A Walk Down No. 3 Road in 1958

In 1974,  the Assessment Authority Act was passed in the BC Legislature allowing the formation of the BC Assessment Authority, an organization which operates independently from municipal or provincial governments to assess property values for taxation purposes. Before this the Corporation of the Township of Richmond had its own tax assessors who created assessment rolls to establish property values in the Municipality. In 1958, an assessor took his camera out to document the commercial buildings along No. 3 Road, mostly between its intersection with Westminster Highway and with Granville Avenue, and left us with a fascinating time warp back to the late 1950s in a location that has seen some of the greatest change in Richmond, although bits of it still survive. Lets take a stroll along No. 3 Road in 1958.

a 1988 18 7

The intersection of No. 3 Road and Westminster Highway looking north west. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 7.

Starting our walk at the intersection of No. 3 Road and Westminster Highway, we look toward the north west corner and the new, modern supermarket of Canada Safeway and its parking lot. This intersection, one of the busiest in Richmond then and now, was one of the first to have a traffic signal.

b 1988 18 8

On the north east corner of the intersection was the Lansdowne Service Shell station. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 8.

Across No. 3 Road from Safeway is Lansdowne Service, a Shell gas and service station. If you drive north along No. 3 Road, there were only trees between the station and Lansdowne Park Racetrack.

c 1988 18 9

Directly across Westminster Highway from Safeway was the Super-Valu Store. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 9.

On the south west corner of the intersection, directly across the street from Safeway is its main competition, Super-Valu. Their signs compete for attention on this corner.

d 1988 18 10

Turning around and looking south up No. 3 Road you can see the Ford dealership of Steveston Motors and the strip of commercial building an bit farther down. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 10.

Standing in front of Super-Valu and looking south along No. 3 Road you can see some of the commercial buildings on the west side of the street. Steveston Motors Ford dealership was just south of the Super-Valu store. Across the opening to their car lot is a strip of storefronts.

e1988 18 11

Looking south along No. 3 Road from the east side of the street. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 11.

If you cross No. 3 Road to the east side and look south you get a good view of Super-Valu, Steveston Motors and the row of commercial buildings. Let’s walk along the sidewalk a bit….

f 1988 18 6

Looking north toward Westminster Highway from the east side of No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 6.

… and look north to see the businesses on the west side of the street, Safeway, Super-Valu and Steveston Motors. Judging by the banners and flags they’re really trying to sell those Edsels.

g 1988 18 35

Looking east along Westminster Highway from No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 35.

If we head back down to the intersection we can look east along Westminster Highway and see a couple of businesses just around the corner, Lulu Billiards and Jerry Pickard Motors Austin Sales and Service.

h 1988 18 34

Lulu Island Motors on the coner of No. 3 Road and Westminster Highway. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 34.

Right on the corner of Westminster Highway and No. 3 Road is Lulu Island Motors, a Standard Oil (Chevron) station where you can get gas, a tune-up and new tires.

i 1988 18 33

Looking farther south the next building houses a number of businesses. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 33.

Next to Lulu Island Motors is a commercial building with a number of businesses. The Richmond Review Newspaper is through the first door at 604 No. 3 Road. Next door is the popular Rooster Cafe. Beside the cafe is the Farmerette Grocery Store and at the end is Marpole Cleaners. Upstairs are some lawyer’s and doctor’s offices and some apartments.

j 1988 18 32

The neon sign at the Rooster Cafe. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 32.

Looking up, the neon sign at the Rooster Cafe is Richmond’s finest.

k 1988 18 31

The Lulu Theatre. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 31.

Across a driveway, the next building is the Lulu Theatre, showing Hollywood’s latest movies.

l 1988 18 4

Looking north down No. 3 Road toward Westminster Highway. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 4.

Turning around and looking north down the west side of the street you can see the buildings housing The Canadian Bank of Commerce, Kleven’s 5-10-15 Cent Store, Pemberton Jewelers, Lansdowne Hardware (selling Bapco Paints), McCue Drugs, the Island Colour Bar (selling Canada Paints) and Richmond Tailors.

m 1988 18 5

Looking south west toward 621 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 5.

Turning and looking south west, next door to the bank is the Delta Esso Service Station. In the background are the buildings at Cunningham Lumber Co.

n 1988 18 30

Back on the east side of the street is Lang’s Nurseries. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 30.

Looking back to the east side of the street we find a long-time family owned Richmond business, Lang’s Nurseries. The propery is filled with trees, shrubs, plants, topsoil and anything else one needs for landscaping or gardening.

o 1988 18 3

Looking north west. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 3.

Back across the street is the Cunningham Lumber Co. (selling Glidden Paint) and the offices of J.M. Wells Construction Ltd.

p 1988 18 29

Looking north east toward the Bank of Montreal. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 29.

Back on the east side of the street again is the Bank of Montreal at the west end of the Hyland Park Shopping Centre. In the background, a ferris wheel from Royal Canadian Shows is set up in the empty lot between Lang’s Nurseries and Hyland Park.

q 1988 18 28

Looking south along No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 28.

Turning south, we can see the sign for the Hyland Park Shopping Centre with a list of the businesses there. The Shop-Easy Grocery Store and its parking lot are just past the sign. Fastened to the telephone pole is a poster for Royal Canadian Shows at Brighouse  May 22 to 24.

r 1988 18 27

Looking north on No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 27.

After walking along the street, crossing Cook Road and looking back, we can see the Hyland Park and Shop-Easy signs in the distance. Realtors Insurance and Home Builders Lumber (selling Monamel paint) are to the right.

s 1988 18 26

Simpsons-Sears Catalog Store. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 26.

Between Home Builders Lumber and this building is a large, mostly empty lot. This commercial building houses four businesses. Loreta Beauty Salon is in the ground floor left, Simpsons-Sears Catalog Store is on the ground floor right, P.A. Wolanski Accountant is upstairs on the left and the Marpole-Richmond Accordion College is upstairs on the right.

t 1988 18 24

The east side of No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 24.

Next door is the Brighouse Branch of the Royal Bank of Canada and a Masonic Lodge, and next door to that is the Brighouse Bola-Drome bowling alley and cafe. A group of young guys with slicked back DA haircuts loiter outside and the advertising sign requests “Players Please!”

u 1988 18 25

Looking east to the corner of Park Road and No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 25.

Crossing the intersection of Park and No. 3 Roads we come to Richmond Motors, a BA service station. Behind the station on Park Road is the office of  Richmond Cabs (Call CR-8-8444).

v 1988 18 23

Looking east toward 680 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 23.

Next to Richmond Motors the building at 680 No. 3 Road houses two businesses. Brighouse Hardware (selling Martin-Senour Paint) and Gordon’s Rexall Drugs.

w 1988 18 22

Looking east toward 682 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 22.

Beside the drug store, 682 No. 3 Road has four more retail outlets. Starting at the north end is Harris’ Bakery, Scoular’s Shoe Store, the Island Meat Market (Percy and Bob Eeles, proprietors) and Ivan’s Men’s Wear.

x 1988 18 21

Looking east toward 684 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 21.

Four more businesses occupy 684 No. 3 Road. Brighouse Television sells TVs, radios and appliances as well as doing service and TV antenna installations. Next door, Burrows Cleaners provides laundry service, including pick-up and delivery.  Dawn Marie Style Shop offers the latest fashions for ladies and they can go next door to shop for shoes to go with their new dress at Skuse’s Shoes. The small building next door at 686 No. 3 Road (Behind the big Cadillac) is Dr. Booth’s Dentist Office and Dr. Talmey’s and Dr. Varley’s doctor’s office.

y 1988 18 20

Looking east toward 688 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 20.

Just south of the doctor’s offices is a large two-storey commercial building  at the corner of Anderson Road and No. 3 Road. The first space is occupied by Richmond Realty with its clock sign and marquee which asks, “What Recession?”. Next to it is the Sea-View Bakery. Beside the bakery, a door leads to stairs to the second floor where Dr. Kita has his dental office, Dr. Fagen has his medical practice and where chartered accountant Donald Ross, and lawyers A.A. McDonald and F.R. Spry have their offices. At street level, the south corner of the building houses Porter’s Brighouse Pharmacy.

z 1988 18 19

Looking south east toward 690 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 19.

Across Anderson Road is an old wood framed commercial building holding the storefront of  Grayshon & Morgan Electrical Contracting and Plumbing Services. Next door is the Brighouse Beauty Shop, open Friday ’til 9:00 PM.

zz 1988 18 18

Looking east across toward 692 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 18.

Next to the beauty parlour at 692 No. 3 Road is Grassie Jewellers and next to that is a Richmond favorite, the Brighouse Cafe, offering “Good Food” in their Cafe and Dining Room. Next door is Island Glass who deal in “Glass of all kinds, for every purpose”, Lyall Grath, proprietor.

zzz 1988 18 17

Looking east toward 694 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 17.

At 694 No. 3 Road we find Richmond Home Furniture, a large furniture store offering trade-ins and good deals on all kinds of furniture and flooring. Next door is a two in one business, Naimark’s Dry Goods sells “Ladies and Kiddies Wear” and in the same store, Naimark’s Dry Cleaning cleans them.

zzzz 1988 18 16

Looking east toward 696 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 16.

The last building before Granville Avenue is the location of Richmond Hardware and the Brighouse Grocery – Red & White Store. The hardware store sells Bapco Paint, it seems like a lot of  places sell paint on No. 3 Road. The grocery store was a longtime business in Richmond, run by the Meyer Family. Upstairs, two apartments enjoy a balcony overlooking the street. Just across the street from this location is the Richmond Town Hall and just around the corner behind the store is Brighouse Station of the recently closed BC Electric Railway Interurban Tram.

zzzzz 1988 18 15

Looking east toward 700 No. 3 Road. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1988 18 15.

We’ll finish our walk down No. 3 Road by looking across Granville Avenue and No. 3 Road at the Parkview Service Garage. Brighouse Park is to the west of it and to the south is mostly houses. No. 3 Road between Westminster Highway and Granville offered most of the services anyone might need during the 1950s all contained within a few blocks. We’re fortunate that an unknown tax assessor decided to document this area and leave us with this detailed example of a point in time of Richmond’s development.

Centres of Government – Richmond’s Town Halls – Part One

Part 1 – The First Town Hall

On November 10, 1879, when Letters Patent were issued to incorporate the Corporation of the Township of Richmond at the request of 25 early settlers, the first order of business was to hold an election and form a council to run the fledgling municipality.  The election was held at the home of Hugh Boyd and Alexander Kilgour and, as required in the Letters Patent, a “Warden” and seven Councillors were elected. Hugh Boyd was the first Warden of Richmond, a title later replaced by Reeve and then Mayor.

Hugh Boyd

Hugh Boyd, the first Warden of the Corporation of the township of Richmond. The first Council meetings were held in the dining room of his house on Sea Island. City of Richmond Archives,  Oil Painting by T. B. Walker, 1911.

Council meetings were held in the dining room of the Boyd house on Sea Island until a better venue could be provided. In October 1880, Council approved the purchase of a five-acre field from Sam Brighouse. The property was located on the Middle Arm of the Fraser River near the present day intersection of River Road and Cambie Road. Land not occupied by the Municipal buildings was to be rented out to a farmer to produce crops. The contract for building the new hall was awarded to James Turnbull who built it for $434. The building was completed on January 4, 1881 and a few weeks later the outhouse and woodshed were also finished.

The first function to take place at the brand new hall was a party to celebrate its completion. Guests were transported from New Westminster to the party on the steamboat Adelaide, there being too few men and even fewer women in Richmond at the time to make a proper observance.

1984 17 77

A group of school children play baseball outside of the first Richmond Town Hall which also served as an early school. In this photo, ca. 1888, are William Garratt, Leo Carscallen, Peter Carscallen, James Sexsmith, Mr. McKinney, Jack Smith, George Sexsmith, William Mellis, Frances Sexsmith, Anna Sexsmith, Pearl Robinson, Kate Smith, Grace Sweet, Mae Vermilyea and Anna Noble. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1984 17 77.

The purchase of  property in that location was made based on an important fact about Richmond in those days. There was no infrastucture, –  no roads, minimal dyking done by private landowners and few trails. The location of the hall on the Middle Arm made arrival by boat convenient for many. In order to attend council meetings Councillor Walter Lee, who lived on the South Arm, would travel to Steveston by boat and then hike to the hall along the Crabapple Ridge. Travel overland was impossible in many areas due to the bog and gum boots were recommended even in the “dry” spots. Most Councillors carried slippers with them so they would have footwear during council meetings.

The new hall and the property it was built on became a centre of cultural activity for the community. Before long members of the Richmond Agricultural Society built an Agricultural Hall on the Municipal land near the Town Hall and many agricultural fairs were held there, starting in 1894. The Steveston Brass Band held concerts at the Town Hall, fraternal organizations booked the space to hold their meetings and it became a polling station for elections. Church services were held there and in 1881 permission was granted to the North Arm School Board to use the Hall as a school. Fourteen boys and twelve girls attended classes there with Miss Sweet as their teacher.

1984 17 78

Richmond residents enter the gates to attend the agricultural fair, ca. 1910. The board at the gate shows the fees, Admittance – 25 cents, Children – 10 cents, Horse and Buggy (with driver) – 50 cents. Lunch was available on the grounds for 25 cents. On the right in this photo is the Agricultural/Community Hall and on the left is the Richmond Methodist Church, now Minoru Chapel. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1984 17 78.

In 1891 a new schoolhouse was built by the North Arm School District and the Methodist Church was built nearby, freeing the Town Hall from those duties. In 1905 the hall got its first telephone and in 1911 the heat from the wood stove was supplemented with the addition of an oil stove. By 1912 Council started discussing the need for a new hall in a location more suited to the Municipality, which by now had built many roads and was serviced by the BC Electric Railway’s Interurban Tram.

1977 9 18

Horses and buggies and a crowd of people fill Richmond’s Municipal lands for an agricultural fair, ca. 1907. This image looks toward the present intersection of Cambie Road and River Road and shows the Town Hall (L), Agricultural Hall (M) and Richmond Methodist Church (R). The building in front of the church is the present location of the Richmond Rod and Gun Club. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1977 9 18.

The need for a new hall became more imperative in January 1913 when two auditors were going over documents in the hall. One of them, Mr. J.H. Lancaster, threw some gasoline into the wood stove thinking it was coal oil. The ensuing explosion caused the Town Hall to go up in flames. Mr. Lancaster was seriously burned and passed away some time later. The other auditor, Mr. J. Glanville  received less serious burns. Quick work by Reverend M. Wright and other bystanders resulted in most of the town’s records being saved.

First Minutes right side colour

The first Council Minutes for the Corporation of Richmond were saved from the disastrous fire that destroyed the Town Hall and appear to be scorched around the edges. City of Richmond Archives photograph.

The loss of Richmond’s Town Hall meant that a new venue needed to be found for council meetings. The Mayor and Council used Bridgeport School as a temporary location until a new hall could be built in a more suitable location. The start of World War One dictated that the school would continue to be Richmond’s centre of government until 1919.

1978 1 18

Bridgeport School hosted Municipal Council meetings after the original Town Hall was burned in 1913. Shown here ca. 1940, the council met there until 1919.

Next – The Move to Brighouse.

Focus on the Record – Early Records of the Municipal Waterworks System

The importance of a municipal waterworks system to the daily lives of residents is often overlooked.  In Richmond, it wasn’t until 1910 that a system for piping drinking water was established.  Prior to this date, drinking water was normally available only through the use of rain barrels or by delivery, often in milk cans, by water wagon or train.

The development of Richmond’s waterworks system is well documented in records held at the City of Richmond Archives.  City bylaws, Council minutes and reports, and files relating to the building, regulation and taxation of the water system provide an accurate picture of its installation, maintenance, expansion and continual modernization.

First page of 1930 agreement whereby Richmond joined the Greater Vancouver Water District. City of Richmond Archives MR 66, File 548

First page of 1930 agreement whereby Richmond joined the Greater Vancouver Water District. City of Richmond Archives MR 66, File 548

Records at the Archives speak to the importance of the 1909 bylaw authorizing an agreement with the City of New Westminster to supply piped water to Richmond and the 1930 agreement to join the Greater Vancouver Water District and the implications of that to the present day.

Charles Jones, Waterworks Superintendent. City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1986 19 1

Charles Jones, Waterworks Superintendent. City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1986 19 1

 

In addition to City government records, the private papers at the City of Richmond Archives of Charles Jones, the waterworks superintendent for the municipality from 1913 to 1952, enable researchers to understand the complexity of the work performed and the challenges facing a municipality situated on islands at the mouth of the Fraser River.  The manner in which Jones laid the watermain on the river bed to supply water from Lulu Island to Sea Island in 1937 was celebrated as a technical feat never before seen in the province.

Laying of Watermain to Sea Island.

Diagram of the laying of the watermain to Sea Island, 1937. City of Richmond Archives Accession 2011 25

City records such as the 1936 Waterworks Atlas, which mapped all built structures in the municipality and their proximity to connections to watermains, are consulted on a regular basis today by environmental and property researchers studying land use and development in Richmond.

Waterworks atlas map for area near Alexandra Station, 1936. City of Richmond Archives Map 1991 40 75

Waterworks atlas map for area near Alexandra Station, 1936. City of Richmond Archives Map 1991 40 75

In total, the early records of waterworks tell the story of the growth of the municipality through the building of an infrastructure which many people now take for granted.

[Note – this is an updated version of an article first published in the Spring 2015 issue of the Archives News]

New at the Archives – Engineering Richmond

Part of an ongoing program to digitize historical images at the City of Richmond Archives are 980 slides taken by Richmond’s Engineering Department documenting a variety of major infrastructure projects in the municipality between 1969 and 1977. Highlighted here are just two projects from 1969: the construction of the Dinsmore Bridge and the Gilbert Trunk Sewer.

Dinsmore Bridge under Construction

Dinsmore Bridge under Construction, February 1969. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 461)

Before the opening of the bridge in 1969, the only connection between Sea Island and Lulu Island was the Moray Channel Bridge, built in 1957 to replace the old Middle Arm span of the Marpole Bridge. While the Dinsmore Bridge itself was built with funding from the Federal government, the approaches to the new bridge connecting Gilbert Road to Russ Baker Way were the responsibility of the municipal government. Part of the construction of the bridge approaches required the crossing of some of Richmond’s existing infrastructure, such as the Lansdowne Canal, as shown below.

Crossing for Lansdowne Canal

Construction of the Crossing for Lansdowne Canal from the Dinsmore Bridge. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 472)

Another major construction project in 1969 was the Gilbert Road Trunk sewer, designed to collect sewage from lateral feeder pipes extending east and west to transport raw sewage south to an outfall in the South Arm of the Fraser.

Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer - Laying  Pipe

Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer – Laying Pipe near Westminster Highway, March 1969. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 431)

The new sewage system was designed to replace an older patchwork of collectors and outfalls. Today, the Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer No. 2, a parallel system,  is under construction by Metro Vancouver.

Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer

The Gilbert Road Trunk Sewer – Looking North from Westminster Highway. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 430)

Before 1973, when the Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant at the south end of Gilbert Road became operational, the pipe discharged untreated sewage directly into the south arm of the Fraser River near the foot of Gilbert Road.

Sewer Outfall - the launch

The Placement of the Gilbert Road Sewer Outfall at the South Arm. (City of Richmond Archives Photograph 1988 123 401)

Other Engineering Department activities documented by the recently-digitized group of photographs include dyking and drainage projects, traffic and intersection studies, and aerial surveying of fire halls, municipal buildings and parks and recreation areas.