Archive for the ‘Jonathan Rogers’ Tag

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.

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Posted December 21, 2017 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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156 West Hastings Street

Trocadero Grill 156 W Hastings

We looked at a 1940 image of this building in an earlier post. We also featured the building next door, 152 West Hastings to contrast the state it had got into by the early 2000s to how it is today, following restoration. Our earlier post noted the information contained in the Heritage Statement “In 1939, E. Chrystal & Co. changed the east half of the facade to match that on the west; the cornice on the west half was removed as well and replaced with a single continuous cornice”. As this 1914 image shows, that’s not accurate. It was the western façade (closest to us) built in 1901 for Jonathan Rogers at a cost of $10,000, designed by Parr and Fee, that was altered. The second floor windows were originally a shallow wooden bay window; today both facades match 152 West Hastings built in 1904 and designed by William Blackmore and Son. It cost $8,000 and the developer was listed as E Rogers – Elizabeth, Jonathan Rogers’ wife (who he married in 1902). E. Chrystal & Co were a sash and door manufacturer. Jonathan Rogers went on to develop the Rogers Building at Pender and Granville

There aren’t too many passing references to the Trocadero, which was here for many decades from at least as early as 1911. Delbert Guerin recalled that his mother Gertie, of Squamish and English lineage, was hustled into a corner table to be hidden from other customers, and as a result the family never ate there again. In 1936 the restaurant was the scene of a sit-down strike by waitresses who were fighting for unionization, better pay and working conditions. The Women’s Labour History Collection at SFU interviewed one of the strikers, Marion Sarich, who noted that “I was a bus girl, I was working seven days a week at, I don’t know I think it was 25 cents an hour … they weren’t allowed to work us over eight hours but they did … So we started organizing and had a strike. The CP’s Housewives’ League, the Women’s Labor League, and the CP Women’s Auxiliaries supported the stnke, as did much of the general public.” Anita Anderson, another striker and bus girl at the Trocadero remarked that “the police were sympathetic to the strikers because they ate there and got to know the bus girls and the waitresses. The customers became just like a family because they were eating there everyday and you saw them everyday“.

trocThere were 138 covers at the Trocadero Grill, which although known in the 1930s as a Greek restaurant with its own bakery, didn’t start out that way. It was initially owned by Donald D McKinnon, who advertised in ‘The Kilt’ in 1916 as ‘A Café for Highlanders, run by a Highlander’. Donald McKinnon was living on Melville Street in 1911, aged 34, with his 24 year-old Ontario-born wife, Kay and their five year old daughter, Kate. He had arrived in Canada in 1901 and the family had four lodgers, Juliet Cooper, Cassandra Walker, Mabel Hutchinson and Ethel Eggar. Before he ran the Trocadero Mr McKinnon appears to have managed the Winton Motor Car Co showroom. In 1914 he acquired the mineral rights of a property in the Peace Valley. By 1919 the Trocadero was run by J Makris, A Ziongas and H Mavris, an had presumably changed to its Greek manifestation. Donald McKinnon had become a manager of the Kincaid, Water Wheel and Power Company. (We know it’s the same Donald McKinnon, because his home address stayed the same). The McKinnon Water Wheel and Power Company as it then became offered a small, powerful wheel attached to a generator for mining operations that was said to be far lighter and easier to utilize than gasoline generators of the day. This was not the only application: the BC Government powered the electricity for the town of Squamish using a McKinnon wheel, and the 1919 report of the BC Department of Railways commented “This may be said to be the first special wheel of this or any type to be manufactured in the Province, and it has proved most satisfactory during the trials, – only a few minor alterations and adjustments requiring to be made.” The company survived well into the 1920s.

Today there’s a restaurant again where the Trocadero once operated – part of the Warehouse chain.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives LGN 1271

Granville Street – 400 block east side (1)

400 block Granville

We’re looking north on Granville in 1939. Looking much darker in those days than it does now, the 1908 Canadian Bank of Commerce is behind the car, and beyond that is the Royal Bank’s half skyscraper from the early 1930s. Closest to us is the Merchants Bank of Canada, built in 1915 in a classical style to make its modest three storeys look more imposing.

The large office building on the corner of West Pender is the Rogers Building. It was built by Vancouver businessman Jonathan Rogers, who hired Seattle architects Gould and Champney for his biggest investment in the city. He was born at Plas-Onn, near Llangollen in Denbighshire, North Wales, and grew up speaking only Welsh. At 16 he moved to Liverpool where he worked at various jobs while perfecting his English. In May 1887 he headed for Montreal and crossed Canada, arriving on the first transcontinental train to arrive in Vancouver. Soon after his arrival Jonathan attended the first public auction of parcels of CPR land within the newly created city. He bought four lots outside the area already built at that time, although now located in the heart of downtown. He started work as a painter, and then became a construction contractor.

The massive speculation that had accompanied the arrival of the railway in 1887 was soon halted when the economic realities of building a new city set in, coupled with a collapse in lumber prices south of the border. Jonathan Rogers held on to his land through this depression and in 1893 with Samuel and Thomas Hunter built a 2-storey building on Columbia Street, near Powell Street known as the Commercial Block. He became one of the city’s most successful contractors (and was elected to City Council), and over a number of years added a series of modest buildings on West Hastings Street. The Granville building was in an altogether different class. Initially announced as ‘The Glyn Building’, (although on completion it would bear the Rogers name), Jonathan spared no expense on his state-of-the-art reinforced concrete structure (the biggest the city had seen). He toured North America and Europe with the architect, A Warren Gould, to identify the best materials, and understand the most up-to date building finishes and techniques. Gould was a naturalized American, but had been born in PEI. His partner, Edouard Champney, who favoured more elaborate Beaux Arts decoration was French born and trained but from an American family.

Fifteen carloads of enamelled terra cotta came from Chicago. The ornamental iron was purchased in Minneapolis and St. Paul and five of the most up-to-date elevators were bought in Toronto. Nearly 60,000 feet of cork flooring and 60,000 feet of linoleum came from England and 8,000 barrels of California cement were used. During construction The BC Saturday Sunset said “The building is designed along the lines of the modern French Renaissance (with an) exterior of polished Glasgow granite, in combination with cream-colored terra cotta facing . . . All the interior finish woodwork is to be of hardwood with white Italian marble corridors and stairs throughout… The building will be a monument to Alderman Rogers, whose faith in the future of this city is exemplified in the erection of a building which, when completed, will represent an expenditure of nearly $600,000.”

The Engineering and Contract Record reported noted “One wing of the building will be fitted up for doctors and dentists, for whose convenience special electrical and compressed air appliances will be introduced. They continued “the basement will contain a large cafe and kitchen, barber shop, etc., as well as heating and power plants, electric generators, and refrigeration machines for the cafe.”

Rogers sold the building in September 1927 to General F. A. ‘One Arm’ Sutton for a sum “exceeding $1 million” – the largest real estate transaction in the city to that time. Around 1940 he bought it back – although by then his wife Elizabeth was managing the family interests.

Jonathan Rogers died in 1945 and left what at that time was a very large sum of money, a quarter of a million dollars, to various causes in Vancouver. The largest single bequest of $100,000 was given to the City of Vancouver to create a neighbourhood park in a poorer part of the city. (Rogers served on the Parks Board for 26 years). After several delays Jonathan Rogers Park was finally opened in 1958 on 8th Avenue, in Mount Pleasant.

Today the Rogers Building continues to offer office accommodation to a wide variety of tenants, and although the basement barbers no longer operate, the stores on the main floor continue to thrive.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1376-147

Posted July 14, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Commercial Block – Columbia Street

Commercial Block

The Commercial Block was one of the most advanced buildings in the city – when it was built in 1893. Welsh entrepreneur Jonathan Rogers teamed up with Samuel and Thomas Hunter to build a two-storey and basement building on Columbia Street near Powell Street. It was the first building to have an electric elevator – and it had three of them. Each three bays of the building was a separate warehouse, although there was no indication of this arrangement on the facade. William Blackmore designed the building in a robust brick and stone design and once it was complete Thomas Hunter became the owner.

When it was first built the earliest tenant was a hardware company. By 1900 the building inexplicably took even numbered addresses (although it was on the odd side of the street) and had the Toronto Type Foundry, VW and FW Mitchell, brokers and merchants, and the Parsons Produce Co. In 1906 Cosens and Kindon, commercial merchants, had their warehouse here, along with the Terminal City Rice Mills and Western Oil and Supply Co. Sometime around that time a 3-storey extension was added to the north (although the architect is unknown). It was completed by 1908 when McLennan McFeely & Co (who had a massive warehouse next door) started using the rear of the property as well. M R Smith & Co were in front, manufacturing biscuits. McLennan McFeely would eventually use the entire premises in the late 1930s when they built an overhead link over the lane.

In 2002 Arcadian Architecture supervised the restoration of the building, and today it houses a variety of office users.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives LGN 481

152 and 156 West Hastings

152&156 W Hastings blog

The pair of black and white painted buildings were constructed at the start of the city’s greatest building boom in the early 1900s. The owners were the Rogers family, long time Vancouver developer Jonathan Rogers, and his recently married wife, Elizabeth.

Trocadero156 W Hastings (to the west, closer in the picture) was built first in 1901 for Jonathan Rogers , cost $10,000 and was designed by Parr and Fee. 152 West Hastings, next door, was built in 1904 and designed by William Blackmore and Son. It cost $8,000 and the developer was E Rogers – Elizabeth, Jonathan Rogers’ wife (who he married in 1902). Rogers built a number of other buildings in the city, and generally used either William Blackmore or Parr and Fee to design them. Initially the two buildings were different in appearance; this CVA image shows the Trocadero Grill in 1914 with a very shallow bay window on the Parr and Fee building. The first tenants were a bicycle dealer and Barr and Anderson, plumbers. A harness firm moved into the second stage when it was completed. The Vancouver Fancy Sausage Company was another long-term tenant of the building.

Our 1940 picture shows the buildings soon after they were remodelled to match the Blackmore design, with the Trocadero still in place. E. Chrystal & Co (a sash and door manufacturer) carried out the alterations in 1939. In September 1936, the café was the scene of a week-long strike after employees walked off the job to obtain higher wages. The management of the Trocadero Grill brought in strike breakers to staff the restaurant, but had to back down after customers refused to cross the picket line.

Tenants changed over the years, and once Woodwards closed the area went into decline. In the past few years a number of arts tenants occupied the building as the Red Gate, but the city eventually ordered the building closed until safety issues and code problems were addressed. After a comprehensive restoration by new owners, new tenants have occupied the building including a restaurant, a fitness centre and Appnovation Technologies, a fast-growing Information and Communication Technology company.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 586-2574

792 Granville Street

We looked at this block previously, but here it is again quite a couple of years earlier before the Vancouver Block made its dramatic intervention. On the right of the picture, on the corner is 792-798 Granville Street. It was built in 1904 by J Rogers – almost certainly Jonathan Rogers, a developer and builder who developed the Rogers Building down the street a few years later. He hired T E Julian to design the building, and by 1906 it had tenants; Le Patourel and McRae, Druggists were at 792, the Sunset View apartments were upstairs and Joseph McTaggart, grocer was on the corner at 798. It’s likely that Mr McTaggart bought the building because in 1912 he got a permit worth $400 for repairs designed by Thomas Hooper. It’s not clear if he actually completed that work as in the same year the Royal Bank of Canada also hired Thomas Hooper to convert the building to a bank branch at a cost of $10,000, The Bank finally closed in 1961, and looked very similar then to 50 years before as this Walter E Frost shot from the Vancouver Archives shows.

And that’s not the end of the story on this corner. The new Future Shop didn’t appear until 2003, but in the interim another Royal Bank building appeared, that lasted under 40 years. This 1980s City Engineers photo in the Vancouver archives shows it on the left, designed in uncompromisingly contemporary style by Underwood, McKinley, Cameron and Associates and completed in 1963.

West Hastings west from Homer

The building on the corner is now part of the Vancouver Film School, but it started life in 1903 as the Royal Bank of Canada. Dalton and Eveleigh designed the first classical bank in the city, and it used poured concrete with steel reinforcements for the foundations – one of the earliest buildings to feature this innovative technological advance. This allowed construction of secure vaults with walls over half a metre thick.

The building was developed and constructed by Vancouver pioneer, Jonathan Rogers, who also built the adjacent building to the west in 1899. It was started in October, and a huge umbrella was raised over the site to allow work in the winter rain. The small building next door started life in 1904 as the Bank of Nova Scotia, like the Royal Bank designed by Dalton and Eveleigh. The Canadian Pacific Telegraph Building from 1901 is to the west, and the huge building across Richards Street is the Standard Building.