I am sure most readers will recall that last month we presented a plaque to Donato Calogero, the owner of 1350 Graveley, the oldest surviving house in Grandview.
Donato’s family also own the house next door, at 1358 Graveley, and it too has an interesting family history which has now been reported at the Vancouver Is Awesome website.
Many thanks to Donato for all his research on these two fascinating properties.
This afternoon, during a gathering at 1350 Graveley Street, we unveiled our plaque to the oldest surviving house in Grandview.
Members of GHG were graciously welcomed by the Calogero family who have carefully maintained the house since the 1970s, and we were joined by neighbours, and descendants of the Wheeling family who built the house in 1899 on the eastern shores of False Creek. Some of the relatives travelled up from the States for the occasion. Many of us enjoyed a full tour of the interior along with expresso and biscotti.
We first engaged with a presentation on this house in September 2016, and the full story is scheduled to be published in the fall edition of BC History magazine. It makes for fascinating reading.
There will not be a formal meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group this month. However, we will be involved in two exciting events:
- On Sunday 9th July, from noon until about 6:00pm, GHG will have a booth at Commercial Drive’s Car Free Day festival. Our booth will be on the east side of Commercial just north of Parker, outside Bosa Foods. We will have a number of displays of Grandview’s history and heritage, odd items for you to guess their function, and access to the Grandview Database to look up the history of your house. In addition there will be volunteers who can discuss local heritage issues. We hope to see many of you and for you to put faces to names you may have read here and elsewhere.
- Then, on Saturday 22nd July at 2:00pm, we will be unveiling a commemorative plaque to celebrate the extraordinary history of the house at 1350 Graveley Street which after being moved twice, is the oldest surviving house in the neighbourhood, dating from 1899. The current owner/occupiers will be joined for the celebration by descendants of the original family that built the house. Come join us for this historic event!
Another good turn out for our March meeting, and another good session of heritage and history talk.
- Heritage Renvation Issues: We were joined by Cynthia who owns a heritage house on Semlin. More than a decade ago, she built a sunroom on her deck and made some changes to the old cottage at the foot of her yard. The City is now claiming these changes are not up to code and there is a hearing to determine what steps whe will have to take to remediate the situation. It was noted that heritage activists have for years complained that work on older but perfectly fit-for-use buildings is too expensive because the city demandss the wholoe building be brought up to code. Cynthia is hoping that her neighbours will support her cause with the city;
- Neighbourhood Update: Eric then presented this month’s update on physical changes to the community. This included
- building plans for the lot at 1138 Lily which was destroyed by fire in January 2016;
- a discussion about the continued deterioration of Brookhouse while the city delays permits for the HRA;
- Eric reviewed the few remaining Quonset huts that survive in East Vancouver, and our expectation that they will soon be demolished;
- A good discussion about the Crystal Dairy building, a solution to where an image of the fleet barn was taken (on Clark between 3rd and 4th), and the delivery of milk in the 1950s;
- the ongoing development of the REACH building on the Drive, durng which it was confirmed that no social housing units are being built on the site;
- a quick review of last months RE figures
- The Grandview Database: Jak reviewed the progress on entering data into the database, explained the ease with which information can be recovered, and briefly touched on the future entries to be made;
- The Oldest House in Grandview: The wording for the plaque to be placed at 1350 Graveley was agreed. It was also agreed we will apply for a neighbourhood grant for the plaque. The final materials for the plaque are still to be determined;
- Upcoming Course and Lectures: A number of upcoming events were discussed, including heritage maintenance and repair, a masonry workshop, lectures at Hycroft and from the Vancouver History Society, the Friends of Vancouver Archives AGM, and John Stuart’s presentation at the Scandinavian Cultural Society;
- Concrete: We ended with a short video on tips and tricks with using concrete.
We had another great turnout for our first meeting of the year last night, and we managed to cover a great deal of ground.
- Eric began with his regular What’s Happening in the Neighbourhood review
- The Cultch’s Green House on Venables appears to be occupied now after an excellent program of renovation and restoration;
- The old Bottle collection building on the corner of William and Victoria is now partially demolished and the structure can be seen as being constructed on concrete blocks;
- It was noted that a large land assembly has been achieved at 11th & Victoria;
- The continuing fine restoration work at 765 Victoria was noted;
- Excavation seems to have started down at the old Iron Works;
- The buildings at the old Bosa store at 540 Victoria, the condos opposite, and the Co-Housing development at 1st ad Victoria are all proceeding quickly;
- the stumps for the trees removed at Grandview Park have now been ground down.
- We discussed the potential for land assembly and development in the 1800-block westside of Commercial Drive (the Wonderbucks building) and Jak gave a brief history of the two buildings. It was agreed we should celebrate the history of the Wonderbucks building if it is threatened with demolition;
- We reviewed the first proposal for the wording on the plaque to be placed at 1350 Graveley, site of the oldest house in Grandview. More editing required. There was also some discussion regarding grants for heritage restoration;
- Following on from this discussion, and the fact that the house used to sit where a gas station stood for decades after, we had a long and interesting discussion about contamination in lots that were gas stations, dry cleaners, etc.;
- After discussions with Via Tevere and acceptance of a budget of $1,025, it was agreed we will fix the Shelley’s sign. Victoria will be the artist, with assistance by Michael and Penny. The work to start when the weather settles;
- We noted once again the continuing decline of the physical fabric at Brookhouse, 1870 Parker. There seems to be a dispute as to whether the City or the developer is causing the delays;
- We briefly looked at the “temporary social housing” being installed at Main and Terminal;
- We have been unable to secure a student this year from UBC Geography/History. We offered two possible topics for study (the 1979/1980 Community Plan process; and, GWAC in the 1970s) but neither were picked up. We will look for opportunities next year;
- Neville reported on continuing developments at St Francis of Assisi and their desire to build a bigger and better school on Wilga gardens. There will be an open community meeting in the church hall, 2021 Napier, at 7pm on February 2nd;
- It was noted that Wednesday 25th January is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Grandview Woodland Area Council;
- Johhn raised the possibility of a federal tax incentive for retention of heritage homes. We look forward to more details later.
Update: Re-examined research notes corrects the GWAC anniversary to Oct 25th rather than January 25th. My apologies for the error.
At the last GHG meeting, we reported that Donato Calogero gave a wonderful presentation on the history of his house at 1350 Graveley Street. The research indicates that the house is almost certainly the oldest existing house in Grandview, having been moved twice in its 116 year life.
Donato has graciously allowed us to include his full presentation in the form of a Powerpoint show file: the-house-that-wouldnt-fade.
Note that the file is very large and may take some time to load.
Update: A smaller version of the file has now been loaded to reduce load time.