Sweat of the Brow

CVA: 789-72 - [Group photograph of unidentified workmen], 1913. Photographer not identified.
CVA: 789-72 – [Group photograph of unidentified workmen], 1913. Photographer not identified.
CVA doesn’t identify what sort of industry these workers worked at, nor who they were.

The gent in the waistcoat holding the rope looked familiar to me and so I sifted through some of the CVA “industrial” images made roughly in the same period; I’m now 90% convinced that the fellow in the photo below is ‘rope-holding-waistcoat’ man above. In the image below, he is looking at the photographer with the same, intense stare. If I’m right about this, it is Reinhart (also spelled, occasionally, Reinhard) Hoffmeister. I don’t see any other common faces in the two images.

Detail of CVA: Misc P16 - [Interior of R. Hoffmeister's factory at 1271 Granville Street] ca 1906
Detail of CVA: Misc P16 – [Interior of R. Hoffmeister’s factory at 1271 Granville Street] ca 1906. Jacob (Jake) Hoffmeister (Reinhard’s brother) is, I believe, the gent standing beside Reinhard in the white shirt.
According to the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website, Hoffmeister (1866-1948) was an electrical engineer and was generally known in the city as “the pioneer of power”, as he built the city’s first electrical generator and established Vancouver’s first electrical shop (Davie and Howe). He installed electrical plants at B.C. Sugar Refinery and the first Hotel Vancouver.

Hoffmeister's first electrical generator built for Vancouver. Courtesy Museum of Vancouver. http://openmov.museumofvancouver.ca/object/h201241/%5Bfield_acquisition_object_name-raw%5D
Hoffmeister’s first electrical generator built for Vancouver. Courtesy Museum of Vancouver. http://openmov.museumofvancouver.ca/object/h201241/%5Bfield_acquisition_object_name-raw%5D

According to CVA, the second image (1906) of Hoffmeister’s workers was made at 1271 Granville Street. I suspect that is where the first image of Hoffmeister’s shop was made, as well, although I can’t prove it, except to point to the image below of the 1200 block of Granville Street in about 1935, where his shop still was located.

Detail of CVA 99-4806 - [Store fronts showing 1271 to 1295 Granville Street] ca 1935. Stuart Thomson photo
Detail of CVA 99-4806 – [Store fronts showing 1271 to 1295 Granville Street] ca 1935. Stuart Thomson photo

Ho Sun Hing Printers and Neighbours

CVA: 1135-34 - Stores on 200 block East Georgia, 196- , William E Graham photo.,
CVA: 1135-34 – Stores on 200 block East Georgia, 196- , William E Graham photo.,

The image above is of the 200 block of East Georgia Street (in Chinatown), made in the 1960s. If you compare this image with the one immediately below, there are really very few substantive changes to the buildings on the block, so far.  That will change, soon, with the re-development of the second building in from the western end of this block (the storefront/residence with the peaked roof tucked between the two apparent tenement blocks, as shown above) and today ( below, where the development is happening at the left side of the image).

North side of 200 block East Georgia Street shops (Chinatown), taken from near the western end of E Georgia. 2015. Author’s photo.

One of the common businesses in both images is Ho Sun Hing Printers, which was at that location from 1908 until March, 2014. For more about this historic print shop, see this John Mackie feature for the Vancouver Sun and this video also produced for the Sun.

(Note: It looks as though there is another common business type between these images from the 1960s and 2015 is in the orange building adjacent to Ho Sun Hing. Although there seems not to be a visible English sign on the structure in the 1960s image, the truck in front of the building advertises “Centennial Hatcheries and Breeding Farms”. Today, the orange building has on its English sign “Fresh Egg Market”. )

Ho Sun Hing Printers awaiting new occupant. 259 East Georgia St., 2015, Author's photo.
Ho Sun Hing Printers awaiting new occupant. 259 East Georgia St., 2015, Author’s photo.

Live Long, and Prosper

 

Leonard Nimoy.
Leonard Nimoy.

Leonard Nimoy died yesterday, and so I’m re-posting this — one of my earliest Vancouver As it Was posts from almost a year ago — in honour of Nimoy. As I argue at the end of this post, I still think it improbable that the Vulcan verbal greeting has Jewish roots, but according to part of Nimoy’s submission to the Wexler Oral History Projectthe hand gesture does.

 

March 10, 2014
I have been reading a well-written book by Robert A. Hood entitled By Shore and Trail in Stanley Park. This volume, published in 1929, is a charming and helpful collection of Hood’s poems and vignettes pertaining to the Park. (1)

In his description of the Park’s Harding Memorial, Hood points out that it was a tribute to Warren G. Harding, the first American President to visit Canada. The memorial was sponsored by the Kiwanis Clubs of Canada and the U.S. (of which Harding was a member) and was sculpted by Vancouver sculptor, Charles Marega. (2) President Harding decided to stop in Vancouver on July 26, 1923 (according to Hood, at the invitation of B.C.’s Lieutenant-Governor, W. C Nichol) during his trip home from a visit to Alaska and before making other brief stops in Western American cities. Harding crammed a lot of speaking engagments into his day here. He spoke at Stanley Park (at noon), spoke again at a lunch sponsored by Vancouver’s mayor and other civic leaders, fit in a round of golf (at the Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club; now Van Dusen Gardens) and finally spoke (yet again) at a dinner hosted by BC Premier John Oliver. (3)

Our focus, here, is on Harding’s Stanley Park speech, the conclusion of which Hood quotes:“Our very propinquity enjoins the most effective co-operation which comes only from clasping hands in true faith and good-fellowship. It is in that spirit that I have stopped on my way home from a visit to our pioneers in Alaska to make a passing call on my very good neighbours of the fascinating Iroquois name, Kanada, to whom, glorious in her youth and strength and beauty, on behalf of my own beloved country, I stretch forth my arms in fraternal greeting, with gratefulness for your splendid welcome in my heart, and from my lips the whispered prayer of our famed Rip Van Winkle, “May you all live long and prosper.” (4) (5)

193- CVA 447-240
City of Vancouver Archives 447-240; 1930s. The Harding Memorial. Photographer: W. E. Frost.

Harding’s closing phrase, “live long and prosper”, to my early-21st century ears, seems, well… wrong. The speech was delivered in 1923 and is cited as a quotation of an author who wrote about 100 years before that! So this invocation was first used in published form, at least 140 years before Star Trek and its now-famous green-blooded, logic-driven, pointy-eared alien was a gleam in the eye of Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry.

I’ve noticed a couple things since encountering Harding’s “Live long and prosper” phrase in Hood’s book. First, the phrase was never said by Rip in Washington Irving’s original story of Rip Van Winkle (1819). Where the remarkably snoozy Rip does say this (not once, but several times) is in a play attributed to John Kerr (1826) in Rip Van Winkle or the Demons of the Catskill Mountains!!! and again in Charles Burke’s (1850s?) adaptation of Irving’s story, the play called Rip Van Winkle: A Legend of the Catskills (A Romantic Drama in Two Acts). Harding’s quotation appears to be taken from the final time Burke’s Rip utters his toast (complete with unusual spellings that are meant, I assume, to indicate how a simple man of Dutch ancestry who lived in the Catskills at that time would speak – at least in the author’s imagination): “Unt, ladies and gents, here is your goot health and your future families and may you all live long and prosper.” (6)

Second, it seems to be commonly accepted among Trekkies online that the Vulcan “live long” salutation has Jewish roots. This may or may not be true, I don’t know. But I have my doubts. The argument is that the phrase “echoes” the Hebrew ‘Shalom aleichem‘ and the Arabic ‘Salaam alaykum‘, which translate roughly as ‘peace be upon you’ or ‘peace be with you’. To me, “live long and prosper” doesn’t echo (even distantly) ‘Peace be with you’. Try putting the “live long” phrase into synonymous words, and see whether you agree with me. Here is my synonymous ‘translation’:  “May God grant you a long life and lots of acquisitions to enjoy during that life.” That doesn’t sound to my ear much like the Jewish, “Peace.” Indeed, unbridled acquisition seems to me more like the kind of sentiment which might lead to war.

Harding died a week after visiting Vancouver, on August 2, 1923 at San Francisco, apparently from complications related to pneumonia. Two years later, at the unveiling of the Harding Memorial, Kiwanis International President John H. Moss seemed to ‘channel’ Harding’s speech-making pomposity with these words: “Behold, the Harding Memorial”. (7) Happily, neither toasts, nor ‘whispered prayers’, nor invocations of science-fictional/futuristic blessings were deemed appropriate on this occasion at Stanley Park which marked the relatively early death of a president shortly after visiting our city.


Notes:

1) https://archive.org/details/ByShoreAndTrailInStanleyPark

2) Hood describes the Harding Memorial: “It is based on a foundation of granite, and a series of steps leads from the south to a piazetta or floored space bounded by semi-circular seats of granite. Fronting this approach is an altar-like paralellopiped of granite, on the right and left of which stand simply draped female figures of heroic size, one representing Canada, the other the United States. Their right and left hands, respectively, meet at an olive wreath which lies on the intervening granite block, on the front of which is a fine profile in bold relief of the late President, and the simple inscription, “Harding”. The other hands of the figures hold shields with modelling of the American and Canadian flags, and the inscriptions tell of the event commemorated. At the rear of the monument, and at a lower level, is a colossal lion’s head, from the mouth of which a stream flows to a semi-circular basin beneath. There is also a semi-circular shallow pool in the piazetta.” Hood, 136-7.

3) https://archive.org/details/speechesaddresse00hard Lunch and dinner were both at the Hotel Vancouver. This source sets down the three speeches delivered by Harding in Vancouver and others presented during his Alaskan/Western tour.

4) American Senator William Gibbs McAdoo’s famous summation of Harding’s speeches seems to be on target: They were, he said, “an army of pompous phrases moving across the landscape in search of an idea.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/warrenharding

If you are curious to hear audio of Harding delivering one (or more) of his speeches, there are some samples here (not including any of those speeches delivered in Vancouver): http://millercenter.org/academic/americanpresident/harding/speechexhibit

5) Hood, 135-6. In fairness to Harding, it should be acknowledged that Hood begins this quotation mid-sentence, without so indicating. The sentence should begin: “Even though space itself were not in process of annihilation by airplane, submarine, wireless and broadcasting, our very propinquity enjoins….”

6) http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001915.html

7) http://kiwanis.imirus.com/Mpowered/book/vkiw13/i4/p66

abramsstartrek000071
Leonard Nimoy as Spock (“Prime”) in J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009), Paramount Pictures.

 

Watson Gloves

Courtesty: http://www.watsongloves.com/history/
Courtesty: http://www.watsongloves.com/history/

The image above was taken in an unknown year at the original manufacturing site of Watson Gloves — on East 2nd Avenue, just west of Main Street. I was walking in that neighbourhood this afternoon and spotted the entry to Watson’s former facility (image below).

Former Watson Gloves manufacturing plant on East 2nd Ave. 2015. Author's photo.
Former Watson Gloves manufacturing plant on East 2nd Ave. 2015. Author’s photo.

The business  was started by John Watson and Wayne Stanley in 1918 and has been operating ever since. Since 1933, the business has been operated by the Moore family. The factory moved from East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver to 7955 North Fraser Way, Burnaby, in 2007.

For more on Watson Gloves, see this Vancouver Sun feature. And see here for examples of the company’s witty ads.

Charles “Clixby” Watson

CVA: 72-633 - Tattooed man pulling on rope. Painting by Charles "Clixby" Watson. 195-.
CVA: 72-633 – Tattooed man pulling on rope. Painting by Charles “Clixby” Watson. 195-.

This Vancouver longshoreman (I’m assuming) was painted  by UK artist Charles “Clixby” Watson (1906-64) sometime in the 1950s. On this fellow’s back appears a tattoo of the Vancouver coat of arms, as it then was. The city’s motto was “By Sea and Land We Prosper”. That changed (along with a number of other elements) in 1969; from then until now, the motto became “By Sea Land and Air We Prosper”.

Current Vancouver coat of arms. Adopted 1969.
Current Vancouver coat of arms. Adopted 1969.

I prefer the earlier coat of arms for a couple of reasons. First, I think the motto is pithier and speaks to the roots of the city. It cannot be denied that air travel has been important in the development of Vancouver, but it can’t be said truly to have been part of the earliest roots of the city. Second, I like that the models in the older coat are more mature. (Ideally, I’d have preferred there to be a male and female.) The two 20-somethings in the current coat put me off a bit.

As for the crest that appears on this chap’s right outer bicep, I have no idea what that is. My suspicion is that it came from Watson’s imagination.

Gas Warehouse

VPL 20205 Van Gas Co Exterior, 1914 Dominion photo.
VPL 20205 Van Gas Co Exterior, 1914 Dominion photo.
VPL 20204 Interior of Van Gas Co Gas Works on Keefer St. 1917 Dominon photo.
VPL 20204 Interior of Van Gas Co Gas Works on Keefer St. 1917 Dominon photo.

This is the last existing structure of Vancouver’s “gas works” (Sharp & Thompson, 1910). The warehouse appears to be the building center-left in  the first image above.

The city heritage plaque on the building notes that “the choice of this site was strategic: parcels on Keefer Street were cheaper than those on Pender Street, but still offered a connection to False Creek. The water extended along what is now Quebec Street which allowed barges to be unloaded with coal from Vancouver Island.” False Creek has long since been tamed to points significantly west of here.

131 Keefer Street. Today, a condominium apt block (formerly an industrial warehouse of Vancouver Gas Company). 2015. Author's photo.
131 Keefer Street. Today, a condominium apt block (formerly an industrial warehouse of Vancouver Gas Company). 2015. Author’s photo.

BCER Men’s Quarters

CVA: LGN 948 - [Construction of Men's Quarters for B.C. Electric Railway Company conductors and motormen, located at Main and Prior Streets], 1913.
CVA: LGN 948 – [Construction of Men’s Quarters for B.C. Electric Railway Company conductors and motormen, located at Main and Prior Streets], 1913.
 Architect Robert Lyon designed the Men’s Quarters of the B.C. Electric Railway (1913), shown under construction above. This structure is located at the SW corner of Main and Prior streets, across the street from where the BCER’s car barns were at the time (see first image below). The building was intended to provide “dormitory accommodation for unmarried streetcar motormen and conductors; it was considered expedient to house them nearby, so that they would be more likely to show up for work on a regular basis.” (D. Luxton, “Robert Lyon, 1879-1963″ in Building the West, Donald Luxton, ed.)

CVA: Bu P212 – [Exterior of B.C. Electric Railway car barns – Prior Street and Westminster Avenue (Main Street)], 1899.
I must confess to never having noticed this building before I read about it in Luxton’s fine book. As it is, today, adjacent to the Cobalt Hotel, I’d always assumed that it was a wing of the Cobalt. The building appears to be empty today; there is a “For Lease” sign on the main floor exterior. I don’t know whether it is still a residential building or not (although I suspect so).

Former BCER Men's Quarters at SW corner of Main and Prior streets. 2015. Author's photo.
Former BCER Men’s Quarters at SW corner of Main and Prior streets. 2015. Author’s photo.

Vancouver Opera Association

CVA Bu N151 - [YMCA building, northeast corner of Cambie and Dunsmuir Streets], 1941, W. J. Moore photo.
CVA Bu N151 – [YMCA building, northeast corner of Cambie and Dunsmuir Streets], 1941, W. J. Moore photo.
CVA 778-66 - 100 Dunsmuir Street north side-2, 1974.
CVA 778-66 – 100 Dunsmuir Street north side-2, 1974.

These photos of  the 100 block of Dunsmuir Street  (between Cambie and Beatty) reveal quite different structures within a relatively brief period.

In 1941, the YMCA (Edward E. Blackmore, 1905) was located here (although it faced onto Cambie, its longest wall was along the 100 block of Dunsmuir). It wouldn’t be here much longer, however. It was due to open soon at its newly built site on Burrard Street.

In 1974, there was a 3-level walk-up commercial block with the primary occupant being the Vancouver Opera Association. Another tenant was a used bookseller (and, according to the signage, a seller also of stamps and records).

Today, the 111 Dunsmuir building occupies this corner.

Stantec building. 100 block Dunsmuir. 2014. Author's photo.
Stantec building. 100 block Dunsmuir (Taken from Beatty Street and shooting toward the west). 2014. Author’s photo.

 

The World

Detail of CVA 1399-540 - [Photograph of Capitol Theatre], ca 1926.
Detail of CVA 1399-540 – [Photograph of Capitol Theatre], ca 1926.
There seem not to be any photos on the VPL or CVA websites that show “The World” after-hours club. Although the club appears  to have endured for a number of years, I haven’t been able to track down the year it was established – although sometime in the 1950s seems a reasonable guess. It seems that The World, or a successor to it, is still running; there appears to be a current website for an after-hours club known as Club 816, at 816 Granville – the address of The World. Upon walking into the site during daylight hours, however, I could find no trace of Club 816 nor any signage pointing patrons toward where it was. (That is no guarantee that the club is out of business, however).

I first learned of the existence of The World in Vancouver Noir (Diane Purvey and John Belshaw, authors; Anvil Press, 2011). In their chapter titled “Lotus Land: Glamour and Vice”, the authors contrast supper clubs such as the Cave and the Palomar with after-hours clubs which opened after the others closed. They quote John Mackie and Sarah Reeder (in Vancouver: The Unknown City, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2003) as describing The World as “the longest running after-hours club” in Vancouver. Mackie and Reeder point out that the club was situated in the basement next to the entry to the Capitol Theatre. In the image above, I suspect that the entry to where The World was  later located was where the downstairs entry to the barber shop appears in this photo (even though the barber’s address, 818 Granville, is slightly different from what became that of The World, 816). Today, the entry to the basement is from inside the lobby of the building.

During daytime at least, the current occupant of 816 Granville – having, apparently, the basement floor, as well as all others – is the multinational language school, Inlingua.

816 Granville Street (near Robson). Inlingua language school. 2015. Author's photo.
816 Granville Street (near Robson). Inlingua language school. 2015. Author’s photo.

Rae-Son Shoe Rack?

CVA 778-420 - 600 Seymour Street west side 15-619 Seymour Street, 1974.
CVA 778-420 – 600 Seymour Street west side 15-619 Seymour Street, 1974.

The image above, made in 1974, is of 615-619 Seymour Street. At the time, the tenants of the building were the Rae-Son Shoe Rack and the Salon George beauty salon. During the years that this art deco structure has been at this site (from 1936, Hanns Carl Berchtenbreiter, architect) various tenants have called this home (a Christian Science Reading Room, a photographic studio, Brooks-Corning office furnishers, and Deutschland Cafe). Gotham Steakhouse resides here, today.

Gotham Steakhouse. 2015. Author's photo.
Gotham Steakhouse. 2015. Author’s photo.

Astor Hotel

CVA Bu P491 - [Exterior of Vancouver Business College Ltd. - 147 W. Hastings Street]. ca1904.
CVA Bu P491 – [Exterior of Vancouver Business College Ltd. – 147 W. Hastings Street]. ca1904.
The image above shows Vancouver Buisness College at 147 West Hastings (just east of Cambie) in 1904. By 1909, the space had been taken over by the Hotel Astor (not to be confused with the Hotel Astoria, which still stands today in the 700 block of East Hastings). The Hotel Astor seems to have had a long life; it continued to appear at this address in BC Directories until 1950.

Today, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts is at this address (although the building that housed the college and hotel has been demolished).

Speaking of demolitions (or near-demos), the building adjacent left of the college is the now-all-but-demolished Ormidale Block (the developer is retaining only the facade of the Ormidale).

CVA SGN 1068.07 - [Men laying streetcar tracks at Hastings and Abbott Streets, for reconstruction of Hastings, Main, and Harris (Georgia) Street lines]. 1912?
CVA SGN 1068.07 – [Men laying streetcar tracks at Hastings and Abbott Streets, for reconstruction of Hastings, Main, and Harris (Georgia) Street lines]. 1912? (Cropped version. For original, see CVA). The Hotel Astor is visible in the middle distance on the right side of the image. To enlarge this image (and most other CVA images that appear in VAIW), simply click on the photo.

MacEwan Arts

CVA 778-188 – 400 Homer Street east side. 1974.

This is the west-facing side of the Hartney Block. In 1974, McLeod’s Books was the principal retailer on the main floor. Holding down the back end of the building were MacEwan Art Supplies and Cassels Window Shade. Today, a funky thrift store occupies that space. And Finch’s tea house occupies the space formerly held by McLeod’s (which is today one block away at the corner of Pender and Richards).

430/432 Homer Street. 2014. Author's photo.
430/432 Homer Street. 2014. Author’s photo.

 

It is very difficult to remember that events now in the past were once in the future – Maitland's Dictum

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