The building shown above at 1175 Haro Street was built in 1898 for Mlle. Marie-Louise Kern (1861-1951), the principal of Granville School.
The school was a private boarding and day school for girls. Granville School was established in 1896 at 1021 Melville Street (located about where the outdoor seating area is at Bentall Centre today) by Kern and her sister, Salomé Aimee Kern (ca1858-1938). The Kerns were born in the much-disputed territory (between France and Germany) of Alsace-Lorraine. After having the Haro Street structure built, Granville School moved there.
By 1906, there were reports in the local press that Mlle. Kern was planning to get out of the school business. It isn’t clear why, but it is probable that it was the usual reason: she was planning to marry soon, and it wasn’t seemly for a married woman to work. In 1907, Marie-Louise Kern married local bookshop and stationery pioneer entrepreneur, Melville Patrick Thomson. It was Thomson’s second marriage; his first wife, Marcella, with whom he had two sons, died in 1902. Melville and his brother, James followed the CPR from Ontario, where they had their earliest business, ultimately opening their Vancouver bookshop in 1889. The brothers retired in 1908, shortly after M. P. Thomson’s marriage, selling their business to Clarke & Stuart.
Marie-Louise Thomson (1861-1951) lived with Melville Thomson (1860-1944) in Oliver, B. C. , where they settled after marrying. She died in Victoria at the age of 90.
1175 Haro, meanwhile, passed into other hands ca 1907 and had a name change, becoming Granville House school. Miss Inglis was the school principal. The Granville House school was a “kindergarten and day school for girls” which also admitted boys to primary grades (Province 11 Aug 1909). A Miss Patterson, a graduate of Hoover University, San Francisco, taught physical culture, which seems to have been an early version of phys. ed. (World 15 Jan 1908).
By 1910, Granville House had another name change to reflect its change of purpose; it would become an apartment house and be known as Lynwood. The apartments would typically house the great and the good who were in the city temporarily, but for a period longer than a hotel would be practical accommodation. One of these people was C. Noel Wilde. At the time he was staying at Lynwood (1911), Wilde was a manager with C. N. Railway. Wilde went on to become Canada’s trade commissioner to Central America and shot himself to death in his home in Mexico City (Province 7 July 1932). Another was J. D. A. Tripp (1867-1945), a concert pianist who hailed from Toronto originally, but who moved to Greater Vancouver (for the gentler winters?) in 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Tripp made their summer home in Caulfeild and wintered in Vancouver proper, staying at Lynwood from time to time (Sun 26 July 1917).
Finally, in 1953, an auction was held at Lynwood to sell its contents. By 1967, there was a 10-story concrete apartment tower standing where Granville School once was. It had another name change: Villa Esto Apartments (literal translation, “this villa”). It would probably have been more aptly named ‘Lyncrete’ in tribute to the forest of residential towers being erected around it in the West End in the 1960s. In 1994, a 2-bedroom suite with heat and cable included cost about 1000/month. In 2004, a “new” 2-bedroom penthouse in the same building would set you back $1850/month. Goodness knows what sort of sum a suite commands today.
Thanks to Maurice Guibord for his assistance with some details in this post.