Archive for the ‘W C Stevens’ Tag

East Hastings Street – 200 block, south side

Here are three buildings with the clearly labelled F Morgan Building on the right, at 244 E Hastings. For once, the Heritage Statement for this building helps pin its development down. “Built in 1910 to a design by architect W.C. Stevens, the F. Morgan Building had a commercial outlet on the main floor with lodging above. From one side of the building, Frank W. Morgan, a successful businessman, operated the Empress Pool Hall, which continued under a succession of different names until the 1930s.

Unfortunately, it looks as if the statement is only partially accurate. F Morgan did obtain a building permit for a $25,000 building here in July 1910, and W C Stevens was the architect. Mr. Morgan carried out some minor alterations a year later. However, the street directories don’t show anyone called Frank W Morgan. There was a Frank Morgan living with his aunt, but he was only 20, and there was another who was musician in a theatre. Even more confusing, the street directory doesn’t seem to acknowledge the existence of an Empress Pool Hall, at any time, in Vancouver.

The strongest possibility is Frank Morgan who was 46 and in 1911 lived with his wife Caroline, who was, like him, from Ontario, and aged 28. Despite his age, he appears in the 1911 census to already be retired. He was Franklin John Morgan, and he continued to be involved in real estate through the 1930s. He died in 1952, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. His death notice said “Mr. Morgan was born in Port Colbourne and came to Vancouver 65 years ago. In the early days of Vancouver he operated a bathhouse and boat rental at English Bay and later was in the real estate business. He was also, for a time, in the Oriental rug business. He was a talented artist specializing in oils and water colors and wood carving as hobbies. Mr. Morgan leaves his wife. Caroline; one brother, C. D. Morgan.” Caroline was his second wife; in 1901 he was shown married to Annie, who was English, but they divorced in 1903. Records suggest he married Caroline in San Francisco in 1904.

In 1891 he and his brother Claude (who was a barber – in 1910 he owned the Savoy Barber Shop), were listed living in Vancouver with their parents, Daniel and Sarah. His father was a street contractor, described in the street directory as Captain D Morgan.

In 1913 another of Frank’s hobbies was revealed; his collection of oriental rugs was auctioned off, valued at $20,000. Caroline Morgan died in 1965, and is also interred in Mountain View.

There was also a successful merchant and developer in the city called Frederick W Morgan. In 1911, with his partner, William Kilroy, he developed a large hotel on Granville Street. Unfortunately all the contemporary records on the Morgan Building refer to ‘F Morgan’ so we don’t know for certain which is correct.

Next to the hotel is the Rickshaw Theatre – these days (until the temporary closure due to Covid 19) a live music venue. In our 1978 image it was still the Shaw Theatre, opened in 1971 to show Chinese movies. It was designed by Phillip Harrison for the Shaw brothers (Sir Run Run Shaw and Tan Sri Runme Shaw) who owned a movie empire, based on Hong Kong. Their Vancouver movie house was state of the art, with dolby sound and cinema-scope screens. As demand for kung-fu movies ebbed, the theatre was closed in the mid 1980s. It reopened as a live music venue in 2009, featuring both touring bands and local music.

The Savoy Hotel is the tallest in the row. On the main floor is the Savoy Pub, with cheap beer and live music, where bands that hope to one day play a venue as big as the Rickshaw get their start. It was approved in 1910 as a $26,000 rooming house, designed (supposedly) and developed by D H McDougall. There were a lot of McDougalls (and MacDougalls, and McDougals) in Vancouver, and in 1911 both Donald H MacDougall and Daniel H MacDougall were retired, so either could be the developer. Although the Province newspaper and the clerk at City Hall both recorded McDougall, the census shows D H MacDougall, from Ontario, whose profession was real estate, and his wife Margaret living on Parker Street, and the street directory says he was Daniel H MacDougall. Their son Percy, who was 26 was living with them. He died in 1913, aged 27, and his mother’s maiden name was listed as Margaret Rankin. He had been born in 1885 in Maryborough, Wellington, Ontario. Margaret was born in 1860, in Ellice, Perth, Ontario and Daniel in 1855 in North Easthope, Perth, Ontario. Daniel married Maggie Rankin in 1884 in Mornington, Perth, Ontario and at the time he was a farmer.

We can find the family in 1901; Dan McDougall was living in Vancouver with Margaret and Percy in the census, and the directory shows Daniel Howard McDougall was proprietor of the St. Clair Lodging House, 41 East Hastings. This building first appears in 1912 as ‘new building’ with the Hotel Victor upstairs, run by Mrs. Josephine Huckell. The name was switched very quickly and by 1918 the Victor Hotel was run by John Wright. By 1925 it had become the Victor Rooms, and by 1930 the Savoy Hotel run by E Bourgoin.

In 2017 the Savoy saw a murder case, when a man and a woman were arrested for the shooting of a 62 year old resident. The man was convicted, and the woman acquitted, but police seized $117,000 in cash and a substantial quantity of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine from the room. This was not the first time the hotel was in the news. In 1939 the hotel was scene of a murder when resident Woo Dack, a Chinese merchant, was bludgeoned in his room with a piece of wood by a 17-year-old, one of three accused robbers, (two men and a woman) who stole $9.

In 2007 BC Housing acquired the hotel as part of a portfolio of buildings in an attempt to retain SRO rooms in the Downtown Eastside. In 2009 it reopened after $3.5m of renovations and repairs.

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