Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I've walked by this buildings numerous times. I had a couple of photos sitting in my 'blog' file but I didn't have any information on them. Or at least not much. Thanks to Jak King and the Grandview Heritage Group blog, I now have some information.

As you can see, the brown building is the Odlin Building. It was named for a barber by the name of Harry N. Odlin. The first records of Odlin in Vancouver are in 1896 when he was working for John Lambert at 530 Georgia Street. 1900 saw Harry working at the Elite Barber Shop at 617 West Hastings. He was in partnership with Charles Herman at various addresses from 1902 to 1914. Life must have been good for Mr. Odlin because in 1911 he purchased an expensive, waterfront lot at 3197 Point Grey Road where he built a two-storey dwelling for $3,700. It stands there today, with many additions and enhancements over the last 101 years.

Odlin also bought a 33-foot lot on Park Drive - what we now call Commercial Drive. The lots in this area were selling for about $10,000 - this was the middle of Grandview's speculative bubble.

He was able to obtain two building permits in April of 1911 and by the middle of 1912, a $7,500 building had been designed and built by W.W. Brehart. As with many buildings built around this time, the lower level was designed for store fronts while the upper floors were rented out as apartments. Upon opening, the Odlin building apartments began filling while a photographer, Phillip Timms, rented one storefront and a confectioner the other.

The building bearing the Odlin name reflects the conservative nature of the owner. It is solid and unassuming.

Then we have the building next door.
The building next door is the Rodway Building, named for owner Joseph Rodway. As you can see, it is a flashier building with more ornamentation. Much like the sheet metal manufacturer, Rodway.

Rodway was born in Manitoba in the 1850s. He and his large family lived in Alberta for a while before moving to Vancouver and settling at 1644 Woodland Drive. He was able to obtain the money to purchase the lot next to Odlin and in July of 1911, Rodway got a building permit to erect a $10,000 building. A Mr. Wood was hired to build it from a design by W.G. Thomas.

It is believed that Rodway was using this building as an advertisement for his business with the pressed tin cornices, wall pieces and window parts. His business also took over both storefronts.

Rodway was in his late fifties though when the new store opened so it was run by Rodway's son Albert who apparently ran it quite well and the business prospered. But this also seemed not to be the business for the younger Rodway moved on to other things in 1914. The business was sold to Fred Hamilton, who employed Joseph Rodway for a short time. Rodway then retired and passed away in 1922.

Hamilton ran his hardware and plumbing business at this address until 1945. He then moved the company to his own building at 1447 Commercial where it was located until February of 1969.

Built in 1911, the first tenants of this building was Taylor M.H. Furniture and 6 residential suites. Thanks to Bob_2006 at for the information on this building.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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