Archive for the ‘G W Grant’ Tag

Dawson School, Burrard Street

This is the enlarged Dawson School on Burrard Street, seen in 1902, with its new name, five years after it was doubled in size. The right hand half of the building was the first part to be built, opening as the West End School in 1893 (the third in the city, after the East End School and Central School). On the left is a picture of construction wrapping up in 1892. The lack of symmetry of the earlier building, and the blank windows in the design suggests it was built with the expectation that it would be made larger.

Thomas Tracy designed this first building which fronted Burrard, which in 1892 was pretty much still a dirt track. Tracy was appointed City Engineer in 1891, and was also responsible for the construction of sewer and water supply systems throughout the city.  When the school needed to be enlarged a few years after initial construction, G W Grant was hired, but he used Tracy’s design as a template and added a new northern wing in an exact match of Tracy’s.

Tracy – who was always referred to by his military title as Colonel Tracy in the newspapers – was reported to have been dismissed from his job in early 1905, although he was still working for the city in August, and his dismissal was only reported in the London, Ontario press, (where he originated from), not in Vancouver. His interests extended beyond his professional duties; he owned and developed property on Hastings Street, and by the spring of 1905 he was already designing water and sewer systems for other municipalities including Fernie and Ladysmith while holding down his Vancouver job. He stood for election to the Board of Parks at the end of 1905 when he was described as Ex-City Engineer Tracy.

When a new Dawson School was added to the south of this building, facing Helmcken Street, the original building became the King George High School. At some point it lost the pointed roof on the central tower on the northern end, as seen in this undated VSB image. The school was replaced in 1963 with a new building in the heart of the West End.

Today the site is the landscaped gardens (over the underground parking) of the Wall Centre hotel and condos, with two towers completed in 1994 and the taller tower to the north in 2001.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Sch P29 and CVA SGN 48

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Posted April 9, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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West Hastings Street – 100 block, south side

This row of early buildings were almost totally abandoned by the turn of the 21st century, but today they’ve all been restored to architectural splendour, and active use. In 1981, when the ‘before’ shot was taken, the area was already in decline, but Woodwards was still open across the street, so there was still a draw to the neighbourhood. The White Lunch cafeteria on the left occupied the main floor of half of one building, and the whole of its neighbor to the west. The building on the extreme left is the Henderson Block, designed by G W Grant for Henderson Brothers in 1899. (We noted their history in connection to another building they developed in 1911),

The next building is the Ralph Block, designed by Parr and Fee for William Ralph, and also completed in 1899. Several historians point out that when it was opened here in 1913 by Neil and Thos Sorenson the White Lunch name reflected a policy of serving and hiring only white people. That changed later, but the name lived on. Elements of the restaurant’s past were still visible in mosaic floors when the buildings were restored in 2009. Initially the White Lunch was only in the Ralph Block. The Henderson Block restaurant in the 1920s was the Honey Dew restaurant.

Parr and Fee’s design for Ralph’s block used cast iron to allow for larger windows. The use of brick piers enclosing cast iron mullions was pretty remarkable in a city only thirteen years old. Ralph was a wholesaler and retailer who sold McClary stoves, ranges and furnaces, as well as Cleveland and Rambler bicycles. The Statement of significance for the Ralph Block will tell you that he started out as a bridge builder who specialized in iron structures for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Dominion Bridge Company. That’s actually an entirely different William Ralph, who came from Quebec.

The William Ralph who developed the Ralph Block was said in the 1901 census to be aged 36, living with his 27-year-old wife May, their infant son, John, and his brother and sister, Ross and Eva. He was from Ontario, as was May. In 1891 he was a boarder, aged 30 and listed as a store merchant, (with his store on Carrall Street) lodging with Peter Larsen at the Union Hotel on Abbott Street. He first appeared in Vancouver in 1888 as a tinsmith, working for R E Dodds. By 1911 William had aged to 51, and there were two younger children at home (Robert and Kathleen), but no John. There was also a servant; Hettie McLeod. In 1921 Robert and Kathleen are still at home with William and May, and William’s sister, Isabel also lived with them.

The next building, 130 West Hastings was probably built around 1906, and was first occupied by F J Hart & Co, real estate agents. By 1981 the original appearance had been disfigured; an exemplary restoration has recreated something much closer to the original appearance of the building. The company was involved in insurance, real estate, mortgage loans and investments, and incorporated by Frederick J. Hart in 1891 when he was only 21. It had its head office in New Westminster, with this branch office in Vancouver as well as Victoria, Chilliwack, and Aldergrove. Frederick was from Newfoundland, and his wife Alice was English. In 1901 they had two children, a servant and Alice’s sister living with them in New Westminster.

Over the years this block of buildings gradually deteriorated and had no legal active uses (although some were sporadically used, often in unauthorized ways, despite their condition). The redevelopment of Woodwards and the attraction of older spaces for tech and startup companies has seen the whole block restored and returned to active use over the past 10 years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.20

500 block Granville Street – west side (4)

Here’s another image of Granville Street; the west side of the 500 block looking north from Dunsmuir in 1910 in a Vancouver Public Library image. On the corner is the Tunstall Block, built in 1902 by D Saul for Dr Simon Tunstall at a cost of $22,000, designed by G W Grant. In 1909 he added two more floors at an additional cost of $20,000. That suggests that our Vancouver Public Library image isn’t as dated from 1910, but probably from a year earlier. The next three-storey building to the south was another designed by G W Grant for Bedford Davidson in 1903, at a cost of $10,000.

The biggest building on this end of the block was the four-storey Gordon Drysdale block, built for his dry goods business in 1907 and designed by Hooper and Watkins with an addition in 1912 by S B Birds. Next door the smaller building to the north was known as the Anderson block, dating from before 1888 when there’s an Archives image of the building standing alone on the street, with the fire brigade filling their fire engine with water outside. At the time C D Rand and Co, the real estate company, operated from the building.

The fifth building down is the Inglis Reid Building, another G W Grant design for builder and Investor Bedford Davidson, who also owned and built the building beside it in 1902. The steel frame is where in 1909 Miss Spencer decided to replace her eight year old 3-storey building with an 8-storey steel framed office, designed by E W Houghton of Seattle.

None of the buildings on this side of the street are still standing: today this is part of the northern block of the Pacific Centre Mall, designed by Zeidler Roberts Partnership and completed in 1990. In 2007 the corner of the block had a radical redesign by Janson Goldstein of New York for the new Holt Renfrew store, incorporating panels of slumped glass in the design.

Posted October 16, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street 600 block – east side

600 block Granville east 1

We’ve seen a 1906 image of this block in a much earlier post. Right at the northern end of the picture (on the left) is G W Grant’s eccentric Twigg Block. Next door is a building that we’re pretty certain was one of the first wave of office developments created by CPR linked sponsors. This was the Crewe Block, designed by Bruce Price in New York, and built in 1888. This was where the Hudson’s Bay Company established a branch store in 1890, only two years after they built their Cordova store, and three years before their new building on this same block (on the corner of West Georgia – towards the right of the lower picture). The newspaper of the day described the carpenters fitting up the store: “The ground stores will be devoted to provisions and groceries, and the upstairs to dry goods”

Next door was a building, designed by A E Henderson for William Dick jnr. in 1919. This replaced an earlier structure that dated back to the 1890s. The new building cost $35,000 for a 2-storey structure, and was for many years the home of F W Woolworth on Granville Street, from the day it was built, through 1937 when this Vancouver Public Library image was shot, into the 1980s. We’ve drawn a complete blank on the other 25 feet wide store at 642 Granville; it’s another 1890s building, with relatively small windows in the upper two office floors.

 

600 block Granville east 2

This second image was taken a little earlier, in 1921, and the New York Block (like the Crewe Block, designed by Bruce Price of New York in 1888) was still standing down the hill from the Hudson’s Bay store designed by C O Wickenden in 1892. Next door, to the left was the 1892 Hunter Block, built by Samuel and Thomas Hunter and still standing today (it’s just visible in the top image on the extreme right hand edge). In 1925 the Hudson’s Bay and New York buildings were demolished and replaced by the terra-cotta covered Hudson’s Bay Company store still there today, designed by Burke, Horwood and White of Toronto. The first phase of the current building had been built in 1912 on the Seymour and Georgia corner, and this new phase dramatically increased the size of the store. The rest of the block today contains The Hudson, a massive condo building with over 400 suites and some retail space below, designed by Stantec Architecture. It incorporates the facade of the Hunter Brothers block.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-5008 and Str P426

 

Posted January 7, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Granville Street – south to the Pacific Centre

Granville south 3

This early 1974 image shows the second of the ‘dark towers’ of Pacific Centre under construction. The IBM Tower, as it was first known, was a shorter sibling to the TD Tower to the south and slightly west, completed a couple of years earlier. The steel framed towers were designed by Cesar Pelli who was at the time working for Victor Gruen Associates in Los Angeles. Many descriptions identify the design as ‘Miesian’ after the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who perfected the simple structured office tower – one of the best examples is the Seagram Building that he designed in 1958. In Canada his Toronto-Dominion Centre was the real thing; like the Pacific Centre it was developed by Fairview Corporation five years earlier than the pacific Centre in 1967, with Mies as design consultant. Vancouver’s was similar in many respects, but the towers’ colour was slightly richer; more brown when the sun hits it than the dark bronze of most Mies buildings.

We can date this image from the construction of the tower, and from the street. In 1974 Granville was designated as a transit mall, and general traffic was removed. The 2010 redesign widened the sidewalks and straightened the streets. Public consultation responses also led to the street trees in this stretch of Granville remaining in place. (Elsewhere they were replaced with more appropriate varieties than had been planted previously).

The ‘Dark Towers’ of the Pacific Centre as they were known at the time (and not the “towers of darkness” quoted more recently) were not universally welcomed. Later phases of the project were approved on the understanding that they’d be lighter coloured; the Cannacord Tower (as it’s now called – it started as the Stock Exchange Tower) at 609 Granville was completed in 1981 with a paler beige finish. It was the fourth tower to be completed after the Four Season Hotel, which was also lighter. Here the glazing and panels on the office are pretty much the same dimensions as the darker towers; it’s just the colour that changed. McCarter Nairne are credited with the design, but Cesar Pelli was still involved. After nearly a decade another phase of the mall was built to the north, with a corner store for Holt Renfrew. It replaced a modest 1960s 2-storey building and was redesigned a couple of years ago by New York designers Janson Goldstein as this image (and an earlier post) show more clearly. It replaced the Tunstall Block from 1902. The small building next door with the arched top floor windows was originally designed by G W Grant for builder (and owner) Bedford Davidson in 1903. A year earlier the same team had built the two small buildings two buildings further north (hidden by trees in the 1981 image), while the four storey building with the Ingledew’s Shoes mural is the work of Hooper & Watkins who designed the building in 1907 for Gordon Drysdale (with a later addition by S B Birds).

Granville & Dunsmuir nw 1

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-452 and CVA 779-W01.34

Posted December 10, 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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The Twigg Block – 608 Granville Street

Twigg Block

In 1900 five rival architects teamed up to produce an illustrated guide to Vancouver – appropriately title ‘Vancouver of Today Architecturally’. One of the partners was G W Grant, who chose to feature The Twigg Block. Although the address isn’t identified, the photograph shows it was at #608 and was a confectioner’s, so that narrows the location to E Minchin & Co on Granville Street. 608 Granville was 50 feet south of Dunsmuir, and on the 25 foot lot that was owned by Mr Twigg, G W Grant designed an extraordinary building. Son of a Nova Scotia farmer, Grant initially moved to New Westminster in the 1880s and designed over 100 buildings there before opening a Vancouver office. While the Granville Street building was relatively modest in scale, it looks almost as if it was designed as a 3-D catalogue for all the styles of window available – recessed, bay, pedimented and square.

Although they don’t seem to feature in any of the biographies of the day, the Twigg family – or probably more accurately the Twigge family – were both wealthy and active in real estate. Major-General John Twigge and his brother Samuel Knox Twigge, came to Canada in 1887 and to Vancouver before 1890. They were the sons of Captain John Twigge of Dublin. Mrs. S.K. Twigge and her two daughters came in 1891. They lived in a house on Pender Street, jointly owned by the two brothers, and built before 1901. The Major-General, whose title is invariably referenced, is said to have been the developer of a Water Street warehouse in 1898, although his brother, S K Twigge is also often found associated with real estate in the city, and he owned the Granville Street lots. On at least one occasion he picked up a site when unpaid taxes led it to become available at a significant discount. In 1890 John Hill Twigg was recorded buying land from Robert Tatlow (so that’s the Major-General). In 1891 the brothers bought 150 acres of land in Whonnock, where the Canadian Co-operative Society built and operated the Ruskin Mill on a few acres of their property. Samuel Knox Twigge is shown on the assessment and collection records of the period until 1905, when he sold the land. He was also involved in the creation of South Vancouver in 1891, and there’s an island in the Fraser River named Twigg Island (but after a nephew, Conley, who had a dairy farm there).

Twigg 2 CVA 371-2100In 1893 S K Twigge and architect R McKay Fripp ended up in court disputing costs on a pair of houses Twigge had commissioned. He lost the case. In 1897 the Board of Trade sent Major General Twigge (late Royal Engineers) to the Third Congress of Chambers of Commerce of the Empire in London.

S K Twigge died in 1906, and his widow may have returned to England. His two daughters stayed in British Columbia; Sidney, who married in 1910, moved to a ranch in the Chilcotin, although in the 1920s she moved to England after she was widowed in the First World War. In 1909 she hired Maclure and Fox to add a $3,000 extension to the Pender Street house. Her sister Mary had married in 1896, and died at Alkali Lake in 1934.

We hadn’t appreciated that Samuel Twigge so liked W G Grant’s design that he built it again. This extract from a 1900s picture of the block shows that a second building was built to the south which is apparently an almost exact replica of the first. There’s another image of this block in the city Archives that shows both structures were built by 1893.

Today the site of the first half of the Twigg Block is the entrance to The Hudson, a 423 unit condo building that was completed in 2006 and designed by Stantec Architecture.

Image sources: Vancouver of Today Architecturally,  City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-2100 (extract)

 

Posted June 16, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Johnston-Howe Block – West Georgia and Granville (3)

Granville & Georgia 3

This is the third time we’ve featured this corner. This image was taken in 1933, when it was 33 years old and known as the Georgia Granville Building, rather than by the names of the developers. One earlier posts was taken after this, in 1970 when it was nearing the end of its life and the other in 1928. Many of the businesses have changed in only five years. con jonesIn this corner shot it’s possible to see Con Jones’s ‘Don’t Argue’ tobacco store (Don’t argue: Con Jones sells fresh tobacco). Jones was an Australian; an ex-bookie who was successful in Vancouver in the tobacco trade, and sports-mad to the point of building Con Jones Park near the Pacific Exhibition Grounds for his lacrosse and soccer teams to play in. Darling’s Drug store ran around behind the corner store with entrances on both Robson and on West Georgia Street. Next door on Granville Street was Al-Walters, a men’s furnishing store. Al was Al Divire, and Walter was Walter Matoff. They didn’t last long here – in 1932 the store was vacant, and in 1934 it was I P Blyth’s optometrist store and Potter’s jewelers.

On Georgia Street there was Winifred’s Lunch, run by Paul Udesen, open at 7am and closed at midnight. Beyond that was the Georgia Hat Shop, and the Winifred'sPackard Taxi Co had the last store (the only business who were in the Georgia part of the building in 1928). Upstairs the sign on the window says Anabelle’s, but there’s no business with that name in the city that year or the year before, and although the top floor window says it is the Lilas Moore Dancing School, the street directory says that had relocated to Hornby Street. The Maxine Beauty Salon was operating upstairs, one of three locations run by Miss M MacGilvray, including the location on Bidwell Street in the West End. One unit upstairs was in  residential use; the home of Henry J Hickey, and his wife Vera.

The building was designed by G W Grant for Benjamin B Johnston and Samuel L Howe, and we examined some of their background in the earlier posts. Ruddy-Duker had one of their many billboards erected on the roof of the building when painted signs and huge posters adorned many more buildings than they do today.

Today there’s a retail frontage that forms part of the Pacific Centre Mall, with bronze office tower that was known as the IBM Tower for twenty years.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4306

Posted February 28, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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