Archive for the ‘Parr and Fee’ Tag

Granville Street – 1200 block, west side

This 1981 view of the west side of Granville’s 1200 block shows Oak windshields and custom auto glass on the corner of Drake Street. Today it’s the wildlife thrift store, but it started life in 1917 as an auto garage, occupied initially by Dixon’s Motors, who sold Ford cars. The auto glass use was here in 1978, under a different business name, and we looked at that use more closely and at the building next door in an earlier post. It was built by Reinhart Hoffmeister in 1912, who probably also developed the next two buildings to the north (no longer standing today). He operated his electrical machinery and supplies company from 1271 Granville in the 1910s. In 1978 it was a piano store, and when the company moved here in the mid 1950s it was run by Elizabeth Williams, (listed for decades as ‘widow of W R Williams’).

The next 25 foot wide 2-storey building is a mystery in terms of it’s developer; in 1920 it was owned by W A Clark, who also owned and developed the next building north in 1911. We suspect he may also have built 1267 Granville as well. The three buildings were replaced in 2002 by Candela Place, a new non-market housing building designed by Burrowes Huggins Architects for the City of Vancouver, with 63 self-contained rooms managed by the Coast Foundation..

The more substantial 5-storey ‘brick apartment house’, designed by Parr and Fee and built by Peter Tardiff at a cost of $60,000 was developed by W A Clark. He was a real estate broker, who also built the Albany Rooms (the Regal Rooms today) on the 1000 block of Granville in 1910, with the same architect and builder. He was from Ontario, and was one of two William Clark’s involved in real estate in the city, which must have been confusing at times. In 1911 he lived with his wife, May, their five daughters, and a servant, Tanda Ishira, who was from Japan.

When it first opened this was the Newport Rooms, although more recently it became the Granville Hotel. Acquired by the City Of Vancouver in 2003 for $2.8m, it’s still run as an SRO Hotel, the Granville Residence. The city paid over $4m more to repair the building, including rebuilding the façade which was in a pretty poor state in the early 2000s. The room count reduced from 100 to 82, and each is now self-contained with bathrooms, small cooking areas and averaging 160 sq. ft. in area.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-W00.09

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Stanley and New Fountain Hotels – West Cordova Street

This pair of long-standing Downtown Eastside Hotels have been closed for a while, and the structure behind the facades is in process of being demolished. They’re soon getting a new ten storey building that will replace the 103 welfare rate rooms and shelter beds that were in the old hotels with 80 new self-contained units (that will still lease at welfare rates) and an additional 62 market rental units.

Looking more closely at this 1940 Vancouver Public Library image it’s possible to see that there seems to be a third building sandwiched between the Stanley, and the two storey New Fountain. That seems not really the case – or at least, the permits we can find suggest a slightly different history. The New Fountain, (the shorter building on the left of the picture), was (supposedly) built in 1899, and there were two hotels built to the east of that completed in 1907, with The Russ Hotel occupying the middle three lots and the Hotel Iroquois run by Samuel Albert on the two lots closest to us.

Both buildings were probably built as part of the investment portfolio of Evans, Coleman and Evans, merchants and shipping agents, considered for many years to be one of the leading commercial firms in the province. They hired Grant and Henderson to design the Russ and Iroquois building in 1906, and the hotels opened in 1907. In the Contract record they were described as ‘white pressed brick with cut stone trimmings’.

There were buildings here rebuilt immediately after the 1886 fire. These were initially wooden, almost all built within a few weeks of the fire and then gradually redeveloped with brick and stone fronted replacements over the next few years. We saw what the street looked like in 1888 in an earlier post. By 1889 in this location there were 2-storey buildings with a saloon, an undertakers that also operated a furniture manufacturing business, a grocers, clothing store and bookstore, all with offices and lodgings above. Only three years after the fire, several had already been rebuilt with brick facades. In 1891 the saloon was called the Grotto Beer Hall, run by Swan and Kapplet, numbered as 35 Cordova. A year later it was renumbered as 27, and Edward Schwan had taken over. He was still running the hotel in 1894, but it had been renamed the New Fountain Hotel. The Old Fountain Saloon was two doors down, and that situation continued for a few years. (Some directories listed him as Edward Schwahn, and others as Schwann). He also applied for the licence of the Cabinet Hotel in 1896. The 1901 census called him Schwan, and tells us he was from Germany, and aged 41. His wife Bertha was 33, and also German, and they had arrived in Canada in 1888, where five of their children had been born. Frank, who was the oldest, had been born in the US, so presumably the family had moved north.

There are several confusing aspects of the hotel’s history that we haven’t straightened out. The heritage statement says it was built in 1899, but the name goes back to 1894, and Edward Schwan ran it from 1890 (when he renamed it the Grotto) until at least 1902, and he was replaced by Charles Schwahn by 1905, although the street directory still linked him to the establishment. If the building was completed in 1899, it replaced an earlier building with an identical name, and the same proprietor, (which is perfectly possible).

A second confusion comes from the 1901 and 1903 insurance maps, which call it the Mountain Hotel. We’re pretty certain that’s just an error; there was a Mountain View Hotel – but that was on East Cordova. We think that the hotel operation was run by Mr. Schwan, but the building was owned by Evans, Coleman and Evans. They carried out work on the storefronts in 1902, and then commissioned $13,000 of major alterations in 1909, designed by Parr and Fee. In 1901 only half the building (at least on the main floor) was used as a hotel, while to the west were three store fronts for a drugstore, liquor store and a jewelers.

Evans, Coleman and Evans were three Englishmen, brothers Percy and Ernest Evans, and their cousin, George Coleman. They arrived in 1888, and built up a business empire that included a cement plant, wharves, timber and coal import and export yards and a building supply business. They were often the successful supplier of cast iron pipe to the City of Vancouver as the expanded the sewers and water mains. In 1910 they sold the business to a group of prominent business people including William Farrell and Frank Barnard, although they may have retained their interest in the hotels, which also included the Manitoba, also on Cordova.

There were two earlier hotels among the buildings that were demolished and replaced by the Russ and the Iroquois in 1906. The Elite Hotel was closest to us, and the Hotel Norden, run by Peter Larsen, was in the middle.

In 1911 the Stanley name replaced the Hotel Iroquois – (which was also the name of one of the steamships that often docked at Evans, Coleman and Evans docks). Next door was a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, and then the Russ Hotel, and Al’s Russ Café. Wo Hing’s tailor store and George Graff’s Fountain Cigar Store had storefronts before the Fountain Hotel entrance, and Harry’s Café. A year later the Russ Hotel had disappeared, and the Stanley Hotel’s rooms included both properties.

Property developer and agent William Holden may have had an interest in the Iroquois Hotel, as in 1911 there was a permit to him hiring architect H B Watson to carry out $4,000 of alterations to the hotel, presumably preparing for it to reopen as the Stanley. Watson had his offices in the Holden Building on East Hastings. Holden also paid for some more work on 35 W Cordova a year later. The Building Record newspaper described the work to remodel the Hotel Iroquois to be even more extensive, costing $8,000. Evans Coleman and Evans, who commissioned the building, had further work carried out on the premises by Thomas Hunter in 1917.

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Beatty Street – 500 block (2)

We looked at most of the older buildings in this image (but on the Beatty Street side) in one of our earliest posts. The front of the buildings are quite a bit shorter than they are on this side – the back of the warehouses are mostly three storeys taller. Today most of them are taller still, as residential conversion has also seen a couple of lightweight penthouse floors added on top.

 

This 1918 image by Frank Gowen shows that the rail tracks ran right up to the back of the buildings, and covered the area developed in the 1990s as International Village. Today’s SkyTrain tracks run at right angles to those original freight tracks: that’s the vault of Stadium station in the left foreground.

At the end of the block is the Sun Tower (as it’s still known today, althought the Vancouver Sun has moved offices at least three times in the decades since they occupied this building). It was built for the Daily World newspaper, with offices above a printing works, and was briefly claimed as the tallest building in the British Empire (although tallest in Canada is more likely). W T Whiteway designed it in 1910, and it opened in 1912, just as the city hit a serious recession, leaving most of the additional office space intended to make the project pay, empty.

Alongside are the Storey and Cambell warehouse, also by W T Whiteway and built in 1911, and next door Richard Bowman’s warehouse that today has a Townley and Matheson designed façade after a 1944 fire. We looked at the histories of both of the buildings a couple of years ago. Next door, the Crane building had Somervell & Putnam as architects and cost over $120,000 in 1911. In 2008, like the Bowman and Storey warehouses it was converted to residential use, with two tall penthouse floors added (as this 1972 image comparison shows).

The shortest building in the 1918 image is now taller, after a comprehensive reconstruction in 1983 designed by Bruno Freschi of the 1906 Mainland Warehouse to create residential lofts. Originally designed (we think) by Honeyman and Curtis, a rebuilt back façade saw the face of the building moved back to create balconies in a grid of brick piers. The top two floors of the original building were added in 1928, but extra height was added again in the conversion.

Today, 560 Beatty is the least changed, and shortest building. It dates back to 1909, when it was built by J M McLuckie for Fred Buscombe, at a cost of $35,000. In 1899 he bought out James A Skinner and Co, china and glass importers, originally founded in Hamilton, and changed the name to Buscombe & Co. He was at different times President of the city’s Board of Trade, and Mayor of Vancouver in 1905. He was also president of the Pacific Coast Lumber & Sawmills Company, and director of the Pacific Marine Insurance Company.

Next door, 564 Beatty now has an extra four office floors, but it started life much shorter (with just a single floor on Beatty Street) developed by Jonathan Rogers – with an unknown architect. In 1912 J P Matheson designed an additional two storeys for Robert A Welsh, and the office floors (designed by IBI) were added in 2014. In 1918 there was a warehouse next door, but today it’s a set of stairs running down to International Village and the T&T Supermarket, and the SkyTrain station. It was first occupied by Robertson Godson Co who had hired Parr and Fee to design the $35,000 building in 1909.

Image source CVA 1135-4

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Nelson Street – 600 block, south side

This 1981 image shows that not everything has changed Downtown – yet. If heritage status could be conferred on surface parking lots, this one might qualify, as it has been a vacant site for at least 40 years, with no sign yet of a development proposal.

We’ve seen the buildings that were on the site before it was cleared in an earlier post. There were houses here until at least the mid 1950s. Across the lane (fronting Granville Street) is a 1912 hotel, built as the Hotel Barron for  an absentee American owner, O G Barron. Parr and Fee designed the hotel, as well as the Glenaird Rooms to the south. For many years the hotel was known as the Belmont, then the Nelson Place Hotel, and more recently has been a Comfort Inn. The bars and cellar bar have been reinvented many times, including in their last iteration as Doolin’s Irish Pub and the Belmont Bar.

Currently the hotel is getting a comprehensive make-over under new owners, reopening as a boutique hotel that will once again bear the Hotel Belmont name, with the Living Room restaurant and Basement Bar.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E03.08A

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Posted April 11, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Granville Street south from West Pender

We’ve seen some of the buildings here, on the eastern side of the 500 block of Granville Street in a post from a few years ago, but looking northwards and in the 1930s. This ‘before’ picture is undated, but we’re pretty certain it was shot in the late 1960s or early 1970s before any street trees had been planted. That’s one of the 1954 Brill buses in BC Hydro livery – so between 1962 and 1973. When the new vertical white lights were added to Granville Street a few years ago, and the surface redesigned and replaced, this short section of street was the only one where the existing street trees were considered worthy of retention, and so a taller, more mature canopy exists here.

On the left is Somervell and Putnam’s 1916 design for the Merchant’s Bank, expanded in 1924 by the Bank of Montreal to Kenneth Guscotte Rea’s designs. More recently, in 2005, Paul Merrick designed its conversion to the Segal School of Business for Simon Fraser University.

Next door, across the lane, is an 1898 building, still standing today. Designed by GW Grant, it was built for W H Leckie and Co and occupied in part by the Imperial Bank, (although that use ended decades ago). William Henry Leckie was born in Toronto in 1874, and moved west in 1896. Although he managed the family business with his brother, Robert, only he was noted in the city’s early biography, although by the early 1900s, R J Leckie and Company also had a successful boot and shoe manufacturing business in Vancouver. Robert had arrived in 1894 to run the Vancouver branch of the business established by their father, John Leckie, who had immigrated to Canada from Scotland. He established a dry goods store in Toronto in 1857 which evolved into fishermen’s supply store, selling oilskin clothing, imported netting, sails, tents, and marine hardware. The firm began to manufacture its own goods, and the brothers continued that expansion by not only establishing this retail and warehouse building, but also owning a tannery on the Fraser River. Later they built a much bigger factory and warehouse on Water Street.

William Leckie didn’t constrain his activities to footware; by 1913 he was a Director of the Burrard Land and Improvement Co, the Capital Hill Land Co and of the Children’s Hospital.

Next door was a two storey building, completely obscured in the 1970s, and today refaced with a contemporary frontage. Originally it was developed by Hope, Fader and Co in 1898, and designed by W T Dalton.

To the south is a third 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.

While the collection of buildings has retained the same scale for over a century, rumours suggest a development may see a new office tower that would retain two original heritage buildings facades.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-455

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Alexander Street – unit block, north side

We have seen a number of the buildings on this block in earlier posts, but not all of them. The one on the left of our 1996 image is the oldest on the block. The owners, Lowtide Properties, would have you believe it dates back to 1896. In fact it dates to 1900, when owner Thomas Dunn moved his ship’s chandlery business here to a rectangular brick building he commissioned, designed by N S Hoffar. It was three storeys over a basement, with the top floor having huge arched windows. Dunn operated the building for only a very short time, until 1902. In 1903 hardware dealers Wood, Vallance & Leggett were based here, having bought out Thomas Dunn’s chandlery, with Dunn continuing in the hardware business in premises a short distance away on Water Street. They also took over his Cordova Street premises (in the building he developed with Jonathan Miller).

This building was sold to Boyd, Burns and Company Ltd., dealers in engineering and mill supplies, who moved here in 1904. They added a new warehouse in 1907, hiring Parr and Fee a year before to design a new 26 feet wide building to the east costing $60,000, angled differently to line up with the rest of Alexander Street. They then sold their company to Crane Co, a Chicago based business in 1908. Crane retained the plumbing interests, initially based here, but sold the ship’s chandlery part of the business to a newly formed company, Simson-Balkwill Co. Ltd. Ship Chandlery and Engineering Supplies. Boyd ran that company from the new eastern half of the building, and built a bigger Powell Street warehouse in 1911. They were replaced by H W Petrie’s machinery company.

By 1914 the building was vacant, and the older half was still empty in 1916, although the newer half saw Vancouver Scale & Butchers Supply Co move in, and the situation prevailed to the end of the Great War. By 1920 both buildings were occupied, although the tenants were not as prestigious as in the early years. The Canadian Pacific Junk Co were in 5 Alexander, and Fujita & Co in 7 Alexander. They were importers and exporters, with Y Uchida managing. They occupied the building for several years, while there was consistent turnover of tenants in the older building, including the British Wire Rope Co, anf Gibsons Ltd who were “Manufacturers and Wholesale Distributors of Modern Logging  Equipment, Wire Ropes, Welded Chains, Donkey Engines, Logging Blocks, Oil Burning Equipment, Mill Supplies, iron, steel and “Gorilla” Axes. They had moved out, leaving the building empty again in 1926, and Alexander Murray & Co moved in to the younger building, dealing in roofing and flooring materials. They were still there in 1930, and a number of other businesses had moved into the older building including Canadian Western Cordage. A decade later all the businesses in 1 Alexander had changed, but Alexander Murray still operated from 7 Alexander, and by 1950 they had expanded to use space in the older building, joined by Aero Surplus who sold radio supplies and a firm of mechanical engineers.

Next door, in our 1996 image, the Alexander apartments are under construction, with the adjacent Alexis apartments completed a year earlier. The Alexander incorporates the two storey façade of the building built for the B.C. Market Company, approved in 1906 to cost $25,000. Thanks to Patrick Gunn we now know this was designed by Alexander Maxwell Muir, a Victoria architect. As far as we know this is the only significant building he designed in Vancouver.

In October The Daily World announced a slight delay in construction under the heading ‘Dr. Underhill’s Very Latest Problem’ “I do not see what we can do with these Indians,” said. Medical Health Officer Underhill, this morning. “I have been down to see the encampment on the site of the proposed building of the B. C. Market company, next to the Boyd-Burns building. These Indians have just come from hop picking and on their way home to the vicinity of Port Rupert and Port Harvey. They have money to spend for supplies for the winter and it is only fair that local merchants should get the benefit. Still at the same time their encampment, where they are, is very bad, from many standpoints. It is a physical and moral menace. But where can I send them? The Indians have been in the habit of camping along the foreshore after the canning and hop picking seasons for many years I have been urging the finding of a suitable place for them to camp for some time and the police have also had something to say about the matter. The police have urged, and wisely, too, that the encampment should not be put anywhere where it could not he easily supervised.” This 1898 picture shows that First Nations had been camping on the beach beyond the tracks at Alexander Street for many years.

In 1908 the builders, Smith & Sherborne, had to go to court to get final payment for the building’s construction. The building was last occupied by the Vancouver Supply Company, before both buildings were offered for sale in the mid 1980s. The Alexis has an earlier 4-storey façade of a 1907 building first occupied by first by Knowler and McCauley, candy distributors. That was designed for Alderman Jonathan Rogers – a prolific developer – and cost $12,000, although we don’t know who he hired to design it. In the 1930s all three buildings were used by the Supply Company, a wholesale grocery business. Two buildings we’ve already looked at can also be seen; the Captain French apartments can be seen just tucked in behind the flatiron of the Hotel Europe.

Historic image source; City of Vancouver Archives CVA IN N12

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Posted January 21, 2019 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Still Standing

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Crown Building – West Pender Street

We have looked at the north-west corner of Seymour and Pender twice, seven years ago, and again in 2013. The building on the corner was the Delmonico Hotel, built in 1889 as the Windsor Hotel. It opened in September, described in the news as ‘a new and costly undertaking’. “On Monday next the Windsor Hotel will open for business under the management of Messrs. Brocklesby and Allen, both late of Hotel Vancouver. These gentlemen are thoroughly familiar with the business, and propose to run a first – class house. The table will be second to none in the city and the rooms, well furnished and comfortable, will he kept in the best style. The bar will be well stocked with wines, liquors and cigars, the finest that can be supplied, and no pains will be spared to make the Windsor the favorite resort of the permanent and transient public. Its close proximity to the railway station and the steamers is a great point in its favor, and one tired travellers will highly appreciate.” The partnership lasted all of two months; by November Mr. Brocklesby was in sole charge.

The building had been announced in 1888, and the Daily World identified the developer, the enterprising Dr. Whetham. He commissioned N S Hoffar to design another investment property in 1888, but we haven’t found an architect listed for the Windsor. He was a qualified doctor, but had abandoned medicine for real estate development before he arrived in Vancouver in 1887.

Next door to the west was the Crown building. It was six storeys of white glazed brick, with centre-pivoted windows, which was the signature design of Parr and Fee, who designed a series of almost identical buildings on Granville Street; most are still standing today. The Crown was built in 1907, and the Daily World reported the architects, and the cost of the building ($75,000), as well as the developers, Martin & Robertson. They were importers and suppliers of dried foodstuffs, and we looked at their history in connection with their Water Street warehouse, built a few years earlier than the Crown.

Robert Martin was born in 1851 in Ontario and in 1901 lived in Vancouver with his wife Lydia, who was English, with their four children, and their ‘lady’s help’, Caroline Watson, and Jin, the domestic. Arthur Robertson was a Scotsman who was seven years younger than his business partner, and looking after the company’s other warehouse, in Victoria. They had been in business from the city’s earliest days: in 1894 they were advertising in the Daily World as agents for JOHNSTON’S FLUID BEEF – which was claimed ‘Eclipses All Meat Extracts and Home-made Beef Tea’.

Their investment building was occupied in multiple small suites, with a wide range of professional services. Architect J H Bowman had his practice here in 1911. A year later the Canada Lumberman and Woodworker magazine was published from here, and contractor Walter Hepburn had his offices here in the same year. Robert Martin had a number of other commercial investments in the city, including one a block east of here.

When Ernie Reksten took this picture in 1968 the buildings were about to be demolished, to be replaced with a parkade (with retail units on the main floor). It was completed in 1969, and looks like it should pass it’s 50th birthday, although Downtown parkades are becoming valuable redevelopment opportunities, and it seems unlikely that it will last for many more years.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2010-006.010.

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Posted December 13, 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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