Archive for the ‘Harry Hemlow’ Tag

132 Powell Street

We’re taking a bet that this is a 1912 project developed by Harry Hemlow, and designed by W F Gardiner. The Province newspaper identified a “three-storey apartment house; mill construction; 50′ x 100′; buff coloured pressed brick facing; sandstone used for window ledges; two stores on ground floor; 48 modern rooms up“. There’s a permit for Harry in 1912 that identifies a different block and inaccurate street numbers (that wouldn’t even be on that block), but otherwise it’s a match. The newspaper reported that Harry’s investment was close to Columbia Street – which this is, and it was the lot that Harry owned in 1886 that allowed him to be on the Voter’s List. E J Ryan built the $40,000 investment, which appeared in the 1913 street directory as ‘new building’. A year later the stores were occupied with The Cascade Cafe, and T Ikeda’s dry goods store, with the Cascade Rooms (also run by T Ikeda) upstairs.

Harry Hemlow was a true Vancouver pioneer – he was in the area when it was the town of Granville. He was from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was running the Sunnyside Hotel on the waterfront, that burned down in the 1886 fire.¬†Harry was elected an Alderman on the first Council in 1886. He was interviewed by Major Matthews just before his death in 1932, and asked why he became an Alderman. “For a bit of a lark”. He disappears from the street directories for a couple of years, having apparently gone bankrupt in 1887, but by 1891 had returned and was City Clerk, and from 1893 he ran the BC Electric Railway’s interurban train system. This wasn’t Harry’s only development – he also built a garage in 1912, designed by W T Whiteway. A 1916 biography describes Harry, at 55, as retired: “Is a large property owner; gives special attention to breeding fine stock, particularly Jersey cows. Married Olive May Caples, daughter of W. M. Caples, M. D., Portland, Ore., 1886. Society: A. P. & A. M. Recreations: motoring, hunting, fishing. Conservative; Presbyterian.” In later years his health failed, and Harry died in 1932. “The interment was in the Masonic cemetery. Mr. Hemlow died Monday night at the General Hospital. He resided for the past two years at the Hotel Martinique”. Olive and Harry had divorced, and at his death Harry had apparently no known descendants, and no money to leave them anyway.

Taira Ikeda had been in Vancouver since at least 1904, and had run a store in an earlier wooden building on the same block. A 1907 Daily World article described him as a ‘well known Japanese storekeeper’ when reporting the death of his 19-year old son Setusge, after a four month illness. The Province described him as ‘a well-to-do storekeeper of the East End’. In the inquiry into the anti-Asian riots, the Inquiry listed Tonakichi Ikeda as the store owner’s full name, and awarded him a significant award of $461.50 for the damage to his store and stock, having been forced to close his business for 20 days. Using the longer version of his name finds Tonakichi Ikeda entering Canada from the US in 1910, where his birth was shown in Hiroshima in 1865.

In 1917 the pool hall was run by H Watanaka, (and there was also a barber and a cigar stand) and the Cascade Cafe was run by J P Lum. By 1920 the pool hall morphed into a billiard hall run by John Popelpo. The Cascade Rooms were still upstairs, but by 1916 Taira Ikeda had become a timber exporter (presumably to Japan) with his brothers Yoshio and ‘Fred’. They also advertised to supply labour to lumber companies. By 1925 the operators of the building were irrelevant to the directory compliers; The Cascade Cafe was listed as ‘Chinese’, and the Cascade Rooms ‘Japanese’. The Westerners names were listed – Joel Wepsala ran the pool room and T Jinde was the barber.

During the war, the Japanese names (and the Japanese) disappeared from the area. The stores were vacant, and the Cascade Rooms were run by Louie Quong Yon. In 1955 G Ho was running the rooms. In our 1978 image the sign says ‘Mimi Hotel, Housekeeping Rooms – vacancy’. The store was vacant. The name changed again in the early 2000s to Lucky Lodge – although not so lucky for many of the tenants as the business licence was nearly cancelled when the owners were accused of welfare fraud and extorting money from their tenants. They were also forced to carry out repairs to make the building safe and meet the by-laws a couple of years later. It’s still an SRO rooming house, with a relatively new East Indian restaurant occupying one of the two retail spaces.

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Posted 3 June 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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