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

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Things I Find Cleaning Up The Home Office

CVA Photo Bu P219 circa 1886
Today I have the house to myself and I am catching up on a number of house history work projects, at the same time doing some laundry, cleaning up my home office and packing for a trip...

Most of the time I hate multi-tasking... I never seem to be any good at it, but tonight there is a flow. I seem to be getting things done. Even Smokey our cat is behaving and letting me focus on my work.

I confess, I am one of those people who has piles of paper everywhere. Fire insurance maps from old house history projects, newspaper clippings relating to the history of Strathcona, my historic East End Vancouver neighbourhood, receipts for doing taxes, old photos... It's a mess. But I usually know where things are if things are left undisturbed.

Tonight as I was going through one of these piles I found an old photocopy of a City of Vancouver Archives photo of a house that used to stand on the west side of Westminster Avenue, now Main Street, just south of Prior Street. Lately the CVA has been digitalizing their photos and making high res versions for download online so before I tossed the photocopy I searched their website for the photo number Bu P219 and "click" I downloaded it and added it to my collection of images for my East End Neighbourhood History Mapping Website project.

This amazing image shows the exterior of T. J. Janes' residence as well as a livery and feed stable. The Archives website says the photo was taken in 1886 and that the house and stable were on Lots 5 and 6 of Block 23 of District Lot 196.

According to the 1891 Canada Census, Feed and Wood Merchant Thomas John Janes was born in England and was Methodist. In 1891 he lived with his Kingston, Ontario-born wife Mary Jane Leatherland and their six children. Sons William J., Albert Thomas, and Charles R. Janes were all born in Ontario. Daughters Mary Levina (July 12, 1885) and Annie Florence (January 7, 1887) and son Roy Franklin Janes (January 14, 1890) were all born in Vancouver. Mary was born in 1885, the year before Granville was renamed Vancouver. Her brother was born in Ontario in 1881 so they would have moved to the West Coast between those years so I checked the old BC directories available online through the Vancouver Public Library and found this listing in the 1884-85 BC directory that shows Thomas Janes worked early on as a butcher for George Black, who owned the Granville Market.

 For some reason, Janes is not listed in the next available directory, the one from 1887. By the time the 1888 directory was published, Janes was established as a feed and grain merchant on Westminster Avenue, today's Main street.

Excerpt from 1888 Vancouver City Directory
Here is the 1892 directory listing, showing that by that time, the house was numbered 913 Westminster Avenue.

1892 Directory listing for Thomas J. Janes

Here are a number of directory listings for Janes through the years. From time to time he is listed as T. J. and even D. J. James. 

1894 Directory listing
If Miss M. James is in fact Mary Janes, then this is the first time that one of the Janes' sons or daughters is mentioned.

1895 Directory listing
 By 1896, the Janes had moved from Westminster Avenue a couple of block to the north and east to a house at 416 Keefer. In 1896 he is listed asa teamster while the 1897 directory lists him as a dairyman but he may have been driving drays for a dairy and not necessarily changed jobs.

1896 Directory listing

1897 Directory listing
In 1898 Janes' surname is misspelled again.

1898 Directory listing
The 1899 directory listing shows a number of Thomas' sons as well 
1900 - 1901 directory listing

1902 Directory listing
By the time the 1904 Directory was published the address of the Janes' house was renumbered from 416 to 444 Keefer, a not unusual event during this time when most of the East End's undeveloped lots were being built on. The 1904 Directory lists T. J. Janes as a fruit grower.

1904 Directory listing
By the time of the 1911 census, the family had moved out of the East End to a house in South Vancouver on 43rd Avenue near Nanaimo. This would be today's 45th Avenue. 

Around this time, the area where their original house was on Westminster Avenue, now Main Street, was being redeveloped. This is how the area where the house was looks now. The Janes house would have stood on the right-hand portion of the building and the roadway to the stables behind would have been on the left hand side of the building.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Tam
VanMap seems to indicate that this new building was built in 1909 but Heritage Vancouver's Building Permit website's information shows a 1912 building permit application. Then again, that might have been for warehouses and factories on the back end of the lots. 

Thomas John Janes died on October 14,1926 but the circumstances of his death are a bit of a mystery as there is no death certificate for him--at least under his correctly spelled name--among the BC Archives Vital Events Listings. He may have died out of province. Thomas is buried in the Old Section of Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery in Plot 2/02/004/0002. Mary Jane Janes died in Vancouver on November 8, 1945 at the age of 92 and was buried in the Old Section of Mountain View Cemetery in Plot 2/02/004/0001

If you have any information on the Janes family here in Vancouver, please leave a comment. Also, if you have any old photos of family members who lived in East End (Strathcona) Vancouver, or their houses, I hope you would consider sharing them for my East End Neighbourhood History Mapping Project.