Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Surveying the Land

On October 4 1929 Lachlan Hamilton wrote a letter to J. Alex Walker of the town planning commission. It had been over forty years since Hamilton had initially surveyed the outline city and the 77-year-old Hamilton wrote that he wasn't happy with the job that was done.

Not only did Hamilton have to deal with the problems of the dense forests, the inlets, False Creek and so on he also had a local landowner named Pratt who refused to go along with Hamilton's plan. Some of our city streets curve and bend.

Not only that. When I initially was walking to the area I am showing today I didn't consult a map. I thought that East 27th Avenue would be right after East 26th. And logically that would be 26 blocks away from East 1st. Not so. Streets here end then start again blocks later. So when I went out yesterday I made sure to consult a map.

I am grateful for Hamilton plotting our city but I wish it had been more logically organized! It might save my feet.

If you are walking along Main Street and turn east on East 38th Avenue, it won't take long for you to find this little home at 212 East 38th Avenue.

It was built in 1912 and is a simple one and one- half storey L-shaped home. Its atypical  farmhouse sitting and room layout shows the more rural nature of South Vancouver at the time. Many residential buildings constructed at the time were Edwardian boxes and Craftsman  bungalows.

The  simple gable roof form and shed roof additions, as well as the simple detailing, and its grounds are more reminiscent of rural domestic architecture and make this home aesthetically important.

212 East 38th Avenue has a few character defining elements. Such as the prominent chimney and the simple main gable-roofed house form with single-storey wing extension. There is also a front  porch at the inside corner of the main house and single storey extension.

Here are a few more tidbits about 1930.

That was the year that enrolment at the University of British Columbia, UBC, topped 3,000. I wonder what it is now. A heck of a lot more I bet.

Vancouver shipyards launched the Cora Marie, considered to be the finest wooden hulled vessel built in Coal Harbour. She was originally owned by bakery executive William C. Shelly. Unfortunately the hard times of the  Depression led to her being sold to American, Paul F. Johnson. (Remember that name, Cora Marie, because she may very well come up again in other entries.)

1930 was also the year that 200 skeletons were found in the ancient Marpole Midden. Marpole, originally called Eburne after a local shopkeeper,  is one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods, settled in the 1860s. But its history goes back much further than that. It is thought that the first residents of that area date back to 3500 B.C.

This was the year that jay walking was banned in Vancouver.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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