Archive for the ‘Thomas Hooper’ Tag

Beatty Street – 700 block

Two of the warehouse buildings seen in this 1981 image are still standing, and one has disappeared. At the far end is a 1914 building, designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for F T Cope. George Snider & Brethour built it at a cost of $75,000. In the middle is a building costing $140,000 for the National Drug Co, and also built by George Snider & Brethour a year earlier, designed by H S Griffith. Thomas Hooper was hired to make $1,500 of alterations in 1914. With replacement windows it looks much more recent, and since our 1981 image was taken it’s had a blue tile makeover.

The third warehouse was the most expensive. In 1912 a permit was issued for a building to cost $150,000. Designed by Parr, McKenzie & Day for John W Gibb it was to be occupied by The Canadian Fairbanks Company.

Cope & Sons were electrical suppliers. Frederick T Cope was company president, an Englishman (from Oxford) who emigrated to Manitoba at 19, and arrived in Vancouver in 1895 when he was 35, and established the business two years later. In 1914, when they built the new warehouse, Frank R Cope was company treasurer and Bert F Cope company secretary. In 1911 both were still at home with Fred and Marjory, their mother, who was born in Ontario, but had their own homes three years later.

The National Drug and Chemical Company of Canada started in business in 1905, initially in Montreal, then rapidly across the country through expansion and buying out other businesses. David Bole was already a successful drugstore operator from Manitoba, and established the national wholesaling and manufacturing business with six million dollars of capital. State-of-the-art factories were established for both pharmaceuticals (in Montreal) and by 1908 125 items, including cough syrup, skin cream, shampoo, and toothpaste were manufactured in Toronto. The Vancouver distribution centre was opened soon after Calgary and Regina. In 1920 National Drug reorganized its administrative structure, as business had increased by 250 per cent in the previous 10 years. The business still operated here in the 1950s, and is still in business today as Canada’s leading drug wholesaler (now part of US business McKesson).

The Canadian Fairbanks Company was created in 1905 by Henry Fuller, who bought out the Canadian interests of the US parent company, at the time the largest machinery and mill supply company in Canada. They immediately occupied a new warehouse on Water Street developed by McLennan & McFeely. They had a warehouse and machine shop in the building. Within ten years they were looking for larger premises, and moved into the Beatty Street warehouse.

The developer, John Gibb, was a broker with an office in the Rogers Building and a home in the West End. His father, David Gibb, was a retired contractor with an excellent reputation. A 1915 court case shows his son’s business scruples weren’t quite as pure. It referred back to the 1912 deal with Canadian Fairbanks to occupy the building, with lease payments of $242,000 over 10 years, (starting at $22,000 for each of the first 3 years).  The building had to be ready for 1 August 1913, and if delayed no rent was due. Walter Meuller was hired to build the warehouse for $106,000. It became clear in May 1913 that Mr. Gibb was suffering “financial embarrassment” (to quote the judge), and it also transpired that he did not own the land outright, as he had claimed, but rather held an equity stake. That meant banks wouldn’t advance him a loan to complete the building. Mr. Gibb actually needed over $200,000 to complete the building and obtain tiitle – he had a deal with Harvey Haddon to advance $106,000 on completion, but that wasn’t going to solve his problem. He was willing to sit back and seemed to think that, as the agreed rent was a bargain, he might get out of his predicament. Fairbanks weren’t willing to wait, and paid the contractors to finish the job, in October.

This was highly unusual, and as the judge noted “Failure of Gibb to satisfactorily carry on construction or to complete within the time specified did not entitle the plaintiff to enter on the premises and proceed with the work.” Trustees were appointed immediately after the 1 August date was passed, and the interest in the property was transferred to David Gibb, John’s father. A Fairbanks manager was initially a trustee, but his head office forced him to withdraw, and launched the case to try to obtain a significant sum that they had paid to complete the building. The judge didn’t agree, but imposed the $20 per day pre-agreed fine for missing the August 1st deadline, and another $800 because the building didn’t use equipment sold by Fairbanks in its construction, as the lease agreement stipulated. Fairbanks also received their costs.

Despite this rocky start, Canadian Fairbanks were still occupying the building in the 1950s. It was cleared to become the plaza in front of the BC Place stadium, constructed in the early 1980s, allowing new windows in the side of the National Drug Co building. The Terry Fox memorial, designed by Douglas Coupland, is located here. The other warehouses have been converted to office use; one is home to a private school.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E18.04

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800 block Beatty Street – north side

We’re looking up Beatty Street from Smithe Street. These warehouse buildings date back over a century, and this 1926 image shows them already looking well used. On the corner is the $25,000 1910 warehouse designed by Thomas Hooper for J McMillan – although the insurance map and the street directory identify the company as W J McMillan and Co Ltd. Next door, in the same year, Thomas Hooper also designed the warehouse for E G Prior and Co, costing $21,000. The third warehouse in the row was another Hooper design, also in 1910 costing $22,000 for J B Campbell. That was shown (inaccurately) as being used by the McCampbell Storage Co on the insurance map. Baynes and Horie had the contracts to build all three buildings.

The McMillan warehouse was associated with the Saskatchewan Flour Mills Co. but was developed by a firm of wholesale grocers. W J McMillan was born in Restigouche, in New Brunswick, in 1858 and came west, initially to Sacramento, then Oregon before Victoria in 1883. He arrived in Vancouver in 1888 as a produce merchant, although he had already acquired land in the city. As he moved from selling produce to wholesaling his brother, Robert McMillan became a partner, and the business incorporated in 1907 adding E J Deacon as Vice-President. The business prospered, and they shipped as far as Yukon and Alaska. Before they moved to this new building they occupied one on Alexander Street.

We have also seen the earlier building occupied by E G Prior’s hardware company. Prior was a Yorkshireman who originally trained as a mining engineer, and worked in the Nanaimo coal mines from 1873. He was appointed Inspector of Mines in 1877, living in Victoria, representing that city in parliament from 1886 (and establishing his company a few years earlier on Yates Street). Prior was elected an MP in 1886 but lost his seat in 1901 because of violations of the Electoral Act. In 1902 he became Premier of BC, only to be dismissed in 1903 following a charge of conflict of interest by ensuring his hardware company received Government business. He remained an MLA until his defeat in 1904, the same year he failed to be elected to a federal seat. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of BC in 1919, only to die in office in 1920.

John Bell Campbell was born in Woodville, Ontario, and his father moved from there to Vancouver in 1891, having sold his carriage building business and retiring, eventually joined by all five sons. J B was the eldest, initially training as a blacksmith and then working for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He later moved to Atchison and worked for the Missouri Pacific Railway. In 1898 he moved to Vancouver, with the initial intention of heading to the Klondike. Instead he opened a storage business, growing to the point of building his own warehouse. In 1910 he organized The Campbell Storage Company, Limited, which was incorporated with him as the president; his brother, Gregor L Campbell, as the vice president and his son, Charles E Campbell, as the secretary and manager; while his son, John G, and brother Charles were directors. In 1921 they sold out to Mainland Terminals, part of C P Railways operations. The Campbell family were very active in the city’s life. J B Campbell was elected alderman for four years between 1907 and 1911. He stood for a provincial seat in 1909, but wasn’t elected. In 1910 he was made shipping master for the port of Vancouver. His extraordinarily comprehensive 1913 biography revealed that “Mr. Campbell is five feet eleven inches in height and weighs one hundred and eighty-five pounds.”

His son, Charles went on to own the Vancouver Daily World for three years having worked for the family business from 1910 until it was sold. Previously he had been part-owner of the Sun, and after selling the World in 1924 he founded another paper, the Star, only to sell that after 6 weeks to Victor Odlum. He moved to Alberta, bought the Edmonton Bulletin in 1925 and stayed for many years.

The McMillan warehouse today is home to a college offering courses in gaming, graphics, fashion and interior design. The Prior building was added to and converted to 21 artist live/work strata apartments in 1999, while the Campbell building was one of the earliest residential conversions of an industrial building, with 37 rental apartments built in 1989.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N258

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Homer Street Methodist Church

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Here’s the second Methodist Church built in the city, constructed only three years after the first one was built on Water Street. The dramatic growth in population after the railway arrived saw that building to be entirely inadequate, and this imposing new structure was put up in a recently cleared area not too far from the CPR’s new Granville St hub, but not so far from the population concentrated in the original Old Granville Townsite to the east and north of here. This picture showing the new church at the corner of Homer and Dunsmuir dates from 1890, a year after it was completed. Thomas Hooper was the architect, and this was probably his first major work in the city, although he had arrived in 1886 and been busy as a supervising architect for the Province of BC.

methodist-church-545-homer-st-demo-1910What’s remarkable is how short a period elapsed before the building was abandoned as the congregation moved further west to Georgia and Burrard to a new church designed by William Blackmore in 1901.

In 1910, this 1889 church was demolished. The congregation had sold the site to the city’s Trades and Labour Council in 1899, who later built the ‘Labour Temple’ on the site, also designed by the now very successful Thomas Hooper. The church negotiated a ‘sale and leaseback’ agreement while they built their new building, and the Labour organization paid $7,000 for the church property here.

Initially they had considered re-using the church, but eventually concluded that it wasn’t possible to repurpose it for their needs, and instead redeveloped with the building still there today. It took five years to pay off the mortgage to buy the site; then fundraising started for the replacement. The building on the site today has recently been given a thorough makeover, including some complicated seismic bracing, and is occupied in part by a law office.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives Ch N6, CVA 466-24 and CVA 677-724

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Posted February 23, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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High School – Dunsmuir Street (1)

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1892-high-schoolHere’s the Vancouver High School on Dunsmuir Street, with the ‘Public School’ (as it’s referred to on the 1901 Insurance Map) in the background, on the same block, further north on West Pender Street. That was also called the Central School, and was designed by Thomas Hooper in 1889 (with Balston Kenway, the supervising architect for the Provincial government). This image dates from 1893, which explains why the new board sidewalks are level, but the streets aren’t – the High School was very newly built.

Charles Russell Oldershaw was apparently the architect – although quite how is a bit of a mystery. This cutting from 1892 clearly identifies the name of the architect as Oldershaw, but there’s no one with his name in any of the local street directories (or in Victoria). The only Oldershaw who is an architect is in Chatham, Ontario, and although he moved to Vancouver, that apparently wasn’t until 1898. He didn’t even advertise as an architect in Ontario before 1895, so how he might design an important building like this is unclear. (There is another newspaper reference to him being in the city in 1894, but no other apparent architectural work. There was a 52 year old bricklayer called Alfred Oldershaw in Victoria, but he seems an unlikely designer as well – and his was the only Oldershaw family in the province in 1891. He was originally from Nottinghamshire in England, but had met his wife in Chatham, Ontario so was probably a relative of the architect).

The term ‘High School’ is a bit misleading – it doesn’t really refer to a secondary school, but rather a post-secondary institution. Of the forty-two students enrolled during the 1890–91 school year, eight were successful in gaining teaching certificates.  ‘The First Fifty Years: Vancouver High Schools’ explains that “In 1894, the passing of an Act which permitted the affiliation of high schools in the province with recognized Canadian Universities, made possible the beginning of the work normally done in a university. In the academic year 1898-99, Vancouver High School made its first systematic attempt to matriculate students; eight candidates were successful.

The next school year the high school was actively affiliated with McGill University in First Year Arts, taking the name of “Vancouver College”. The school was also officially known as “Vancouver High School and College”. In 1899 – 1900, a class of six students took the full First Year University Course in Arts and four passed the McGill University examinations.”

Today it’s still a Vancouver College – Vancouver Community College is located here.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives SGN 49

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Posted February 9, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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Hazelwood Hotel – East Hastings Street

Hazelwood Hotel 2

The Hazelwood has just emerged from a cocoon of scaffold looking better than it has for many decades. Comprehensively restored and repaired, it’s one of the BC Housing acquisitions that’s been given an internal makeover and an external facelift. Years of paint have been removed, aluminum windows replaced by new wooden sashes, and the cornices restored. There’s even a new sign that looks just like the one in the 1940s. (There was a different sign in the 1926 Vancouver Public Library image (above), but you can see the one now replicated in the 1947 Archives image below.

The Hazelwood started life in 1911 when Thomas Hooper obtained a building permit. J J Frantz was hired as contractor for the $75,000 building, which had 120 rooms, main floor retail and a basement that was intended to be fitted out as a barbers (although it never was). The façade of the building sits on a pair of huge steel ‘I’ beams, embedded in concrete doric-style columns. They haven’t been visible for many years, hidden behind a tiled false front. The conservation plan for the building, written by architect Barry McGinn, draws attention to the innovative construction. “A combination of concrete-encased steel wide-flange steel columns supporting I-beams and heavy timber posts supporting timber beams frame the 2″X6″ laminated timber floor. The second floor above the original retail tenancy was framed in concrete encased steel columns supporting twinned concrete encased I-beams. To reduce the presence of columns across the retail floor, every other second floor beam is framed into a longitudinal beam running the length of the building between steel column supports on alternate bays. This steel framing design, intended to open up unencumbered retail floor space, demonstrated a level of structural design sophistication quite unique for this building type at this time. Solid lumber load bearing walls align with the second floor beams and extend up through the four upper floors, supporting the solid 2″X4″ laminated lumber floor structure and also serving as room demising walls. Beams span the corridors and the light court walls are constructed of solid laminated 2″X4″ lumber with wood headers over openings.”

Hazelwood Hotel 1

Perhaps this unexpected engineering and design attention was due to Thomas Hooper’s clients: Thomas Hooper and S B Snider. This was apparently Mr. Snider’s biggest investment, and as far as we can tell Thomas Hooper’s sole property investment, so getting it right was obviously important. Sanford Snider was shown aged 67 when he developed the hotel, (he was actually only 56, but the 1911 census doesn’t appear to have had the most diligent census clerks) and although the census gave a one word description of his occupation – ‘mines’, the street directory described him as the inspector of the National Finance Co Ltd. Sanford was from a family of German origin; his wife Sara was from an English family, but they had both been born in Ontario as had the two children still living at home in 1911, Lorna aged 26 (a schoolteacher) and 17-year-old Ronald.

They had been in the city a decade earlier when Sanford was a ‘traveller’ and there were more children at home, (three daughters, Bertha, Emma and Elva, as well as Ronald) and his wife had been called (accurately) Sarah. There was one other son, also called Sanford, who had died as a child. Sanford had married Sarah Hutchcroft in 1880 in Newmarket, Ontario.

Thomas Hooper was two years younger than Sanford Snider, and arrived from England in 1871 when his father brought the family to London, Ontario, where Thomas became a joiner and carpenter. They moved west to Emerson, Manitoba in 1878, where Thomas married in 1880, then moving on to Winnipeg where he worked with his older brother, who was an architect. Thomas moved further west in 1886, walking the last 500 miles of the journey (as the train wasn’t yet reaching Vancouver), and arriving a few weeks after the fire destroyed the city. Ne quickly established himself as an architect, achieving significant commissions like the Homer Street Methodist Church as early as 1888. His workload expanded, and at one point he had the largest practice in western Canada, with three offices in different cities. The dramatic downturn in the economy in 1913 saw work dry up. By 1915 Hooper had given up and moved to New York, where work started to come his way only to stop with the US entry into the Great war in 1917. He eventually returned to Vancouver, virtually broke, in 1927. He died on New Year’s Day, 1935 aged 77, and was buried in the family plot of the McCauls in Mountain View Cemetery. Sanford Byron Snider died in Penticton in 1948 aged 92.

Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-2679

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Posted September 8, 2016 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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Homer Street – 500 block east side

500 Homer east

We’ve looked at the two buildings in the foreground of this 1981 image before. Just showing on the left is the Labour Temple, now known by its address, 411 Dunsmuir Street. It was designed by Thomas Hooper as a gathering place for organized labour, with meeting rooms, a print shop and billiards tables in the basement. There’s a more extensive history of the building on the Past Tense blog.

On the right is the Alcazar Hotel, which cost $140,000 to develop and was designed in 1912 by Dalton and Eveleigh for Dr D H Wilson. William Stanford Wainwright managed it from 1913 until his death in 1943. After his death it was managed by his widow, Iris. In 1947 she bought the hotel with her sons, W F and P R Wainwright. The Alcazar had a bar that was frequented by Post Office workers due to its proximity to the main Post Office, but the other clientele  were art teachers, artists and art students, as the Art School was nearby too. One of them recalls that “the bar was a fascinatingly brightly lit room with a rather modernist abstract fountain in the middle. But it was always a pleasure to have a meal in the room that Jack Shadbolt painted. Very abstract/surrealist mural. Where the light standards were over the tables, Jack had painted around these what looked like eye lashes.”

Beyond it is a structure we had forgotten existed. It’s one of Vancouver’s ever-decreasing number of parking structures. We’ve seen many sites where there was surface parking for many years, and many more where there were decked structures like this. The handful that remain are disappearing fast. The most recent to be approved for redevelopment is on Seymour Street, associated with the Scotia Tower of the Vancouver Centre. Like this parking garage, it’s going to be replaced with an office tower, and like this one (the headquarters of BC Hydro, completed in 1992) it has Musson Cattell Mackey as the architects.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E11.35

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Posted May 30, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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West Georgia Street east from Hornby

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Here’s a 1927 view of the Pacific Centre across the Courthouse plaza (soon to get a comprehensive makeover as a paved area lined with trees). We’ve seen this area before, but looking the other way. We’ve been waiting to attempt this shot as the Pacific Centre rework of the former Eatons / Sears store has only just been completed. The Courthouse on the right really hasn’t changed, although the existing trees hide it a bit. The huge flagpole has gone, as has the second Hotel Vancouver that we wrote about a few years ago.

The courthouse was originally designed by Francis Rattenbury in a grand neoclassical structure in 1906. Six years later it was expanded in a less flamboyant (and cheaper) style by Thomas Hooper. Once Arthur Erickson’s new courthouse was completed in 1982, the Vancouver Art Gallery moved here after extensive alterations, also designed by Erickson’s office.

The second hotel was one of the city’s finest buildings, and its loss was very regrettable, but understandable as its replacement was so large that the two could never have successfully have survived together at the time, even if there hadn’t been a deal that ensured it closed. It was demolished in 1947 and only replaced in the early 1970s with Cesar Pelli’s TD Tower, and his white concrete Eatons store, recently reclad and repurposed as offices and Nordstrom store to a design of James K M Cheng.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives  Bu N141.1

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