The Dales House at 414 Alexander Street circa 1890 CVA Photo SGN 490

Sunday, September 27, 2009

1033 SEYMOUR - It started out Presbyterian before it was Penthouse

In the process of researching the Andrew Edward Lees House at 909 Richards (See earlier post below) I received a package in the mail containing the title searches for all the houses in the Downtown South. I of course plotted everything out in different files in anticipation of future research contracts (only one so far for The Homer--post coming soon). As I stated in the earlier post, 909 Richards was the oldest house then standing in the Downtown South/Yaletown area. The second oldest house was 1033 Seymour which stands beside and serves as the offices for the famous Penthouse Strip Club.


Here is what I found out about the house before it was bought by the Filippone family:

The lot that 1033 Seymour was built on was bought from the CPR on December 10, 1888 by William De Wolf. William De Wolf sold it on Oct 27, 1895 to Charles Henry Akroyd. He in turn sold it to Scottish-born Jane Aitken Grieve Rae on January 22, 1896.


Jane Aitken Grieve Rae’s husband, Scottish-born carpenter and contractor Thomas Miller Rae built the house in 1896 and the house made its first appearance in the Vancouver City Directory in 1897.


Thomas Miller Rae was born in Scotland on July 13, 1848. His wife, Jane Aitken Grieve Rae, was born in Scotland on February 15, 1852. Thomas came to Canada in 1884 and Jane followed with their three children, William Rae (born October 17, 1876), John J. Rae (born June 15, 1878) and Nellie Rae (born August 5, 1871) in 1885. In rural Ontario, Jane gave birth to another son, Thomas M. Rae, on April 8, 1887. Sometime between late 1887 and early 1890, the family moved to Vancouver because Jane gave birth to another son, Alexander Henry C. Rae on September 10, 1890 in Vancouver. Another son, Andrew John Ferguson Rae, was born in Vancouver on January 15, 1892. The 1901 census indicates that the family was Presbyterian. One can only surmise what the Raes might have thought if they only knew just how their house would be eventually used and what would transpire there.



Here is the Fire Insurance Map from 1901 showing the block bounded by Nelson, Seymour, Helmcken and Granville Streets. Note the Chinese laundry a coupleof doors down, and how there is no development at all along the Granville side of this block at this time.

The 1901 directory of course only lists Thomas Miller Rae, Nellie Rae and William Rae as living at the house. The 1901 census, lists all family members and gives slightly different information than the directory. Thomas Miller Rae (52 years of age) is listed as a carpenter making $500 a year. His wife Jane was 49. William Rae is 25 years old and listed as a bookkeeper—not a CPR machinist—and makes $750 a year. John J. Rae is 23, a bookkeeper, and making $500. Nellie Rae is 20 years old and a dressmaker making $220 a year. Thomas M. Rae Junior is 14 years old. Alexander Rae is 11 years old, and Andrew Rae is 9 years old.


Nellie Rae married Hugh Clifford Carscadden in Vancouver on March 21, 1906. Their first child, a daughter, was stillborn on May 17, 1907. Sometime in 1909 a son, Hugh Carscadden Jr. was born to them. Sadly, Hugh Clifford Carscadden Senior died in Yale on January 15, 1909 at the age of 33.



Here is theFire Insurance Map for 1912. It shows the the block, especially the Granville Street side, developed rapidly in the time since the last map was published. This part of Seymour Street is entirely residential. 

The 1911 census indicates that seven family members and two lodgers lived at 1033 Seymour. Though the directory lists Thomas Miller Rae as a contractor, the census shows no income for the previous year. He could have been retired or may not have declared. William is listed as a tram inspector for the CPR and makes $2100. Thomas, the plumber, makes $600 annually. Alex, the machinist, makes $400, and Andrew makes $90 working as a farmer. The two lodgers were English-born electrical inspector John Robert and Ontario-born machinist George Chaperon.


The house was sold on Jun 29, 1925 to American-born Essie Bertha Hicks on May 6, 1932. Essie Bertha Hicks was born on November 30, 1883 and came to Canada in 1890. She married American-born master mariner Squire Hicks in Vancouver on March 21, 1906.

The fire insurance map at left shows how the neighbourhood looked in 1940. It is around this time that the solidly residential aspect of this part of Seymour Street started to change. Remember, you can enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on the image.

On May 6, 1932, the house was bought by Joe Filippone and Maria Rosa Filippone, and the rest, as they say, is history...




Colour Photo courtesy of Bob Hare
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobkh/sets/72157594340709228/

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