Archive for the ‘N S Hoffar’ Tag

Hastings Street Court House (2)

We looked at an image of this Courthouse building a couple of years ago, but from Pender Street, looking down the hill of Cambie. Here’s a postcard from around 1908 of the north face of the building, facing West Hastings. This shows N S Hoffar’s 1893 Provincial Courthouse addition – although it was actually twice as big as the original (and more modest) building designed by T C Sorby in 1889 and completed in 1890, which was located closer to Pender Street. From this angle, that building sitting behind the addition, almost hidden by trees but just showing on the left. On the right is a picture of the building in 1890. The maple trees on the Pender Street frontage are among the oldest in the city, planted in 1897.

Once the new courthouse was completed a few years later, on West Georgia, there was some debate about what to do with the old building. Despite its impressive appearance in the postcard, as a May 1909 Daily World letter suggests, not everybody was in love with the building. “With regard to the court house itself, they all knew it was one of the most disgraceful buildings that existed in the province. It was more or less in a foul and filthy condition all the time, but no blame could be attached to the officials. It was simply an incommodious and inconvenient building. Certainly it had been a standing menace to the health of the judges, juries and officials generally.”

Mayor Douglas suggested it might make a good City Hall, but the general view seems to have been that it wasn’t big enough (and presumably letters like the one above also had some influence). Instead it was decided to clear the structure and create an open space, which was named Government Square. During the first World War the site was used as a recruiting office, with a number of tents and temporary buildings. An Evangelical Tabernacle was also created as a temporary structure in 1917. The park was given the name Victory Square in 1922 and two years later the Cenotaph, designed by G L Sharp, was built through public subscription.

Image source (1890 image) City of Vancouver Archives Bu P390

Posted April 3, 2017 by ChangingCity in Gone, Victory Square

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Davis Chambers – West Hastings Street

600-w-hastings

This substantial office building was designed by Dalton & Eveleigh in 1905 for E P Davis. This 1974 image shows the Philippine Creations store and the Green Parrot Café on the main floor. The only office advertising on its window is for F Gorlich, Foot Specialist.

615-w-hastings

painless-parkerFor many years this was the home of Vancouver’s most flamboyantly advertised dentist – ‘Painless Parker’. Although there really was a ‘Painless Parker’ – a dentist who changed his name from Edgar so he didn’t fall foul of the advertising authorities, he didn’t personally carry out the extractions or fillings here.

An American, he had a chain of dental offices, with this location in Vancouver operating from the 1930s to past 1950. At 1940 prices of $1 for extractions and $2 for a filling he amassed quite a fortune – By the early 1950s Parker had 28 West Coast dental offices, employing over 70 dentists, and grossing $3 million per year.

On the ground floor of this 1940 image was a store frontage for Famous Cloak and Suit Co, shared with the building to the west, the Leland Hotel Annex. As we noted in an earlier post, the building had the 1887 façade designed by N S Hoffar replaced by 1943. That in turn was obscured with the windowless sheet steel shown in the 1974 image above.

davisE P Davis, who developed the 1905 building was an Ontario-born lawyer; a partner in Davis, Marshall & Macneil, Barristers and Solicitors, based in his new building although later moving to the London Building. He was called to the bar in Calgary in 1882, and in British Columbia in 1886 when he arrived here. He lived on Seaton Street and was unanimously recommended for the Chief Justiceship British Columbia in 1902 (a postion he declined, as he had previously in 1898). Owner of a spectacular moustache, he was legal counsel to the Canadian Pacific Railway, and also a Director of Royal Collieries, Ltd. In 1912 he built a mansion designed by Samuel MacLure, on extensive grounds near the tip of Point Grey. Davis named it “Kanakla,” a West Coast native word meaning ‘house on the cliff’. Now part of UBC, it was renamed Cecil Green Park.

The Davis Chambers were replaced in 1981 by the 11 storey ‘Princess Building’. That will be the baby on the block in future if the two towers proposed for either side of it get built. There’s a 25 storey tower proposed for the east side, on the corner of Seymour, and a 28 storey office proposed to the west, on the site once occupied by the Leland Hotel Annex.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-158 and Bu P294

Posted January 12, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Crown Hotel – Cordova Street

Cordova west from Carrall 2

We’ve looked at the history of the Boulder Hotel (on the right) some years ago, and we looked at it again more recently. On the corner on the left is the Rainier Hotel – we also looked at the history of this building several years ago. Beyond is one of the oldest buildings in the city – and certainly the grandest of the city’s early buildings; the Dunn – Miller Block. We’ve looked at parts of it in various posts – the buildings removed to build it in 1889 were featured here, and we’ve seen odd bits of the façade, like Clarke & Stuart’ s store in 1898, as well as how it looked in the 1960s. Here’s how it looked in 1990.

1912 Goad map Crown HotelThe Dunn – Miller block, it turns out, wasn’t really a complete building – more a unified façade designed by N S Hoffar, with a variety of businesses adding their own premises behind. A good example of this is the Crown Hotel, that occupied 75 feet of façade slightly to the west of the central portion of the block in 1912, as this extract from the Goad’s insurance map shows. It was numbered as 22-28 Cordova Street. Before 1911 there was a hotel called the Crown here;  when the building was first completed in 1889 all the retail units were occupied, and there were few tenants listed on upper floors (including a real estate office and a barrister at 44 Cordova). By 1892 it looks as if 22 Cordova was in residential use – it’s difficult to imagine why a streetcar conductor would have an office here.

In 1894 John Decker was running the Crown Saloon on Carrall Street. Two years later it was listed as the Crown Hotel, but reverted to the Crown Saloon two years after that. From 1907 the Crown Hotel is listed at this address, still run by John Decker. John was originally from Germany, arriving in Canada in 1886. His wife Alice was American, and their three children, John, Willie and Alice were all born in BC. In 1909 Mrs Alma Peterson’s jewellery store was on the main floor at 26 and Zarelli’s confectionary store at 26 1/2 (replaced by the Imperial Restaurant in 1910) and Joseph Sudmin’s clothing store at 28.

In 1911 the hotel was rebuilt at a cost of $30,000; accordiung to the building permit it was designed by ‘F Gardner’ – actually Francis Gardiner, brother of architect W F Gardiner. The owner at the time was a surprise to us; a Chinese businessman, Lung Kee. It’s likely that this was L O Kee who also imported dry goods at an East Hastings address. In 1912 the street directory shows the Crown Hotel being run by Alfd Manson, prop, 22-24 Cordova W. The bartender was Hans Christian, who lived in the Stanley Hotel (across the street). John Decker had moved on to run the Traveller’s Hotel on Abbott Street with A Burr, and was living on Haro Street in the West End.

A Lung family household of at least 7 members residing in Vancouver was recorded in the 1901 census. The head of household, Kee Lung, was born in China in 1851. The census identified his heritage as Chinese and showed he immigrated to Canada 27 years prior in 1874 when he was 23 years old. By 1901, at the age of 50, he had an occupation that was recorded as “Store Keeper”. Kee’s wife was Kee Mary Lung, who was 30 years old. Mary was born in China in 1870. Also identifying her heritage as Chinese, she immigrated to Canada in 1884 (when she would have been 14 years old). There were five children, 4 boys and a girl. In 1889 their eldest child, a boy named Mahie, was born. One year later, in 1890, when Kee was 39 years old and Kee Mary was 20 years old their second son, Man King, was born. In 1892 their daughter, Kee Ma Han, was born followed in 1898 by Malang, a boy and in 1901 by another son, Mashe. In 1901 the Lung family children’s ages were 3, 5, 8, 10, and 11 years.

The Crown stayed in business for many years, but reverted to offering managed rooms rather than a full service hotel. From time to time the building continued to have Chinese connections – either in terms of the café downstairs, or who ran the hotel. In 1919 it was listed as the Crown Hotel Rooms, run by K Kawano, while the bar was run by S Swaboda. Two years later the rooms were run by Samuel Riardan, and two years after that, C Hiraki. Although the hotel continues to be listed, there’s no proprietor associated with it. By 1926 the bar wasn’t mentioned, but there was a Crown Café, (Chinese) run by John Hing. In 1930 K Kosaka was running the Hotel Rooms, and the Beer Parlour was shown as being back in business at 28 W Cordova with J Shelling and A Didinsky running the bar. The Crown Café was now the Sunset Café, shown at the same address. At 22, J Grimaldi was running the Crown Jewelry store.

The depression seems to have had an affect on the businesses: in 1934 the Rooms were still operating but the jewelers had become Crown Tailors, selling second hand clothing, and the bar isn’t mentioned, although the Sunset Café is still being run by Jon Hing. In 1939 K Kosaka is still running the rooms, but the café had become the Golden Café, run by Sam Wong. During the war the Café became the Victory Café – a bit premature in 1942. No longer Chinese, it was run by G Maystovich. Mrs K Kosaka was running the Crown Hotel Rooms. By the end of the war, everything changed again. The Cansino Hotel, run by Mann Kuan and Wo Joon is shown at 24 W Cordova, and Harvey’s Boot Factory had occupied 28. We saw that business located a bit further up the street in an earlier post. The Cansino was still in business with one of the same owners a decade later, (M and S Kuan and C T Chan).

The Army and Navy store restored elements of the Classical-style façade in a remodelling of the entire store completed in 1974 that extends to Hastings Street (with a lane still bisecting the upper floors of the store).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 772-427

Posted March 14, 2016 by ChangingCity in Altered, East End

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The Yale and Cecil Hotels – Granville Street

Yale & Rolston

We looked at the Yale Hotel, one of the earliest buildings on Granville Street, in an earlier post. It was designed by N S Hoffar in 1889 as the Colonial hotel for J W Horne. As part of the development that saw the Cecil replaced with the Rolston condo tower, the Yale was seismically upgraded and the SRO rooms refurbished and handed over to the City of Vancouver for long-term retention.

It’s neighbour, the Cecil, managed to limp past its 100th birthday. Obviously the news of the redevelopment hasn’t reached Wego.com, who will still try to book you in to what they claim is a three star hotel. “The Cecil Hotel is perfectly located for both business and leisure guests to Vancouver (BC). All hotel’s guestrooms have all the conveniences expected in a hotel in its class to suit guests’ utmost comforts. Room amenities include shower. This hotel is characterized by a combination of modern comfort and traditional element of Vancouver (BC), making it a distinct accommodation. To make your reservation at the The Cecil Hotel quick and easy, please select your preferred dates of stay and proceed with our secure online booking form.” As an increasingly tired SRO, any guests who had succeeded in booking into the hotel would have been surprised at the hotel and it’s surroundings. Another website identifies what the booking site overlooked – and still promises more than they’ve been able to deliver for over four years “The Cecil Hotel is Vancouver’s premier exotic show lounge, featuring a prime selection of Western Canada’s hottest nude dancers. At The Cecil, showing you a great time, is our great time, so we hand pick the wildest, sexiest, most fun lov’n girls on the planet to go crazy on stage every single night for you (we don’t mind so much either!). So if you’re in the Vancouver area, and you’re looking for the hottest strippers, the best wings, burgers and ribs, and the wildest time allowed by law, come on down to The Cecil Hotel. You’ll be blown away!”

Cecil Hotel 1912 Vancouver HeritageSince the construction of the ‘new’ Granville Bridge in the early 1950s the hotel had lost its front door; (you can see how it looked before the bridge was built on this 1912 Heritage Vancouver picture) – the entrance was moved around the corner from the street, with the bar entrance a storey below, accessed from a parking lot. The hotel was built in 1909, and although looking remarkably like one of the many hotels designed by Parr and Fee along Granville Street in a very few years, we are pretty certain this one was by Grant & Henderson for O B Grant. While we haven’t been able to identify the original permit, a 1910 $500 permit was taken out in those names for an additional steel and glass canopy. However, there was nobody called Grant with the initial O in the city directories at the time. The Hotel Cecil was being run in 1910 by Charles M Hartney, who had taken over from John McDade who ran it in 1909 (the first year it appears in a directory). Then a chance reference to a new building permit listed in the 1908 Contract Journal clarified: “Mrs. O. B. Grant, brick store and rooming house, Granville street, $30,000.” Olive Grant was G W Grant’s wife. George Grant was half of Grant & Henderson: they were both originally from Nova Scotia.

The Grant’s were early arrivals in British Columbia. George was born in 1852 or 1854, and Olive Burris in 1852. They were married at her father’s house in 1876 at Upper Musquodoboit. After their marriage they made their home at Maitland, N. S. where they lived for three or four years. Mr. Grant was a contractor and builder and while in Maitland he was engaged in building houses. They sold up in 1880, and while his wife, in poor health, returned to Nova Scotia, George went west to Winnipeg which was experiencing a building boom. There he became a successful architect, designing several buildings including a branch of the Bank of Montreal. In 1886 they moved further west – apparently looking at, but initially rejecting the fledgling Vancouver for Victoria, where as an architect he secured several important commissions, before moving again to New Westminster. In 1892 their niece, Janie Arthur moved in with them, and in 1896 they moved to Vancouver.

G W Grant designed dozens of buildings in the fast-growing city, including the Carnegie library, and added a partner to his business, Alexander Henderson, in 1903. They continued to design buildings across the city, including the Hotel Cecil (presumably purely an investment, placed in the ownership of Mr. Grant’s wife). In 1912, when they were both aged 60 and the city’s economy was stalling, the family moved to Pasadena in 1912, and on to Bellflower, California in 1916. Janie Arthur moved with them, but had her own home. George died in 1925 and Olive in 1928, and they are both buried in Riverside, California, where other members of the family had been interred.

The Cecil switched from the Hotel Cecil to the Cecil Hotel by the mid 1930s. It continued as a hotel, but by 1935 there were a number of permanent residents. While the hotel became old, and tired, despite (or perhaps because of) the run-down nature of the bar, (dark, smokey and windowless according to Rex Wyler), in the 1960s it became a gathering place for journalists, environmentalists, and UBC students. In 1967 the founders of the Georgia Straight came up with the name for their new publication while drinking there, hoping to attract free publicity because radio newscasts of the era regularly issued gale warnings for the nearby body of water called the Georgia Strait. Many of the founders of Greenpeace also drank in the bar in those days.

As the Georgia Straight noted when the building was about to be demolished, as with many other bars in the city, “in the mid-1970s, the Cecil started bringing in exotic dancers, which continued up until closing night. One former dancer contacted by the Straight said that in the 1980s, the Cecil was more like Playboy magazine and the movie Flashdance, whereas the Drake and the Marr were more hard-core, like Penthouse magazine and, on a bad day, like Hustler magazine.”

Posted October 12, 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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550 Granville Street

550 Granville

This modest commercial building is still standing over 100 years after it was built. We think it was in part designed by the prolific Parr and Fee partnership – that’s their trademark centre-hung windows in the 1940 Vancouver Public Library image. The tax record says the building dates from 1910, but we suspect the bones are older than that. In 1909 Parr and Fee were hired to alter the building at a cost of $7,000 – suggesting a very substantial change. Their client was listed as H Abbott. We assume this has to be the former superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Although there were other people called Abbott in the city (all called Harry) no others were likely to own a Granville Street property. There were a series of buildings that were early investments funded by CP Directors along Granville Street.

Checking the 1903 insurance map confirms this was indeed the Abbott Block. (There was also an earlier building with the same name on West Hastings Street that dates back to the 1890s). It was originally commissioned to be designed by the Fripp Brothers in 1889, the same year that a Hastings building was also built to their designs. A year earlier another Abbott Block had been built on Hastings, designed by N S Hoffar.

We saw this Granville building in context in an earlier post, but by 1940 the store fronts had been altered quite a bit. To the north at 548 the Polar Fur company had their store, and to the south in 552 were Betty’s Hat & Gown Shoppe. Maison Henri had the biggest sign, and occupied the centre unit for their beauty salon. Polar Furs were run by Conrad Matoff, while Betty’s was owned by Mrs B B Crawford. Maison Henri had been in business a long time – as early as 1910 the West Hastings store announced “TO THE LADIES OF VANCOUVER: We wish to announce to our numerous clientele the return of Mr. Henri from Europe, where he has been taking up the NESTLE PERMANENT HAIR WAVING with the inventors, C. Nestle & Co. direct. This is the new complete wave, and entirely eliminates the old home treatment of heating by hand. You should come in after the return of Mr. Henri on Thursday to see the beautifying effects. Appointments may be booked from Thursday. The beautiful wave effect will absolutely not wash out. In fact noisture only accentuates the wave. To see is to believe. Let us demonstrate. MAISON HENRI, The Premier Hair – Dressing House of Vancouver”.

By 1940 Maison Henri described themselves as Vancouver’s Oldest, Largest and Most Exclusive Beauty Salon. If exclusive implies a bit too expensive, Maison Henri could help with that; next door at 556 Granville was the “Maison Henri Ltd Annex – First Class Beauty Work at Lower Prices”.

Henri Gautschi was Swiss according to the 1935 record when he became Canadian, although his 1911 Census record and his death registration said he was French. He arrived in Canada in 1905,  and his wife May a year later. She was born in London, England, and was seven years younger than her husband. By 1911 they had a daughter, Nancy. May died in 1931, the year that Nancy emigrated to Honolulu, Hawaii (although we think she returned and married in Vancouver later). Henri died in Vancouver in 1951, having retired not long after this picture was taken; his business was contined until after the war, run by Miss A D Sutherland.

Posted August 17, 2015 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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163 West Cordova Street

163 Cordova

This retail location is seen in 1897 when it was the offices of the British Columbia Electric Railway Co. That was the year the company took over existing streetcar and interurban lines in southwestern British Columbia in 1897, and operated the electric railway systems in the region until the last interurban service was discontinued in 1958. It was created from the bankrupt Consolidated Railway and Light Company (forced into receivership due to a streetcar accident in Victoria). That company had been created from ten earlier companies – three of them also bankrupt and founded in 1890 and 1891.

The Electric Railway Co were tenants in a building that had been constructed nine years earlier, designed by N S Hoffar for Dr. Whetham – we saw the building in an earlier image.

Major Matthews identified the men as: Mr. Stein, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Wilcock. There are three McDonalds working for the BCER – Mr McDonald is either HA McDonald who was a lineman, William McDonald who was the lamp inspector for the Electric Railway Co, or possibly Angus McDonald, the line foreman for the railway. Mr E H Willcock was a clerk for the railway company that year, although he would be a motorman in a couple of years.

We’re not sure if the identification of the other gentlemen was inaccurate, if the street directory failed to identify them, or whether they were connected in some other way with BCER (or just keen to be photographed). As far as we can tell, there were no BCER employees called Stein (although there was an accountant with an office on the 600 block of Hastings nearby). Similarly we haven’t found anyone called Jackson at BCER, but there were two businessmen on this block of Cordova, one a jeweler and the other the co-owner of the Savoy Hotel, a couple of doors to the east.

The almost windowless building that replaced Whetham’s was the first of only two buildings completed for Project 200, a massive redevelopment plan that would have seen the entire waterfront of Gastown bulldozed to create a row of towers over a waterfront freeway. This rather more modest structure was built in 1969 as the home of CNCP Telecommunications – the first serious hi-tech investment in the city, designed by Francis Donaldson and developed by Grosvenor Estates. The company was created as a joint venture between the CP and CN in 1967, merging the different networks used by the two railway companies. It became an early telecom business; was bought by Rogers in the 1980s, renamed Unitel and was later acquired by AT&T Canada. (It’s now called Allstream).

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu P171

Posted July 30, 2015 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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Leland Hotel Annex – 623 West Hastings Street

623 W Hastings

The Leland Hotel Annex was one of the earliest masonry buildings constructed in the city. The Leland Hotel itself was across the street, owned by Simon Hirschberg (who committed suicide in January 1887  and became the first person to be buried in Mountain View Cemetery). That was a substantial wooden frame building built very quickly after the fire. Simon’s widow continued to run the business. F W Hart remembered her as “the first white lady to come across the Canadian Rockies and it was to her that I presented the bouquet of flowers by the order of Mayor MacLean. She came on the first C.P.R. train from the east.” The hotel was very progressive as James England, secretary of the Gas Company recalled to Major Matthews “My recollection of the first gas service is that the Leland Hotel, a large four-storey frame building on Hastings Street, was the first building lighted by gas in Vancouver. I know it was common talk among the employees that this was so. It may have been on the 24th of May, 1887; it certainly was before my time as I did not come here until July 1887. I have a distinct recollection that the Leland Hotel account was No. 11 on the register of customers, but it does not follow that it was the eleventh customer that lit up; there was some holiday or special reason for getting the Leland Hotel going, and it was common talk among the men of the special efforts put forward to get the gas sent up to that hotel.” George Upham had his own take on the Hirshberg marriage “Make any man commit suicide to have a wife like that; a hard old bat; she was hard.

The Annex was built in 1887, the year after the fire. A souvenir edition of the Daily World in 1891 identifies a building developed by Benjamin Springer that was either the first or second in the city to be built of brick – the Leland Block. It decribes Springer (favourably) as developer of ‘a number of pretentious buildings’, one of which we already featured. We know that this site was owned by Ben Springer when he registered as a voter, and there’s an illustration of the building in the Daily World which is quite clearly the Leland Hotel Annex. It fits another identification – the first Springer-Van Bramer Block on Hastings Street, completed in 1887 and described in a January 1888 edition of the Vancouver Herald as ‘Hastings Street opposite the Leland Hotel’. This was also the first building to be identified as designed by N S Hoffar, although he almost certainly designed others immediately after the fire as he was in the city early in 1886. (We think it’s possible that the Daily World was mistaken – there’s an even earlier, but much more modest brick building that we think was developed by Springer and Van Bramer in 1886 on Cordova Street). When it was first built it was also illustrated in an 1890 Holiday supplement to the Vancouver Daily and Weekly World, where it was shown as being the home of Shannon & McLachlan’s real estate office.

623 windowLeland re-skinBy 1899 the Leland Hotel was run by William Hamilton, and the Annex was still across the street, as it was in 1906, when the Daily World announced “Madame Bayla, France’s most famous psychic palmist, has returned to Vancouver by special request and may be consulted from 1 to 9 p. m. every day at the Leland hotel annex, first floor. Everyone here knows about this wonderfully gifted woman. Her revelations border on the miraculous.” By 1908 Edward Stark’s shoes and E C Kilby’s furnishings were here, but there’s no mention of the upper floor use for the hotel, or the Leland on the other side of the street.

By 1927, when this image was taken, the building had become Famous Cloak and Suit Co; dressmakers, run by Isadore L Kostman. The manufacturing was taking place upstairs, as this detail of a seamstress working in the window of the top floor confirms. The 1927 directory offers us a suggestion of who might be working in the picture; while the company employed a sales staff of 25 or so, all of them women, Rosa Bell was the only seamstress recorded as working at Famous.

623 Hastings 2003In 1940 Famous occupied both this building and the adjacent Davis Chambers to the east, with a huge Art Deco shiny black sign. By 1943 the original N S Hoffar façade had been completely replaced with a simpler design with vertical window openings, (visible in an Archives picture from that year) and by 1974 the entire front of the building had been covered in pressed steel sheeting – a fate common to a number of Hastings buildings including part of the Army & Navy store. The stores in the building were still open in 2003, when we took this shot, but closed a few years later. This year the site was cleared, although so far there’s no application that we’re aware of to build a replacement, which sits on a block where two new office towers have recently been approved.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N295 and CVA 586-1223 (extract)