Archive for the ‘Samuel Maclure’ Tag

McDowell, Atkins & Watson – Cordova and Cambie se

Atkins, McDowell & Watson

Henry McDowell initially started his working life as a school teacher and then learned the trade of a chemist in Milton, Ontario. He arrived in Vancouver aged 26 almost immediately after the fire had destroyed the new city in June 1886. He set up his store on Cordova Street and in 1891 moved to Granville by buying A W Draper’s business and partnering with Harry Watson, another Milton born Ontario pharmacist who had arrived in 1889. A Daily World souvenir publication from 1891 said “They have a large sale of patent medicines and are proprietors and manufactures of McDowell’s Syrup of Linseed and Hoarhound, McDowell’s Beef Iron and Wine, McDowell’s Embrocation and McDowell’s Extract of Sarsasparilla and Iodides.”

Henry McDowell was connected with the Vancouver Street Railway and Electric Light Co., the Union Steamship Co., the Vancouver City Foundry Co, and was a prominent member of the Board of Trade. In 1895 Atkins and Atkins, another Vancouver druggist merged with McDowell and Watson. The combined company, McDowell, Atkins & Watson, druggists, built this store and office building in 1899. They eventually had 11 stores including one at Hastings and Homer in Harvey’s Chambers.

Atkins and Atkins were Thomas and John Atkins who were from Truro, Nova Scotia. Thomas was a druggist in Londonderry, Nova Scotia, before setting up in Vancouver in 1889, initially in real estate and then six months later as a pharmacist. His brother joined him in time to be listed in the 1891 census. In 1907 the partners sold out to the National Drug Company, and Thomas Atkins retired although Mr McDowell retained an active interest in the business. He retired in 1909, living at 1900 Barclay Street with his wife and three children. Harry Watson also continued with the firm – in 1910 he was President while also representing Vancouver as the MLA for Vancouver Centre. In 1913 he lived at 1230 Barclay Street with his wife and daughter.

For a while, while the National Drug Co were owners in the early 1900s, the building took its Cordova address.  From 1904 to 1909 this became Stark’s Glasgow House, selling Dry Goods. In 1910 the property became the Hotel Carlton (with the Carlton Cafe downstairs), and in 1914 it had become the Carlton Hotel, a name it retained for many decades. Max Crowe was the proprietor in 1912. Today the building is the Cambie Hostel, but our 1900 image is from a publication called Vancouver Architecturally produced by five of the city’s architects including Parr and Fee, who claimed credit for the design of the building, although some sources suggest Samuel McClure designed it with J E Parr. The building is one of Parr’s first in the city (whether with or without Fee) and features a series of cast iron windows between brick piers. Unlike their later trademark centrally pivoted windows, this building had more traditional sash units.


News Herald – 426 Homer Street

This small building, tucked away down Homer Street behind the Hartney Chambers on Pender Street, has been around longer than most buildings in the city. In 1935 when this photograph was taken it was already over forty years old. Initially it was designed by R P Sharp and Samuel Maclure for the Daily World in 1892, the newspaper having been founded in 1888. Under the new management of L D Taylor that newspaper moved on to much grander premises with the construction of their new tower – these days called the Sun Tower. A very short-lived newspaper moved in around 1916, the Standard (it changed its name from the Chinook in April 1916 and closed in August 1917).  Printing companies continued in the building, the Wrigley Press in 1925 and the Technical Press in 1930.

The Daily World, as might be expected, blew their trumpet on their new home in 1892 “Messrs. Sharp and Maclure, New Westminster, were instructed to prepare plans and specifications for a building which should be perfect in all its proportions, a credit to the city and a home worthy of The World. The building now completed is the best evidence which can be adduced of the artistic skill and ability of these gentlemen as architects …. The dimensions of the building are 52 x 40, and it is of brick and stone and is two stories in height. The foundations are … laid with portland cement to the ground level; above that being random course ashlar, neatly pointed in red. Then comes the brick work, laid up in red mortar. The stone string course are rock faced; the door and window sills of Pender Island cut stone. The cornice work is of brick basket pattern. On the coping is to be erected an iron cresting with the words “The World” in five foot gilded letters. Over the door way on the coping will be a statue of Atlas supporting the world; while in the centre is already a flagstaff 30 feet high.”  (Thanks to Heritage Vancouver for identifying this quote). The City of Vancouver Archives 1893 image shows the staff in front of the new printing works. (It’s one of the new high resolution images available on the archives website – double click to see the full detail).

Later the News Herald moved into the building, having scraped together enough money to start up in 1932. The staff were mostly from another newpaper called the Morning Star (which had started up in 1924), and they operated on a hand-to-mouth existance using old equipment and sometimes resorting to hand cranking the press. Many staff became famous – Pierre Burton was the 21 year old city editor for a while and Jack Lindsay was a news photographer from 1941 to 1947 and sales increased. In 1954 they moved to larger premises, sold to Roy Thomson and less than three years later publication ceased.

These days you’ll find the Platinum club who offer massage “for erotic moods and sensual escapes, beautiful and attentive hostesses are always available for companionship“. The website notes “Please be advised we do not offer sexual services or acts of prostitution within our facility” in case you thought otherwise.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives (News Herald, 1935) CVA 99-4742, World Print Works 1893 CVA 677-4