Monday, September 26, 2011

Homes and Dry Goods

On August 15 I had written an entry about panels depicting the history of certain buildings in Japantown. I had found some information on other places on that time so I walked back and got more photos.

This is the Dales House at 414 Alexander Street. It is one of the oldest houses in Vancouver and was built for T.J. Dales in 1889.

Alexander Street was the first part of the city to get piped water and since it was so close to Hastings Mill a residential area of substantial homes quickly followed.

Alexander Street was a major residential street for Japanese pioneers and this house was home to Japanese tenants as early as 1911. In 1927 the house was bought by Isokichi Yamazaki - which is evidence of the growing prosperity of the Japanese community in the twenties. The Japanese were going from being tenants to land owners.

This is an important building due to its size, era, scale and rarity. It is also the last of its kind in Vancouver. I saw the archival photo and the original house was quite different. Originally the house had a high Victorian pediment and turret but those have both been remodelled over the years. (The archival photo was taken in 1890)

Despite the fact that those changes have been made, the house has been raised and covered with asphalt shingles, it is still a testimony to the thriving residential past of Japantown.

There are only two historic buildings left in the 20 block of Powell Street and the Komura Building at 269 Powell Street is one of them. The Japanese Canadian community began and radiated out from here. This building is an example of an early Edwardian corner building built sometime in 1905 for George Stevens.

The building first appeared in the city directories in 1906 as Komura Bros. General Store. Hiyujito Komura went from tenant to building owner in 1911 when he purchased the building.

The Komura Bros. General Store was in operation from 1906 until everything was taken from those of Japanese descent by the government in 1941. There is a mosaic tile in the front which still bears the Komura name.

Morimot and Co. Dry Goods is at 326-328 Powell Street and was built in 1912. The first tenants of this building were a Japanese tea room on street level, Japanese rooms in the upper floors and the Kane Shooting Gallery in the basement.

The rental portion of the building has stayed the same although it has changed names over the years. It has been called the Stanley Rooms then the King Rooms.

The tea room evolved into a dry goods store, run by various Japanese owners. The funny thing is that although this building is known in Morimoto and the name is still visible in one of the entrances, U. Morimoto and Co. only leased this building for two years (1920-1921).

This was also the address for the Canadian Japanese Social Athletic Club in the 1920s.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

,, ,,,,,

No comments:

Post a Comment