There are a number of great pictures of worker cabins that once stood on the grounds, and some pictures of the Hastings Mill School, Vancouver's oldest, in the Archives as well.
The Simson Cottage in 1885
The Caulfield brothers in front of their cottage at the Hastings Saw Mill.
Hastings Sawmill School - June 1886
There is a bit of the old mill still left on site. It is the Hastings Mill Office building--not the original, seen here as it was in 1890, but a later edifice built in 1906.
Mi P46 1890
Here is a picture of it in 1910 taken by renowned Vancouver photographer, Leonard Frank. This
building still stands across the tracks on the northfoot of Dunlevy. It now functions as the Anglican
Church's Mission to Seafarers. Here is another Leonard Frank photo of it taken in 1932.
This is how it looks today.
50 North Dunlevy, or 401 East Watefront Road, is on the City's Heritage Register . It has an A(M) designation.This important piece of Vancouver history was included in the 2007 Vancouver Heritage Foundation heritage house tour. It is sad and ironic that the one piece of the old Hastings
Sawmill still in the East End, like the rest of the Port, is separated from the neighbourhood by barbed wire fence.
Immediately south of the CPR tracks is railway street. Along the north side of the street are a number of impressive Edwardian commercial buildings. Prior to writing this I thought that they would be on the Heritage Register but they are not. Many of these buildings are now being used as offices or have been converted to condominiums. It would seem that they are not under and threat of demolition, but
who knows? Here they are:
303 and 305 Railway
329 and 339 Railway
Empire Stevedoring Building - built in 1941
395 Railway - Detail
If you ever go visit Railway Street, take time to pay attention to the street itself and you may be surprised at what you see. Here is a photo of the wooden cobbles which were visible the day I visited at the intersection of Railway and Dunlevy.
Now let us head to Alexander Street but head there via Gore Avenue. I know, I know, it
would be shorter to go up Princess but let's start from Gore Avenue. Enroute, let's turn
around and look toward the old mill site. This is what we would have seen back in
1888, two years after the City of Vancouver was established.
The Hastings Saw Mill from the foot of Gore Avenue - City of Vancouver Archives Photo M1 P21
There are a number of old archival photos of Alexander Street. Here is one of 214 Alexander taken in 1888. This building, of course, is long gone.
CVA Photo SGN 131
After the great fire of June 13, 1886, R. H. Alexander, the manager of Hastings Sawmill had a magnificent house built on the corner of Alexander and Gore Avenue.
There are no extant close up pictures of the house in Vancouver. There may be elsewhere. If any of you out there know of one's existence, please let me know. There is a picture which shows the house in the distance. Here is City of Vancouver Archives photo Str P223 taken in 1887 by J. A. Brock. You can see R. H. Alexander's mansion just to the right of the middle of the picture with Burrard Inlet and Stanley Park behind. From his mansion at Gore and Alexander, R. H. had an excellent view, not only of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore mountains, but more importantly of his mill at the foot of Dunlevy Street. Remember you can clickon the image to enlarge it.
R. H. Alexander's was the first in Vancouver to apply for water service. His house at 300 Alexander is Number 1 in the water service application records.
Numbers 1 through 10 are all on the 300 and 400 blocks of Alexander Street. Just to the right of R. H. Alexander's house are two very similar smaller houses. These are the homes of Dr. Duncan Bell-Irving (at 308 Alexander) and his canneryman brother Henry O. Bell-Irving (at 310 Alexander).
This is what the corner of Gore and Hastings looks like today. The building is the old Vancouver and Victoria Stevedoring Company.
This is the exact location of R. H. Alexander's mansion. The Bell-Irvings would have lived in houses on the lots to the left.
Across the street, is this tenement building, 313Alexander, built by Japanese-born railway contractor Yonekichi Aoki in 1906. It is not on the Heritage Register.
In the early 1900s, just to the east of 313 Alexander was 323 Alexander, the Vancouver Water Works Shop. (R. H. Alexander,the Bell-Irvings, and their peers had moved from
the neighbourhood by then.)
CVA Photo Ci Dept P7
This address is now a gated parking lot.
This is 360 Alexander. I am not absolutely sure it is the same building, but in 1914 362 Alexander was known as the Empress Rooms.Walking east along Alexander we reach Dunlevy. Imagine yourself back in 1898 waiting for the Labour Day parade to pass before you could continue east to the 400-block.
The 400 block of Alexander has a number of significant sites, including two old houses and the Japanese Hall and Language School.
Here are 412 Alexander (on the right) and 414 Alexander. 412 Alexander has a rather unusualy
arcing porch roof design. 412 Alexander was built in 1898 by stone mason James Harris.
In 1901, it was the home of the Rev. John Reid of Knox Presbyterian Church. Knox Presbyterian
stood at 152 East Cordova and looked like this.
This is VPL Photo #7986 and was taken in 1907 by Philip Timms.
414 Alexander, built sometime around 1889, is a real interesting old house. Water service was applied for on June 24, 1889 by carpenter Thomas Dale. He and his family lived in the house for one year. In 1890,the house was vacant. Then in 1891, a shipwright named James Doherty lived here. This is how the house looks now. It is covered in asbestos shingles and is a little worse for wear, but this is how the house looked in 1890, shortly after it was built.
This is City of Vancouver Archives Photo SGN 295. Notice the rich architectural detail that was lost. The darkish house behind it still stands. The little house to the left still stood up until the 1970s. Here is what they looked like in April of 1969. Quite a change, eh? CVA 780-352.
A few houses down are 472 (one the left) and 422 Alexander. 422 Alexander was built in 1890 and
first occupied by the Woodward family. 472 was built in 1905 and for most of the years it is listed
in the directories, there is no information on who lived there. The address is listed merely as "cabins".
Across the street, at 439 Alexander Street, the Japanese community built their first Japanese language school in 1906. I have lived in Japan, and I can tell you that this building looks like a lot of the old country school buildings that can still be seen across Japan today. This is CVA 99-2468. This photo was taken by Stuart Thomson in 1929.
475 Alexander Street in 1929 by Stuart Thomson CVA 99-2469. It was built in 1928 and designed by the firm Sharp & Thompson. It, along with all other property owned by the coastal BC Nikkei community was expropriated by the government. A heritage plaque outside the building indicates that this is the only building owned by Japanese prior to WW2 that was returned to the community.
Here is how the Japanese Hall looks now. In the distance is the 500 block of Alexander, the old red light district of the 1910s, and the American Can Company building which obliterated many bordellos on the north side of the street.
Vancouver fans of punk rock remember the Japanese Hall as the place where the Vancouver punk scene was born. The first official punk concert in Vancouver took place at the Japanese Hall on July 30, 1977. 400 people turned up to hear the all-girl Vancouver Island band, The Dishrags open the show, followed by The Furies.
As mentioned above, the 500 and 600 blocks of Alexander was a Red Light district in the 1910s. Prior to its relocation to these blocks, it was in the 100 block of Harris (Shore Street) which was obliterated from the map when the first Georgia Viaduct connecting the West and East End was built. Harris Street was renamed East Georgia in 1915 when the viaduct opened. Here are pictures of a number of buildings that still stand. Most were built as brothels.
The building at 500 Alexander later became the British Seaman's Mission. Oh, the irony... Madam Dolly Darlington who built the building had a mission for seamen there from the very beginning.
500 Alexander as it is today
Here are two photos taken of the same building by renowned Vancouver photographer Leonard Frank. One was taken in 1924 and the other in 1940. VPL Photos #3127 and #3128
Note that there has been some change in the line of the front cornice. Perhaps this was done when the flagpole was removed.500 Alexander is listed on Vancouver's Heritage Register as Heritage B. Here's a link to a fascinating story connected to this building.
502 Alexander, built circa 1888 for merchant John B. Henderson
was run as a brothel by Ruth Richards in 1912
502 Alexander is listed as Heritage C. It is thought that this little house on Alexander was most likely the second oldest house in Vancouver. The DTES-based housing agency Atira, when it bought and renovated 500 Alexander had plans to build an addition behind 502. They removed the back end of the balloon framed house making it unstable, then pleaded poverty when heritage activists demanded that the house be saved. Two different neighbours came forward to try to move the house to save it, but City of Vancouver red tape and ineptness got in the way, and the second oldest standing house in Vancouver was demolished. It has been replaced with a multi-storey residence made out of recycled cargo containers that, along with the renovated brothel next door, currently houses hard to house at risk young women.
The next two pictures show 504 Alexander--not on the Heritage Register--which was built by Kathryn A. Maynard in 1913. This is a rather grand brick-built building currently operating as social housing.
514 Alexander was built by Alice Bernard. Alice turns up in both the 1901 census on Dupont Street and in the 1911 census on Shore Street. She was a veteran in the business.
At the corner of Alexander and Princess is an empty lot. This was the site of a derelict social housing unit at 598 Alexander, which is slated to become a ten storey social housing project. On the same vacant lot stood 578 Alexander, a brothel run by a woman named Marie Gomez. Like a number of other Alexander Street brothels, Marie advertised her business with her name in ceramic tiles on her door
step. There are two pictures of her old home in Vancouver Public Library's Special Collections taken in 1972 by Curt Lang. The tiles were still there when the photos (VPL#85872Z and VPL#85872X) were taken.
and the bloodiest of these was the Battle of Ballantyne Pier on June 18, 1935. Here is a picture from the Vancouver Public Library Special Collections (VPL#8829) showing police guarding the entrance to the docks.
This is CVA Photo 371-1127. It shows the mounted police literally following the striking workers on horse up people's front steps. for a great explanation and illustration of the event, please check out Lani Russwurm's amazing Blog called Past Tense. Lani, to my mind, is Chuck Davis TNG. He is a brilliant researcher and writer with a fresh new focuss. I can't wait for Lani's hard work to be recognized and rewarded with the first of many book contracts.
|CVA 99-2642 May Day Demonstration, 1932, Stuart Thomson|
|CVA 99-2643 May Day Demonstration, 1932, Stuart Thomson|
|VPL Photo# 6645 Mass Meeting of the Unemployed in 1938, Stuart Thomson|
|VPL Photo# 13347 Demonstration during Art Gallery and Post Office Sit In, 1938|
Oppenheimer Park was also the home of Japan Town's most famous sons, the Asahi Baseball Team. The Asahi were Vancouver's only non-white team in the years leading up to World War II. Below is VPL Photo#86005 showing the Asahi team in 1931. There is a wonderful 51 minute long CBC documentary called "Sleeping Tigers". You should be able to watch it online by clicking the link.
|Asahi Baseball Team on Powell Grounds 1931 - VPL 86005|
At 401 Powell Street stands a rather nondescript three storey hotel now housing an SRO. Today it is called the Marr Hotel. but when it was first built in the late 1880s, this hotel was known as the Secord Hotel, and it looked much fancier than it does today.
Over the years, the Secord Hotel lost its wraparound balconies. By the 1940s, the hotel was renamed The Imperial Hotel and was owned by the Honda family. It is not on the Vancouver Heritage Register.
Here are some other archival photos of the 300 and 200 blocks of Powell Street.
|VPL #21174 - 337-341 Powell Street, Jan 5, 1928, Dominion Photo|
|CVA 99-2467 - 300 block Powell Street, 1929, Stuart Thomson|
|VPL #13300 - 300 block Powell looking west, 1900s, Philip Timms|
|VPL #11804 - 301 Powell, Taishodo Co. 1927, Stuart Thomson|
|VPL #11806 - 301 Powell St., Taishodo Co. Interior, 1927, Stuart Thomson|
|VPL #21773 - 250 Powell, Bunka Shokai Store, June 5, 1928|
|VPL #13433 - 200 block of Powell looking east, 1929, Stuart Thomson|
|VPL #16149 - 201 Powell Street, August 22, 1941, Leonard Frank|
I am going to continue this tour of East End Irredenta in a subsequent posting. In the meantime, I leave you one last picture from the 100-block of Powell Street, the old City Hall built in the 1880s by Frederick William Sentell.
|CVA Photo City P54 The Powell Street City Hall in 1893|
|CVA Photo City N6 - Site of Powell Street City Hall in 1931|
Click here to go to the second half of this posting.