On The Value Of Local History

The British historical journal History Workshop has recently published an interesting piece on the value (and lack of use) of local histories.

“Local history takes in a broad range of historical inquiry that can cut across other disciplines and sources including oral traditions, social and cultural practices, ephemera, objects, sites and more. Local history is a powerful tool that contributes to place making and the construction of identity. These histories relate stories of community rituals, traditions and celebrations that are embedded in interpersonal and familial networks. These stories create a dense landscape of meanings that are layered and nuanced.”

Well worth the read.

Grandview Database v.12

We have today uploaded a new and updated version of the Grandview Database.  

This version incorporates almost 900 new data points since the previous release. About 200+ of the new entries are drawn from newspaper articles covering everyday life such as births, marriages, deaths, thefts, accidents, hiring help (search on “girl” for example), and selling household goods.

The other 650 new entries constitute details of households included in the 1911 Census. The completion of the census entries will probably take another two months and will ensure the database contains virtually every person who lived in Grandview in 1911.

The reformatting of both dates and data points continues apace.

Birth of a Community — Part 1

I have been pottering around for yearss now working with various parts of the earliest history of Grandview, and it is time to share some of that research. This will be the first in a series of essays I will publish here as pdfs for comment and improvement. Your ideas, suggestions, corrections, etc will be gratefully received and will help us all understand a little bit better the history of our wonderful neighbourhood.

Many of you will know that the real growth of Grandview took place between 1905 and 1913. However, that growth was an outcome of decisions made decades earlier when lumber was king and Grandview was a forest. This part of the story — “:Birth_In The Beginning for web” — (select link to download the pdf) describes how Grandview came to be in the 1860s and 1870s.

Meeting Notes: March 2017

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.

Next Meeting: 16th March

Yes, the next GHG meeting is just a couple of days away!

We meet at 7:00pm on Thursday in the Britannia Board Room on Napier.

As usual, we have a very loose agenda, and we welcome other topics that are of interest to you.  This month we will have

  • What’s Happening in the Neighbourhood?  Eric’s monthly review of, mostly, physical changes in Grandview;
  • Jak will give a brief overview of the GV Database’s growth and future;
  • Final decisions on Donato’s Plaque for the oldest house in Grandview;
  • Photographs of the Crystal Dairy and where was that fleet yard?
  • Whatever is on your mind about heritage and the neighbourhood.

Come join us. The conversations are always interesting.

Ruining The Streets in 1910

In September 1910, Mayor Louis D. Taylor and Aldermen Stevens and Enright toured the city “to see just what the [public] work was going on.”  They began in Cedar Cove and then moved into Grandview. The following report, which gives a good description of some parts of Grandview at that time, is from the Vancouver World 24 September 1910 (page 18) and is headlined:  “Terracing Fad Ruin Of Streets”:

full piece