Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Banks and Grills

Walking along Pender Street today I glanced to my right and was delighted to see that there was a place I could take photos of this building for the blog.

Built in 1913 this Beaux-Arts Style building was built by the architectural firm Somervell and Putnam for the Montreal based Merchants Bank. The address is 1 West Hastings - now it is known as Pigeon Square and where many of the homeless from the area hang out. When the Merchants Bank moved from its location of 337 Carrall Street in 1913, the business community had began moving westward towards the Granville Street area which makes this location surprising. Especially when you look at the ornateness of the structure.

This temple bank was inspired by the bank structures in Eastern North America. It was built with a steel frame that would permit another four to seven floors to be added to the existing three. However, since the migration of the centre of commerce continued those additional storeys were not needed.

At 152 Hastings Street is the Trocadero Building, a three storey masonry Edwardian commercial style building that was built in 1901.

This was built for the Rogers family in two stages but two different architectural firms: John Edmeston Parr and Thomas Arthur Fee in 1901 then Edward Evans Blackmore and William Blackmore in 1904.

The first tenants in this building were the plumbers, Barr and Anderson, and a bicycle dealer. When the second stage of the building was completed a harness firm moved in. They left in 1913 and were replaced by the Trocadero Grill who resided there for decades.The Vancouver Sausage Company was another long term tenant.

E.Chrystal and Co. did some renovations in 1939. They removed the cornice on the west side and replaced it with a single continuous cornice. Not only were they trying to match the east side of the building with the west side but were also changing the style from the overly embellished  style of the late Victorian era to the more reserved Edwardian style.

The Bank of British Columbia building at the corner of Richards and Hastings Street is an example of the Victorian Italianate style. Built in 1889 to 1891 this somewhat sophisticated style was used to convey an image of prosperity and permanence for commercial buildings in the late Victorian era.

This particular building is a truly elegant version of this style. There is varied articulation of window cases, sill and plat courses, and rusticated ground floor pilasters.

Architect Thomas Charles Sorby and builder George C. Mesher pulled out all the stops for this building. The vaults are elaborate - giving the bank a reputation for being burglar proof - and the interior featured Minton tile floors and glass dividing walls between the banking hall offices.

This building, which has been known as the Rush Building, is a significant surviving representation of the architect's work. The fact that such a prominent builder such as Mesher worked on this building is indicitive of the more sophisticated conditions that did exist at the time.

I don't know if I have covered this next building. I checked and couldn't find it on my list so I am going to show you it now.

Mason's Duplex was built in 1899 by real estate company owner John Mason. He was building other homes in the Mount Pleasant area when he built this one for himself. Crafted in the Queen Anne style with a large bay window and decorative woodwork in the gable end. For the majority of the time that Mason lived here the other half was occupied by George Lasberg. Lasberg was a bartender at the Carter House on Water Street, one of Gastown's original watering holes.

In the 1980s the duplex was raised to bring the original ground floor to street level. Due to the original hilly topography of Strathcona, the location of this house was below street level.

These next photos I took while walking along Pender Street. Or was it Georgia? I don't remember. I liked the effect created by years of the vines growing against the stucco.

You can't see it here but some of those veins are still attached to the buidling. Neat effect, don't you think?

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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