefer didn’t reach Columbia Street, because False Creek was right there. Across the street from this building was the Vancouver Gasworks, with a pair of retort houses on the street, and gasometers to the south. In the previous few years the edges of the channel had been tidied up, straightened and turned into a coal dock to deliver to the gasworks coal yard. Until it was abandoned and filled in some years later it occupied the place where Columbia Street would be extended; just to the west of this building.

This building wasn’t shown in the 1913 street directory (when the property next door was identified as being occupied by “Foreigners”). It showed up in 1914 as ‘New Building”. In 1915 the Maple Leaf Rice Mills were shown operating here, at 147 Keefer. While it didn’t reveal the owner, it suggested the business was Japanese. A year later a Chinese operator had taken over, Wing Kee Rice Mills. This was a Sam Kee owned company that Fred Townley had been hired to design a building for in 1912. We’re reasonably sure that it’s actually his design for the Rice Mill that got constructed. Paul Yee says that Sam Kee had operated a rice mill in the city from 1908.

In 1924 the Rice Mills were no longer listed but the Sam Kee Company had moved their offices here from East Pender, and were still in business here in the mid 1950s. Today the building continues to houses office space – the same company was occupying the building in our 1978 image.

Posted September 12, 2016 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, Still Standing

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Union Station – Station Street

Union Station Station St

Here’s Vancouver new Union Station seen perhaps as early as 1917. Completed in 1916 by the Great Northern Railway, it was designed by Fred Townley. It was built for passenger trains operated to Seattle through Blaine and for the Northern Pacific Railway to Seattle by way of Mission and Sumas as well as Vancouver, Victoria & Esquimalt services into the Kootenays and Northern Washington. The Great Northern was J J Hill’s rail empire; initially he was part of the consortium behind the Canadian Pacific, but when he couldn’t get the route linked to his American network he resigned in 1883 and expanded his own system.

Hill died in 1916, the GN scaled back their Canadian expansion, but their Vancouver terminus was already under construction next door to the Canadian Northern station. (completed a couple of years later). Both stations were constructed on the newly infilled eastern end of the False Creek Flats. The Canadian Railway & Marine World reported that the company had filled the area to an average depth of 12 feet. “As the whole property is a fill, the building is supported on a pile foundation, cluster piles being driven and cut off below the line of perpetual saturation. Upon these concrete piers were poured, which support reinforced concrete beams, which in turn carry the exterior walls, columns and floors. The skeleton of the building is reinforced concrete, hollow tile, and concrete floors and roof. The exterior has a granite base, carrying up and around all exterior doors terracotta surbase, and red brick above, with terra-cotta trimmings and cornice.”

The two-storey steel and concrete building was constructed by Grant, Smith & McDonald at a cost of $390,000. The significant expense was partly explained by the finishes: “The main waiting room will be panelled in Alaska marble, 7 ft. high, and will have marble and terrazzo floors and ornamental plaster ceiling. Provision has been made in the plastering of the end walls for placing oil paintings showing the Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.” There were a series of other permits for additional buildings designed by Townley, adding up to over $200,000. One was the power house, located 150 feet east of the baggage room wing, with a brick stack at the east end 90 ft. high. The power house supplied heat to the different buildings through an underground reinforced concrete tunnel, steam to the passenger cars at the stub tracks, and to the passenger car yards. In connection with the passenger car yards there were a commissary building, an oil house, car repairers’ building, car foreman’s building; car cleaners’ building, a carpet cleaning building and a coal house.

By the mid 1930s many of the GN Rail lines had been shut down or abandoned (including the Northern Pacific operation). Passenger service to Vancouver from Seattle lasted until 1971 when it was transferred to Amtrak. The terminal in Vancouver was demolished in 1965, ostensibly to reduce property taxes.

The lot has remained vacant ever since, and is today used as a temporary parking lot and movie shoot base. It is intended to be the future home of the relocated St. Paul’s Hospital.

Photo source: thanks to Arthur Babitz at The History Museum of Hood River County who sent us this image photographed by Alva Day, a resident of Hood River, Oregon, born 1887 died 1955. He took a trip to Alaska in 1917; this may have been photographed as part of the trip. See the photoblog http://historichoodriver.com/ for more Hood River images.

Posted June 23, 2016 by ChangingCity in False Creek, Gone

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Thornton Park and CN Station

We showed a CN station image a while age. Here’s the full panorama, now that the repairs to the station are complete. You can see that it’s looking pretty clean now that stone repairs have been done, and we caught it at dusk when the lighting was coming on. The trees on Thornton Park are a bit bigger than in 1924 – in fact a couple have had to be removed recently after they split and fell over. The original photo is one of a number of extraordinary panorama shots placed on flickr by the excellent Vancouver Archives collection. You can see the other station, Union Station for the Great Northern Railway to the north of the Canadian Northern, designed by local architect Fred Townley and completed in 1916.