Archive for the ‘W M Dodd’ Tag

Richards Street – 700 block, east side (2)

We looked at the buildings to the north of here in the previous post. Here are several modest buildings, of which two (for now) are still standing. On the left is a three storey commercial building, 726 Richards, built in 1923 by B C Stevens Co. They were a medical supply company who had operated in the city for many years. Before they developed this building they were based in the main floor of the Passlin block, three doors down the street. The company opened its first office in Western Canada in 1889 in Vancouver under the direction of George Stevens, a son of the founder of the business. The Contract Record of 1 August 1923 referenced that “Work is to start at once on a store and warehouse, to cost $20,000, at 730-748 Richards St.; owners, B. C. Stevens Co Ltd., Vancouver; architect, Franklin Cross, 448 Seymour St., Vancouver”. The address was a bit inaccurate; the building permit identifies 730 Richards. It’s possible that the single storey 738 Richards was part of the same development – the two structures share a single lot. Next door at 742 Richards was another single storey commercial building. In 1920 owner A L Hood hired A E Henderson to carry out alterations to the property there costing $2,500, but we don’t know if the single storey building is the result of that investment, or a later development.

The four storey building on the right of the picture (748 Richards) was developed by Albert J Passage and Oliver Tomlin (hence Passlin). Albert was President of the Western Canada Trust Company, worth over $300,000 before its collapse in 1913. He was an American, born in Clairmont, Minnesota, and he moved to Canada in 1892. In 1901 was in Yale, working as a clerk in the railroad office. In 1909 he was in Vancouver, working as an accountant for the Great Northern Transfer Co. His success in real estate was fast; he only formed the Financial and Real estate brokerage with Oliver Tomlin around 1910. By 1911 he was living with his wife Mary, from New Brunswick, their 3-year-old son, Victor, her father, Goodwin Passage, and her brother, Ray Passage.

With the collapse of the real estate business, and a war hitting the national economy, Albert, Mary and their son emigrated to the USA in 1916. By 1930 they were living in Mount Vernon, Westchester, New York, and had another son, Douglas, aged 8, who had been born in New York.

We’re reasonably certain Oliver Tomlin was from England, although he appears to have been missed in the 1911 Census. He shows up in Vancouver around 1908, when he was a shipper with the Albion Iron Works. A year later Passage and Tomlin were in the real estate business, with a series of permits for houses, and just one in 1910 for a larger building, this four storey apartment building on Richards, costing $35,000 and designed by W M Dodd. They sold their development to a real estate syndicate they had put together, with significant British money involved (shown by this article in the London Daily Standard from 1911). The headline shows that property bubbles are not new in the city.

By 1911 Oliver Tomlin was living in the Atlin Block on West Pender. The building in our image was known as the Passlin Hotel. (Given the conjunction of the names for this building, it seems a reasonable conjecture that Mr. Tomlin might have also developed the Atlin Block with a different partner). In 1917 Oliver Tomlin, and his English wife Louisa also emigrated to The USA, and in 1930 were living in Los Angeles. We’re reasonably confident this is the same Mr. Tomlin who was working as the Manager of a Real Estate Finance Company (and that’s why we think he was originally English)’

The Passlin block was demolished and redeveloped in 2007 as part of the L’Hermitage development which also has a hotel, two-storey retail and a condo tower. The Passlin, which was operating as an SRO hotel, was redeveloped as Doug Story Apartment residences, with 46 units managed by Coast Mental Health, named after an SRO resident who was a member of the Coast Resource Centre from 2001 until his death in 2006. The City of Vancouver made a small grant (of $720,000) to help fund the building, but most of the capital cost was carried by the developers, who received additional residential density for the tower. They then gave the building to the City of Vancouver as an air right parcel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E09.36

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314 Powell Street

This is a building now incorporated into the Sunrise Market, but when it was first developed in 1931 (when the picture was taken) it was part of Japantown. It was a restaurant which served an early fusion cruisine: Fuji Chop Suey. The Nikkei Museum says  that from 1936-38, Ichiji Sasaki started the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant with Mr Wakabayashi at 314 Powell Street. As the restaurant opened in 1931, that’s clearly not accurate, and during those years Ichiji Sasaki was caretaker of the Howard Apartments on East Hastings, and later proprietor of the World Hotel on Powell.

The Vancouver Archives have a copy of the architect’s drawings from late 1930. William Dodd designed the building, and thanks to Patrick Gunn’s diligence we know it cost $17,000 and was built for somebody recorded as Sasika Maikawa Kaino by Harvie & Simmonds. Hikosaburo Kaino and Taj and Ichiji Sasika operated the restaurant with Sannosuke Maikawa. He was one of five brothers who had a number of businesses on Powell Street. Sadakichi Maikawa owned a grocery business across the streets, and a few years later Nippon Autos a little further west. The family have written about the restaurant as ‘Maikawa Fuji Chopsuey’.

Before it was built there was, we think, a single storey retail building here. In the early 1920s the street directory shows Samuel E Williams running a shoe shine business here alongside several other retail stores for a number of years. He carried out repairs to the building several times between 1917 and the early 1920s. Samuel added a different ethnic mix to the neighbourhood. He was aged 58 in 1921, married to Effie, and they had both been born in the US. Samuel’s father was born in Cuba, and his mother in the West Indies, and the couple were recorded as racially African, having arrived in Canada in 1912. They lived further west on Powell where they rented a four room apartment for $15 a month.

When it first opened in 1931, the street directory says I Murakami was running the Fuji restaurant, but by 1934 S Maikawa was shown as president of the restaurant company. We think this was Sadakichi Maikawa who we believe developed the building, and at this time also running a grocery, meat and fish store at 333 Powell. His name was listed as the restaurant owner through to the early 1940s when all Japanese were forcibly removed from the coast, and their property confiscated.

Audrey Kobayashi recalled how the restaurant operated. “The second floor was rented as a private dining room for weddings or other large gatherings, and opened onto a balcony overlooking Powell Street. This was one of only a few restaurants where Japanese-Canadian women and children could go. Most of the Japanese restaurants in the area were the domain of men, and restaurants in other parts of Vancouver usually would not serve Asian customers. In 1942 the banquet hall was used by the federal government to administer the uprooting of Japanese Canadians

The building remained vacant through the war years, and only in 1946 were there new businesses; Orloff’s Ltd wholesale drygoods and Hemenway’s Ltd display letters. By 1955 View-Master distributors and A D T Sales, manufacturers agents were here. In the mid 1970s Sunrise Market opened here, expanding from the adjacent building. Arriving in Canada in 1956, Leslie and Susan Joe began making small batches of fresh tofu in the back of their grocery store. As demand for tofu grew throughout the 60’s and 70’s, so did the business and in 1983 factory space was purchased nearby to transition the small operation into a large scale manufacturing plant. Sunrise Market still operates here, and Sunrise Soya Foods is now Canada’a largest manufacturer of tofu.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3873

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Posted April 2, 2018 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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157 Alexander Street

149 Alexander

We’ve got two views of this small warehouse building squeezed in between the rail tracks and Alexander Street as it curves towards the tracks. In 1919, when the picture above was taken the newly arrived owner was the H G White Manufacturing Company who were the home of White Seal products. There were White Seal apples in Tasmania, White Seal lard in the US, White Seal beer and White Seal tinned salmon in British Columbia, but H G White didn’t sell any of those – the company was described as ‘manufacturers agent’ in the street directory – but what they manufactured wasn’t identified. Harold G White lived on Cardero Street, and we’ve discovered that White Seal was a brand of fur mittens. Originally, when the premises were built in 1913 this was occupied by the builder and developer, E Cook, designed by W M Dodd, an architect who designed a series of automobile-related buildings in the city as well as apartment blocks. Edward Cook built warehouses on Water Street and Woodward’s big new store on Hastings, so this investment was a relatively modest piece of construction for him. While he occupied the building he also ran his other business from here, the Columbia Clay Co. who had a brickyard located on Anvil Island at the north end of Howe Sound. He was born in Perth, Ontario, and after learning his trade as contractor in Manitoba arrived in Vancouver in the spring of 1886. By 1891 he was responsible for building around 40 of the city’s new business blocks.

By 1915 this was the warehouse for Jacobson-Goldberg, a fur trade business. (Isaac Jacobson was a furrier who lived on Ontario St and L Goldberg lived in the London Hotel; before they moved here they were in business on Main Street.) In 1916 they shared the building with B C Grinnell Glove Co, a company who also made sealskin gloves, for loggers, steel workers and lumbermen. (In 1914 they were located in Coquitlam). Nelson and Shakespeare (Arthur Nelson, of North Vancouver and W B Shakespeare who lived in the West End) wholesale confectioners took over the premises for three years in 1917. That year H G White was partnered with Benjamin Harrison, who lived in West Vancouver, and they were importers with premises on Hornby Street (he initially worked for Harrison, and then became a partner). In 1920 Nelson and Shakespeare moved to another warehouse across the street and H G White moved in, manufacturing sealskin gloves again, although still in the import and export trade.

Harold White claimed in some records to have been born in England in 1889. That seems to be the correct year: he arrived in Canada in 1906 with his parents who had apparently initially emigrated from England to Canada in 1881. However, in the 1911 census Harold and his sister Eliza (still living with their parents) are shown as being born in Michigan, USA, so presumably the family moved south of the border for a while. In 1919 he was living on Nelson Street, and in 1923 he had moved to Cardero and was listed as Consul for Peru, and Harrison’s company was once again BR Harrison and Company, now based in 325 Howe Street. By 1924 Harold White was no longer in the directories; in 1940 he appears to have moved to San Francisco with his family – an easier move for someone born in the US.

157 Alexander

157 Alexander 1933The image above was taken in 1929 when the building was for sale. The more substantial building to the east beyond the narrow gap that was a track that crossed the rail lines has apparently been masked off. You can see the adjacent warehouse a little more clearly in this 1933 Archives shot that we can’t reproduce these days as it’s taken from inside the Port security area. Gordon and Belyea had been using 157 Alexander for some years – they were listed as ‘Mill, Mining, Railway, Marine and Waterworks Supplies’, and had been in a building across the street earlier in the 1920s. They moved to a larger property in 1929, and the sale offering suggests they might have acquired the building rather than tenanted it. In the 1933 image Burnyeats and Co were occupying the building – they were ship’s chandlers.

Scout Magazine outlines the building’s more recent history: In later decades, the address’ upper storeys were converted into offices, and by the 1970s the ground floor was known as the Banjo Palace, a 20’s-themed club, supposedly boasting the country’s largest circular barbecue. The owner, George Patey, had purchased pieces of the brick wall involved in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and had it re-constructed in the men’s room (the wall was shipped from Chicago in 7 barrels, and after the nightclub failed it was removed again). Prior to the Alibi Room who still occupy the space today the building was home to the Archimedes Club, a watering hole for Vancouver’s taxi drivers where a signature on the membership book got you access to $5 pitchers (or so go the legends).

Image source: Vancouver Public Library, City of Vancouver Archives Str P30.2 and CVA 99-253

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Posted March 12, 2015 by ChangingCity in East End, Gastown, Still Standing

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