Archive for the ‘Thomas Hooper’ Tag

Hamilton Hall – Dunsmuir and Hamilton

Hamilton Hall

We saw this building as the city’s second First Baptist Church in the previous post. Here it is in 1940, in a different role. The Baptists moved on to new premises in 1911, but the church building wasn’t demolished. It became Hamilton Hall, without the church spire, and was finally demolished in 1941.

During the economic depression in the 1930s it was used as a relief office to provide limited support to the city’s unemployed. In 1936 it was reported by the RCMP that “Approximately 300 single unemployed men invaded the relief offices at Hamilton Hall, Vancouver, B.C., at 10:00 a.m. on 13th October demanding relief. They forced through the doors striking a policeman on guard there, proceeded to break up furniture and barricaded themselves for 35 minutes until police reserves, using tear-gas bombs, forced them from the building. Sixty-three arrests were made after the clash with the police, bringing the total number of arrests made recently up to 110. Forty-seven other men were previously arrested on charges of obstructing the police. A number of those arrested as a result of the clash at Hamilton Relief Office have been charged with rioting.” (sourced from PastTense).

As we noted before the Vancouver Playhouse now occupies the site, a competition-winning design by Affleck, Desbarates, Dimakopoulos, Leibenshold, Michaud and Sise and completed in 1959.


Posted 1 August 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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136 Water Street

Smiths 136 Water

Here’s a rare warehouse building on Water Street that isn’t there any more. Built in 1912 for McLean Bros, and designed by Thomas Hooper, it fell victim to Woodwards expanding empire – in this case to add a parking garage. It cost $60,000 and in 1920, when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken, a company called Smiths occupied enough of the building to have their name over the door.

Robert S Smith was president of a dry goods company, and he lived on Burrard in 1920. The other tenants in the building were Matthew H Hartley, a tea importer, the Standard Silk Co, the National Paper Box and Carton Co Ltd and the Vancouver Trading Co. The Trading Co wholesaled produce, and was run by S O Turner and Archibald Baillie. Thomas Hooper had also designed the previous building on the site, in 1894, and that in turn replaced the wooden Gambrinus Hotel.

The McLean Brothers were Scottish islanders – Lachlan, the eldest, was born on Islay, and Hugh and Norman on the Isle of Harris. All three worked in farming and lumbering in Ontario in the 1870s, but Lachlan spent a year building bridges on the Cariboo road between Hope and Lytton in 1875. The brother bought the Au Sable Mills on Lake Huron in Bruce County in Ontario in 1879, and ran the business until 1890 when they headed west. Initially they created a contracting business, introducing mechanized dredging to build dykes in the area to allow the development of Richmond farmland.

They followed up with a series of contracts heading east up the Fraser River and out to Chilliwack. They also built railway embankments, roads and bridges across the province, and in 1896 their 1914 biography says they formed a syndicate to build a road across the Hope mountains from the east to the Pacific coast, “being the first to ever propose such an undertaking”. With no government subsidy being available, that project was never built. Newspaper reports suggest it became a railway project, which was eventually replaced by a rival route.

In 1906 they were ‘contemplating the erection of a sawmill’ on one of the islands near Delta. By 1908 they had left the contracting business and concentrated on their timber and investment opportunities, including the construction of this warehouse (which appears to be their only significant building investment in Vancouver).


Posted 7 July 2014 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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West Hastings from Homer – north side (3)

Hastings from Homer 2

We looked at J S Pearce’s building on the corner for Victoria hotelier Stephen Jones in a previous post, and some of the buildings further down the block. More than half way up the block (barely visible in this picture, where the red brick can be seen in the contemporary image) next door to the Abbott Block and the Costobadie Block, E A Morris had his tobacconist store; the name can still be seen today on the restored building facade. Edward Arthur Morris was born in London in 1858, and came to British Columbia in 1877 and then went to seek gold in the Cassiar gold fields. After working at a variety of jobs, he went to Victoria in 1892 and opened a tobacco business. In 1899 he opened a tobacco business on Hastings Street in Vancouver. He sometimes advertised himself with the phrase “I am the man who imports cigarettes for ladies”. In 1919 ‘extensive alterations and repairs’ were carried out by contractors Dixon & Murray, including the installation of a new storefront.

Both stores were known for the elegance of their fittings and decorations. It’s possible that the building was designed by Thomas Hooper. The Statement of Historic Significance for Thomas Dunn’s warehouse at 1 Alexander Street (these days the home of the restaurant ‘Chill Winston’) says it houses “handsome oak store fittings dating from c.1897, designed by prominent local architect Thomas Hooper. This woodwork was originally installed in the E.A. Morris Tobacconist shop on Hastings Street, and moved here after a fire in 1982.”

Hastings 1931 detail

At the end the end of the block, on the corner with Richards, is the Scougale Block. It was replaced in 1938 with a new store for F W Woolworth, still standing today. We looked at this building last year. Quite possibly the original seen here was designed by W T Dalton, who designed a ‘Richards Block’ in 1897, and seems to have been designer of several of the buildings in this block.

This picture dates back to 1931 when Millar and Coe were the tenants of the other half of the Morris Block as they were in our previous post. On the corner of Homer, closest to us, Charles D Bruce had his clothing store, offering a ‘Special Underwear Sale’. Next door (and also on the lower floor accessed from Homer Street) was T B Lee, selling ladies read-to-wear and millinery. Several of the offices upstairs were vacant but Dr English was there, and so was the Vancouver English Academy. Dr. Lemons advertised his dental practice in the upper windows. There were also offices upstairs in the McMillan block to the west as well; James Lipp, a chiropractor was here, so was John Innes, an artist, Jack Allen, a music teacher and Miss Madeline Humes, a masseuse. Owl Drugs (by this time associated with Rexall) had a store downstairs and Copp, the Shoe Man was next door. Down the street on the other side of Richards Street the David Spencer company had built his Department store in 1926. Way down at the end of the picture it is possible to just make out the Metropolitan Building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str N281.1


Posted 6 June 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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325 Howe Street (2)

325 Howe 2

We’ve seen this building from a different angle. From this position it’s easy to see how much of the building has ‘disappeared’ from sight today – the street level today is three storeys above the ‘beach level’ below. If you look in the foreground you can see the expansion joints on what are really a series of bridges. If you walk up to the railing you can see in front of the building, you can look down the three floors that are still there.

In 1920 when this image was taken the building was known as the Pacific Coast Fire Building, and was home to a wide variety of companies including the Pacific Coast Fire Insurance Company and Adkinson and Dill, contractors, who had built the Thomas Hooper designed building back in 1911. Greenshields were one of the tenants to get their name on the outside of the building. They had originally built a warehouse for their dry goods company on Water Street in 1902. The most intriguing company here was the Canada Witch Co who were in Room A (B R Harrison was company president), closely followed by B B B Co (Can) Ltd who were in Suite 401 where George Horton was manager. They weren’t the better business bureau, or the Bangkok Beer and Beverage Co, but a wholesale tobacco company.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3307


Posted 19 February 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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The Hamilton – Hamilton and Davie

The Hamilton

Here’s another of the warehouses built on the land released by the CPR which came to be called Yaletown. This is on the corner of Davie and Hamilton – here we’re seeing the side that doesn’t have the raised platform that was built at the height of the railcars that lined up down the street. From the Building Permits made available by Heritage Vancouver, we think we’ve worked out the history of the building. There’s a permit for a three storey brick pier warehouse in January 1913, designed and built by builder George Baker for the Gray Brothers. Then later that same year there’s another permit for George Baker to build a two storey brick addition to a warehouse, designed by Thomas Hooper, once again for the Gray Brothers. The address is gives as 1198 Helmcken – which is distinctly odd as Helmcken Street ends at the 900 block. If the clerk had meant to record 1198 Hamilton, then that fits this building, and explains how a three storey building is today a five storey structure. It also suggests Thomas Hooper may well have been responsible for the design of the whole thing. One reason we think this is more likely is because even when George Baker was building a warehouse for his personal ownership elsewhere in Yaletown, he hired an architect to design it. Baker has arrived in Canada from England in 1889 and in 1911 was living at his home at 835 10th Avenue with his New Brunswick-born wife, three daughters and two nieces.

There were two Gray Brothers. J Russell Gray (he was christened John, but apparently known as Russell) emigrated to Canada in 1906. That was the year he married his Canadian wife, Ada. His brother Donald probably arrived a few years later, although we don’t know for sure as Donald somehow avoided filling in the census. Both were from Scotland, born in Rutherglen in Lanarkshire. Their father was also John Russell Gray (which may be why Russell was known by his middle name). Their first appearance in the City Directories is in 1907, when J Russell Gray is living at 1339 Barclay (a house he stayed in for several years) and John R Gray, retired, is at 850 Broughton Street. A year later Mr Gray senior is no longer retired, but an advisory Director with the Dominion Trust Company, while Mr Gray junior is working for Coast Quarries. In 1909 Donald has arrived and is living with his father, and both Donald and Russell are associated with their new company, Gray Brothers.

In 1996 the building was converted to residential use on the upper floors, designed by Howard, Yano Partners. Renamed The Hamilton, it’s one of the more sensitive conversions, retaining the original glazing and avoiding adding balconies or residential details.

Image Source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E13.25


West Cordova and Seymour – se corner (2)

Here’s an earlier (1930 VPL) image of the Cordova Street frontage where Seymour ends. As we saw in the previous view of this corner Clarke and Stuart’s printing works and warehouse was built on the corner in 1906, and alongside David Spencer (and later his sons) has established a massive retail emporium. Before Spencers started building there had been two sets of earlier buildings, wooden ones erected soon after the fire, and then brick replacements, including one of the many ‘Horne Block’ developments at the eastern end of the block.

In 1920 Clarke and Stuart still had a store here, and also one at 550 Seymour. A year later they only had the new store, and Spencer’s had taken over control of the entire block. From the look of the chimneys on the roof, they used the upper part of the Clarke and Stuart warehouse to add new boilers for the entire complex. From this angle it’s also possible to see how Spencer’s 1907 and 1911 store buildings were actually taller than the 1976 Harbour Centre that replaced them. The complex incorporated most of the store facade but did some really terrible things to the lower part of the Cordova Street frontage (and no favours to Seymour Street either). These days SFU Harbour Centre are in the Spencer’s part while offices fill the Harbour Centre tower and the lookout on top offer views over The Changing City.


West Cordova and Seymour – se corner (1)

This 1973 image shows the St Francis Hotel on the west side of the street, and on the opposite side of Seymour, Clarke and Stuart’s printer’s store and warehouse. Clarke and Stuart occupied the building from when it was built for them in 1906 (to Grant and Henderson’s design) until 1920, when Spencer’s took it over. The rest of the block was also occupied by various iterations of David Spencer’s department store. The next building to the east is a Thomas Hooper designed 1911 addition to the larger building he designed a few years earlier next door to the east. The much bigger building beyond that is McCarter and Nairne’s 1925 massive expansion of the Spencer store.

Clarke and Stuart had been located further east on Cordova from before the turn of the century, operating as a bookstore but also selling typewriters, pianos and organs.  Their former building had a makeover at some point, losing the cornices and details, but apparently retaining the original windows.

David Spencer, a Welshman, arrived in Canada just slightly too late to join the Cariboo gold-rush and instead bought the Victoria Library, a stationers and bookshop,  in 1864. Following the success of that he partnered with William Denny to buy ‘The Victoria House’, a dry goods store in 1873, and five years later a new store under his own name. In the 1890s he bought a site on Hastings street for a location in Vancouver but a rival, Drysdale-Stevenson Company built a store on an adjacent site before he was able to develop his own building. Spencer acquired his rival’s business in 1905, and immediately built a $150,000 expansion. The store had immediate  success in Vancouver, and the Spencer company and Charles Woodward out-competed each other to add new extensions and departments year after year.

In the mid 1970s the Harbour Centre was built to replace Spencer’s store (which had been taken over by Eatons in 1948, and who then vacated to the new Pacific Centre Mall). The building was designed by Toronto-based Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership (who had also designed the CN tower at around the same time). The 1920s part of the Spencer’s store was incorporated into the building, which these days also includes the Downtown campus of Simon Fraser University.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-379


YMCA – 149 West Hastings Street

The YMCA was active in Vancouver early in the new city’s life. The newspaper records suggest their new premises on West Hastings Street were completed in 1893, to designs by Thomas Hooper. However photographs, like this Vancouver Archives image and the BC Archives picture below are dated 1890 – so perhaps it wasn’t completely finished for a while.

A city library started initially in the Hastings Mill and later moved around as it grew. In January 1894, the Free Reading Room and Library leased a 46×46 foot room in the new YMCA Building for use as a new library.

By the late 1890s it was already overcrowded, and in 1901 the City Council approached Andrew Carnegie about funding a new library, which he duly agreed to, helping fund the building that today is the Carnegie Centre (and still a branch of the City Library).

The YMCA building itself didn’t last a lot longer. Around 1909 it was replaced by the Astor Hotel. We hadn’t realised until we posted here that the Astor took the 1890 building and remodelled it for hotel use.

These days it’s part of the Woodwards development where SFU operate their Arts Faculty, designed by Henriquez Partners.

Image Sources: City of Vancouver Archives YMCA Building  CVA BuP118, BC Archives F-07610


Posted 27 April 2012 by ChangingCity in East End, Gone

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792 Granville Street

We looked at this block previously, but here it is again quite a couple of years earlier before the Vancouver Block made its dramatic intervention. On the right of the picture, on the corner is 792-798 Granville Street. It was built in 1904 by J Rogers – Jonathan Rogers, a developer and builder who developed the Rogers Building down the street a few years later. He hired T E Julian to design the building. In 1905 he sold it to a Calgary based businessman, and by 1906 it had tenants; Le Patourel and McRae, Druggists were at 792, the Sunset View apartments were upstairs and Joseph McTaggart, grocer was on the corner at 798. It’s likely that Mr McTaggart bought the building because in 1912 he got a permit worth $400 for repairs designed by Thomas Hooper. It’s not clear if he actually completed that work as in the same year the Royal Bank of Canada also hired Thomas Hooper to convert the building to a bank branch at a cost of $10,000, The Bank finally closed in 1961, and looked very similar then to 50 years before as this Walter E Frost shot from the Vancouver Archives shows.

And that’s not the end of the story on this corner. The new Future Shop didn’t appear until 2003, but in the interim another Royal Bank building appeared, that lasted under 40 years. This 1980s City Engineers photo in the Vancouver archives shows it on the left, designed in uncompromisingly contemporary style by Underwood, McKinley, Cameron and Associates and completed in 1963.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 229-09, CVA 447-345 and CVA 772-727


Labour Temple – Dunsmuir Street

The Labour Temple at 411 Dunsmuir was built for ‘Vancouver Labor Temple Co’ after a number of false starts in 1911 by Norton Griffiths in reinforced concrete to a design by Thomas Hooper. This photograph was taken some time during the first decade of its existence. It didn’t stay as the Labour Temple for long – in 1921 it became the Vancouver Technical School, and through the 1930s it was known as the Worker’s Comp Building, but had a significant number of small offices including Old Age Pensions and the Inspector of Schools. In more recent years it was owned by the Province of BC, who in turn leased it to a Senior’s Centre. They were given the building a few years ago, and in 2011 they sold it. What the future holds for this 100 year old building has now been revealed as a seismic restoration, and a small addition on the back of the building.

Image source: BC Archives