Archive for the ‘Grant and Henderson’ Tag

Silver and Avalon Hotels – West Pender Street

These two hotels are now joined together, but started life as rivals. The Silver, on the left gets its name from the developer, W S Silver. Designed by Grant & Henderson, it was completed in 1914, and was built by J J Disette for $30,000. The Avalon is five years older, and was designed by Parr and Fee for McLennan and Campbell. You can still see the Parr and Fee central pivot windows, in the $35,000 building constructed by Purdy & Lonergan. (Contract Record published the price as $45,000). When it started life it was known as the Savoy Rooms, run by Mrs Lillie Schadt, with a number of commercial tenants: the Mail Publishing Co, the Vancouver & Provincial Brokerage Co, Modern Office Supply Co, Upton & Heighton, real estate agents and Newmarch Cooper & Co, manufacturers agents.

William F Silver was from England, born in 1861, listed as a broker in the 1911 census. He had arrived in Canada in 1903 with wife Isabelle, who was shown as a year younger than her husband and born in Ontario. The Silvers had spent some time in the US, as the 1911 census shows sons William, a 24-year-old plumber, Kenneth, 23, a farmer, Neil, 21, and Hugh, aged only 8, had all been born there. Edith Brand, their 13-year-old niece also lived with them in Burnaby, on the corner of Kingsway and Silver Avenue. In 1900 they had been living in King County, Washington, where William was a life insurance agent.

The US Census for 1900 tells us that Isabelle’s mother was from New York and her father from Scotland. The three oldest sons had been born in Wisconsin, but there was a 1-year old son called Hugh born in Washington. (Either he died, and the family had a subsequent son also called Hugh, or the 1911 Canadian census recorded his age inaccurately). The birth certificate of one of the older sons tells us the family were living in West Superior, Douglas, Wisconsin, and that Isabelle’s maiden name was Isabelle McKinnen. Their marriage certificate from their wedding in 1863 shows that Isabelle was Jane Isabella McKinnon, born in 1860, her father was Laughlin McKinnon, and that she was a year older than her husband. Isabel Silver’s death was recorded in 1937, when her birth was shown as 1858 and her father’s name as Lachlan.  William F Silver died in December 1943, also in Burnaby.

McLennan and Campbell appear to be a development partnership of convenience, rather than an established business. Although there were many McLennans in the city, our guess would be that it was R P McLennan, the hardware mogul originally from Nova Scotia. In partnership with Edward McFeely of Ontario he built a huge warehouse on Cordova Street, and another on Water Street. Another company building was also designed by Parr and Fee and built by Purdy and Lonergan a few years earlier. There were hundred of Campbells in the city, so establishing which one developed the building is impossible without a clearer indication of a connection to an individual.

Over the years the upper floors have retained their residential use as the Silver Rooms and Avalon Apartments, (the Savoy name having been dropped by 1920). Retail uses have come and gone on the main floor; in the 1950s Haskins and Elliott sold bicycles and A E Marwell sold artist’s supplies. The cycle shop had been there over a decade.

Today the two buildings operate as a single privately owned SRO Hotel. The Avalon Hotel was purchased by Mario & Mina Angelicola in the late 1970’s. Our image dates from 1981. It was turned into an SRO (single room occupancy) in the late 1990’s and houses approximately 85 low-income tenants today.  Jenny & Josh Konkin, grandchildren of Mario and Mina have managed the hotel since 2010, also establishing Whole Way House in 2013 to provide support to the residents.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E16.13

Temple Building – 515 West Pender Street

Because the building permit records for the early 1900s are missing, we can’s be certain that our attributions here are correct; we’ve already revisited this post as a result of further research.

The Temple Building in the centre was probably built in 1906. When completed it was numbered as 505-519 West Pender. In 1906 the main floor tenants included BC Assay and Chemical Supply Co at 513, while W S Holland of Holland and Davidson Real Estate was at 517. In 519 W Pender, Guilding & Folley, auctioneers occupied the space in 1906, but in 1908 it was Morrison and Morrison, builders supplies, E G Blackwell, manufacturer’s agent, and Hood Brothers, real estate. That’s a clue to who might have developed the building. William Hood built other property on Pender, he could have developed this as well. (There were in fact a second Acland Hood Hall, also on West Pender). There’s a 1906 entry in the Contract Record magazine saying that a business block was to be erected on Pender Street for W A Hood, designed by Dalton & Eveleigh.

The Hood brothers arrived around 1906 from Cupar, in Fife, Scotland, and successfully ran a real estate business for over 50 years. (Robert Hood developed a sideline as a writer – his first novel was published in 1918, and he published seven books; fiction, non-fiction and poetry over a thirty year writing career). They were more ambitious than some of their rivals, advertising in an Oregon newspaper in 1920 for example “FIVE-STORY and basement modem brick hotel, on Granville street, Vancouver. B. C, 75-ft. frontage, most of furniture goes with building, tenant’s lease expiring, for sale at a sacrifice. HOOD BROS., 626 Pender street west, Vancouver.”

Upstairs, at 515 was the Monte Carlo Rooming House. This arrangement remained for several years, although the real estate offices by 1909 were occupied by “the International Brokerage Co. A Sinclair, timber broker, the B C Ink Co and A Erskine Smith, mines” (he was a mining broker, living up the street in the St Francis Hotel). When this 1946 Vancouver Public Library image was taken, Vick’s Radio Service was in one main floor retail unit, Harvey & Riach’s furniture store occupied the other space, and upstairs were the Temple Rooms.

To the west is a 2-storey building that almost certainly was developed in 1905 and designed by Grant and Henderson for trader and broker Richard Winch. Mr. Winch was amazingly successful, amassing a fortune from starting in grocery and game retailing,  canning salmon, and then also became a broker, supplier, and insurance and shipping agent. He invested his profits from these businesses into real estate, building one of the city’s most prestigious office buildings, and trading in real estate across the city. He owned a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost in 1910, and had three servants at home in 1911.

We identified the development by an early image in the BC Archives that shows the cornice in 1912, identifying the building as “R V Winch Building” although it was shown by then on the insurance map as the Ackroyd Building. We assume the name change is because Mr. Winch had already built the much larger and fancier Winch Building on West Hastings.

Today the Conference Plaza development is here, completed in 1996 and designed by Aitken Wreglesworth Associates. The Pender Street facades recreate a low podium similar in scale to what was there before, with a 30 storey 252 unit condo tower on the corner with Seymour.

Granville Street – 700 block east side (2)

700 Block Granville v3

We saw the southern end of this block in a previous post, and looked at the history of the Vancouver Block, a city landmark for over a century in that post. Off in the foggy distance, across West Georgia Street in this 1922 image was the 1897 Hudson’s Bay Company store (their second location on the city) which would be replaced a few years later. Across Georgia, the large office building was the Birks Building, built in 1912 and tragically demolished in the 1970s.

In between there’s a lower structure that illustrates the saw-tooth pattern of buildings so often found in Vancouver (sometimes to allow light into the flank windows of adjacent taller buildings). Like the Birks Building it was built in 1912. (The Vancouver Block was given a building permit in 1911). It was designed by Grant and Henderson for J West at a cost of only $15,000 by Smith & Sherborne. (The Vancouver Block cost $400,000 and Birks $550,000). Luckily, there was only one J West likely to have built this investment, John West. (Jack West was a cook at the Gus Goodes restaurant, so not really in the running).

As far as we can tell he arrived in the city 1912, but he was obviously arriving with wealth as he had Grant, Henderson & Cook design a mansion for him at Granville and 17th. He was still in the city in 1922, when he was the proprietor of the Rainier Hotel.  (There were five people called John West in the city by then; fortunately for us, he was still living in his mansion). His death record from 1936 tells us he was born in Cooke County, Illinois, and that his Danish-born wife Margaret was still alive. The 1921 census shows that they had a son, Cecil, and curiously describes him as a farmer, which, if true, suggests he had property and farming as an income source. The death record describes him as a hotel keeper, and that he had been in Canada for 45 years, but only 40 years in BC. This suggests that he was elsewhere in the province before he arrived in 1912 – but we haven’t found where that was.

missionThe building became home to the Mission Confectionery, who carried out repairs in 1915 and added a bakery costing $1,000 in 1919. There’s another $1,000 repair in 1916 for Thomas H Laslett, who had both a real estate business and was owner of Mission Confectionery in the building. We don’t know if he bought the building, or was a tenant who paid for his own improvements (although that seems less likely). Mr. Laslett ran the business until the mission 21920s – here’s another 1922 image of the store, shared with Brown Brothers florists, Dr Peele and Doctor Thomas, a physician and a dentist, and Mr. Laslett’s real estate office as well.

He had been a witness to a murder in 1921, reported by the Daily World. “Mr. William F. Salsbury. Jr., aged 43 years, chief accountant of Balfour, Guthrie & Co., was done to death at 8:50 o’clock last night, when he was presumably set upon by two holdup men near the intersection of Georgia and Burrard streets. The victim of the shooting died within a few minutes, the bullet passing close to the heart. At police headquarters this afternoon 14 suspects connected with the murder were lined up, but although thirteen people who had been in the vicinity at the time of the tragedy were asked to identify the men, none of them could do so. They explained that it was so dark at the time that no accurate description of them could be obtained. One of the thirteen witnesses stated that he had seen two men shortly before the shooting, one short and the other tall, the latter with long black hair, and each showing evidence of having taken cocaine. The inquest on the body will be held on Thursday, according to present arrangements. At 4 o’clock this afternoon the jury is being empanelled by Coroner T. W. Jeffs, MD.. and the body viewed. The jury will then adjourn to meet on Thursday. This step is being taken on request of relatives. The condition of Mr. William F. Salsbury, Sr., who In 75 years of age, is causing some anxiety and it is for this reason that arrangements will be made to hold the funeral an soon as possible. During the night a posse consisting of practically every detective and patrolman on the police force, was combing the city in an endeavor to effect the arrest of the murderers, but so far none of the wore of suspects brought in have been connected with the crime. Working on a poor description of the murderers furnished by Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Laslett of the Mission Confectionery, who were passing on the opposite side of the street when the shooting took place, the police have made many arrests at random, but it is highly improbable that the case will be cleared up for some time”.

The newspaper was correct, but through some impressive detective work, matching a scrap of cloth found near the scene to a pair of pants retrieved in an entirely different case some weeks later, Alexander ‘Frenchie’ Paulson was arrested and confessed. He identified his accomplice (who was tracked down in Oakalla prison serving a four-month sentence for Vagrancy), as Allan ‘Slim’ Robinson. Paulson explained how they had rejected a number of possible victims to hold up before Salsbury had been picked at random and was ordered, at gun point, to turn over his wallet. Extraordinarily, L D Taylor (newspaperman and sometime mayor) had been stopped and asked for money by the same pair minutes earlier, but had said he had none, and walked off. Salsbury resisted, attacking Robinson with his umbrella, and Robinson then shot him before the two would-be robbers ran off empty handed. Following their trial, both men were hung in 1922.

Image Source, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-824 and CVA 371-885

Posted January 4, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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The Yale and Cecil Hotels – Granville Street

Yale & Rolston

We looked at the Yale Hotel, one of the earliest buildings on Granville Street, in an earlier post. It was designed by N S Hoffar in 1889 as the Colonial hotel for J W Horne. As part of the development that saw the Cecil replaced with the Rolston condo tower, the Yale was seismically upgraded and the SRO rooms refurbished and handed over to the City of Vancouver for long-term retention.

It’s neighbour, the Cecil, managed to limp past its 100th birthday. Obviously the news of the redevelopment hasn’t reached Wego.com, who will still try to book you in to what they claim is a three star hotel. “The Cecil Hotel is perfectly located for both business and leisure guests to Vancouver (BC). All hotel’s guestrooms have all the conveniences expected in a hotel in its class to suit guests’ utmost comforts. Room amenities include shower. This hotel is characterized by a combination of modern comfort and traditional element of Vancouver (BC), making it a distinct accommodation. To make your reservation at the The Cecil Hotel quick and easy, please select your preferred dates of stay and proceed with our secure online booking form.” As an increasingly tired SRO, any guests who had succeeded in booking into the hotel would have been surprised at the hotel and it’s surroundings. Another website identifies what the booking site overlooked – and still promises more than they’ve been able to deliver for over four years “The Cecil Hotel is Vancouver’s premier exotic show lounge, featuring a prime selection of Western Canada’s hottest nude dancers. At The Cecil, showing you a great time, is our great time, so we hand pick the wildest, sexiest, most fun lov’n girls on the planet to go crazy on stage every single night for you (we don’t mind so much either!). So if you’re in the Vancouver area, and you’re looking for the hottest strippers, the best wings, burgers and ribs, and the wildest time allowed by law, come on down to The Cecil Hotel. You’ll be blown away!”

Cecil Hotel 1912 Vancouver HeritageSince the construction of the ‘new’ Granville Bridge in the early 1950s the hotel had lost its front door; (you can see how it looked before the bridge was built on this 1912 Heritage Vancouver picture) – the entrance was moved around the corner from the street, with the bar entrance a storey below, accessed from a parking lot. The hotel was built in 1909, and although looking remarkably like one of the many hotels designed by Parr and Fee along Granville Street in a very few years, we are pretty certain this one was by Grant & Henderson for O B Grant. While we haven’t been able to identify the original permit, a 1910 $500 permit was taken out in those names for an additional steel and glass canopy. However, there was nobody called Grant with the initial O in the city directories at the time. The Hotel Cecil was being run in 1910 by Charles M Hartney, who had taken over from John McDade who ran it in 1909 (the first year it appears in a directory). Then a chance reference to a new building permit listed in the 1908 Contract Journal clarified: “Mrs. O. B. Grant, brick store and rooming house, Granville street, $30,000.” Olive Grant was G W Grant’s wife. George Grant was half of Grant & Henderson: they were both originally from Nova Scotia.

The Grant’s were early arrivals in British Columbia. George was born in 1852 or 1854, and Olive Burris in 1852. They were married at her father’s house in 1876 at Upper Musquodoboit. After their marriage they made their home at Maitland, N. S. where they lived for three or four years. Mr. Grant was a contractor and builder and while in Maitland he was engaged in building houses. They sold up in 1880, and while his wife, in poor health, returned to Nova Scotia, George went west to Winnipeg which was experiencing a building boom. There he became a successful architect, designing several buildings including a branch of the Bank of Montreal. In 1886 they moved further west – apparently looking at, but initially rejecting the fledgling Vancouver for Victoria, where as an architect he secured several important commissions, before moving again to New Westminster. In 1892 their niece, Janie Arthur moved in with them, and in 1896 they moved to Vancouver.

G W Grant designed dozens of buildings in the fast-growing city, including the Carnegie library, and added a partner to his business, Alexander Henderson, in 1903. They continued to design buildings across the city, including the Hotel Cecil (presumably purely an investment, placed in the ownership of Mr. Grant’s wife). In 1912, when they were both aged 60 and the city’s economy was stalling, the family moved to Pasadena in 1912, and on to Bellflower, California in 1916. Janie Arthur moved with them, but had her own home. George died in 1925 and Olive in 1928, and they are both buried in Riverside, California, where other members of the family had been interred.

The Cecil switched from the Hotel Cecil to the Cecil Hotel by the mid 1930s. It continued as a hotel, but by 1935 there were a number of permanent residents. While the hotel became old, and tired, despite (or perhaps because of) the run-down nature of the bar, (dark, smokey and windowless according to Rex Wyler), in the 1960s it became a gathering place for journalists, environmentalists, and UBC students. In 1967 the founders of the Georgia Straight came up with the name for their new publication while drinking there, hoping to attract free publicity because radio newscasts of the era regularly issued gale warnings for the nearby body of water called the Georgia Strait. Many of the founders of Greenpeace also drank in the bar in those days.

As the Georgia Straight noted when the building was about to be demolished, as with many other bars in the city, “in the mid-1970s, the Cecil started bringing in exotic dancers, which continued up until closing night. One former dancer contacted by the Straight said that in the 1980s, the Cecil was more like Playboy magazine and the movie Flashdance, whereas the Drake and the Marr were more hard-core, like Penthouse magazine and, on a bad day, like Hustler magazine.”

Posted October 12, 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Hampton Court – 1243 Thurlow Street

Hampton Court 1243 Thurlow

For a building that’s over 100 years old, Hampton Court is looking pretty good these days. It’s actually looking even better now than in our 1975 image (and the additional planting helps). The building permit says it was built for Western Securities in 1911. None of the Vancouver Directories around that time have a company called Western Securities, so the developer remained a mystery.

There’s a bit more information in the Contract Record, which reported that “an attractive apartment house building has been erected at the corner of Thurlow and Burnaby streets, Vancouver, for Dr. E N Driver”. That didn’t get us much further forward as there was no E N Driver – whether a doctor or not, in the 1911 Canada census. There was a Dr E N Driver who was a doctor in Alabama, so he seemed unlikely. We know the clerk recorded the right name for the developer – the Times Colonist recorded the creation of the new company in August 1911. Then we traced the right name. Dr Newton Drier was recorded in the 1901 census living with his wife, Hope, both from New Brunswick. As with so many Vancouver residents we look for, if he was recorded in the 1911 census it was under a wrongly spelled name.

The building was designed by Grant and Henderson and cost $100,000 for J J Dissette to build it, and was finished in 1912. In the city these days, when new policy allows higher density housing to be built, there is often an outcry when recent houses are demolished to make way for apartments. Dr. Drier had previously built a new house on this lot (addressed as 1101 Barclay) in 1902, designed by W T Whiteway and costing $2,300 – a substantial sum for the day.

In 1909 Dr. Drier moved to 434 West Pender – where his practice was also based – into a much smaller building also designed for him by Grant and Henderson a few years earlier. In 1916 he moved to New Zealand, continuing his successful medical practice. He returned to Vancouver in retirement, with a second wife, Jessie, and a daughter Francelle. He had a house on West 3rd Avenue, and died in 1941.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-421

Posted May 4, 2015 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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843 Cardero Street

843 Cardero

The Kenilworth Apartments were photographed around 100 years ago when half the building that’s there today was recently completed. Built in 1910, the building was designed by Grant and Henderson for S S Bond at a cost of $23,000, described as a ‘brick veneer apartment house’. We’re not sure if that covered the cost of the whole structure – which continued along Cardero (and was completed by 1912) or the structure that can be seen in the photograph.

Sidney Silas Bond was born in Sheffield, Ontario, married Mary Reid in Toronto in 1908 when he was aged 40 and died in Vancouver in 1952 aged 84, a year after his wife (who at her death was aged 90). It looks as if Sidney was a builder, but also sometimes a lumberman; in 1908 Sidney S Bond applied for a special timber licence to log an area of the city. In the street directory for that year he was described as a builder, and he was living on West 7th Avenue. In the same year he built the Kenilworth Mr Bond had the same architects design a house (presumably for himself) at 1232 Harwood Street. There’s no sign of Sidney in Vancouver before 1908, but his late marriage and apparent wealth may be explained by the location of the only S S Bond in the 1901 Census – the Yukon.

Today the Kenilworth is still standing, although the context is dramatically more leafy.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives M-11-63

401 West Cordova Street

Buscombe Building Cordova

Here’s the other side of 342 Water Street, which started life as the Burns Building, designed by William Blackmore for John Burns, with an additional two storeys added in 1911 by Grant & Henderson.

In 1901 Turner Beeton & Co occupied the building, the company founded by John Turner who was at different times Mayor of Victoria and Premier of British Columbia. Also occupying the building were S Greenshields & Co, founded in Montreal by a Scottish businessman, Samuel Greenshields, and expanded across the country to be the largest suppliers of dry goods, including cottons, woollens, carpets, household furnishings, dress goods, and notions such as gloves, hosiery, and laces. In 1910, before the extra floors were added, Greggs, importers of Japanese Goods were here with the Canadian Rubber Co of Montreal. Ten years later the Dunlop Tire Co had half the building and the Western Dry Goods Co of Canada, Ltd the other half. Despite the ambitious title, they appear to only have operated in Vancouver, run by R B Mackedie and E St John Howley. In 1930 Dunlop were still in the building, but the other half was J H Hunter & Co, another dry goods company headed by T E Leigh.

Buscombe & Co were run by George Buscombe, and they were in a smaller building next door to the east. In 1935 they were shown at 341 Water Street, and a year later at 342 – this building. (The 1935 entry might be an error, although it’s repeated in the directory). The company had been founded in 1899 when Fred Buscombe bought out James A Skinner and Co, china and glass importers, originally founded in Hamilton. He was at different times President of the city’s Board of Trade, and Mayor of Vancouver in 1905. He was also president of the Pacific Coast Lumber & Sawmills Company, and director of the Pacific Marine Insurance Company. By the time the company moved to this building there were several Buscombe family members associated with it, but Fred had retired. He died in the same year that the picture of the building was taken; 1938.

The other company in the building were the Julius Shore Mail Order House. Dealing mostly in furniture, Julius Shore was a prominent member of the city’s Jewish community. His father, Benjamin, was manager of a coal company in the late 1920s while Julius was at UBC, and in 1935 Julius was working with Dominion Furniture and seems to have established his company soon after, moving into Water Street at around the same time as Buscombes.

The most recent restoration of the building took place in 1997, designed by Rafii Architects, and today it’s home to Brioche Urban Eatery. Upstairs are a range of office occupants, from a Massage school to a coal company and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

Image source: Vancouver Public Library