Monday, January 10, 2011

Saints and States

A person has to find their happy moments in the little things in life. After all if we waited until the big pleasures came we might spend the majority of our lives depressed. My little joy came today when I got a few pictures of the Pennsylvania Hotel - also known as the Woods Hotel and the Portland Hotel. Because of where it is and the denizens of the area it has taken me a couple of months to get a nice collection to show you.

Built in 1906 for the original owners J.S. and Eliza Woods, this building is five storeys and a basement. At the time it was built it was one of the first major hotels to built on Hastings Street and its location was ideal. During Edwardian era Vancouver this hotel was situated near commuter rail and streetcar lines, within walking distance of the harbour, the ferry to North Vancouver and the Union Steamship Docks which were located at the south of Carrall street. (the Pennsylvania Hotel is located at the corner of West Hastings and Carrall Streets.)

At one time this was one of the city's better establishments that served wealthy travellers and commercial businessmen. But when the financial centre of Vancouver shifted further west and this area of town began to suffer an economic downturn, this hotel was no longer appealling to the upper crust.

The architecture of this hotel was greatly influenced by contemporary styles in the United States. There is a rippling sequence of four bay windows and it is capped by a prominent corner turret. This structure reflects the influence of the Romanesque Revival style and is reminiscent of buildings in San Fransisco prior to the 1906 earthquake.

The information on refers to this turret as not being there any longer. As you can see it is there. The Pennsylvania Hotel was redone and reopened in January of 2009 with units for the lower income people.

The Pennsylvania Hotel was designed by architect William T. Whiteway who was responsible for the Sun Tower, the original part of the Woodward's building and numerous other buildings here and in the United States.

I promised you saints so here we go.

I just mentioned the architect William T. Whiteway and this is another of his projects. The St. Regis Hotel was built by builder E.J. Ryan - he built the existing Hotel Vancouver - in 1913 and is the last hotel built before World War I that is still being used as a hotel.

This is an example of the Edwardian Commercial style and isn't as embellished as some of Whiteway's other designs such as the Pennsylvannia Hotel. The original mosiac tile floor is located at the northwestern portion of the building. And the neon blade sign at the corner is also original from 1920.

Here's another saint. The Hotel St. Clair.

This hotel was originally built in 1911 for Captain Henry Pybus who was the commander of the ship the R.M.S.S. Empress of Japan. Back then the hotel was called the Dunsmuir Rooms - the name was changed in 1929 -and served rail workers as well as ocean going passengers.

The hotel was designed by Samuel Birds - an architect who also trained as an engineer - and the stonework is actually concrete.

Another note of interest is that a replica of the Empress of Japan's figurehead is preserved near Lumberman's Arch in Stanley Park. I guess I'm travelling back there in the future.

While walking along Hastings Street I noticed an angel watching over residents.

From a distance she looked magical, not so much close up. But the sentiment is great.

I also stopped in at the International Village mall to go to the washroom. While there I took a photo of one of the ornaments hanging from the ceiling.

This is for good fortune and I wish that for all my readers.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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