Friday, June 6, 2014

Rogers Building

Elisabeth Rogers was heavily involved in civic life. She was one of the early benefactors of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the symphony society.

In 1901, Jonathan built a building at 156 West Hastings, which was designed by Parr and Fee. Elisabeth developed the adjacent lot in 1904 with plans designed by William Blackmore and Son. In 1940, the building was altered so that both halves took on Blackmore's design.

But Jonathan didn't want to be remembered as a man who built other people's projects and sought to join the new boom as a significant developer. Rogers hired a Seattle firm of architects, Gould and Champney, to design one of the most expensive buildings the city had ever seen.

These three photos of the Roger's Building at 470 Granville Street are from the Vancouver Public Library archives.
Initially, this building was named the Glyn Building but on completion Roger's name became attached to it. Jonathan spared no expense on this state-of-the-art, reinforced concrete building, and the largest the city had ever seen. 15 carloads of terra cotta came from Chicago, ornamental iron from Minneapolis and St. Paul, five of the most modern elevators from Toronto. Nearly 60,000 feet of cork flooring and 60,000 feet of linoleum was brought in from England and 80,000 barrels of California cement were used in the construction.

Jonathan was involved in a uniquely hands-on manner in the construction of this building. He and the architects interviewed suppliers in the different areas to ensure the materials were of the highest quality. By completion, it was estimated that the Roger's Building cost about $60,000 and showed Alderman Rogers' faith in the future of Vancouver.

The Rogers Building today
Jonathan Rogers was a wealthy man and a prominent citizen in Vancouver by the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He had been elected as alderman twice, served 26 years on the Park board - 9 as Chairman - and was Chairman of the Board of Trade. He was also involved in many different enterprises.

He died in 1945. Jonathan left a quarter of a million dollars - a lot of money in those days - to different charities. He designated $100,000 to the City of Vancouver to create a neighbourhood park in one of the poorer sections of the city. In 1958, the Jonathan Rogers Park opened on 8th Avenue in Mount Pleasant.

Jonathan Rogers made history when he was the first person to step off the first passenger train that pulled into the newly formed City of Vancouver in 1887. He went on to help lay the foundation for the great city it was to become.
I would like to thank the Building Vancouver blog for the information on Jonathan Rogers.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. Loved the pictures and the story. Congrats on another successful post.

    1. Thanks. I am looking at the map and transit instructions b/c I want to write on the Pacific Spirit Regional Park next week. So I am going hiking there tomorrow. Should be fun!