Archive for the ‘J P Matheson’ Tag

139 East Cordova Street

This building, with its fancy brickwork patterns, dates back to 1912 when it was built by Dominion Construction at a cost of $22,000. The developer was A C McNeil, and helpfully, we don’t need to look for him in the city’s street directories as he was recorded on the building permit as ” (of Montana, USA)”. He hired J P Matheson as his architect on the building that would open as the Harbour Rooms, run by Mrs. Essie Thompson. There had been a house on the lot before this development was built.

Quite why Mr. McNeil chose to build here is unclear, but there is a Butte resident who regularly visited the west coast, including Washington and Oregon. In 1917 A C McNeill was recorded as having taken a 1,300 road trip from Butte to ‘Spokane and the west’ with his wife and daughter – a remarkable distance for a road trip at the time. He visited Vancouver Island in 1929 and seems to have been a hotelier later in the 1930s, in Butte.

By the 1920s the spelling of the name had taken on the US preference – the Harbor Rooms – run by Mrs Ella Kelly in 1920, and Charles T Berryman from 1921 (who arrived in the city after the 1921 census). He also ran the Harbor Bar downstairs. By 1930 the name had changed to the New Harbor Rooms, run by H Anderson, and by 1934 the New Harbour Rooms, run by C Traversy. (The new art deco black retail façade might have been added around this time, although it could have been in 1945 when the building’s name was changed). In 1938 The New Harbor Rooms were run by Uda Zenkichi. In 1942 there was still a Japanese proprietor, H Iwasaki, but a year later he would have been interned, and Quon Hon had taken over. In 1945 the proprietorship changed to Pang Mock, and the name to the United Rooms. It still had that name when this 1985 image was taken, and today when the rooms are managed as a privately owned SRO rooming house by the Shun Chi Company.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 790-2450

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Posted September 20, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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564 Beatty Street

Here’s a warehouse on the row of Beatty Street buildings that are, for the most part, still standing after over 100 years. That doesn’t mean they haven’t seen significant change, and this one more than most. It’s a modest three storeys facing Beatty, but has an additional three floors that face the lane at the back. There was a significant grade change here, with a cliff face, and developers took the opportunity to have the back of the buildings at the lower level serviced by rail tracks, and the front by street delivery several floors higher. (The difference increases rising up Beatty Street).

When it was built this was just a single storey structure to Beatty Street. It was built during the period of missing permits, so we don’t know who designed it, but the developer of the $20,000 investment was noted in the press as ex-alderman Jonathan Rogers, who had already built a series of Vancouver buildings, and a few years later developed the Rogers Building on Granville Street.

In 1912 J P Matheson designed the additional two storeys for Robert A Welsh (not Walsh, as the register of Heritage Places would have you believe. It was built around 1907, not in 1909). We assume he’s the same Englishman called R A Welsh who was in Moosejaw;  two brothers, E B  and R A Welsh, settled four miles due west of Henry. “They abandoned their homestead in the spring of 1891 and moved to Vancouver where they became very wealthy“. In Vancouver they had a feed store on Water Street, then opened the Celctic Cannery on the Fraser river. The Celtic Cannery opened in 1897 and in 1902, BC Packers purchased Celtic Island and Deering Island to form Celtic Shipyards. About 25 Japanese families employed in the fishing industry resided in single family homes on the north and south shores of Celtic Island and on Middle Island, known today as Deering Island. Robert was living in the city in 1901, with his wife Mary and daughter Doris. His brother, Edward was also resident with his wife Ruthella. Both brothers were shown aged 35, with birthdays only 6 months apart, so there was an error by one of the recording clerks. Robert soon moved away from the city, although he continued to have business interests here. He used the funds from the sale to BC Packers to buy a cannery in Bellingham in Whatcom County in 1905. He made a profit that year of $25,000, which he reinvested into Alaska with similar success. Edward lived in the West End and became a broker.

The original tenant of the building in 1907 was the Gurney Foundry Co. Ltd., an Ontario stove firm that used this as its B C distribution warehouse. Gurney bought the property in 1913. In 1938, when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, it was occupied by Metals Ltd. They handled Plumbing and Heating Supplies, Pipe, Fittings and Valves. Clare Bros. Jewel Ranges, Good Cheer and Pease Furnaces, Berry Bros. Varnishes, Arco Boilers and Corto Radiators. Much more recently the building has had a seismic renovation and addition. Unlike other warehouses on the block, rather than adding a lightweight addition, IBI designed a concrete framed 4 storey addition for office use. Combined with a new central elevator shaft to tie the frame together and add rigidity, the new structure built over the original brick wall improves its seismic performance.

Posted December 21, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Burrard and Davie

Burrard & Davie

We know who designed the older building in these pictures – or at least how it looked in 1958 when Cunningham Drugs had the corner lot at Burrard and Davie. The Daily Building Record in early 1912 reported the contract to alter and add to the existing buildings with stores and some apartments above, designed by J P Matheson for B B Brown at a cost of $5,500 and built by Alonzo Smith. A year later there was a further alteration to the stores at a cost of $1,000 by the same architect for the same owner. There was a house standing on this spot in 1901, one of four that faced onto Burrard Street, so perhaps that was the building that was altered and added to – it would explain the somewhat unbalanced symmetry of the facade.

B B Brown was almost certainly Bliss Blair Brown, a grocer who in the 1911 census was shown born in New Brunswick (as was his wife Ella) and who lived at 1193 Burrard, just across the street, and managed Brown’s Grocery at 1195 Burrard. The family included three children at home aged 8 to 14, all born in British Columbia, so the family had moved further west before the turn of the century – son Alvin was born in Vancouver in 1898. (Oddly, Bliss’s wife was called Alice in the 1901 census when the family lived on Hornby Street, but that’s an error as he married Ella in 1895 in New Westminster). Ella was an only child but Bliss was one of 14 children. There were several remarkable names in the family; as well as Bliss there were Arletta, Amasa, Tressa and Eldon.

The family apparently moved to the building, living at 1008 Davie in 1914, although there’s no sign of the grocery business. Bliss died in 1919 aged 56 and In 1920 Mrs E F Brown was still living at 1008 Davie, and died in 1938. Cunningham Drugs was started in Vancouver in 1911 by former Woodward’s pharmacist George Cunningham. This store appears to have been opened in the late 1920s and in 1939 the company absorbed rivals the Vancouver Drug Co. By 1941 there were 37 stores – and this was Store No. 4 – although it wasn’t the fourth store to be opened. Eventually there were over 100 stores and Cunningham became chair of UBC’s Board of Governors. He died in 1965 and in 1970 the chain was sold to Shoppers Drug Mart.

Today it’s an almost extinct Downtown species – a gas station. The Esso station here was built in 1995 – it’s one of only two left in the entire Downtown: there were once 99 gas stations on the peninsula.

Image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu P508.17

Posted October 16, 2013 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Caroline Court – 1058 Nelson Street

1058 Nelson

We’ve written in greater detail about the owner and developer of this building on another blog. Caroline Court is over a century old, being built in 1911 to J P Matheson’s design for James Pattullo by Dominion Construction at a cost of $150,000. It was built as a rental building, and it still fulfills that function today. The context it sits in has changed – the two houses to the north were replaced with a strata building, The Nelson in 1980. The Star Garage, seen in our 1939 VPL Leonard Frank image is these days another strata building, Kelvin Court, built in 1986 and designed by Robert Burgers. The tower beyond that is the rental building developed by St Andrews Wesley in 2002. The other large tower, behind Caroline Court, is the somewhat inaccurately named Heritage Court, dating back to 1971 and designed by Eng and Wright.

Posted February 17, 2013 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Beatty Street – 500 block

We’re on the 500 block of Beatty Street in 1927, looking north to the World Building which is now covered in the advertising for the Bekins moving and storage company. There are a series of warehouses coming up the hill, ending with one designed by Parr and Fee for Robertson-Godson in 1909. That building was removed to make way for the SkyTrain station and public plaza and steps down to International Village, but the rest are still there, often with alterations.

These days the bottom of the hill has the Sun Tower (as it’s been known since the Sun newspaper moved in in 1937). The steel dome is painted to look like copper, and although W T Whiteway gets the architectural credit it was suggested by G L Sharp that he actually drew the initial design. Storey and Campbell’s 1911 warehouse also designed by Whiteway is next up the hill, converted to apartments in 1996. The Bowman Lofts were converted in 2006 and the Crane Building next door two years later. Both have extra new-build floors added on top as part of the residential conversion. The Bowman building was built in 1906, added to in 1913 and then rebuilt to Townley and Matheson’s designs in 1944, while the Crane building had Somervell & Putnam as architects and cost over $120,000 in 1911.

At 548 Beatty Bruno Freschi took a 1904 warehouse and radically reinterpreted it in 1983 by pushing the front wall back leaving a front windowless screen as balconies. 560 Beatty is a bit of a mystery, although it dates back to 1909. Next door at 564 Beatty the original architect is also a mystery up to the top of the first floor. It was built in 1907 by Jonathan Rogers, but in 1912 J P Matheson added two more floors for new owner R A Welsh. This view has changed with a four storey addition by IBI/HB being built, with new windows replacing the never-meant-to-be-seen side of the building, and a cafe added to the plaza.