Archive for the ‘H Williamson’ Tag

East Georgia Street and Jackson, nw

This Archives image from 1966 shows the block north of MacLean Park, when it was adjacent to Jackson Avenue. An entire city block of homes was cleared to create a new park, and in turn the old park, and this block were incorporated into a new non-market housing project, also called MacLean Park. Designed in the late 1950s, construction didn’t take place until later in 1966. Here the development consisted of family rowhouses.

The last building awaiting clearance was the only apartment building originally built on the block. Developed in 1911 for H Williamson, it cost $11,000 to build. There were four H Williamsons, but we can probably rule out the meat cutter, clerk, and fireman with the CPR, which leaves Horace Williamson, owner of a brokerage firm in 1910. He lived in Mount Pleasant, and a year later when this was built he owned the People’s Drug Store, on Main and Fraser. Horace was born in Oshawa, Ontario, in 1877, and headed west like so many others. He was a carpenter, building several houses, the first in 1901 for his family. Here here hired architects, Campbell & Bennett, and a builder, C Baumeister.

He married Flora Maclean (known as Hattie and born in Nova Scotia) in 1900 and they went on to have eight children. In 1901 they were in rooms in Keefer Street, living with David MacLean (another carpenter) – Hattie’s father. Horace had lodged with the family from his arrival in 1899, which is presumably how he met his wife.

By 1904 he had become an insurance agent, and then set up his brokerage. Up to 1914 he ran the Vancouver Mortgage Co, and was living on East 15th Avenue. Then the family went missing – there’s no record of them in British Columbia, although they were back in the same house by the 1921 census. Flora is shown born in PEI rather than Nova Scotia, and they had six children at home aged from one to 18, all born in BC. Horace was still an insurance broker, and his oldest son, ‘Melbourne’, (actually he was christened Horace as well), was an apprentice.

It’s possible the family moved away during the war years to Pender Harbour (and not Pender Island – thanks Kathy!) Horace had land there, and in 1908 built a log cabin. The family spent a great deal of time there, and the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society have many photographs of the family and the homes that Horace built there. His log cabin is seen on the left, and on the right Horace and Hattie with a deer they had shot.

They appear to have returned to live on the Sunshine Coast until the early 1950s. While Horace M was in Vancouver (later working as a mechanic), there’s no sign of his father living in the city. Horace was 80 when he died in Victoria in 1958. He had been living there for six months with one of his daughters following the death of Hattie, also aged 80, in 1957. Her PEI origins were confirmed on her death certificate.

We assume Horace sold his rooming house on Keefer at some point. In the 1920s these were the OK Rooms, run by J Olson in 1925, then from the late 1920s and through the 1930s they were the Asahi Rooms, (run by Mrs. Matsuda in 1938), and in 1953 back to the OK Rooms run by J Krywetzki and Mrs V Prisner.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-374

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Posted 16 December 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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