When Hudson Street Boomed (Sequel): Eburne Hotel

Screen shot 2014-07-07 at 6.07.08 AM

Cropped version of CVA LGN 994. (See full image in previous posting for more details).

The Eburne Hotel, which appears in yesterday’s image (with that section of the photo enlarged, above) seemed, at first blush, unlikely to be mysterious and very likely to help with dating the photograph. After all, the name of the hotel is plainly evident and it was pretty clear to me where on 4th [Hudson] Street it was located (east side, north of Eburne Ave [Marine Dr]). But getting the Eburne Hotel to give up much other information proved to be a chore.

Historical building permit info, it seems, is unavailable prior to 1912, and so I have not found any details as to when the Hotel Eburne was originally built. (The final listing I found for an “Eburne Hotel” in BC Directories was in 1923.)

However, there was an item about renovations to the hotel in an August, 1912 issue of the Daily Building Record (a newspaper issued for readers in the construction businesses). The notice indicated that the Eburne Hotel would be erecting a “40 ft. in depth” addition to the existing hotel, “doubling the present size of the buffet, dining-room, kitchen and store-rooms. The addn. is of frame const. and a genl contr. has been let to Waddell & Reese, Eburne”. That was was a major renovation; since it happened in 1912, there was a record of it in the Historical Building Permits records. It showed that the estimated cost of the reno was $2700 – no small sum at that time. The Daily Building Record also mentioned that the proprietor of the hotel was A. G. Halstead. (I could find precious little on Mr Halstead, except that there was someone of this name from Eburne who was a lacrosse umpire in the early 19-teens in the Lower Mainland and that his first name in all likelihood was “Albert”, since he was referred to as “Bert” by his lacrosse colleagues.)

There were a couple other potential clues to chase down that might help with the date of the image. One was the note beneath the Eburne Hotel sign that the establishment was a “Vancouver Autoists Popular Hotel”. It appears that Vancouver Autoists was an early automobile club; the Vancouver Autoists were most likely a branch of a larger U.S. operation. I could find nothing in BC Directories or anywhere else (so far) that would confirm this or help with dating the photo.

Research into P. Frazier & Co.’s real estate business, which seemed to share some of the space in the hotel, proved to be more fruitful. By tracking appearances of P. Frazier’s Real Estate office in Eburne in BC Directories, I found that Frazier had offices on 4th Street from 1911 through 1913. The business did not appear to exist in Eburne before 1911 nor after 1913. In the 1914 directory, however, there was a listing for a Percy Frasier (note spelling difference) who was an agent with Mutual LIfe Insurance Co. I strongly suspect that Percy Frasier, insurance agent is the same person as had been P. Frazier, real estate agent in Eburne the year before. But whether or not the men are the same is moot; the critical point for our dating project is that Frazier’s real estate office disappears from the Eburne Hotel after 1913.

I’d say that it wouldn’t be an outrageous estimate, in light of this research, therefore, to conclude that the image was made ca1912.

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