Monday, September 22, 2014

Homes, Inventions and Legacies

1009 Odlum Drive is an Edwardian- style house with a sleeping porch, integral porch and saddlebag dormers. A building permit dated April 25, 1911 lists Harry Cline and S.M. Palmer as owners, operators and builders. This two-story dwelling was worth $3,000 then.

The home appears to have been vacant until an artist by the name of Charles A. Ferguson took up residence in 1913.

Odlum Drive is named after Edward Faraday Odlum. Odlum arrived in Vancouver in 1899, after spending three years heading a small Tokyo university. Since Edward was receiving an income from real estate and investments, he was able to pursue his academic and scientific interests.

Edward Odlum was a busy man. He invented the first electric arc light and first public telephone used in Canada. He undertook ethnology studies among the bushmen and women of Australia, northern Europeans and Russians, Persians and Babylonians; served as a lay Methodist preacher and city alderman; formed a local ratepayers association; and was a member of the British Israelite Movement. This movement believes that the Britons are the lost tribe of Israel.

In 1904, Odlum built a large home in Grandview (you can see a photo of it then and now in this entry.) His son, Victor Wentworth Odlum, was an interesting man himself and you can read more about him here.

This next house I am showing you is at 1349 Cotton Drive. There hasn't been a building permit found for this home but city directories list it as early as 1908.

It is a modest example of the Gabled Vernacular Style. In other words, a simple house form with a front- gabled roof and an attached hipped-roof porch. From 1908 to 1910, a carpenter named Joseph Barrett lived here.

Cotton Drive is located in the Grandview district of Vancouver. It is named after Francis Lovett Carter-Cotton. Born in Yorkshire in 1847, this ambition man arrived in Vancouver after the Great Fire of 1886.

In 1887, Cotton bought two newspapers - the News and the Advertiser - and merged them into the News-Advertiser.

The News-Advertiser made the claim that it was the first paper on the continent to use an electric-powered press and and machine-set type, the latter seems unlikely. The Linotype machine, invented in 1886, was first tested at the New York Tribune.

Carter-Cotton served as an MLA from 1890 - 1903, Minister of Finance from 1893-1900, first chancellor of the University of British Columbia from 1912 to 1918 and first chair of the Vancouver Harbour Commission.

Sadly, things went bad for Carter-Cotton though. Financial difficulties led the man to drown himself in English Bay in 1919. However, the newspaperman and politician committed suicide with style "crisply attired in a business suit and hat carrying a neatly furled umbrella".

I would like to thank the Grandview Heritage Group for the information on the houses and the book Namely Vancouver by Tom Snyders and Jennifer O'Rourke for the information on Edward Odlum and Francis Carter-Cotton.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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