Archive for the ‘Parr and Fee’ Tag

1119 Broughton Street

This is the same house in both images, but it’s not in the same location. Redeveloped in 1994, there are now 8 condos on the lot. The house here was originally constructed in 1904, and the architect designed it for his own use.

Thomas Fee was born in Quebec, and trained in architecture in Minneapolis in the late 1880s, and initially arrived in Vancouver in 1891. However, he wasn’t yet building or designing homes, instead he was shown on the corner of Davie and Seymour, in Yaletown, working as a grocer. He was shown aged 27 in the census that year, and his wife was 20. He next appears again in the directory when he had started building houses in Vancouver from around 1894, when he was living on Robson Street. In 1898 Fee went into partnership with English architect John Parr, and immediately turned out designs for buildings like the Ralph Block on Hastings Street as well as many houses. They often featured a circular corner turret, as this does, although strangely, it’s down the street rather than on the corner (perhaps for a view over English Bay).

In the 1901 census Thomas Fee, was shown aged 38, living with his wife Francis (now shown only 3 years younger than him), his six year old daughter Olga, four year old son ‘Blakley’ and his wife’s mother, Jane Paton aged 73. They were living on Burrard Street at the time. Thomas apparently felt the need to underplay his age by two years; earlier census entries and his death notice say he was born in May 1861. He had married Frances Paton in Melbourne Methodist, Drummond, Quebec in 1888, when she was 22.

By 1911 the Fee family had moved to another house he had designed at 1025 Gilford Street. (It was demolished in the 1960s). Frances had her name spelled correctly, Olga was listed with her full name, Olga Merle, Blakely’s name was recorded correctly as Blakely Fowler and Grace Helen aged nine was now a member of the household. Jane Paton was still alive, given her full name, Lucretia Jane, aged 83, and Frances’s sister Helen Elizabeth was also living in the house, along with Charles Fee, Thomas’s brother. It appears that Blakely changed his name as a teenager; the last reference under that name was a trip to the US when he was 16; in subsequent records (including his marriage in 1918) he had taken his father’s name and was Thomas Arthur Fee jnr.

Even when he was building his family home Thomas Fee was looking to add investment value. The permit for the corner of Broughton and Pendrell was for two frame dwellings, so almost certainly the house next to the Fee family home was Thomas’s investment property, also designed by Parr and Fee. That house was lost in a fire in 2018.

The first occupant here after the Fee family moved was Henry B Ford, a family physician in partnership with his brother-in-law, and with a Downtown practice. He was here with his wife and four children for three years, before moving across False Creek.

Andrew A Logan, a timber broker, lived here for many years from around 1911 (and we assume bought the property). He was an Ontario butter and cheese trader in the 1880s, in Morrisburg, and moved to Vancouver in 1908. In 1908 he held a timber licence in the Kootenay, on Alice Arm. In 1913 he had interests in mining as well as lumber; he’s believed to be seen here in an Archives image from around 1913, examining a quartz sample with gold deposits from the Gem mine, near Nanaimo.

In 1915 Mr. Logan only just escaped death, when he was bludgeoned on the head in his basement by an assumed burglar (who was never identified). We’ve put the details of the story as they appeared in the local press on the left.

Mrs. Logan died in 1922, aged 70 having caught a cold that turned into pneumonia. At the end of the year Andrew remarried to Mrs. Emma Wright, of Winnipeg, who had been born in Ontario in 1872.

In 1925 the press reported “Vandal Hurls Stone Through Art Window
An unidentified vandal on Friday afternoon destroyed a stained-glass window In the home of A. A. Logan, 1119 Broughton street, by hurling a large stone through It. Though the act was committed In daylight, no residents In that locality appeared to have been the perpetrator of the act of wanton damage.

Andrew and Emma moved to the St Julien Apartments in 1928, selling off ‘costly furnishings and an excellent piano’ at auction (including a mahogany four-poster bed, and French novels). Andrew died there in 1929; two of his three children lived in Winnipeg, with one son in Vancouver. Emma died in 1953, in Essondale, in Coquitlam. By that point the house here had become a rooming house run by J Collins. Our image shows the house in 1985, two years after it been converted back to a single family home. The renovation and condo project in 1994 that saw the house moved to the corner was designed by Clare McDuff-Oliver.

Image source: CVA 790-1699 and CVA 1376-547

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Posted 11 August 2022 by ChangingCity in Altered, West End

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326 West Cordova Street

We know that this building had been significantly altered before this image was taken in the 1960s. That’s because it was first built in 1903, it had a different facade. It was developed by T Simpson who hired Thomas Hunter to build the $9,000 investment designed by Parr and Fee. It was the second design for the double lot site – a $12,000 version had been submitted a year earlier.

The image on the right is a part of a 1932 picture showing West Cordova, and our building is the two storey structure in the centre of the picture, next to the tall building (which is the Mercantile Building on the corner of Homer).

Although there were two Thomas Simpsons in Vancouver in 1903, neither developed the building here; one was a clerk in the Tiny Dog store, and the other a grocer. The T Simpson who developed this was Theodore Simpson, (confirmed by a paragraph in the 1903 Contract Record, which reckoned the costs had stretched to $15,000). Mr. Simpson’s choice of Thomas Hunter as the builder wasn’t in the least surprising. In 1892 Jennie Simpson, Theodore’s daughter, married Thomas Hunter.

At the end of 1902 the Province reported that “Work was started this morning on the demolition of the buildings formerly occupied us the Rustic and Golden Tip restaurants, to make room for the erection of a handsome new brick and stone block. The new building, which will be of two stories, will measure 50 by 120 feet, and is being built for Mr. Theodore Simpson of this city. The estimated cost of Its construction is not made public, but is understood to be in the neighborhood of $15,000. The architects of the new block are Messrs. Parr & Fee and the plans show a handsome structure of brick with a cut stone front. It Is understood that the lessees of the new block will be the wholesale clothing firm of Mackay, Smith & Co., who at present occupy premises further along Cordova street.”

Theodore Simpson arrived in Vancouver in 1891, but was apparently missed by the census. He soon had a problem that required the attention of the City Council “the contractors who deposited stumps etc on the property of Theo Simpson on the corner of Melville and Thurlow Street, be notified to have same removed or buried.” In 1892 he was living on Seymour Street, but by 1894 he was already shown as ‘retired’ and living at Melville and Thurlow. Thomas Hunter was the head of household there in the 1901 census, with Theodore and his wife, Isabella, living with Thomas’s family. Theodore was 62, and from England, shown arriving in Canada in 1845, and Isabella was six years younger.

Their daughter, Thomas’s wife, (Jane, Jannie or Jennie), had been born in Ontario, and that’s also where Isabella came from. Theodore was 25 when he married Isabella Day, aged 19, in Newmarket, Ontario in March 1864. In the 1871 census he was listed there as ‘baker’ – the same as in Vancouver in 1901, (although he was never associated with any work in Vancouver, and was described as ‘gentleman’ in the 1898 voter’s list, suggesting he was already retired with investments). In 1881 the family (Theodore, Isabella, and Jane, born in 1865) were living in Summerside, in Prince Edward Island.

In the spring of 1902 the family had a shock when Isabella passed away. Theodore submitted plans for this location soon after. He died in 1925, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery with Isabella, and Jane Day, who was born on the same date as Isabella, (so presumably her twin sister) who had died in 1912.

This building was significantly  altered, and given its contemporary appearance, in 1955. That year Lounge Fashion Clothes (manufacturers) occupied the building, with Braemar Clothiers, Fletcher Lock & Safe in the middle unit and CanaDay’s Apparel (men’s wear) in the third. Fletcher’s had been in the building since at least the 1920s, and in 1925 a wholesale trunk and bag company were here too, the Langmuir Manufacturing Co.

Today Sphere Communications are here, buying and selling pre-owned cellphones, alongside Gastown Printers and Indigo Sutra, a home furnishing store specializing in items made with sustainable and natural fibres from around the world.

Image sources City of Vancouver Archives CVA 810-246 (copyright) and extract from Str N14

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Posted 20 June 2022 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Mayfair Apartments – Bute Street

The negative of this 1927 Vancouver Public Library image isn’t in great condition, but it shows the Mayfair Apartments are almost unchanged in nearly 100 years. The picture shows the building when it was almost 20 years old – it was designed by Parr and Fee in 1908 for John A Honeyman, and cost $18,500 to build.

Mr. Honeyman was living at 1522 Comox Street that year, and retired, according to the street directory. He wasn’t in the city in 1901, but fortunately he was in 1911, shown employed in real estate, and living on Bute Street (but not in his apartment building). The 1911 census said he was aged 70, born in Quebec, and living with his daughter, Mabel, (recorded as Mable).

John Alexander Honeyman was one of ten children. His parents, John Honeyman, from Glasgow and Eliza Levit (who was English) moved to Kingston in 1841 from Quebec. Mr. Honeyman was 16 when he moved to Quebec, and 26 when he moved to Ontario and started the Ontario Foundry and later the Canada Locomotive Works. His son, John A was born just before the move from Quebec. His father founded a new foundry in Portland in 1849, but didn’t move there until 1862, after two years in Colorado. He continued to spend time mining in Idaho with one of his sons, building quartz mills for the ore as well as prospecting. He finally settled down in Portland in 1867 (aged 52), and established the City Foundry and Machine Shops with his sons John A and Benjamin in 1873. John A had been working at his father’s foundry in Kingston from 1856 to 1860, but then moved to New York where he became foreman of a foundry, before moving to San Francisco in 1868, working for the Union Iron Works. He moved to Portland, working as a foreman, and then moved to work with his father and brother, Benjamin.

Benjamin was still at home with his parents in the 1870 census, aged 23, but his brother, John, had already married in 1864 and aged 29 was living with Jane (28) who was from Birmingham, England and son David, who was 4, and had been born in New York. In the 1880 census there were three sons, and Mabel, who was aged 1. She was born in Oregon, as were her two older brothers Charles (6) and William (9), and David was now 14. The census didn’t say what John did, but Polk’s Business Directory in 1889 confirmed that he was co-owner of the City Foundry with Benjamin F Honeyman. He was still there in 1897 operating his own foundry, but J H Honeyman  had retired, and died in Portland in 1898. John A had already decided to move his foundry to Nelson, in BC, which prospered, and saw him building a new machine shop on the corner of Hill and Water Street in 1904. The 1901 census found three children; Charles (24) Mabel (20) and Ben (18) all still at home.

John A first arrived in Vancouver in 1907. That year the Oregonian Newspaper announced the sale of the old Honeyman Foundry for $25,000 US. In 1908 John’s wife, Jane E Honeyman died in Seattle. Her death certificate identified her as aged 65, and the cause of death as apoplexy. The informant was D A Honeyman – her son David, who she was presumably visiting at the time of her death. Her body was returned to Vancouver, and she was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. In 1912 John built two houses on Odlum Drive in Grandview, hiring builder Peter Tardif to design them, but supposedly constructing them himself. He moved into 1354 Odlum Drive, where in 1914 he was described as ‘foundryman’, although we haven’t identified a business he was still running at that time. The other house he built was occupied by Frank Taylor, who was doorman at the Pantages Theatre, so presumably that was for rental income.

In the 1921 census John A Honeyman was a lodger in a house on Hornby Street owned by Nathanuel Darling, who lived there with his wife Mary. John was 80, and they were in their 60s, and originally born in New York, but in Vancouver since the 1880s after he worked on the construction of the railway. The street directory said Miss M Honeyman also lived there – we assume his daughter Mabel. By 1923 John and Mabel had returned to 1354 Odlum Drive, and were there still there in 1928.

John A Honeyman died in 1930, as did his son, David, who was aged 65 and in Chicago, although he was buried in San Francisco. Mabel Maud Honeyman apparently never married, and was in Riverview Hospital when she died in 1964.

The Mayfair had 12 apartments, and as with any West End rental building the tenants constantly changed. The first time names were recorded was in 1911, when two of the tenants were female. From 1916 to 1920 Miss Anne Batchelor and Miss Margaret Wake, both professional artists, lived together in suite 7. Anne was the daughter of a Cornish vicar, and granddaughter of Queen Victoria’s household manager. She studied at the Heatherley School of Art, and arrived in Vancouver in 1909, aged 42, and a year later looked after Emily Carr’s studio while she travelled to Europe. in Vancouver she was a Christian Science practitioner. Margaret had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, and established herself as a successful artist. before she came to Vancouver, aged 44, in 1911.

By 1913 the two artists were displaying their work in the same exhibitions, and shared an apartment in the same year. In 1920 Miss Batchelor purchased an residence on Barclay Street, and it was reported that Miss Wake would stay with her for the summer months. Miss Batchelor had a summer cottage on Savary Island, and Miss Margaret and Miss Katherine Wake were often visitors. The two worked together on a portrait commission that is now in the Museum of Vancouver. Margaret became ill, and died in 1930, but Anne was 96 when she died in 1963 in her home on Granville Street. There are far more details of the ladies on westendvancouver. In 1955 half of the tenants were female, all but one listed as ‘Mrs.’, so presumably widowed or separated. Today the suites are still popular in what is now one of the oldest apartment buildings in the West End.

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Posted 16 June 2022 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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Carrall Street and West Hastings

There are three identifiable buildings in this picture and we’ve looked at their history individually in earlier posts. The Interurban station is on the left, with the offices of BC Electric above, designed by W M Somervell and completed in 1911. We looked at the yard behind the building as well. Today, the opening where the interurban trams would exit is a window to a lighting showroom.

The Burns Block, seen here in 1930, was built in 1909, and designed by Parr and Fee. On the main floor was a meat shop, as the developer was Burns & Co, an Alberta-based meat empire, with the Vancouver arm of the business run by Dominic Burns. The company’s local offices were on the scond floor, and there were a variety of offices including F R Humber, a dentist, and E R Flewwelling, a jewelry maker. They were both still here in 1955, but some time after that it became a residential building, although the bathrooms were shared on each floor. The single room occupancy housing was closed down in 2006 having failed fire safety inspections (there were no working fire alarms, for example, and the fire escape exits were blocked). It was vacant for a few years before restoration by new owners Reliance Holdings, designed by Bruce Carscadden Architects and opened in 2011. It was still an SRO, with shared bathrooms but the tiny rooms were called ‘micros suites’ and the rents were multiples of the welfare rate of rental payment. In 2021 Reliance sold the building to BC Housing for whom the 30 studio units are now be managed by Atira Women’s Resource Society. The rooms are available for women who are committed to reducing or stopping substance use. Wraparound support services include clinical counselling, primary health care, transitional skills development, 16-step support recovery groups, an art therapy program, community meals, family reunification and short-term access to recovery support.

Between the BC Electric building and The Burns Block was the right of way once occupied by the railway. There was a barrier that would block the street, which was the city’s major artery, whenever a train came through. The final steam train ran across Hastings in 1932 after a tunnel was dug from the waterfront to Yaletown.

To the west was the Beacon Theatre, which started life as a Pantages Theatre, and ended as the Majestic. Designed by B Marcus Priteca late in 1916, construction wasn’t started until 1917, with the theatre opening in 1918. Alexander Pantages spent over $300,000 building the theatre. During its time as the Pantages Theatre, it headlined stars included Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth. Architectural writer Miriam Sutermeister noted that the theatre was “considered at the time to be the most richly embellished and efficient theatre of the Pantages chain.” renamed The Majestic, movies started to appear between vaudeville bookings, and in 1946 the thetre became The Odeon, showing movies almost exclusively. A final attempt to revive vaudeville in 1958 as the Majestic wasn’t a success. The acts were brought in from Las Vegas, and Carl de Santis and his orchestra provided the music. There were still two movies, but the theatre struggled and vaudeville really was, finally, dead. Demolished in 1967, the site was used for parking for 30 years before Arthur Erickson’s design for non-market housing as the Portland Hotel was completed in 2000.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-299

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Posted 17 February 2022 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone, Still Standing

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27 West Hastings Street

The Army and Navy store closed its doors here in 2020, after 81 years in this location. Before 1939 the store was on the same block, but on the south side of the street. The building the business initially occupied here is the extensively glazed “Five-storey brick store building with basement and mezzanine on first floor; north side of Hastings, adjoining the warehouse of Wood, Vallance & Leggat;” This description was from a 1906 newspaper article titled “New block for Mayor Buscombe” So although the permits for that period are missing, we know the developer was Fred Buscombe, and the plans are in the Vancouver Archives so we also know that the architects were Parr and Fee. Smith & Sherbourne were the builders of the $45,000 investment.

Wood Vallance and Leggat occupied the building to the east which had been built around 1899 for E G Prior & Co. Later it was redeveloped as the Rex Theatre, and subsequently became an addition to the Army and Navy store. Our 1908 image shows Buscombe’s store here was called ‘The Fair’, and it replaced The Brunswick built in 1888 “on the fringe of the woods”. Perhaps this expansion of his business was a bit too much; a year later Stark’s Glasgow House moved in, having previously been on Cordova Street.

Fred Buscombe was mayor in 1905 and 1906. A merchant who had been president of the board of trade before he was elected mayor, he was elected to cut municipal spending, earning him the support of the business class and all three daily newspapers (who seldom agreed about anything). Born in Bodmin, in Cornwall, he was aged eight when the family moved to Hamilton, Ontario. He went to work for china and glassware company James A Skinner & Co. He visited Granville in 1884, and moved to Vancouver (as it had become) in 1891. He bought Skinner’s business in 1899, and had wholesale and retail businesses, as well as a Securities firm. He was also President of Pacific Coast Lumber Mills. A conservative, he was a prominent Freemason and a pillar of the Church of England, helping fund the construction of Christ Church. With his Ontario born wife Lydia the family had at least eight children, only five of whom survived.

Stark’s didn’t last very long here either; James Stark died in 1918, but this had already been renamed as The Hastings Street Public Market. A new tenant briefly moved in, but in 1919 “Terminal Salvage Co. is compelled to move so the entire building can be turned over to a Calgary Concern who will remodel the building for a public market”. This was the Cal-Van Market, and Buscombe Securities spent $3,000 in 1919 for the works for their new tenant. It was obviously a success, as Buscombe hired J E Parr to carry out another $25,000 of repairs and alterations in 1923, and Cal-Van was still in business through the 1930s. It had a boxing gym and whist arcade on the third floor.

The building has been altered behind the facade over the years, but despite the windows being painted over, it offers an opportunity to retain one of the most impressive early retail buildings still standing. The redevelopment of Army and Navy is apparently imminent, with a developer and architect working with the Cohen family (who ran Army and Navy, and still own the building) to design a rental housing, retail and possibly office project.

Image source: Vancouver Public Library

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Posted 27 September 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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876 Granville Street

This is yet another of the Parr and Fee designed hotels at the southern end of Granville Street in Downtown; last known as the State Hotel. It was developed as an investment property by Evan, Coleman and Evans, who hired G E Williamson to build it for $46,000 in 1910. The developers built at least three other hotels in Gastown, owned a wharf and warehouses, a cement plant and a building supply business. They were two English brothers Percy and Ernest Evans, and their cousin, George Coleman. They arrived in Vancouver in 1888, and built up a business empire that they sold in 1910 to a group of prominent local business people including William Farrell and Frank Barnard, although they may have retained their interest in the hotels, which also included another hotel probably designed by Parr and Fee for them a year earlier, the Manitoba, on Cordova.

Initially this opened as the Norfolk Rooms, with two retail stores; 872 to the north and 878 to the south. The entrance to the Rooms was a narrow doorway in the middle of the block, numbered as 874 Granville. When the building opened, the London Cash Store occupied 872. This was a dry goods emporium; “Mr. West, the proprietor, fresh from his lengthy experience In some of the best known firms in the west end of London, makes it the study of his life to satisfy as well as please his growing connection; and It is not unreasonable to suppose that he will soon have one of the largest and best known stores of its kind In Vancouver.” Two years later Thomas West was no longer in Vancouver, and his store had been replaced by Edwin Galloway selling new and used books. 878 was home to McLachlan Bros, a hardware business run by Dougall J McLachlan. In the early 1920s Rennie’s Seeds store was to the north, and Bogardus Wickens occupied 878, selling glass, and paint. By 1925, 872 was home to the Commodore Cafe, (referencing the Commodore Ballroom next door) and 878 was home to the Cut Rate Radio Shop. two years later they had been replaced by the Womans Bakery, and by 1930 Edwards Jewelry Store.

The Commodore Cafe became the Blue Goose Cafe, in 1933, and in 1935 the business expanded to take over both units, and access to the Norfolk Hotel was moved to the southern end of the building and renumbered as 876. The fabulous art deco canopy and facade belonged to the Blue Goose, and W Wolfenden who ran that business probably installed the modern new look. In 1936 The Hollywood Cafe replaced the Blue Goose, as our Stuart Thomson photo shows. Harry Stamatis took over when it became the Hollywood (and also managed Scott’s Cafe a block to the north). The Blue Goose had a large dining room, as the 1935 interior shot (left) shows, and the new manager reduced the number of tables, but otherwise it stayed the same. Located between the Commodore and the Orpheum Theatre the restaurant only stayed in business for a year. The star of the show was the counter on the northern side of the building, seen on the right in 1936.

From 1937 the premises appear to have been split into two again. 874 Granville, the southern half, became the home of the Bon Ton Tea Rooms, which stayed here until the 1980s. The northern part, 872 had a series of restaurants. In 1937 it was the Commodore Grill, run by Nick Kogos (another Greek restauranteur), a couple of years later it had become Chris’s Grill & Restaurant, run by Chris Stamatis (Harry’s brother), and by 1949 the Good Eats Cafe run by Milton J Litras, who was almost certainly also from a Greek family. A year later three more Greek owners, (N Michas, N Girgulis and J Dlllias) were running the Olympic Cafe. By 1955 it had become The Neptune Grill run by John Michas (with an option of a consultation with the on-site palmist and tea-leaf reader).

Today the Cafe Crepe (with a retro 7 metre high neon sign) has just closed after 17 years in this location. The other retail unit has the most lineups of any Vancouver store; it’s one of only three Canadian locations of an Italian-based fast fashion business, Brandy Melville, who replaced an American Apparel store. The facade was restored in 2003, but the upper floors have apparently been unused following a fire in the early 1970s.

A development proposal is being considered to develop a large retail, entertainment and office building here, which would retain just the facade of the State Hotel.

Image sources, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4884, CVA 99-4768 and CVA-99-4883.

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Posted 1 February 2021 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Gilford Street north from Comox

The title of this 1965 picture in the Vancouver Archives is ‘[View from Comox] Street [in the West End showing] trees’. Fortunately there hasn’t been so much change that it’s impossible to work out where, from Comox Street, the image was taken. It’s looking north on Gilford, and the Park Gilford, the 13 storey rental tower on the left, was completed in 1962.

Beyond that was a house, that is no longer standing. It was replaced in 1982 by Gilford Mews, a 15 unit strata building which we think was designed by West Coast Modern architects Robert Hassell and Barry Griblin. The decision to keep some of the landscaping means that the trees have grown much bigger over 50 years, and hide the building in summer. The townhouses went on sale in 1982, priced between $170,000 and $189,000 each. The trees today almost hide the 1959 rental building to the north; Four Winds is 10 storeys, with 37 units.

The house had first been developed in 1908, although by the 1960s it was an apartment building. We know who developed the building. Christopher W Ford obtained a permit to build a house costing $8,500, and four years later added a garage. The design of the house is similar to a number of others designed by Parr and Fee – especially the corner turret and cupola, which were a feature of Thomas Fee’s first house on Broughton Street. Photographs of the house in both the Vancouver Public Library and Archives collections (wrongly) identify this as the Fee House.

C W Ford was born in Morrisburg, (now part of Dundas), Ontario in 1856. He married in 1878 and by the late 1880s he was running a general store in Morewood, Ontario. Around 1894 he sold up, and moved to Vancouver, starting as a druggist’s clerk, and living on East Hastings. He opened a grocery store in 1900, and by 1904 had moved on to manage the grocery department in Woodward’s Department Store. In 1906 he was a director of Woodwards, but was also involved in real estate with another Ontario grocer, John Jackson. He established his own real estate firm, and in 1910 he developed The Princess Rooms on Granville Street, a $55,000 project designed by Parr and Fee. Christopher and Mary Ford had three sons, Harry, Clarke and Grant. Harry became a Vancouver physician and married Georgie McMartin, from New York, and they had a daughter, Mary, in 1909. He died in Jervis Inlet in 1910 of exposure, having been separated from the hunting party he was with. Georgia and her daughter moved in with her father-in law. Clarke trained as a lawyer, but worked for a firm of safe manufacturers, and was married twice, and Grant was a dentist, marrying three times.

Christopher’s wife, Mary, died in 1912, and two years later Mr. Ford remarried to Ethel Holland, a widow, and music teacher, originally from England. They moved out of the West End to a house he had built in North Vancouver. Christopher Ford died in 1945, and Ethel in 1955.

The house was occupied for short periods by different residents until 1920, when Harold Idsardi moved in, and stayed until 1948. He was a civil engineer and land surveyor, who arrived in Vancouver in 1910 and had married Loulie Aylett K. Fitzhugh, (born in Fairfax Virginia) in Los Angeles in 1912. He managed to have a mountain, and a valley on Vancouver Island named after him. They had three sons, none of whom stayed in Vancouver. In 1949 the house was split into 8 apartments and named the Elphege Apartments, and by 1978 the building was called the John Penrice Apartments.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-48

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Posted 28 December 2020 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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Granville Street 600 block – west side

This side of Granville Street was demolished to make room for the extension of Pacific Centre Mall northwards. At the far end of the block in this 1953 image was the Colonial Theatre, a cinema converted in 1912 from an 1888 office building. We looked at its history in one of our early posts over 8 years ago. It was originally designed by New York architect Bruce Price for Sir William Van Horne. President of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Since then, the 1974 office tower that replaced the cinema has been reclad to a lighter colour, with double glazed widows.

Closer to us, just showing on the left of the picture was 679 Granville, a 1910 3-storey building designed by Dalton & Eveleigh for Henry Bell-Irving. In 1953 Purdy’s chocolate store was here, with the Devon Cafe. Next door, at 665 Granville, D’Allaird’s lady’s clothing store had obscured the facade of their building. It appears to have been built in 1904, with the St Louis rooms above retail, initially occupied by R J Buchanan’s crockery store, and Cicero Davidson’s jewelers. We think the site was owned and developed by Jonathan Rogers, who applied to build a $24,000 building on the three lots here in 1904 – described (somewhat inaccurately) as a ‘frame dwelling’. The whole building included both the D’Aillards lot and the building with mis-matched windows to the north. (It’s hard to see in the image, but one has a curved cornice, and the other a shallow pyramid). Mr. Rogers was a builder and identified himself as the architect too (although the mismatched window style is how G W Grant liked to design buildings). D’Aillards Blouses Ltd carried out work to 651 Granville (just to the north) in 1925, so had been in this area for many years.

The next building appears to have two identical facades, but was developed as a single structure, also in 1904. It was designed by Parr and Fee for ‘Mrs. Northgroves’, and cost $15,000. We’re not completely sure who she was. She doesn’t appear in any street directory, or census, although she was listed as attending a function with many other women in 1913. The most likely was Miss Alice Jane Northgraves, who lived on ‘income’, with her sister (and her sister’s husband, William Walsh, who was listed as a ‘capitalist’ under occupation in the 1911 census). In 1905 and in 1908 Mrs. Walsh and Miss Northgrave left the city to spend the winter in Southern California. Mr. Walsh developed a number of properties in the city, including some designed by Parr and Fee. Miss Northgraves died in Vancouver in 1922, aged 63.

The building with the four Roman arches beyond also dates from the early 1900s, and we’ve failed to identify the architect or developer. In the early 1920s it was owned by B. Holt Fur Company, who spent over $5,000 on repairs and alterations. In the 1910s P W Charleson carried out repairs to 641 and 657 Granville on several occasions, and ‘Charlson & Abbott’ to 665 Granville. (Percy Charleson also owned 800 Granville, two blocks to the south). Fraser Hardware also paid for alterations to 641 Granville in the mid 1910s, and were tenants here. Brown Bros appear to have owned the properties in the mid 1920s.

Down the street, the narrower four storey building was approved to be developed as an apartment building in 1912. Charles Williams of Acroyd & Gall claimed to be developer, architect and builder of the $29,000 project. This was one of very few building lots that had originally been developed before 1901 (when the only other building that had been developed was the 1888 office on the corner). Richards, Ackroyd and Gall were an Insurance, Finance and Real Estate agency and there was a civil engineer called Charles Williams who might have managed the development. It’s not clear if the project was for the company, or whether they were representing a client when they submitted the plans.

Next door, there’s a modest 2-storey building. It was developed in 1910 by W F Huntting, who hired Thomas Hooper to design the $13,000 investment. William Foster Huntting was the wealthy president of the Huntting-Merritt Lumber Company, and he had a Shaughnessy mansion built in 1912. He was born in Iowa in 1879, and was successful in business at a young age, founding his lumber company in 1902, the year he arrived in BC. He died in 1930.

There’s another small building to the north, designed by W T Dalton for Edward Bros, who spent $7,000, hiring E Cook to build it in 1902. Beyond that, (just before the cinema), is a building on two lots. It has a shallow bay window on the second floor, and was apparently called The Bower Block in 1907, when it was developed by G Bower, who hired Hooper and Watkins to design the $15,000 investment. George Bower built other Granville projects including a much larger investment on the next block to the north two years later, using the same architects.

Image source: Leonard Frank, Jewish Museum LF.00308

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Granville Street – 500 block, east side (2)

 

We saw the building in the middle of this 1899 picture in its original incarnation as a building almost certainly designed by W T Dalton for Hope and Fader Co., Granville Street, ‘next to the Imperial Bank’, in 1898. The intricate design was replaced, or covered, with a windowless box to house British departmental store Marks and Spencer, and more recently has been given an even more featureless façade with the store offering (until its recent closure) Loblaw’s clothing brand ‘Joe Fresh’. That’s the Marks and Spencer incarnation below, seen in 1981.

The Imperial Bank was the building to the north – still standing today, and designed in 1898 for W H Leckie, the Vancouver arm of John Leckie’s dealership in salmon nets, rubber boots and oilskin clothing. We looked at the history of that building in an earlier post. It was designed by G W Grant in a rather more restrained style than his later designs. The Imperial bank was replaced by the Quebec Bank, and by the early 1910s the building was known as the Mackechnie Building. In 1913 the upper floors held a variety of office tenants, among them real estate offices, a judge, two doctors, a dentist, a barrister and a broker. Persistent rumours suggest an office tower will be proposed above the restored heritage building.

To the south (in the top picture) is a fifty feet wide building. Today it has a 1909 façade, designed by Parr and Fee for owner Harry Abbott. The building dates back to 1889, when it was designed for Abbott (the Canadian Pacific Railway official in charge of the west coast) by the Fripp Brothers. In it’s earlier incarnation it had a brick facade with smaller sliding sash windows.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N422 and CVA 779-E02.01

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Posted 21 September 2020 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

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Carl Rooms, 575 East Hastings Street

Unusually, this 1909 rooming house has retained its name over an entire century. Today it’s the Carl Hotel, and in 1911 it was The Carl Apartments. It got its name from sitting on the corner of Carl Avenue – renamed to Princess decades ago. It was developed by J McTaggart, and designed by Parr and Fee costing $28,150 to build in 1909.

The building was possibly an investment by a hardware merchant whose earlier investment we looked at in an earlier post. Hardware merchants in Vancouver obviously fared well; we have come across many of them running a development business as well as their retail or wholesale activities, and John McTaggart was no exception. He came from Ontario, married a younger American, and started a family as well as adding politics and real estate into his life. In 1909, the year this building was developed John was 46 and ran (unsuccessfully) as an independent candidate for Alderman.

It’s just possible he wasn’t the developer; there was also Joseph McTaggart, a grocer, also from Ontario, who would have been 61 when this building was constructed. He lived in the West End with has wife, Minerva, two adult children, (one a lawyer), and a niece, and owned a grocery store on Granville Street.

The area became poorer over the years, and the residents of these types of former hotel, with shared bathrooms and small rooms, were increasingly likely to be reliant on welfare payments, and were often drug dependent. The property sold for $1.4m in 2006, and the new owner claimed to be losing $3,000 a month as welfare rents failed to cover his costs. He sold it on for $2.05 million in March 2007, to a numbered company who promised that existing tenants would not be displaced. The company turned out to be owned by the BC Government, who acquired over 20 SRO hotels over a number of years, often using last-minute unspent housing funds available at the end of the financial year. The numbered company was intended to stop prices being bid up, as developers were starting to acquire SROs with a view to increase rents that welfare recipients could never afford, or to redevelop them. Today the Portland Hotel Society and Atira manage the rooms.

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Posted 20 July 2020 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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