Another of the messages I received was from a man who regularly visited the little house on his infrequent trips to Vancouver from Seattle. Here is what he wrote.
I was in Vancouver on Wednesday and Thursday for the Canucks/Flyers game on Weds. night. Thursday I had planned to visit my usual spots around Vancouver before driving back to Seattle. Among my usual activities is a walk from my hotel around downtown, down the eastside and ultimately includes stopping at 227 Union St. For some years, maybe seven, I have been drawn to that house. I always make it a point to drive by it or walk past it.
About 4 years ago, fearing it would be demolished I photographed the front and back of the house. I even on several occasions went up and knocked on the door so I could meet the occupants or owners. Nobody ever answered. I did a little research and came up empty. Today, I sat at my computer after returning from my trip and typed in the address and was blown away when your website came up. I have spent hours reading it and enjoying your work. I guess my questions have been answered by you and your hard work. Needless to say, I left Vancouver bothered that the house had been torn down. In the back of my mind, where my dreams and fantasies exist I envisioned buying the house and restoring it. I have also been drawn to other properties in Vancouver, the Bank of Montreal around the corner from 227 Union has always fascinated me because prior to the condo/apartment project a few years ago I always compared the BOM as a "Fort Apache", solid building in a decaying area. It is hard to explain my feeling for that building as well, other than, in the back of my mind I would have loved to have purchased it and renovated it as my home. Other homes that interest me are some of the homes that still exist downtown. I have spent a fair amount of time photographing homes and hotels on the eastside and downtown area. I am a novice compared to you. I just wanted my own little history of the way things were in Vancouver.
About me, I am a 37 year man who lives in Seattle. My interest in Vancouver began in 1977 when my grandparents took my sister and I to the zoo and Stanley Park. In the 1980's as a teenager my buddy and I would visit Exhibition Park and the bars. I attended Western Washington University and would frequent the city as much as possible. Beginning in the early 1990's I started to develop an interest in architecture and as I have gotten older I have become interested in the people who lived in these homes. I love Vancouver and Canada and want to become a citizen, a dual citizen, because I love Seattle also.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I will continue to enjoy your work. Hopefully one day I will hire you to research my Vancouver house. Though, my dream is to buy a loft in an historic building in Gastown or around Beatty/Pender. -John P.”
Thanks to Nora Wong, Deborah Fong, and Bettina Shuen for the information and photos regarding the Shuen family at 227 Union. Thanks also to Byron Barrett for the beautiful shot ofthe back of 227 Union.