Early Occupants of the Main Flatiron Property

ca1893 Str P297 - [Westminster Avenue (Main Street) looking south from 6th Avenue] Photograph shows the residences of George W. Campbell and Dr. W.D. Brydone-Jack

CVA – Str P297: Westminster Avenue (Main Street) looking south (toward the flatiron block near Broadway), ca 1893

The image above has a semi-rural charm to it that is a feature of many Canadian photographs made during the Victorian period. The lad in the foreground was almost certainly standing where he was at the request of the now-unknown photographer (his Dad?), probably to add some interest to an otherwise pretty barren Westminster Avenue (later, Main Street). City of Vancouver Archives staff have identified the two homes across the street from where the boy was standing as belonging to George W. Campbell and Dr. W.D. Brydone.

However, I am more interested in the relatively distant structure just visible in the background of the photo. It is a little more visible in the detail shown below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.31.07 AM

Detail of CVA Str P297.

The building appears to be of wood construction. It is described in the Vancouver Public Library image below as a “dry goods store” with, I’m guessing, residential rooms for lease above it.

vpl 6780 - 1908 PTTimms. Dry goods store btwn KIngsway and Main.

VPL 6780 – A “dry goods store” between what would become Kingsway and Main St., PT Timms, 1908. Note: Firehall tower visible to the right of the photo.

The image below lends additional confirmation and a little more information about the “dry goods store”. This image is taken from behind the structure and wasn’t the photographer’s primary subject.

ca1897 Trans P181 - [The first ambulance built by Thomas Lobb in front of his blacksmith business on Westminster Road (Kingsway) near Westminster Avenue (Main Street)]

CVA Trans P181 – The first ambulance built by Thomas Lobb in front of his blacksmith business on Westminster Road (Kingsway) near Westminster Avenue (Main Street), and showing W. D. Muir Grocery in what would become the foot of KIngsway at Main, ca 1897.

If you click on the image, a nearer view is revealed. A close look at the back of the building reveals an advertisement for W. D. Muir Grocery. It seems likely to me that the ad is for the structure to which it is affixed, rather than for another location.

An interesting tidbit related to  this building is that it seems, from reviewing historic online building permits (a modest improvement valued at $200 was made in 1904), that an early owner was a
W. Duthie. Could this be the grandfather of Celia Duthie, the former owner of Duthies Books (and father of Celia’s dad and bookstore founder, Bill Duthie)? I don’t know anything about the Duthie family history, but would welcome a comment confirming or correcting my speculation from someone who knows.

The flatiron structure which is on the property today seems to me to retain something of the character of the early building.  It was built in 1947 and has sort of a post-war, industrial feel to it; the glass brickwork suits it, in my opinion.

Anvil Main

Author’s image, ca 2013.

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