Archive for the ‘Fripp Brothers’ Tag

Granville Street – 500 block, east side (2)


We saw the building in the middle of this 1899 picture in its original incarnation as a building almost certainly designed by W T Dalton for Hope and Fader Co., Granville Street, ‘next to the Imperial Bank’, in 1898. The intricate design was replaced, or covered, with a windowless box to house British departmental store Marks and Spencer, and more recently has been given an even more featureless façade with the store offering (until its recent closure) Loblaw’s clothing brand ‘Joe Fresh’. That’s the Marks and Spencer incarnation below, seen in 1981.

The Imperial Bank was the building to the north – still standing today, and designed in 1898 for W H Leckie, the Vancouver arm of John Leckie’s dealership in salmon nets, rubber boots and oilskin clothing. We looked at the history of that building in an earlier post. It was designed by G W Grant in a rather more restrained style than his later designs. The Imperial bank was replaced by the Quebec Bank, and by the early 1910s the building was known as the Mackechnie Building. In 1913 the upper floors held a variety of office tenants, among them real estate offices, a judge, two doctors, a dentist, a barrister and a broker. Persistent rumours suggest an office tower will be proposed above the restored heritage building.

To the south (in the top picture) is a fifty feet wide building. Today it has a 1909 façade, designed by Parr and Fee for owner Harry Abbott. The building dates back to 1889, when it was designed for Abbott (the Canadian Pacific Railway official in charge of the west coast) by the Fripp Brothers. In it’s earlier incarnation it had a brick facade with smaller sliding sash windows.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N422 and CVA 779-E02.01


Posted 21 September 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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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


1290 Granville Street

Who would have thought that this corner 7-11 store was once a car showroom? Like much of this end of Granville Street, an early business located here sold International Harvester and Paige vehicles. This 1921 image shows both parts of the business, and upstairs the West End Hall (confusingly, not in what we now think of as the West End). Although best known for their farm equipment, IH produced light trucks from the early 1900s, introducing the Motor Truck in 1910. Paige Autombiles were produced in Detroit from 1908. When this image was taken the company produced cars with engines made by Duisenberg, but in 1922 they introduced the Daytona, a 3-seat sports roadster with a 6-cylinder engine. The vehicle looked like a traditional coupe, but had an extraordinary third seat that could be pulled out like a drawer from the side of the car over the near side running board.

The company was sold in 1927, merging to become Graham-Paige, but by then Paige cars were being sold a block away at 1365 Granville, and Ball-Cambell Co had moved in, selling Star and Flint automobiles. The Star was an assembled car intended to rival the Model ‘T” Ford. Parts were supplied by various manufacturers, and built by the Durant Motors Company in Lansing, Michigan. Flint Motors came from the city of the same name, and was also a Durant company. The body of their car was made by Budd, in Philadelphia, and the engine by Continental. They ceased production in 1927, and Ball-Campbell went with them. Great West Motors moved in here, selling Oldsmobiles.

The building didn’t start life as a car showroom, as it pre-dates the arrival of cars in Vancouver. It was here before the turn of the 20th century – in 1899 it was numbered as 1270 Granville, the only building on the block other than the Golden Gate Hotel (still standing at the other end of the block, which dates from 1889). It was home to Webster Bros, who were grocers, with three Websters listed among a total of seven residents. They certainly didn’t use vehicles in their business – or at least, not motorized vehicles. The Archives has an image from around 1905 of one of their horse-drawn wagons. There’s another image of the building which is inaccurately dated to around 1890. It’s later because Webster Bros didn’t move in until 1897; the year before that they were located on the parallel block of Seymour Street.

From 1892 until the Webster family moved in, the premises here were occupied by Mrs O Olmstead, grocer, and Mr O Olmstead, a carpenter. They had taken over from the short-lived Vancouver Co-operative Grocery and Supply Co, managed by S F McKenzie, who were here in 1891. A year earlier there were two businesses, and several residential tenants (suggesting the entire building was constructed as seen today). The businesses were the Granville Street Dining Hall; Harry King Sargeant, prop; Miss Mary Bouer, waitress, and Miss Annie Larsson, cook. Colin McLeod, a blacksmith also seems to have worked here, (presumably at the back) and there was also a grocer; E Fader and Co. There were so few people in the city that the directory listed everyone working or living here; John Elijah Fader, of Fader Bros., Maynard P Fader, clerk, William Dauphinee, the bookkeeper, Silas Fader, and Henry Marsden, another clerk.

The Fader business had moved from Cordova Street, where they operated in early 1889, and the family members had all been living on Homer Street that year, and they all lived at this address in 1890 – although it didn’t really have an address – or at least not a number, just ‘Granville, nr Drake’. As far as we can tell 1889 is when the building was constructed. The family were unusual as they were recorded as ‘grocers and mill owners’ – they also owned a sawmill a block away from here on False Creek, run by Albert Fader. Albert had the Homer Street house that the family previously occupied designed for him by William Blackmore in 1888. This building might be designed by the Fripp Brothers; an 1890 Daily World report identifies a commercial block having been built for E Fader and Co at Drake Street at Howe Street, but there was only a very small building at that intersection, and it seems likely the newspaper inaccurately identified the location.

The family didn’t all stick with grocery, or milling. In 1891 Albert Fader was retired, and E J Fader was a steamboat operator, living at the Colonial Hotel (The Yale Hotel today – also dating from 1889). The Fader family had German roots, but had all been born in Halifax, in Nova Scotia. There’s an image in the Nova Scotia Archives of their store at the market in Bedford Row in 1885, and the business had been established in 1864 at 64 Barrington Street. Silas Fader stayed in the grocery business, and we saw his later store, still on Granville Street but much further north, built in 1898.

The Webster grocery store was here from 1897 until 1912 – a year later they were located on the opposite side of the street. The store was empty for a year, then in 1914 J L Dobbin was listed as owner when some repairs were completed; John Dobbin was a representative for the Granville Auto Exchange, based at 1270 Granville (still this building) and owned by AM Rentfrow and W W Ross. In 1919 Douglas Hayes (who was the tenant of the building) carried out $1,000 of repairs that it was noted ‘had been OK’d by the fire chief’, after a major fire in 1917. In 1920 more alterations were carried out for owner E Evans, built by Thomas Hunter. There were about a dozen ‘E Evans’ who might have owned the property, but almost all had fairly poorly paid jobs, as clerks, carpenters, a ‘helper’, a traveler – but the one professional was architect Enoch Evans, who might well be the owner at the time (assuming it wasn’t an out-of-town owner). By 1930 the economy was in trouble; car companies were being wound up, and these premises were vacant. When they were operating again in 1932, it was with John Redden, who was a wholesaler of radios and refrigerators, and R A Lister’s engine business, managed in Vancouver by J R Day.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Trans N19, Bu P711 and Bu P293.


Posted 12 July 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Boulder Hotel – 1 West Cordova (2)

Boulder 2

We saw the Boulder Hotel, and told some of its story, in a post over two years ago. Here are two more images of the Boulder, one from 1890 (when the Fripp Brothers design was very new) and a more detailed one from the early 1900s. In both the building was only two storeys high; it had another floor added, but we weren’t sure exactly when (somewhere between 1907 and 1920 from the available pictures – the building’s heritage statement says before 1910, but we haven’t been able to confirm that, although there is a 1911 panorama that suggests it’s probably true). There were more alerations in 1916 when the hotel became home to the Royal Bank of Canada. Purdy and Henderson were designers of the conversion as well as contractors, and the work cost $10,000, so was a substantial piece of construction.

The Boulder was built in 1890, and before the fire (and from as early as the 1870s) Angus Fraser’s house were here, but as we saw in another post there was a wooden building that lasted less than four years on this spot.

Major Matthews records the experience of George Walkem in 1898 going to “that restaurant on Cordova Street run by Boehlofsky” which he identifies as the Boulder Salon on the corner. In fact it was the Boulder restaurant at 7 Cordova Street – the hotel was run by Arthur A Langley with W D Haywood in the mid 1890s until 1901, the year that G B Harris carried out $700 of alterations. Later that year W McNeish of the Columbia House in Golden took over. Boehlofsky moved on to the International Hotel before 1900. Mr Walkem recalled that “As I went in there was a waitress at the door with a napkin over her arm, and I asked her where I could find the proprietor, and she pointed to a man. I went up to him, told him I was without money, wanted something to eat, but I suppose he had dozens of such applicants and he did not grant my request. So as I was going out, dejected, the waitress at the door said to me, ‘What did Father say,’ so I told her. She replied, ‘You go and sit down there at that table,’ and I did, and she brought me as fine a meal as one could wish for, and after that she took one of those tickets for 21 meals and punched it for one meal and gave it to me.”

Boulder 3In the 1890s the restaurant occupied the western half of the building; the saloon and hotel were on the corner (and the upper floors). The restaurant advertised in 1900 that it was open day and night. Most recently it has been the Boneta restaurant, the No. 1 Noodle House, and briefly a pop-up version of Save-On-Meats while it was being renovated. Now it’s waiting a residential conversion upstairs that will see the SRO rooms (long closed) replaced by eight market rental units.

Image Sources, City of Vancouver Archives Str 349.1 and SGN 36



Posted 5 August 2014 by ChangingCity in East End, Gastown, Still Standing

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Granville Street – 500 block, east side (1)

500 block Granville 3

We have featured one of the buildings on this block – the smallest building with the biggest blade sign. Arnold & Quigley, men’s furnishings, were at 540 Granville (these days numbered as 546 Granville). We’ve also written about the building closest to us on the right, the Bank of Montreal, designed in Montreal by Taylor and Gordon and completed in 1893. These two almost identical views are from the Vancouver Public Library collection of images in the public domain – from 1935 (above)  and 1940 (below).

500 block Granville 2

There are three other buildings on the block, one of them still standing today. That’s the Abbott Block, developed by Harry Abbott in 1889, designed by the Fripp Brothers. In 1909 Abbott, Vancouver’s senior CPR official, hired Parr and Fee to design alterations to the building that cost $7,100.

We’re not completely certain, but we’re pretty sure both the buildings to the right (south) of the Abbott block were built for the same developer, who happened to be the architect as well. Thomas Fee, the business half of the Parr and Fee architectural practice also developed buildings, as we saw in an earlier Burrard Street post. He built the large building with the spectacular square columns in 1902, and named it the Fee Block. The smaller infill building that completed the block was built a few years later, and we haven’t been able to identify the building permit – but Thomas Fee owned it in 1917 when he designed the replacement of the rooflights.

Today the Fee block has been replaced by an office building that’s a cousin (or perhaps a sibling) to a very similar office on the opposite side of the street that replaced the Bower Building. 570 Granville was completed in 2000, a 17 storey boutique office tower designed by Eng, Wright and Bruckner for the Campbell family.


Posted 5 February 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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Oyster Bay Cafe – Cordova and Carrall

Carrall and Cordova se

J M Spinks was an early Vancouver pioneer. We’re pretty certain he had the dubious distinction of getting embroiled in legal argument to land claims even before the city was established. It doesn’t seem to have been an impediment to his later success, although he seems to have rewritten history a little by claiming in the 1901 census to have arrived in Canada in 1887. John Manly Barrington Spinks was born in his preferred version in 1853 in Liverpool (that’s his birth year on the 1891 and 1901 census forms). One version of his story is that he arrived in Victoria in 1884 and lived briefly in Duncan before moving to Granville in March 1886. Unless there were two J M Spinks in the city at the same time, he was probably here a little earlier. While there are two different birth dates for a John Manly Barrington Spinks in Liverpool (suggesting an earlier child died, and a second was given the same name) his birth date record in the UK was 1850 (Although in the 1881 English Census – where he was a butcher – this had already slipped to 1851).

A Select Committee of the Provincial Legislature heard evidence in 1884 “About fifteen years ago two Indians, named Charlie and Jim, squatted on said land and made improvements thereon (including building two houses), several clearings, &c., and resided continuously upon the land until the sale presently mentioned, and one of them is still upon the place, it having been arranged that he shall receive the year’s crop of potatoes. On the 23rd June, 1884, the said two Indians conveyed their right and title to said land (with the consent of the Indian Agent) to one J. M. Spinks“. In further evidence it became apparent that Mr Spinks had a partner, Sam Greer (later of Greer’s Beach – now Kits Beach) who had paid the Indian Agent for transfer of title to the land, but put the land in Spinks’ name as he thought it more likely that Spinks claim to title would be accepted.

Having had Greer carry out the legal transaction on his behalf, Mr Spinks then sold his interest on, but the Province was not willing to entertain the idea that he ever had anything to sell. F G Richards Jnr, on behalf of the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works replied to a request to recognise the new owners title to land:

“In reply, I am to inform you that your application cannot be entertained, as the Chief Commissioner cannot admit that the Indians ever acquired a claim to the land in the slightest degree.

“The land in question, among others, was leased to the British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber, and Saw-Mill Company (Limited), by Indenture dated 13th November, 1865, for a term of twentyone years.

“According to the terms of the agreement no portion of the lands so leased could be pre-empted or entered upon by bona fide settlers or pre-emptors without the written sanction of the Governor and Superintendent of the Saw-Mill Company.

“No such sanction was ever given in this case. Furthermore, the existing Land Laws, at the time you claim the land was entered upon by the Indians, does not permit any of the aborigines of this Province, or the Territories neighbouring thereto, acquiring or holding any land by pre-emption.”

In further evidence it was clear that all the purchasers were unhappy with Mr Spinks. As well as he having successfully sold on a claim that he probably didn’t have legal rights to sell, it was also suggested that the claim as staked was 160 acres, but as sold was 400. Sam Greer was probably the least happy – he was out of pocket and he was then accused of (and taken to court for)  forging the document claiming title in the first place. This is the simple version of the story – there are even more twists in other people’s memories of the ‘deal’.

Tatlow & Spinks 1891This didn’t seem to cramp Mr Spinks style at all. Initially he was partner with Walter Graveley – who in 1932 remembered rescuing the metal ‘Graveley and Spinks’ sign and putting it behind a stump as he ran from the 1886 fire, only to find it melted from the fierce heat. For no obvious reason, Mr Graveley recalls Mr Spinks to be called ‘Bob’. Later Spinks partnered with R G Tatlow in real estate promotion, although the year that this building was built, 1891, that partnership was dissolved and he continued in the real estate business alone. He and Tatlow developed at least one property near Seymour Street. He had a house built on Seaton Street in 1888, designed by Henry Bell-Irving. Later he partnered with R C McKay and Dr Israel Powell on a commercial block on Pender at Richards, designed by Fripp and Wills. John’s brother, William also moved to British Columbia. A barrister by profession, he was practicing in Kamloops by 1884 and was sworn in as a judge in 1889. He had  Fripp and Wills design a house in Swan Lake in 1892, and was obviously an aficionado of the Arts and Crafts style as he hired Greene and Greene to design his retirement home in Pasadena in 1909.

According to the 1891 census 38 year old John M Spinks was married to Jane (originally from Paddington, and possibly a year older than he was, depending on when he was really born), and had a son, John M, another, Richard and a daughter, Mary, as well as their domestic, May Austin. Jane died, along with her new born baby, in 1892 and by 1901 John was married again to a Danish born wife, Ursula, 17 years younger than him (and only seven years older than his son, Richard). In 1903 he apparently moved east, to Toronto and in 1911 had a wife 19 years younger, Ella, recorded as having been born in Ontario.

Oyster Bay adFor the building, Walter Graveley, who owned the lot, partnered with Spinks to develop a triangular building on the awkward lot created where the rail right of way cut through the street grid at forty-five degrees  (behind the building in this 1939 image). Designed by the Fripp Brothers, the building became well-known as the home of the Oyster Bay Cafe. In 1913 Fripp was again hired by Gravely to work on the building. At the time it wasn’t called Cordova, but rather Oppenheimer Street.

Gravely was born in Cobourg, Ontario, in 1853. In 1873 he worked in Toronto in the marine insurance business for eight years, then two years in Winnipeg as a real-estate and financial broker, and finally Victoria where he opened an office with F C Innes while they waited to see where the Canadian Pacific terminus would end up locating. In 1885 they separately moved to Vancouver, as did C D Rand, and set up rival real estate sales offices. Graveley had the receipt for the first piece of land sold by the Canadian Pacific in 1886 (which miraculously survived the 1886 fire), and continued to acquire and sell land. As far as we can tell this was his only foray into property development. He married in 1888 and his first daughter was born in San Fransisco (his wife’s home town) in 1890, followed by a second in Vancouver in 1900.

As well as his real estate activities, Graveley was known around town as the first Commodore of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (he was responsible for getting the ‘Royal’ label. He also dabbled in a railway company that was to build a spur to Chilliwack, although nothing came of that scheme. By 1913 he had retired, although he lived on until 1939.

Today the site has another curious triangular building, the retail component of a condo project called The Van Horne completed in 1996 and designed by Kasian Kennedy as a partner to Carrall Station on the opposite side of the street, finished a year later.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-290


Posted 31 March 2013 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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West Hastings and Richards – sw corner

Back in 1889 this corner (the southwest corner of Hastings and Richards) seems to have M Reynell and Co as tenants. They imported Japanese goods into the city, although they were shown in the street directory as being at 422 Pender Street. In 1890 Fred Cope and Cope and Young were here, both importing dry goods. (Cope and Young had the middle store in the photograph). By 1895 the Bank of BC had premises here, and by 1900 the Royal Bank had taken over. By 1905 all the tenants had changed again – they included the Board of Trade saloon, Mortimore Bros, tailors and the Colombo tea Co. In 1908 there were a number of real estate offices including those of C T Dunbar and Count A V Alvensleben, as well as William E Green’s timber lands office. In 1910 and 1911 the Bank of Ottawa are on the corner, and the Regent Hotel has been established on the upper floors. And then it’s gone – in the 1913 directory it’s called ‘new building’

The building was one of a series of buildings in the city designated ‘The Ferguson Block’ – Mr Ferguson seemed to like to have his name associated with all his developments which gave him name recognition while causing some confusion for researchers today. This Ferguson Block was built in 1889 and the architects were the Fripp Brothers who designed a lot of buildings in the city in only a couple of years from 1888 to 1890. They also designed both the Boulder Hotel (for Mr Ferguson) and Dougall House on Cordova Street.

By 1916 the new building was listed as the Standard Bank Building. It was briefly known as the Weart Building named after its promoter, J W Weart, but it quickly got named after its most important tenant. Like the Birks Building and the Yorkshire Building built in the same period the Standard Bank Building was supplied with ornamental ironwork from the Chicago Ornamental Iron Co. The steel frame was tested by The Robert W. Hunt & Company Engineers’ Bureau of Inspection, Tests and Consultation, of Chicago, (as was the Hotel Vancouver and the Bank of Ottawa). Seattle architects Russell Babcock and Rice carried out the design.

The new building had a variety of tenants – there was the Venetian barber on the main floor, a tea room on the second floor, and the Canadian Red Cross had offices on the third floor, as well as Brighouse and Brighouse, dentists. The other floors had a thorough mix from lawyers, accountants, steelworks offices, lumber mills offices, a fish company, a creosote company and up on the fifteenth floor J W Weart’s own office as well as Winifred Kindleyside’s public stenographers.

Today, with no Standard Bank left in town it’s just the Standard Building, and at 100 years old showing absolutely no sign of being irrelevant to the 21st Century city. The Ferguson Block lasted 25 years. So far the Standard building has 100 years on the clock, and looks good for 100 more.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Ferguson Block 1901 CVA LGN 707


Dougall House – West Cordova and Abbott – se corner

Across Abbott Street from the Wilson Block, Dougall House was built on Cordova in 1890 to the design of the Fripp brothers. It has many of the architectural characteristics of both its neighbour and the Boulder Hotel; rustic stonework, robust design, and an open parapet roof. It replaced a wooden hostelry built very quickly after the fire also called Dougall House. This building wasn’t wasted – after all it was only 3 years old, and had seen many important functions including the Citizen’s Banquet for the city’s first mayor. Instead it was moved back to the other half of the block, where it seems to have remained part of Dougall House.

The new stone building had lodging on the upper floors and street level retail. A number of the stores were used as offices, including those of Dr W J McGuigan who became mayor of Vancouver in 1904. Unlike many of the building of the era Dougall House still stands today, almost unchanged from when it was built, and from this 1949 Vancouver Public Library image. These days it houses the offices of the Army and Navy store company. The wooden building was replaced by the Travellers Hotel in 1910, which later became known as the Metropole, which can still be seen today. The new neighbour to the east is 60 West Cordova, a new residential building attempting which provided (initially at least) low cost market residential units in an increasingly high cost city. Designed by Henriquez Projects for Westbank, the final design includes light box figures on an otherwise black facade.

Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives Hot P34 and Hot P28.


Boulder Hotel – 1 West Cordova (1)

The Boulder Hotel is the building that was until recently home to Boneta restaurant. As the 1901 photograph shows, it started life as a 2-storey building in 1890, and later grew another at some point before 1920 and after 1907. The latest picture of a 2-storey version is dated 1907, and it appears in the background of a 1920 picture. It was designed by the Fripp Brothers (Robert and Charles) for American tunnel builder turned real estate mogul A G Ferguson. Unusually for the time it’s a stone masonry construction (on the front) with plain sash windows – it’s faced with sandstone over a granite foundation. We thought for a while that, unusually for Mr Ferguson, it wasn’t called the Ferguson Block (while almost everything else he commissioned apparently was). Then we noticed that on the 1901 Insurance Map it is indeed called the Ferguson Block – Mr Ferguson was nothing if not consistent.

It sits on the corner of Carrall and Cordova, which was one of the prime spots in the early city, and is on the spot Angus Fraser had his house (Fraser was one of the earlier and more successful loggers in the area). Frank Hart, one of the pioneers of the city in a 1934 conversation recalled “There were very high ceilings in the Boulder. They had a fad for high ceilings then, the higher the ceiling the fancier the store; they had a fad for, well, sixteen feet ceilings were common.” 

A 1908 ‘Vancouver Illustrated’ article references the demand for skilled contractors, specifically “David Gibb & Son, whose office is at 1259 Robson street. Mr. Gibb, senior, left Glasgow, Scotland, in 1879, and after spending ten years in New York and Chicago, became a resident of this city in August, 1889. Since that date he has been actively engaged in cut stone contracting”. The Boulder is listed as his, along with Christ church and the Commercial Hotel. The building is getting a makeover at present – plans for a more elaborate addition didn’t pencil out as a logical choice, so the building will probably retain it’s current height.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA LGN 718


Posted 28 December 2011 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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2 Carrall Street (Ferguson Block)

We’ve featured the second Ferguson Block on Carrall Street in our buildingvancouver blog.  W T Whiteway designed it to replace the first block, completed just before the 1886 fire that destroyed the new city including Mr Ferguson’s new investment. This new block was completed pretty soon into 1887, and was designed to be fireproof. It was doubled in size in 1889 with the Fripp Brothers acting as architects but clearly using Whiteway’s design as a template. Ferguson also owned the next single-storey building to the south which in 1909 was expanded to three storeys designed by Parr and Fee for the new owner, Frank Filion. (Over the years addresses have changed; these days this building is 200 Carrall Street)

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P80