Archive for the ‘W T Whiteway’ Tag

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

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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

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500 Alexander Street

500 Alexander

We’ve seen another building built on this block around the same era, as a brothel. This building, dating from 1912, is often said to have a similar initial purpose, and some accounts say it was developed by Dolly Darlington. While Dolly, who was well known as a madam in the city undoubtedly ran her business here, hers wasn’t the name on the building permit (either as Dolly or Dollie, which was how it was sometimes spelled). For some strange reason the address was listed as 504 Alexander, but the lot was clearly lot 1 (the first on the block), the architect was pillar of the architectural community W T Whiteway, the owner was J McCarter and the $15,000 structure was built by Burrard Construction. We’re pretty certain the developer was Joseph McCarter, who was described in the 1911 census as a rooming house proprietor, originally from Ontario and living with his American wife Mary Ann and their two children and 10 lodgers. In the 1911 street directory Joseph was living on Cordova and was described as being in real estate. In 1901 J A McCarter, aged 29, was living with wife M Ann and both children in Nanaimo, and had a 21-year-old servant, George Warriner. Mary Ann’s name (according to her wedding certificate) was Mamie Hanna, and she had been born in Lyons, Iowa. The McCarters married in British Columbia in 1896 when Joseph was 24 and Mamie was 19.

We suspect that Joseph intended to build a lodging house or apartments (which is how the permit is described) but circumstances seem to have changed that plan. That year city authorities clamped down on the brothels on Shore Street and Harris (now East Georgia) but let it be known that Alexander was a more acceptable location. Dolly was listed as living on Shore Street in the 1911 Census and from 1909 at 169 Harris Street in the street directory. (Before that Laura Scott had the Harris Street house, and Dolly’s name doesn’t appear so it’s likely that this was when she became an owner rather than a tenant). In 1912 Mamie, identified as ‘widow of Joseph’ is listed as “matron, C P R Dining Car Quarters” and seems to have left the city a year later. We suspect that Joseph built the building as an apartment building, and then Dolly acquired it when the nature of the street changed and Joseph himself was no longer around – having moved south.

It looks as if Joseph and Mary’s son, William, (who was born in Nanaimo in 1897) headed to California; he was married there in 1917, drafted into the US Army in 1918, and died in San Bernardino in 1988 (when his mother’s name was recorded correctly as Hanna).

Joseph got married in the US in 1912 to Nettie Orcutt – at 39 she was a year younger than Joseph. She was a Canada-born widow with three children. In 1920 Joseph was still living in California with his wife Elizabeth McCarter, who was two years older than Joseph, born in Ireland, with a stepson, George Agnew (they may have married in 1918 – there’s a wedding in Marin County between Elizabeth Agnew and Joseph McCarter, although their ages are completely wrong). In 1930 Joseph’s wife was Ada, seven years younger than him, and born in England, as was her son (so Joseph’s stepson) Roy Hanna. Ada had emigrated in 1917, and Joseph and Ada were still together in the 1940 census. Joseph Alexander McCarter was living in Sonoma, California, when his death was registered in 1950.

Dolly Darlington is listed in the 1911 census as head of a household of seven other women, aged between 18 and 29, all from the US. Dolly herself was aged 27 and had arrived in Canada in 1905, and her ‘lodgers’ – some of whom were identified as bookkeeper and dressmaker – had arrived between 1906 and 1909. There’s no trace of anyone called Darlington with the name Dolly or Dollie being born in the US in the 1880s, so it’s possible she adopted an appropriate name for professional reasons. While further efforts were made to ‘cleanse’ the city in 1914, Dollie was still shown at 500 Alexander in 1915, one of only 6 possible remaining brothels on Alexander (while 18 of the addresses in the area were listed as vacant).

The houses on this block and the next stayed empty throughout the war, except for this building. In 1918 it was listed as the Sailor’s Home, a description that remained for many years, until 1954 when it closed down. (Our 1940 Vancouver Public Library image shows it during this period). The 1919 Seaman’s Handbook for Shore Leave describes the facility: “sleeping quarters, where Seamen from 12 to 20 may be accommodated, if Home is not full; rates 35 cents to 50 cents per night, $1.75 to $2.25 per week; check-room for luggage, reading-room, writing-room and library. Recreation in the form of entertainments, musical evenings, etc., is provided.”

Part of the building was used for a while as commercial property; in 1955 Western Engineering and Trading moved in, (William D Hubbard, president; diesel and engine parts) but the address was used by another Hubbard-related company as well. (We assume William and Alfred were related; in 1955 William lived on Sunset Boulevard in North Vancouver and was married to Shirley; Alfred was described as a research scientist and lived on Cambie with his wife Rita). Alfred Hubbard was born in the US but later became a Canadian citizen. In 1919, (despite only a third grade education in Kentucky), Hubbard invented the Hubbard Energy Transformer, a radioactive battery that could not be explained by the technology of the day. The Seattle Post- Intelligencer reported that Hubbard’s invention, hidden in an 11″ x 14″ box, had powered a ferry- sized vessel around Seattle’s Portico Bay nonstop for three days. Fifty percent rights to the patent were eventually bought by the Radium Corporation of Pittsburgh for $75,000, and nothing more was heard of the Hubbard Energy Transformer.

Vancouver Magazine reported that during prohibition Hubbard took a job as a Seattle taxi driver and with a sophisticated ship-to-shore communications system hidden in the trunk of his cab, Hubbard helped rum-runners to successfully ferry booze past the US and Canadian Coast Guards. He was, however, caught by the FBI and went to prison for 18 months.After the war he founded a charter boat company and became a millionaire, acquiring a Gulf Island. In 1950, Hubbard experienced another angellic visitation telling him that something important to the future of mankind would soon be coming. When he read about LSD the next year, he knew that was it and immediately sought and acquired LSD, which he tried for himself in 1951. At various times over the next 20 years, Hubbard reportedly worked for the Canadian Special Services, the U.S. Justice Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He also worked at the Hollywood Hospital in New Westminster. During those years he introduced more than 6,000 people to LSD – including scientists, politicians, intelligence officials, diplomats, and church figures – and became known as the first “Captain Trips”, travelling about with a leather case containing pharmaceutically pure LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. In 1955 Sandoz, the manufacturers of LSD shipped (via parcel post) 43 boxed of LSD to this building, addressed to Hubbard’s “Uranium Corp of B.C. Ltd”. There’s much more about Hubbard on the Past Tense blog.

500 Alexander 2

During the Hubbard years it became a rooming house using the Jackson Street entrance as the main address, initially as the Tyne Lodge Apartments and then the International Rooms. It was in a poor state by the mid 1970s (as our 1978 shot shows), and was acquired in 2009 by the Atira Development Society who carried out a careful and thorough heritage restoration, and then built the city’s first container-based housing on the adjacent lot.

East Pender Street – unit block (2)

 

E Pender unit north alt

There has been recent commentary suggesting the new developments in Chinatown are changing its character and threatening the heritage of the area. So far that really hasn’t been true – the sites that are being redeveloped are all either replacing recent (and unimpressive) buildings, or have replaced modest older structures that were too far gone, or small, to save.

Here’s our second look at the unit block of East Pender on the north side of the street; (the first post looked at the other half of the block). Here we’re comparing 1981 and today, and if anything the street is in better condition: all the heritage buildings are still standing and almost unchanged. Up the street the Chinatown Gate has been added, and beyond it the Chatham Steel services depot has been replaced with a housing project for Chinese seniors and other community services. (The steel depot replaced Yip Sang’s much larger tenement building).

From the right, and moving west, we can see the Yue Shan Society buildings – the edge of the 2-storey building that dates back to 1889, and the 1920s design by W H Chow for the three storey structure. Between the two buildings is a narrow alley that leads to a courtyard; behind that is a third building (from around 1914) that also fronts Market Alley (running parallel to East Pender). The Yue Shan Society provides aid to immigrants from Pan Yu (Yu Shan) County, near Guangzhou, China, and have occupied these buildings since 1943.

Next door are two buildings that we featured a couple of months ago; the R J MacDonald designed Wong’s Benevolent association from 1910, and Ming Wo Cookware that dates to 1913 and developed by Wong Soon King. Beyond that is the Chinese Times building, developed by Yip Sang who hired W T Whiteway to design it, (and later W H Chow designed alterations).

Image source: Peter B Clibbon

Posted December 29, 2014 by ChangingCity in Chinatown, East End, Still Standing

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East Pender and Columbia Street (3)

Pender & Columbia 2

We saw what this view looked like in 1929 in an earlier post. We looked in more detail at the building on the corner in another post. Remarkably few of the buildings further east (up the street) have changed very much since the earlier 1929 image, or since this 1978 image. The biggest change (in summer in particular) is the addition of street trees.

Next door to the hotel is a 1903 building designed by W T Whiteway for merchant, Chu Lai. He arrived in British Columbia in the 1860s, worked in the Cariboo and by 1876 he was able to open his own firm, Wing Chong Company, at the corners of Store and Cormorant streets in Victoria. He was Hakka from Guangdong province, and his company became the centre of the Hakka community. Chang Toy (founder of Vancouver’s Sam Kee company), when he first arrived in the area stayed at the company’s property before finding work in New Westminster. The Sam Kee company developed the hotel building on the corner in 1911. Chu Lai died in 1906 in Victoria, survived by four wives (two living in China), five sons, and three daughters.

The 3-storey building next door is a mystery to us – completed around 1910, we haven’t managed to identify a client or architect. There’s a small, more recent building to the east of that, built in the 1950s, and then the substantial Wong’s Benevolent Association with the Mon Keang School, and the Lee Building is beyond that (which we featured in an earlier post). On the far right of the picture is the Sun Ah Hotel, home to the Ho Ho Restaurant (today Foo’s Ho Ho). It was designed for Chinese merchant Loo Gee Wing by R T Perry and R A Nicholais.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 780-459

Seymour Street – 600 block

600 Seymour

We’ve featured both of the buildings in this picture already. On the left is Max Downing’s retail building for the Hudson’s Bay Company from 1933, and on the right is the St Regis Hotel. Leon Melekov, a successful businessman, hired W T Whiteway to design the hotel which opened in 1913. This 1974 image shows that neither building looked as good 40 years ago as they do today. The Archives identify the two businesses on the left as Salon George and Rae-Son Shoe Rack. The Salon was offering $2.95 haircuts.

The hotel was given an extensive $12m makeover, reopening in 2008 after an expensive new underground connection was built to allow disabled access for the SkyTrain station nearby. This was the community amenity contribution that allowed the residential tower that now fills in the sky behind the two buildings: The Hudson (on Granville Street). The Gotham steakhouse was renovated earlier by the same owner.

When it first opened the St Regis initially operated as a business hotel. Later it was where visiting sportsmen often chose to stay, and by the time this picture was taken it had moved further down market with a strip show – one of around thirty in the city at that time –  and in the final years before renovation it featured Jester’s Grill and Tap Room.

Image source City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-420

Posted August 11, 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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