Archive for the ‘Wright Rushforth & Cahill’ Tag

835 Beatty Street

In July 1911, the ‘Contracts Record’ publication announced that “Plans have been prepared by Wright, Rushforth & Cahill, 709 Dunsmuir, street, for a 6-storey mill constructed warehouse building to be erected on Beatty street, at a cost of $60,000, by the Anglo-American Warehouse Co. Tenders closed July 8th.” The architects were from San Francisco, but had opened a Vancouver office, and won a few commissions; one for a substantial West End apartment building, and a few houses. This was their first (and as far as we can see) only commercial building in Vancouver. Either the publication was badly advised, or the plans were very quickly altered. That same month the building permit was issued, designed by the same architects, but for a 2-storey brick warehouse costing $30,000 for the Anglo-Canadian Warehouse Company. As the company name was recorded inaccurately, it seems possible that the magazine (with a Winnipeg publisher and a Toronto head office) got the other details wrong as well.

Even reduced in scale, the market conditions of the early 1910s proved problematic, and the building didn’t appear in the street directories until 1914. William Napier Tofft was managing the warehouse business, and living in North Vancouver. He was born in Canterbury, in Kent, in 1878, and was still living in England in 1911, although he was shown as emigrating to Quebec City in 1907. We know he married Janet Thomas, and had at least two daughters, Joyce and Sybil, both of whom later married in California. William died in North Vancouver in 1968, and Janet in 1971. In the 1920s Mr Tofft was a manufacturer’s agent, and was briefly in partnership as Tofft & Peck with Tobias Lane Peck.

Harry Burritt Devine took over at Anglo-Canadian in the mid 1920s. He was Canadian, born in Vancouver in 1893. His father, also Harry, was English, Born in Manchester in 1865, but had arrived in Canada in 1884. He worked in Brandon, Manitoba as a photographer, becoming partners with J.A. Brock and coming to Vancouver together in 1886. The partnership dissolved a year later and Harry continued work as a photograph until 1889. He worked for ten years for the City of Vancouver as an assessment commissioner, but resumed work as a photographer, and was still recorded in that profession in the 1901 census. Some of the city’s most memorable images were taken by Mr. Devine, including one showing City Council holding a meeting in front of a tent “City Hall” and the ‘Real estate office in big tree’. He ran a successful real estate and insurance business in Vancouver, and died in 1938. In the 1920s both father and son lived near Deer Lake in Burnaby. H B Devine married Annie, from Liverpool, in 1920, and continued to run Anglo-Canadian until the mid 1930s. He stayed living in Burnaby, moving on to represent Ensign Products. His wife died in 1951, and when Harry himself died in 1973, in Langley, he had remarried to Dorothy.

Anglo-Canadian was known not just for the storage warehouse, but also for the cartage business, operating some of the city’s largest trucks and able to transport large items, like steel girders.

The trucks, and the company’s annual staff outing and picnic (seen on the right) were both recorded in photographs taken in 1925 and held by the City Archives.

By the late 1930s the building was occupied by a manufacturers agent, General Foods, and Coast Wholesale Grocers. A decade later Kraft Foods were using the entire warehouse, and in 1955 Pioneer Envelopes were here. By 1985 when our main image was taken there was a Design studio upstairs, a hairdresser, and Omni Glass, specializing in stained glass. Corporate Expositions Group were the most prominent tenant. Today there’s a law office upstairs, a gymnastics studio, a pet store and a ticket agency. It’s likely that a future development will add further office floors over the existing building.

Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives  CVA 790-1839 and CVA 99-1311

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Posted January 28, 2019 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Still Standing

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Holly Lodge – Davie Street

holly-lodge

Here’s the only Vancouver residential apartment building designed by San Francisco architects Wright, Rushforth & Cahill. Wright was the lead partner, and originally from England, but Bernard Cahill was the likely designer, from San Francisco. It dates from 1910, and was completed a year later. The building permit estimated a cost of $100,000, but as designs were clarified the cost was raised to $157,000. In submitting the permit, the architects (who had opened a Vancouver office) claimed to be the builders This was unlikely to be true; they co-ordinated the trades who were the builders: the Wells Construction company carried out the initial site works of excavation and basement construction.

The developers were the Pacific Investment Corporation, and the Contract Record published some of the details of the project: “There will be 82 apartments in all, comprised as follows: 56 3-room, 22 4-room, 2 5-room and 2 2-room. In addition, there is a store on the comer suitable for grocer or druggist. Provision is also made for a cafe below the ground floor on Davie street, with stairway from the entrance vestibule. The basement will contain the heating plant, hot water service, vacuum cleaning plant, storage rooms, and janitor’s quarters. For the convenience of tenants, there will be dumb waiters, messenger and telegraph call boxes, mail chutes, patent sanitary garbage chutes, and vacuum cleaning system. Near the passenger elevator will be a ‘phone with connection to each apartment.”

The Pacific Investment Corporation’s fiscal agents were Wolverton & Co, run (in Vancouver) by Alfred N Wolverton and managing stocks, bonds and investments in real estate and timber. Newton Wolverton was president of Wolverton & Co, but was based in Nelson. He was president of Sunset Mills (a lumber company) and of Pacific Investment Corporation. He was born in Ontario, had an extraordinary career; he obtained a law degree, became Principal of Woodstock College (a Baptist training college) and then of Bishop College University in Texas from 1897 to 1903. He then became Superintendent of the Brandon Experimental Farm before moving to BC to take up finance and real estate in 1907.

It appears that the building is still owned today by a company with the same name, which may well have been an investment vehicle to develop the building. The investment opportunity was offered in February 1910: “The Pacific Investment Corporation, Limited, has purchased for the sum of $25,000 a double corner, 132×132 feet, the southeast coiner of Davie and Jervis streets, the very finest apartment building site in Vancouver’s exclusive West End. (It is immaterial that the company his since been offered $27,000 for this property). The company is going to erect the finest and most up-to-date six-storey apartment block in Western Canada on the business unit system and the estimated cost of property and building is $135,000. The company is now placing on the market 750 business units at par $100 each $25 cash, balance in two, four and six months, without interest. About one-third of these units is already subscribed.”

Our image dates from around 1911, when the building was featured in a postcard now in the BC Archives collection. As far as we know the store, and lower level café were never built. Bernard Cahill’s buildings after Holly Lodge include the Multnomah Hotel in Portland, also still standing today.

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