Archive for the ‘Peter Agren’ Tag

Washington Court – 998 Thurlow Street

Washington Court 998 Thurlow

Here’s one of the West End’s apartment buildings that were built over 100 years ago. It’s Washington Court, built in 1910 for Peter Agren and designed by Arthur J Bird. Today it has 44 apartments on five floors. When it was built it cost $95,000 and had five floors, but subsequently, about seven months after the initial building permit another floor was added at an additional cost of $18,000.

Washington Court fire Nov 1966 VPLWe’ve seen the other building that Agren developed on Thurlow Street, where again A J Bird was the architect. We identified what we had found about Agren, a Swedish contractor and builder, in that post. Agren’s home on Comox Street (now part of Mole Hill) is still standing as well. Agren appeared in Vancouver in 1904, and two years earlier we can find him applying for two timber cutting licences in Revelstoke on his ranch there.

What seemed curious is that today that additional top floor has been removed, and the building is back to five storeys. It took place some years after 1928, when this picture was taken. Thanks to Dennis who told us when it happened – this VPL image from November 1966 shows the building on fire. The top floor was so badly damaged that it was removed, and only the original five floors were restored.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-264


Posted 27 October 2014 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

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859 Thurlow Street

859 Thurlow

Today this is called ‘Le Guernsey’ and it’s an apartment building on Thurlow Street on the corner with Haro. It was built in 1912, although there was a house built here in 1896 initially occupied by M T Quisley, the assistant chief operator for the C P Railway. It started life with 20 units, but over the years they’ve been reconfigured to 34. A J Bird was the architect for owner Peter Agren, although the Permit (for $125,000) suggested Agren himself designed it. An earlier 1909 permit that wasn’t pursued would have only cost $50,000. When it was built it was called Victoria Court, and later it became known as Bush Manor, although not until some time after this 1935 Vancouver Public Library photo.

Peter Agren was a contractor, so he almost certainly did build the apartments. He has a number of other permits for houses that he designed, including two still standing today in the Mole Hill development. He was a Swede, and in 1911 he was lodging with Charles and Hilda Anderson (also Swedish) with Manuel Agren, who was probably his younger brother, a carpenter (and probably really Emanuel). The two appear for the first time in street directories in 1904, although they disappear again until 1908 when they were at 1136 Comox. Charles Anderson was probably either a close friend or a relative, as he was the resident manager of this building later in 1911.

The  34 unit building was recently offered for sale for $8.5 million. Next door is the much smaller 1926 ‘Cameron’ apartment building designed by A E Henderson.