Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Jonathan Rogers

I left off on Monday telling you about a building that Jonathan Rogers built on Hastings street. Four years after the construction, the Klondike Gold Rush started, thus ensuring Vancouver's growth. Rogers hired architects Parr and Fee to add a second half to the building. The addition is almost identical to the original except the windows are slightly different.

Remember how I told you that Jonathan Rogers would be unhappy with how the building is used today? Rogers was the main organizer in 1916 of the People's Prohibition Association in Vancouver and they successfully brought prohibition to the province. Roger's Block is now home to Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture Headquarters and the Amsterdam Cafe.
In 1898, Rogers acquired more land on Hastings Street and built the second Rogers Block. In 1903, he built the Royal Bank of Canada building on the adjacent corner lot to the east. This was one of the first buildings in Vancouver to use reinforced concrete. For this building, the reinforced concrete was used for the foundation and the vaults and was over a half a metre thick.

Rogers had been just as innovative in the construction of his building in 1898. Then he had erected a giant umbrella over the entire site to ensure the building would be completed by spring.

A 1931 photo taken by Frank Leonard. Looking south on Granville and you can see the top of the Rogers building.
1911 photo.Looking north from south of Dunsmuir. Bank of Montreal, centre right. Rogers Building under construction in background with CPR depot beyond.
1943. East side of the 500 block of Granville Street - Rogers Building - Bank of Montreal - Eaton's Department Store, 526 Granville Street - Fee Block, 570 Granville Street.
Jonathan continued as a contractor and builder and was soon involved in building all sorts of structures. He was responsible for office buildings, banks, hotels, manufacturing plants and even an electricity-generating station. 

In 1901, census records list the 35-year-old Jonathan Rogers as a lodger in a suite of rooms on Homer Street. His occupation is listed as painter and decorator. But a year later, Rogers took a wife. He married a young woman from Oswestry, near his ancestral home in Wales. Jonathan and Elisabeth moved into a large, elegant home at 2050 Nelson Street. They named the home Argoed which is Welsh for beside the wood. 
I would like to thank the Building Vancouver blog for the information and the Vancouver Public Library archives for the older photos.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. Hi Karen,
    As a Welshman in Vancouver it was wonderful to read your posts on Jonathan Rogers. We're very proud of the contribution he made to the city. Thank you for writing about him.
    You can find lots more interesting Welsh people at the Vancouver Welsh Society.
    Come along and say hello sometime.
    Mathew Iestyn Parry, on behalf of:

    1. Thank you for reading and comment Mathew. I publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and this whole week is on Jonathan Rogers.