Archive for the ‘W T Whiteway’ Tag

Heatley and East Pender Street – se corner

The building known today as Alexander Court started life as the city’s first purpose-built synagogue. In 1907 a new Orthodox Jewish congregation appeared, named B’nai Yehudah (also known as Sons of Israel). Their first services were held in a small rented home, at 14 West Cordova, but in 1910 the ‘Sons of Israel’ purchased property at Pender and Heatley and by 1911 a Synagogue was built large enough to hold 200 worshipers. W T Whiteway was the architect, and the building was located in the centre of the plot, facing Heatley Avenue.

The congregation was renamed “Schara Tzedeck”, upon being legally incorporated on June 14th 1917, and continued raising funds to build a bigger building. In 1921 a new synagogue opened, designed by Gardiner & Mercer as a Romanesque building that resembles the mission revival style of design. The original building wasn’t replaced, rather it was moved to the back of the lot next to the lane and incorporated into the new structure which had a capacity of 600. The undated but early image (left) shows that part of the building. Our main image dates from the 1920s.

The congregation used the building until the end of 1947, when they moved to a new building in Oakridge, an area where many of the congregation had also moved to. The old building was reused – although the street directory company weren’t exactly sure by whom, as the directory entry for 1948 just says “occupied”. By 1949 it was acknowledged that it was the Vancouver Boys’ Club Association, and it became the Gibbs Boys Club, sponsored by Rufus Gibbs, owner of Gibbs Tool and Stamping Works. This sounds like a heavy industry concern, but actually its main product was fishing lures. Gibbs lived alone, occupying an entire floor of the Patricia Hotel for 42 years, although he never owned a car or a TV. Mr. Gibbs died in 1968, and by the time W A Graham shot this picture in 1977 the building was boarded up, having lost Provincial Government funding. By then the building had some significant structural issues, and it was sold in 1980, and then sat empty for six years. It was converted to condos, designed by Spaceworks, in one of the earliest examples of adaptive reuse of a heritage structure in the city. One additional historical connection is worth noting; the first meeting of SPOTA: (the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association) took place here on December 14, 1968. SPOTA were responsible for limiting the ‘slum clearance’ of the Strathcona area and its subsequent renewal.

Image sources: Vancouver Public Library, Jewish Museum and Archives of BC L-00391, City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1135-20

Carrall Street – 400 block

None of the three buildings shown in this image (probably dating to early 1906) are still standing today. Indeed, we don’t think any of them lasted more than 10 years. We think the original brick building closest to us only stayed up for eight years, and was built in 1903. We’re pretty certain it was designed by W T Whiteway for Sam Kee, the company run by Chang Toy, described as ‘Brick & stone building’ and according to the permit, costing $12,000. The Sam Kee name can be seen on the building, and this is where the company was based for a while. Kwong Fat Yuen Co also had their name on the building; for a short while they operated as labour suppliers, and may have been related to a company of the same name in Shanghai.

The Daily World of June 19, 1903, confirms the building’s planning – with either a typo or price inflation: “Chinatown’s progress; A permit was taken out this morning for a building adjoining the tramway company’s property of Carrall Street for a Chinese firm. Mr. W. T. Whiteway is the architect. The building is to be two stories high and to be built of brick and stone. The cost is to be $13,000”. The building had a third storey added around 1907, but was demolished around 1910 and replaced by the BC Electric Railway Co’s building designed by W M Somervell, completed in 1911. That structure, still standing today as offices and a retail showroom, cost $350,000 and was built by McDonald and Wilson. No doubt Chang Toy made sure he was appropriately compensated for selling his property.

Beyond it to the south was the Chinese Methodist Mission fronting Pender Street. It was designed by Parr and Fee in 1899, and replaced only seven years later (soon after this picture) by the Chinese Freemasons Building constructed in 1906, for the Chee Kung Tong – a ‘secret society’ founded in the middle of the 19th Century by Chinese working in the BC gold fields. The permit, in summer 1906 was to Sing Sam, for a $20,000 3-storey brick and stone structure for stores & warehouse. Dr. Sun Yat Sen is reported to have stayed in the building, probably in 1911, while raising funds for his revolutionary Kuomintang party during his period of exile from China. It appears that the building may also have been mortgaged by the Tong in 1911 to support the revolution. In 1920 the organization changed their name to the Chinese Freemasons, although they are not associated with traditional freemasonry.

The original architect has not been identified; it could have been W T Whiteway who had several commissions in Chinatown. Alterations to the restaurant in the building costing $1,000 were designed by architect S B Birds in 1913; the owner was still Sing Sam. There was also a branch of the Bank of Vancouver on the ground floor. We don’t know a lot about Sam Sing, but we know he was wealthy enough to guarantee the $500 head tax for Fung Ying Quoy, and that he is buried in Mountain View Cemetery. He ran a store in the East Hotel (also designed by Samuel Birds), and in 1907 his business was based at 1 Canton Street, the address for which he received $335 in compensation for damage after that year’s anti-Asian riot.

The building was home to the Pekin Chop Suey House, whose slogan can still be seen today. The facades are all that remain of the original building; they were retained when the rest of the building was demolished in 1975, after a fire, and it was remodeled again in 2006 with architect Joe Wai restoring some of the lost heritage elements, and converting the upper floors to residential use.

Across Pender street was another Sam Kee property. We don’t know when he built this one, or who designed it, but it was 2 storeys, and already shows up on the 1901 insurance map – which was probably when it was built as before that the street directory suggests it was Cleeve Canning & Cold Storage Co and Bradbury & Brown’s stone cutting yard. This building lasted about 10 years, but in 1910 the city expropriated most of the land for road widening, leaving the company with a ‘useless’ (or so the City thought) six foot sliver. Chang Toy wasn’t too hard done by; the Sam Kee firm instructed its lawyer (W A Macdonald K C) to start negotiations for compensation of $70,000 to reach the desired value of $62,000. Then Bryan and Gillam were hired to design the $8,000 steel framed building that still stands there today on the shallow lot, completed in 1913, which added additional space under the sidewalk to squeeze in a barber’s store and bath house – but no secret tunnels.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-522

St Regis Hotel – Dunsmuir and Seymour 2

St Regis Hotel 2

1915-st-regisWe looked at the history of the St Regis and its developer, Leon Melekov, in an earlier post. He had been in Canada less than ten years, since arriving from Russia in 1902. He was only aged 38 when the hotel opened, having cost $100,000 to build. Like other eastern European emigres, Leon Melekov was Jewish.

For a couple of years there was some ambiguity about the hotel’s name – it appeared as both Hotel St Regis, and the St Regis Hotel, but by 1915, when these Vancouver Public Linbrary images are dated, it was just the latter; run by H Tolford Fitzsimmons. There was a separate office address listed for the ownership company, based in the Bank of Ottawa building in the offices of Deacon Deacon & Wilson, barristers. Mr. Fitzsimmons had taken over the hotel in 1914, and he had been living in Brockville Ontario in the earlier years of the century, where he had been born in 1850. He married Fanny (or perhaps Fannie) Conway, and they had a large family. When he died at the age of 92, Mr. Fitzsimmons was living in Victoria.

william-p-roberts-bioThe hotel’s website has a quite different version of events: “During Vancouver’s “Golden Years of Growth” from 1907 to 1913, P. Roberts of Roberts, Maltby and Company, a local Real Estate and Loan company, decided to build the St. Regis Vancouver Hotel for his wife Mary. Taking advantage of the hotel’s close proximity to Vancouver’s financial district on West Hastings, Mr. Roberts decided to build one of what would become a top historic hotel in Vancouver for the business traveler. He employed W.T. Whiteway, one of the leading architects in the British Empire, to design his hotel. Mr. Whiteway had designed the World Building, now the Sun Tower, which had just opened as the tallest building in the Empire. He also went on to design the Marine Building, which was the tallest building in the Empire from 1930 to 1939. Having the top architect also meant Mr. Roberts had to hire Canada’s top builder – E.J. Ryan, whose resume included the Marine Building, Hotel Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs and numerous hotels across Canada.

Construction started in 1911 and was completed in time for an opening day of March 15, 1913. The hotel thrived until the Great Depression, but as with much in Vancouver during the ‘30s, the hotel’s business suffered. With the start of the Second World War in 1939, Vancouver’s shipbuilding and lumber industry took off and the hotel was reborn and took on the role as Vancouver’s “Sportsman’s” hotel.”

We agree that W T Whiteway was the architect; and that he designed the Sun Tower, but he certainly couldn’t take credit for the Marine Building, and to suggest he was a leading architect in the British Empire would be pushing things a bit – he designed buildings in Port Townsend in the US, and then Newfoundland and Nova Scotia before Vancouver. We identified Mr Melekov as the developer as his name was on the Building Permit, and the Province newspaper in 1912 called it a “hotel for Leon Melekov”. The Daily Building Record noted that his hotel was being built by E J Ryan, who issued requests for subcontracts for the building in 1912. There wasn’t a P Roberts in Vancouver, but there was a William P Roberts at Roberts, Maltby & Co, previously Roberts, Meredith & Co. His 1913 biography is shown here – there’s no suggestion that he had just developed a hotel.

Granville and West Pender – northeast corner

Granville & Pender ne 1

We looked at the history of the building that’s here today in a recent post. Jonathan Rogers spent over $500,000; an extraordinary amount in 1911; to build the office block that still has his name associated with it. This wasn’t the first structure constructed here, and as we were aware that Mr. Rogers had acquired property that he didn’t develop for some time, we assumed the ‘meanwhile’ single storey retail that was constructed here was his initiative. We were incorrect; these 1902 stores were built at a cost of $8,000 for Ferrera & Canary. Designed by W T Whiteway, they were soon occupied, only to be torn down less than 10 years after they were built. Our images date from 1910, and probably about a year earlier.

In 1901, when the building permit was issued, there were three people with the name Ferrera in the city: Caesar Ferrera was a cook at the Savoy Restaurant on Cordova Street; Tong Ferrera was a waiter in the same restaurant, and A G Ferrera owned it. G Canary was the only Canary in the city, and he owned a store on West Pender that sold tobacco and oysters. (references of the day don’t say if they were smoked oysters). Mr. Ferrara had operated the restaurant in the Savoy Hotel for several year. Caesar wasn’t just a cook – he was chef de cuisine. And Tong was really Antoine Ferrara, he was . By 1903 somebody else had taken over running the restaurant, and by 1905 Mr. Ferrera was running another another restaurant on Granville Street.

Granville & W Pender ne 2

Agostino Gabriele Ferrera became Italian Consul to Vancouver a few years later and was a Knight of the Crown of Italy. He was recorded as Augustus G Ferrera in the 1901 census, and although he was born in Italy he had American nationality, as did his American wife Elissa who was at least ten years younger than her husband. (Agostino outlived his wife, dying as a widower at the age of 90 in 1948. The 1901 census shows another Augustus Ferrera aged 14 lodging in the city, and the 1911 census suggests it was probably Agostino’s son as there are two Augustine Ferreras living in the same household, father and son, aged 24, both of whom had arrived in Canada in 1898. In the 1911 census there’s a much older woman, Jeneve, recorded as the older Augustine’s wife, also born in the United States).

George Canary, according to the 1901 census was born in Turkey, and had arrived in 1895, when the calculation from his given birth year suggests he was aged 26. His wife, Mary, was Danish and arrived in 1886 when she would have been aged about 15, although her 1959 Death Certificate says she was born in 1880 and so would actually have been quite a bit younger than her husband in 1901. That calculation is complicated by the fact that George’s Death Certificate says he was born in 1874, so was also five years younger than the 1901 census suggests. It also says he was born in Greece – which matches the immigration record that shows him crossing from the US to Canada in Vermont (but headed for Seattle) aged 38 in 1908, born in Laros in Greece. It shows that he had a large mole on his left cheek,  and that he had lived in Seattle from 1902 to 1903. His death certificate confirms his employment as owning the Vancouver Oyster and Fish Co.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA Bu N20 and Bu P526.1

 

Posted July 25, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

Woodwards – West Hastings and Abbott

Woodwards 4

We featured an image of the Woodward’s store on the corner of Abbott and Cordova in an earlier post (over three years ago). Here are two more – the first a Vancouver Public Library image dating back to 1903 when W T Whiteway’s first building for Charles Woodward (in this location) was just complete. Actually, it wasn’t just Charles’s store: he started out on Westminster Avenue (Main Street today) but partnered with a jeweller, a crockery store and a boot and shoe storekeeper to expand into the much bigger new building in what Woodward believed would one day be a more central location. When he bought the site for $25,000 it was less promising: ‘at one corner of the lot was a deep hollow, a swamp eight feet below the elevation of the sidewalk, wherein grew huge yellow skunk cabbages and bull-frogs abounded. The wooden sidewalk was built on stilts on a level with the street. Across the road was a cistern for use by fire-fighters. “People forgot” said Charles, “that the hollow saved a lot of excavating and reduced expenses and the drain which was put in by the city took care of the swamp“‘. The Woodward’s family biography records that because the contractor offering the lowest cost was considered to be ‘anti-union’ the building took over a year to complete; for example the stone for the foundation had to be shipped from the US by scow as supplies couldn’t be obtained in British Columbia. Charles finally negotiated with the local Labour party executive, showed them that the next tender was $7,000 higher, and persuaded them to drop their obstruction to his building. (E Cook was the contractor of the $60,000 building). A month after the store opened the BC Electric Railway company decided to run a streetcar up Hastings, from Main to Cambie, confirming the value of the location.

The gamble to expand so dramatically initially looked like it hadn’t paid off. In early 1904 the store had lost $7,000 to $8,000 in its first three months of operation. It was over-stocked with expensive but slow-selling merchandize like diamonds and china. A Receiver was appointed at a cost of $5,000 who fond the store had $199,500 of assets and $89,000 in liabilities, and recommended that the firm should be allowed credit from the Bank of British North America at an interest rate of 6% to pay off trade creditors and allow the firm to trade out of their precarious position. The directors fell out even more; led by jeweler Cicero Davidson (who had his jewelers store nearby, and lived on the west side, on Burrard Street).

They tried to get Charles Woodward to resign as Manager; he resolved to continue in control and to buy them out. He sold his original Main Street premises for cash, paid off the mortgage on the building and had enough left over to buy out the Davidson Brothers and T B Hyndman, another director. (He was running the crockery department of rival store R G Buchanan Co in 1901; we recorded some of his history in connection to his later Canada Hotel investment).

Over the next few years Charles Woodward managed the store, paid off the creditors, the mortgage and eventually a $30,000 bank loan that had kept the store solvent. He added two additional storeys in 1910, designed by Smith and Goodfellow. Architect Sholto Smith had married the youngest Woodward daughter, Cora (who hated her given name, and was known as Peg), and he also designed the company stables as well as the store’s vertical extension. The arched window in the centre bay of the original building was rebuilt so that it didn’t look odd on a middle floor of the larger building.

Woodwards 3

This 1981 view shows that the Woodward’s store continued to grow over the years. George Wenyon designed an addition in 1913 to the west of the original store. H W Postle designed an addition in 1925 along Abbott and Cordova, while W T Whiteway was responsible for several elements added to his 1903 store over nearly 30 years (including the parking garage in 1930). By 1981 the business had expanded to 21 stores, but the flagship Downtown store had already faced declining business once the Pacific Centre had opened on Granville. The 1980s saw the entire business facing challenges; the family relinquished control in 1989, and the Downtown store store closed in 1993. It took nearly 20 years and several false starts before a City of Vancouver initiated redevelopment, (hustled by Jim Green) designed by Henriquez Partnership for Westbank saw the original corner store reconstructed and the remainder of the site redeveloped.

Image source: Vancouver Public Library and Peter B Clibbon

The Landing – 361 Water Street

Kelly Douglas

This huge warehouse was the home for many years of Kelly, Douglas & Co. This 1908 Vancouver Public Library image shows the building down the hill of Richards Street from Hastings, with a corner of the Bank of British North America just in the shot on the left. On the other side is Scougale’s Dry Goods, and at the bottom of the hill was the Bell-Irving block. Company history says Robert Kelly and Frank Douglas founded their wholesale grocery empire in 1896, leasing a warehouse in the 100 block of Water Street. Robert Kelly had been in the city for several years. He started out working in a store and telegraph office in Finch, Ontario, and from 1884 he was promoted to manager. In 1886 he moved to California and ran a general store business there and then came to Vancouver where he opened a general store with William McMillan in 1887. After that he became a traveler for Oppenheimer Brothers from 1889-1895.

His biography says that Mr. Kelly was short, stocky, brusque and outspoken. In 1895 he left Oppenheimer Brothers and joined William Braid to form Braid, Kelly and Company, wholesale grocers specializing in tea and coffee. That partnership lasted only a year; in 1896 Frank Douglas from Lachute, Quebec, arrived in Vancouver seeking investment opportunities. More easy going, but an experienced business man, he acted as managing director, while Robert Kelly travelled around the Province, using his experience and years of working for Oppenheimer’s to build their business.

The Kelly Douglas Company prospered supplying prospectors with provisions during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.  To meet the stiff competition of long established Seattle and Victoria merchants in the Yukon, Mr. Douglas decided to cover the gold mining centres himself.  Each summer he would travel north for several months. In August 1901, after two months in Dawson City, he started back to Vancouver with his order book full.  He sailed on the “islander’ and on August 15th, 1901, at 2:00am, six miles northwest of Juneau in Lynn Canal, the ship struck a submerged iceberg.  Forty of the passengers drowned including Frank Douglas.  Stories were current at the time of his death that between $50,000 and $60,000 was lost with him. It was related that he had secured the gold in his clothing before he drowned.  (This seems highly unlikely – that would have been 68 kilos at the prevailing price of gold. If true, it would explain why he drowned).

Robert Kelly ran the business for a while, then in 1904 he sold a 20% interest to Frank Douglas’s brother, Edward, from Chatham Township, Quebec. Edward was an older brother and had previously worked in the lumber business for many years, including running Weyerhauser’s interests in Minnesota.

The original five storey building to the east was built in 1905, designed by W T Whiteway. The Gault Brothers company moved in later; the building, and their name is just visible – (we can find nothing to substantiate a suggestion that Frank Burnett partnered with Kelly to build the first warehouse, although it’s possible given the death of Frank Douglas). Kelly, Douglas moved here from their previous location on Water Street, added another floor in 1906, and then proceeded in 1907 with a large-scale expansion by building the warehouse to the west, seen here, which when it was complete was the largest warehouse in Canada devoted exclusively to produce. The builder, J.M. McLuckie, proudly advertised the structure as “Vancouver’s first skyscraper”. It was tentatively slated to rise to nine storeys in height. Despite the use of 18 x 18 inch timbers at the base, tapering to 8 x 8’s on upper floors, the building stopped at seven floors.

The company obtained a permit in 1910 for another warehouse on Cordova Street, again designed by J M McLuckie, and costing $37,000. In 1911 Gardiner and Gardiner designed a further addition to this building, and in 1912 McLuckie obtained another permit for a $41,000 5-storey warehouse shown at 1106 Helmcken, although almost certainly it was 1106 Mainland Street. That building was used by the Kelly Confectionary Co, a further company created by Robert Kelly. In 1913 J M McLuckie designed a further $40,000 expansion to the Water Street warehouse, and in 1917 A Williams & Co were listed as designers of a further 2-storey addition costing $10,000. We’re not sure if that applied to a part of the building that can’t be seen, or it was never acted upon – clearly the larger building today has the same number of storeys as in 1908.

In 1988 Soren Rasmussen designed the conversion of the complex to office, retail and restaurant use, nowadays called ‘The Landing’.

St Margaret Apartments – 1104 Haro Street

1104 haro

This Vancouver Public Library image from 1943 shows the St Margaret Apartments, one of the last buildings designed by prolific architect W T Whiteway. Built in 1928, it was part of a flurry of investment that dried up a year later as the recession and stock market crash severely impacted the development industry. Today it’s barely visible behind evergreen foliage, but it’s still providing rental accommodation with 19 apartments, and sold last year for $7,275,000 (at a price per unit higher than we bet the whole building cost when it was built).

With the help of Patrick Gunn we tracked down the developer of the building, confirmed by the 1928 street directory: John J Perrigo, proprietor, St Margaret Apartments (living in apartment 27) who in 1926 appeared for the first time in the city as the owner of Viola Court, a block away at 1200 Haro, living on Seymour Street. It seems likely that he’s the same J J Perrigo who in 1924 was living in  Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

John Joseph Perrigo died in 1959 in Vancouver, born in Ontario in 1880, and his wife Paula, who was Austrian and six years younger died in 1957. Their death notices each recorded a quite different set of children, and his wife was shown as Paula Blackburn, rather than Paula Glowozuk, her maiden name. Given this, it’s possible that this was a later marriage for both of them. In 1891 John was living in Eganville in Ontario, and in 1911 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where he was a lodger.

The apartment replaced the house we saw in the previous post, home to J F Galbraith and mayor Fred Cope among others.

Posted May 28, 2015 by ChangingCity in Still Standing, West End

Tagged with ,