Archive for the ‘H A Hodgson’ Tag

Howard Hotel – East Hastings Street

We looked at this Downtown Eastside hotel in an early post that featured it when it was named the Empire Hotel. In this 1935 image it was called the Howard, with no indication in the street directory of who was running it. There were several retail units, with Gaining Tailors at the eastern end, then a cleaners – BC Hat Cleaners, and next door Dick Sun, who was a merchant tailor making suits to order. In the window of the hotel entrance was a poster for the Beacon Theatre.

It was built in 1913 and designed by H A Hodgson for Seabold and Roberts. The building permit suggests it was built as apartments for $60,000, although it appeared in the 1913 street directory as the Hotel Seward, and by 1914 had already had the name changed to the Howard Hotel, run by W P Roberts. In 1918 the Daily World reported the result of arbitration on the rent for the hotel, and illustrated how property values crashed from their peak in the early 1910s. “Judgment in the arbitration to determine the rental value of the Howard Hotel was handed down by the arbitrators, Mr. Justice Clement, F. G. T. Lucas and J. S. Gall, the rent being placed at $75 per month. The lease, which started In 1912 at $500 per month, provided for a readjustment at tho end of a five-year period.”

There turns out to have been far more to this story. In the early 1900s this was a house, owned by Dr Eady Stevenson, who had retired from Victoria. In 1901 Dr. Stevenson was shown aged 63, living alone, born in Ontario. He had practiced in the US for many years, having been the second doctor to offer Homeopathic remedies in Los Angeles. He had also lived in Oakland, and had arrived in California travelling overland with a party searching for gold.

Before moving to Vancouver he lived in Victoria; in 1885 he published ‘Religion or Rum: or, The Influence of Religion on the Use of Alcoholic Liquors as a Beverage’. The book was based on one of his lectures; he travelled around speaking on a variety of topics, and practiced temperance, although ‘not intemperantly’.  He died in 1909, leaving a will that had some unusual requirements. Although some of his bequest went to his brother and nephew in Toronto, he appointed trustees, headed by the mayor, who were responsible for finding developers willing to build on his two East Hastings properties, with at least a four storey commercial structure. The rent would be reset every five years, and the money was to support “Vancouver women of good character, who were not connected with any church.” His relatives argued (unsuccessfully) that this showed that he was of unsound mind and guided by spiritualism. “The Judge held that the evidence brought forward in no way established these allegations, and said that Dr. Stevenson’s sanity had been unjustly attacked.”

The hotel was built where Dr. Stevenson’s house was located, and initially brought in rent of $600, which in turn was distributed at the rate of $20 to 20 women in Vancouver and four or five outside the city. This helped the city’s relief department for six years, until the rent collected was dramatically reduced following the arbitration referenced above. Eventually the trustees sold the property that had been developed, the Howard Hotel, but the remaining site held by the Trustees had never been developed and tax arrears mounted, with no income to cover those costs. In 1923 the land was auctioned to cover the outstanding tax bill.

The Howard is still standing today as a privately owned SRO Hotel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Hot P75

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Posted December 6, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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East Hastings Street – 100 block, south side (1)

100 block E Hastings

The building on the right of this 1938 VPL picture is 100 East Hastings, inaccurately identified as the McDonough Hall. Next door, 106 East Hastings was initially built in 1911 at a cost of $17,000 by J J Dissette for W Clark (designed by Kenneth Fraser a fairly obscure architect who was sometimes in partnership with Dissette for development) – but at that time it was described as ‘one and a half storeys’. The building we see today was completed around 1920, and it’s actually L-shaped, wrapping round behind the hall to face Columbia Street as well. At the end of the year Mr Clark spent another $2,000 in making alterations to the property, and a year later other alterations including one worth $1,150 on a permit listed as “Office/store; alter shooting gallery” designed by R Grant and another to “alter pool room”.

Vancouver Auto & CycleBefore the building was built the site was empty, as this 1905 picture shows. Once it was complete it had quite the array of businesses. As well as the East End Cyclery at 108, there was also Borland & Trousedale’s real estate offices, the Wellington Theatre (Lathan and Saborne, props) and the Wellington Pool Room (with the same owners as the theatre). There appear to be no references to the theatre’s operation, and by 1914 it has become the Wellington arcade run by H N Wolfield – presumably a shooting arcade (a  fate that befell the Bijou Theatre five years later)

The low wooden building was occupied in 1905 by Vancouver Auto & Cycle, but a year earlier J F Ristein had spent $320 on ‘alterations to stable’ confirming that was the earlier use for the building (as a livery stable). The company was the first auto dealership in the city, and were bought by Fred Begg who moved on from selling Oldsmobiles (in the picture) and Cadillacs to Ford vehicles, and later Chryslers and Dodge motors. By 1912 they had moved to Seymour Street and it looks as if there was a rooming house upstairs at 110 run by Mrs Minnie Olsen, called the Crescent. There were three shops beneath; a tailor (Thomas Kee), Max Moloff’s jewelery store and an auction company that a year later was occupied by a wholesale cigar company. The arcade, the tailor and the Crescent Rooms were still all in operation through to the 1920s, and in 1925 The Modern Company was at 106. By 1930 The Dominion Furniture Co were at 106, Mac’s Minute Lunch was at 108 and the Washington Rooms were upstairs. Ten years later 106 is a cafe – the Muir Cafe, 108 is a rival, the Radio Lunch, and the Washinton Rooms are still upstairs.

The five storey hotel to the left of the picture is the Hotel Seward, Howard Hotel, Empire Hotel and today Brandiz (our very first blog post here). It was built in 1913 for Seabold and Roberts and designed by H A Hodgson. The two storey retail and office building at 108 today was built in the early 1980s.

Image sources Vancouver Public Library and Vancouver City Archives Trans P47

Posted June 9, 2013 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone, Still Standing

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Empire Hotel – East Hastings Street

Here’s the Empire Hotel at 122 East Hastings in 1951. Sixty years later it’s still there, these days called Brandiz Hotel, although it’s a permanent home for Single Room Occupancy residents. Like many buildings of the era (this one was built in 1913 and designed by H A Hodgson for Seabold and Roberts) the cornice has been removed. The building permit suggests it was built as apartments for $60,000, although it appeared in the 1913 street directory as the Hotel Seward.  Later it was renamed the Howard Hotel, before it became the Empire. The small restaurants and shops next door have recently been demolished, along with the Pantages Theatre, for a condo project.