Archive for the ‘William Blackmore’ Tag

1172 Pacific Street

We didn’t know who designed this wooden house, seen here in 1931, but we knew who lived in it. Major Matthews, the City Archivist, labelled the image as ‘The Lacy R Johnson residence’. We’ve come across Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson in an earlier post, in a different house, also correctly identified as the ‘Lacey R Johnson house‘. That was on Seymour Street in 1887, but in 1890 the family moved here, to Beach Avenue, identified in the street directory as ‘between Thurlow and Bute’. Patrick Gunn has found that the architect was William Blackmore. In May 1889 the Daily World reported “Mr. Blackmore has just let the contract to Messrs. Bell & McKenzie for the fine double residence to be erected by Lacey R. Johnston, Master mechanic C.P.R., on Beach Avenue, overlooking English Bay.” It appears the family might have relied on well water when they first moved here – water permit 2030 was issued on May 4, 1893 to Lacey R. Johnson, Beach Avenue. Lacey Robt Johnson was still here in 1895 – the first house listed on Beach Avenue, but not yet given a number. That was still true in 1902 when he was listed as Major Lacey R Johnson, master mechanic, CPR.

By 1903 the street had been extended to Granville, and numbered, but that year has no record of Major Johnson. We’re therefore almost entirely relying on Major Matthews to have accurately identified where he had lived. This is on the right block (between Thurlow and Bute) and as the 1901 insurance maps show this to be the only property on either Beach (which runs behind the house to the south) or Pacific, his identification seems solid. By 1912 this duplex was 1172 and 1776 Pacific, with another larger house on the same lot behind addressed as 1171 Beach Avenue.

The newly-built house would have been full: the 1891 census lists Lacy R Johnston, age 35, with his wife, Maria, who was two years younger, and six children, aged from 13 to 2. (There was also 3 month old baby, who seems to have been missed). Their place of birth showed how the family had moved around. Grace, 13, was born in England, Flora, 9, in India and Julia and Robert, aged 8 and 6, in Ontario. The three youngest had been born in British Columbia.

Lacey Robert Johnson was born at Abingdon, England and attended the Grammar School there. In 1870 he started working for the Great Western Railway at Swindon. He became chief engineer of several paper mills, and in 1875 he worked on the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. He was sent to India, and then came to Canada joining the Grand Trunk Railway, and then Canadian Pacific in 1882. He was appointed Assistant Master Mechanic of the Pacific Coast Division based in Vancouver where he was Chief Mechanic of the railway and the marine engineering department of the Pacific Steamship Service. His work required him to be aboard ships bound for Japan and China. In 1901 he became Assistant Superintendent of rolling stock at Montreal, and in 1912 promoted to general superintendent of the Angus shops district. He took a great interest in military matters, and, as Lieutenant-Colonel, was in command of the Heavy Artillery of Montreal which later took part in the First Great War. He died in 1915 at the age of 59.

In 1905 1176 Pacific was offered for rent as a 7-roomed house ‘overlooking the bay’ – $21 a month. In 1906 Errol Chambers, a bookkeeper was in 1174 and George Hay, a contractor had leased 1176. The tenants had changed (and the numbering was clarified) by 1908 when Albert Cruise, in real estate was at 1172, and Dr. William Walkem was at 1176, staying for two years (he was a surgeon born in Montreal, and brother of B .C. Premier George Walkem).

Stuart Matthews and John Laing were here in 1909 and stayed in the houses for a few years. Stuart was still living here for the 1911 census with his wife Elizabeth. He was from Quebec, aged 60, and a labourer. Elizabeth was from New Brunswick, and the same age as her husband. Several children were still at home, Albert, born in 1883, Gertrude, in 1892 and her twin sister Daisy, all born in Ontario. Another daughter, Madeline Bruedrelle, born in 1879 also lived in the house with her English husband, Harry and their children, Harry, Madeline and Archibald, all born in BC and aged 10, 5 and 2. Harry worked for a safe company. Stuart Matthews died in 1918, and Mrs. Eliza Matthews was still here in 1919. By 1921 she had moved out, and died in Burnaby in 1924.

Amund Jacobson was briefly here in 1921, followed by Leo Jessup in 1922. He was listed as a contractor in the street directory. He was from Huntsville, Ontario, and he married Mabel Patrick in Haileybury in Ontario in 1906, when he was 24 and she was 18. They had 2 children, and we can tell from their daughter’s 1932 marriage that her father was from Haileybury and her mother from Sudbury. In 1911 they were still in Nipissing, Ontario, where Leo was an inspector ‘in woods’. In the 1921 census they were living on East 8th Avenue, when Richard was 10 and Leona 13. That year Leo was listed as George, (his middle name), and he was a house builder.

Once they’d moved here, we’re pretty sure it was Mabel was advertising in the Vancouver Sun in 1922 and 23: “NURSE JESSUP, SPECIALIST IN ELECTRICITY; electrical treatments of all kinds; advises ladies to use her female regulators; absolutely safe and harmless. Make happy homes and healthy women. 1172 Pacific St. phone for appointments“. Quite what sort of apparatus Mabel had access to that made homes happy and women healthy was never revealed in detail.

In 1924 the family had disappeared, and Leo and Mabel may have split up, but in 1927 Nurse Maybell Jessup had returned to Vancouver, living on Helmcken Street, advertising ‘Private Care taken’ in the newspapers. Later that year she moved to Walden Street, in South Vancouver. She was listed at Mrs. C Jessup, so had apparently switched to her middle name, Clare (or Clara). In December 1927 she was back in the press, but not in a positive light. An inquest jury heard that Mary Elizabeth Atrey died of Septic poisoning in Nurse Jessup’s home, following an abortion. A doctor was called, but the girl was already dead. Evidence was produced that Nurse Jessup had previously been charged for the same offence, and was out on a suspended sentence. She was unable to give evidence, as she was in the general hospital. We haven’t found any further press coverage of the event to know what happened as a result of this incident, but there were no further advertisements from Nurse Jessup.

In 1932 Leo Jessup was living on Homer street, working as a paperhanger, and his son Richard was also listed. A year later he was working as a carpenter, and living at 1321 Howe Street. The Sun published “The announcement of the engagement of Miss Anne Robertson and Mr. Richard Jessup, as reported Wednesday, is denied by the parties concerned.”

In 1934 L G Jessup (Leo), Richard B Jessup, and Mrs. E Mybell Jessup were all listed at 983 Howe. That year a ‘theft ring’ was broken up; the Sun reported that “More than $5000 worth of allegedly stolen goods were recovered by the police as a result of the arrests, which numbered In all nine men and four women.” The main ringleaders were given three-year sentences, but there was also “Mabel Jessup, who pleaded guilty of retaining stolen property sentenced to the two weeks she has already served In Jail and a fine of $25 or a further month in confinement“.

In 1935 Leo and Mabel, with Richard, had moved to West 8th, and Leo was a miner. They disappear for a couple of years, but were back from 1938 to 1940 when they were living on West 3rd; Leo was a carpenter again, and Richard a driver, but there’s no further mention of Mabel. In 1941 Richard had married Jennie, and a year later Leo was living on Hornby, working as a bolter in the North Vancouver shipyards, and so was Richard (who was listed as Jessop). After the war, in 1946, Leo was working in a sawmill and living on Hornby, and Richard was living on the same block of Howe, as was Mabel C Jessup, who was listed as a widow, and living at Richard’s address. In 1949 Jennie Jessup was a waitress at the Alcazar Hotel, Richard and his mother were still shown at the same address, and Leo had a new job at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. A year later Mabel was no longer listed, and Jennie had moved to Barclay St, but Leo and Richard’s addresses and jobs stay the same. A year later just Leo and Jennie are in the city, and by 1955, just Jennie.

We haven’t found a record of Mabel Jessup’s death. Leo died in 1967 in Burnaby. His daughter Leona (who had married and moved away) died aged 53 in New Westminster in 1960, and son Richard in Nelson in 1956, aged 45. Jennie Jessup died in Kelowna, in 1997.

For much of the 1920s, 1172 was vacant, and Mrs. Jane Prior lived at 1176. In 1929 two 7-room duplexes were available at a rent of $35.00 each, and two at $26.00. In the early 1930s John Brunt, a longshoreman moved into 1172, and 1176 had a revolving set of tenants from 1930. The building was vacant for a couple of years, and then from 1935 C Guy Temple and his wife Marjorie were living at 1172, and leased rooms in 1176. In 1955 they were still running the two addresses as apartments and rooms.

In 1969 The Tallin, a 20 storey rental building was completed. Where the Lacey R Johnson house once stood, the building’s surface parking lot sits behind a hedge.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Bu N12



Posted 27 June 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

Tagged with ,

West Cordova north side from Homer Street

Remarkably, all the buildings in this 1919 Vancouver Public Library picture are still standing today, almost unchanged in appearance in over 100 years.

We looked at the history of the big warehouse in the middle of this image in two earlier posts. On West Cordova it’s numbered as 401, while on Water Street it’s 342 Water Street. It was developed as a three storey building that later had two floors added. It was built in 1899 as The Burns Block, but became known later as the Buscombe Building. William Blackmore was hired by John Burns to build a three storey stone building, and in 1911 Grant and Henderson designed two additional floors at a cost of $13,500, which was executed in a grey Gulf Island stone matching the earlier phase of the building. We’re not completely sure which of two possible John Burns developed the building, but we suspect he was a Scottish born businessman who arrived in the 1890s when he was already in his 60s, and retired. His son, Fred Burns, was already in Vancouver, dealing in plumbing and engineering supplies.

To the left of the warehouse are two significantly older properties. The Jones Block was developed in 1890, and designed by N S Hoffar, who recycled his design (with an extra window on the top floor) for the McConnell Block next door, also in 1890. Most census records suggest Gilbert Smythe McConnell was born in Quebec around 1857, although his death certificate and the 1891 census said it was 1855. That Census has his name as Guibert, which is probably more accurate, before he switched it for convenience to Gilbert. An 1891 biography tells us much more about Mr. McConnell “Mr. McConnell was born in Argenteuil County, Quebec, in 1856, where he attended school. When fifteen years of age he entered the employ of Green, Sons & Co., of Montreal, wholesale dealers in men’s furnishings. He remained with this firm for seven years, when he received the appointment as Indian agent in charge of the Touchwood Hilt district, Manitoba, in which service he remained for about six years. At the breaking out of the rebellion in the Northwest, in 1885, he was appointed one of the transport officers on Gen. Middleton’s staff’. He returned to Woodstock after the rebellion had been quelled, and was married to the eldest daughter of Wm. Muir, of that town. Mr. McConnell came to Vancouver in 1886, shortly after the fire, and has since been actively identified with the city’s interests. He built about thirty houses, including a couple of brick blocks, and has been interested in various enterprises. He served for two years in the City Council. He started his present business, as a wholesale importer of gents’ furnishings, hats, caps, etc., about three months ago, and has already a very large trade. He owns and built the building he occupies, which is a three story brick, fronting on Cordova and Water streets.”

His wife, Nettie Agnes was from Ontario and ten years younger. They married in Woodstock, Ontario in 1886, and their children were born in British Columbia; William in 1888 and Florence in 1890. Gilbert died in 1934.

We haven’t found a contemporary reference to who the ‘Jones’ in the Jones Block was, but H A Jones had his offices here the year after it was completed. Harry Jones was originally from Liverpool, born there in 1851, and had been in Vancouver from before the 1886 fire. He developed several buildings in the city, and was married at least three times.

Running off the picture to the left is the Holland Block, completed in 1892 and designed by C W H Sansom for James M. Holland, an American lawyer. On the right of the Buscombe Building is the Homer Street Arcade which dates from 1912, designed by Stuart and White for the ‘Thompson Bros’ (actually Thomson), and built by the Burrard Construction Co for $30,000. It was an unusual building for Vancouver: an arcade linking Water Street to Cordova, with an entrance across the street from Homer Street, (which presumably explains its name).


Strathcona School – East Pender Street

Strathcona School has seen several stages of development, and redevelopment for over a century. Initially called the East End School, the first building, designed by Thomas Hooper, was completed in 1891 – seen here on the left hand side of this Library and Archives Canada picture from the 1910s. A new larger wing was added in 1897, facing Keefer Street, to the south of the original building. That was designed by William Blackmore, and it was completed in 1898. It’s still standing today, and has recently been seismically upgraded in a $25m project, but it’s hidden today by the gymnasium (auditorium), completed in 1930. That too received seismic upgrading in the form of poured concrete buttresses on the corners of the building, and additional concrete shear walls internally.

The upgraded 1897 building on Keefer is load-bearing unreinforced brick and stone. It was upgraded using seismic (base) isolation technology. Completed in December 2016, this was the first base isolated building in Canada. It now sits on lead core rubber bearings with teflon-stainless steel sliders, designed to absorb the energy of an earthquake without the building shaking to pieces.

In the early 1900s classes were moved from the first building, which gradually fell out of use. It was eventually demolished in 1920, but the bricks were saved and recycled into the construction of a new building. The Primary building is beside the gymnasium, just off the picture to the left. Completed in 1921, it was designed by F A A Barrs. The Senior Building can be seen today on the right. It too has been seismically strengthened, and was built in two phases, starting in 1914 (designed by Charles Morgan) and completed in 1927. H W Postle designed the second phase, and the gymnasium.

Image source: Images Canada


Granville Street – 800 block, west side (3)

We’ve looked at the west side of this block of Granville looking north is previous posts, but not looking south, from Robson Street. The picture dates from 1951, when there were still plenty of competing cinemas with vertical blade signs. On the east side wire the Capitol and the Orpheum; the bigger theatres on the block, but the Paradise and Plaza had equally large signs, even if their capacity was less. The Paradise opened in 1938, showing Paul Robeson in “The Big Fella”. The 1938 art deco facade was designed by Thomas Kerr, and the cinema had 790 seats. This wasn’t the first cinema here, in 1912 The Globe opened, designed by an engineer, C P Gregory, for the Pacific Amusement Company. It cost $40,000, and three years later was altered by new owners the Hope Investment Company. There were further alterations a year later, when W P Nichols was shown as the owner, and in 1922 a pipe organ was installed. The theatre was taken over by Odeon in 1941 who later refurbished and reopened it as the Coronet Theatre in 1964 showing Peter Sellers in “The Pink Panther”. In 1976 the cinema was twinned – two smaller screens allowed less popular movies to be shown. The Coronet cinema closed in 1986, although that wasn’t the end of its movie-house story.

Odeon also acquired the Plaza Theatre just up Granville Street by the late 1940s, renaming it as the Odeon after a refurbishment in the early 1960s. Their theatre was three doors to the south of the Paradise, as we saw in an earlier post photographed in 1974. That was another Thomas Kerr design, from 1936, which was a rebuild of the 1908 Maple Leaf Theatre. Today it’s Venue, a nightclub that (until recent restrictions) had live music as well as DJs. As other cinemas closed on Granville, Odeon decided to close the Plaza, and acquired the Vermilyea Block (next to the Plaza), designed by William Blackmore in 1893 and operated for years as The Palms Hotel. They also demolished 855 Granville, a 1920 office building developed by J F Mahon. They combined the Paradise and the two adjacent buildings and in 1987 the Cineplex Granville 7 opened, with a total of over 2,400 seats in seven cinemas in a building that incorporated the facade of both the Vermilyea and the Coronet, with a new building between. The cinema closed in 2012 as the Empire Granville, and is now being redeveloped as The Rec Room, another Cineplex entertainment complex, but with no movie element.

On the corner today is the Mason Robson Centre which a few years ago replaced the Farmer Building, and incorporated the facade of the Power Block, a 1929 Townley and Matheson art deco building. The demolished back of the building dated back to 1888, when it was developed by Captain William Power, of North Vancouver, who hired N S Hoffar to design it. The tall building to the south is the Medical Arts Building, a $100,000 investment developed by J J Coughlin and designed by Maurice Helyer in 1922 (and still used as office space today). John J Coughlin ran a Vancouver construction company – the biggest in the city. His company built the $200,000 Second Hotel Vancouver, a block from here to the north. The small building to the south is now missing the design elements initially included by architect James Keagey for his clients recorded in the building permit as ‘Powers and Boughton’ in 1913. Actually they were John E Powis and G E Broughton, real estate agents and developers.

Image source: City of Vancouver archives CVA 772-8


Granville Street – 800 block, west side (2)

This 1974 image of Granville Street looking north shows the edge of today’s McDonalds restaurant, the second building from the Smithe Street intersection. It was originally developed by William Catto in 1911, who we think was a Yukon doctor and mine-owner. In 1974 it was a camera store. The Plaza cinema next door dates back to 1936, designed by Thomas L Kerr, but there had been a cinema here, the Maple Leaf, from 1908. In 1974 it had become the Odeon, before the redevelopment of the adjacent buildings as a larger cinema, and more recently it has become the Venue nightclub, hosting live music and DJs.

To the north is one of the older buildings on Granville, the Vermilyea Block No. 2. (Block No. 1 was a block further south). William Blackmore designed the ornate 3-storey building in 1893 for John Vermilyea, one of the earlier settlers who arrived from Ontario in 1876 and initially had a farm in Richmond. In 1913 it became the Palms Hotel, converted for new owner F T Andrews, and run as a hotel for many years. In the 1980s the Palms was demolished, although the facade was restored and incorporated into a new Odeon Cinema, (which in turn closed several years ago).

Next door, in 1974, was a single storey building, built in 1920. It can be seen slightly better in this 1946 image (right). The permit says it was built for J F Mahon and designed by Edwards & Ames. It cost a remarkably precise $16,266. Edwards and Ames were agents, not architects, often representing the interests of members of the Mahon family. In 1974 it had a deco gothic 1935 façade, rather than the 1920 original, which was apparently designed by Thomas Kerr.

John Fitzgerald Mahon was an early Vancouver investor, who arrived in 1889 but soon returned to England leaving his brother, Edward, to look after his extensive interests in British Columbia, including lands on the North Shore and a mining town in Kootneys he named Castlegar, after his Irish ancestral home. (Edward Mahon purchased and developed the Capilano Suspension Bridge property where members of his family lived and operated the business) The family home on Hastings Street was later replaced by the Marine Building. In England John Mahon ran a private bank with another Anglo-Irish family; Guinness Mahon. When the Odeon was redeveloped to a multiplex movie theatre, a new building was developed here, linking the two older theatres which were incorporated into the new structure.

The third building that became part of the Cineplex Odeon in 1986 was still the Coronet Cinema in 1974. It had first been built as a theatre, The Globe, in 1912 for the Pacific Amusement Company, designed by D C Gregory and costing $40,000. Later it became the Paradise, with an unusual bas relief sculpted art deco façade added in 1938, also designed by Thomas Kerr. It was remodeled again in 1965, by architects Lort and Lort, but the 1930s façade was unaltered.

Odeon sold the cinema to the Empire chain in 2005, who closed the cinema several years ago, and it’s been looking for a new use ever since. Various ideas have been considered for office and retail space, including returning to three separate buildings. Now a proposal has been submitted for Cineplex (again) to take over the complex, redeveloping it as ‘The Rec Room’, with a variety of entertainment offerings including bowling, virtual reality and restaurants and bars, all under one roof.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 800-442 and CVA 586-4619 (extract)


Posted 16 May 2019 by ChangingCity in Altered, Downtown

Tagged with , ,

West Georgia and Burrard – sw corner (2)


While we have no idea who designed the 1930s building on the corner of Burrard and West Georgia that housed Oscar’s restaurant and the Palomar Club, we do know who built the building that it replaced, shown here. William Blackmore & Son were hired to design the new Wesley Methodist Church in 1901. The design was very loosely based on H H Richardson’s Trinity Church in Boston – although it’s quite difficult to create a wooden facsimile of a stone building. There’s a 1901 illustration that suggests the Methodists were planning a stone building initially, but no doubt the cost became a factor in the decision to build in wood.

The congregation moved here in 1902 from Homer Street, the year this picture of the new church was taken. The old church was located in the eastern side of the city, and some of the city’s wealthier Methodists had moved into the new residential enclave of the West End, and it’s said the church was moved with them. The new church was a bit bigger than the one it replaced – but not a lot bigger. It lasted just 32 years before the congregation moved to another new Wesley church – St Andrew’s Wesley, further south on Burrard Street.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Ch P91


Posted 20 February 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with

Granville and West Pender – northwest corner


Here’s another early and substantial (for the time) Downtown office building. It’s the Fairfield Building, designed by William Blackmore, although there’s just a tiny part of the adjacent Dunn Block to the north showing (on the right). When Walter Frost took this picture in 1946 it wasn’t going to be standing much longer; the replacement buildings that are still standing were built in 1949 and 1951. The three storey ‘New fairfield-1899Dunn Block’ was erected around 1893, and the Fairfield in 1898. The image on the right (which we can’t reproduce as a ‘before and after’ because the photographer stood on the vacant site up the street) shows the building at completion, and the adjacent earlier structure to the north. Blackmore used almost identical design elements for both buildings, and Thomas Dunn also had a hand in the Fairfield. We know he certainly supplied many of the materials because William Blackmore chose to feature the building in a promotional brochure called ‘Vancouver of Today Architecturally’.

We also know the building was developed by the Fairfield Syndicate, as work started on August 8th and was reported in the Daily World. Earlier that year the paper reported that “the buyers of this property from Thos. Dunn were the Fairfield Company, of London, and of which J. J. Lang is the Vancouver agent. The building, which is to be a large four-storey structure, will extend from the McKinnon block to the corner of Pender street and will include the present Dunn Hall, on which another storey will be erected. A feature of the building will be a fine arch on the Granville street side and the entire fronts on both streets will be of granite.” The Syndicate weren’t just building investments downtown, they also actively developed a series of mining properties throughout the province; we don’t know which endeavor was the more profitable.

Thomas Dunn’s decision to build his building on Granville Street was significant – before this he’d built in the earlier Granville area of the city, both on Cordova Street and on Water Street in Maple Leaf square. The CPR had built their station at the foot of Granville, their hotel several blocks up the street in the middle of the cleared forest, and their directors had built office buildings along the street in between. In 1895 H. McDowell Co., Ltd., Agents were based in the Dunn Block – Vancouver agents for Columbia, Cleveland and Rambler Bicycles.

Jonathan Rogers (who owned the office building across the street) acquired the building in August 1905, and in 1920 paid $7,500 for general repairs to 445 Granville; the Dunn Block part of the building. Today the office building on the corner was designed by McCarter and Nairne and completed as the Dominion Bank building in 1949. The adjacent Canada Permanent building that replaced the Dunn Building was completed a year or two later and was also designed by the same architects. No doubt the sixty year old buildings, with their modest density, will themselves be redeveloped – most likely as an office tower, perhaps with preservation of the 1940s facades.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 447-286 and CVA 15-03


Posted 29 December 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with , ,

West Georgia and Richards – sw corner (1)

500 W Georgia

The new Telus Garden office is an unusual building for the city because it’s over 250 feet wide, at the end of a block. That’s because the lane dog-legs into Richards, but this wasn’t always the case – it’s a newly created diversion. The first building on the site was built in 1889 and designed by William Blackmore. It was the First Congregational Church, seen here around 1905 – it stood here for only just over 20 years. The First Congregational Church held its first service on April 28, 1888 in Wilson Hall on the southwest corner of Cordova and Abbott streets. The congregation was officially organized on June 17, 1888. It secured property on the corner of Richards and Georgia streets, with the new church officially opening on December 8, 1889. The congregation split away to form Central Congregational Church over the issue of pacifism, but returned to First Congregational Church in 1903. It sat across the street from St Andrew’s Presbyterian, built only a year later and also designed by William Blackmore, (and from the look of the two buildings he was a keen recycler).

The church authorities bought property at the corner of Thurlow and Pendrell Streets and a new church was opened on November 9, 1912. In 1925, First Congregational Church became part of the United Church of Canada and First Congregational was amalgamated with St. John’s United Church. The 1912 First Congregational Church building was given to the continuing Presbyterian Church.

brandon auto liveryIn the meantime this site had already been cleared, although it previous use seems to have been influential enough that despite barely surviving 20 years, the lane between Seymour and Richards was for a while called Church Street (one of very few named lanes in the city). It looks as if the site stayed empty for several years – there’s nothing shown in the street directories for this location for several years until “Brandon Auto Livery” is listed just after the end of World War One.

That was also a gas station – we don’t have much of an image of it: just a 1930 movie in the Vancouver Archives. It was operated by Home Oil, and it stood here until the mid 1930s, sharing the location later in its existence with ‘U-Drive Ltd’ – one of the earliest car rentals in the city. In the early years of the operation the company was owned by R G Hetherington. In the early 1920s it passed to  G A Mathers and C J Hamilton, who was replaced by J H Mills at the end of the 1920s. As far as we can tell the final year of operation was 1937, when it was being run by L Richardson.

Image sources: CVA 677-413 and film MI-99


St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

St Andrew's Presbyterian Georgia & Richards v1

West Georgia Street was once pretty much developed with family homes and churches. This is St Andrew’s, the Presbyterian church on the corner with Richards street on the north-east corner in a photograph dated to 1900. The Architect was William Blackmore, and the church was built in 1890; the first concert was held in May and the first marriage was held in June. Calvert Simon, the Hastings Mill storekeeper identified Jimmy Kemp as the builder of the church

Major Matthews, the City Archivist, recalled that it “used to have two towers; one blew off, and they never replaced it”. We think he was mistaken: there’s a photograph of the church being completed from around 1890 – and there’s no sign of the second tower being constructed (on the right of the image. There were however four corner cornices that didn’t last very long on the second tower.

Seymour between Dunsmuir & Georgia

The church (just about) lasted until 1934 (so another image in the archives with the spire removed must be earlier than 1937, as it is labeled). The congregation had mostly moved west to the new St Andrew’s – St Andrew’s Wesley, which was the new United Church built for the recently joined non-conformist denominations and completed in 1933.

This corner saw a service station constructed after the church was demolished – the George and Richards Service Station, owned in 1945 by Betts and Carroll. In 1974 the building that’s there today was completed. Designed by Zoltan Kiss, it was known as the BC Turf Building and developed by Jack Diamond.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-648 and SGN 1454


Posted 28 July 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

Tagged with ,

401 West Cordova Street

Buscombe Building Cordova

Here’s the other side of 342 Water Street, which started life as the Burns Building, designed by William Blackmore in 1899 for John Burns, with an additional two storeys added in 1911 by Grant & Henderson.

In 1901 Turner Beeton & Co occupied the building, the company founded by John Turner who was at different times Mayor of Victoria and Premier of British Columbia. Also occupying the building were S Greenshields & Co, founded in Montreal by a Scottish businessman, Samuel Greenshields, and expanded across the country to be the largest suppliers of dry goods, including cottons, woollens, carpets, household furnishings, dress goods, and notions such as gloves, hosiery, and laces. In 1910, before the extra floors were added, Greggs, importers of Japanese Goods were here with the Canadian Rubber Co of Montreal. Ten years later the Dunlop Tire Co had half the building and the Western Dry Goods Co of Canada, Ltd the other half. Despite the ambitious title, they appear to only have operated in Vancouver, run by R B Mackedie and E St John Howley. In 1930 Dunlop were still in the building, but the other half was J H Hunter & Co, another dry goods company headed by T E Leigh.

Buscombe & Co were run by George Buscombe, and they were in a smaller building next door to the east. In 1935 they were shown at 341 Water Street, and a year later at 342 – this building. (The 1935 entry might be an error, although it’s repeated in the directory). An earlier company had been founded in 1899 when Fred Buscombe bought out James A Skinner and Co, china and glass importers, originally founded in Hamilton. He was at different times President of the city’s Board of Trade, and Mayor of Vancouver in 1905. He was also president of the Pacific Coast Lumber & Sawmills Company, and director of the Pacific Marine Insurance Company. Fred sold out to a Montreal business in 1911, but his brother George continued as Vice-President and general manager of F Buscombe & Co. In the later 1920s he established his own rival business, G Buscombe & Co, wholesale crockery. By the time the company moved to this building Fred had retired, and was living in Burnaby. He died in the same year that the picture of the building was taken; 1938. George and his son, also George E Buscombe, ran two businesses here; a crockery and glass import business and an insurance agency. George senior retired in 1952, and died in 1958, but his son continued in business here until the 1960s. He died in 1980, aged 79.

The other company in the building were the Julius Shore Mail Order House. Dealing mostly in furniture, Julius Shore was a prominent member of the city’s Jewish community. His father, Benjamin, was manager of a coal company in the late 1920s while Julius was at UBC, and in 1935 Julius was working with Dominion Furniture and seems to have established his company soon after, moving into Water Street at around the same time as Buscombes.

The most recent restoration of the building took place in 1997, designed by Rafii Architects, and today it’s home to Brioche Urban Eatery. Upstairs are a range of office occupants, from a Massage school to a coal company and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

Image source: Vancouver Public Library