Description of Historic Place
The Storey and Campbell Warehouse, erected in 1911, is an 8-storey brick building located mid-block on Beatty Street, adjacent to the Victory Square area of Vancouver’s eastern downtown district. It fills its entire lot. It is set at the edge of an escarpment, resulting in this building having an additional storey below the Beatty Street level. The lower level faces the lane and what was once a railway spur line.
The heritage value of the Storey and Campbell Warehouse is found in its representation of the growth of the wholesale business in this part of downtown Vancouver during the early 20th century, and in its architecture and its historical associations.
Established by Jonathan Storey and Roderick Campbell, Jr., in 1892, the Storey and Campbell Company began by handling the wholesale and retail sale of transportation paraphernalia (harnesses, saddlery, trunks, etc). As the times changed and automobiles and trucks started to replace horses and wagons, the company switched gears and became the sole agents in British Columbia for Studebaker commercial trucks. Their company’s territory eventually covered the area from Vancouver to Winnipeg. The firm later shifted to distributing dry goods and small appliances.
The building has value as a representative warehouse of the Edwardian era. Designed by William Tuff Whiteway, a talented architect best known for his design of the Sun Tower next door, the building was praised for being one of the best planned for its purpose in all of Canada. Like some others on the street, it is constructed with a steel-frame structure and exterior brick walls, which provided a measure of fire protection. Unusual for the time, it had a sprinkler system and was connected with the fire department. The exterior has value for its balanced and elegant design, with an elaborate cornice and semi-circular pediment, giant pilasters, and a rusticated base. The look of the building was important, as it needed to be attractive as well as functional, for it accommodated a showroom and offices on the ground floor and mezzanine. Loading and unloading occurred at the lane and railway tracks, with a large freight elevator adjacent to the loading dock.
The Storey and Campbell Warehouse also has value as evidence of the importance of railway access to early commerce in Vancouver. The location of this and the adjacent structures was determined by the adjacency of the diagonal spur line that ran between the Canadian Pacific Railway main line on the Gastown waterfront and the marshalling yards on False Creek. The buildings were sited to take advantage of the escarpment that runs along the east side of Beatty Street, allowing rail access at the lowest level and street access at the Beatty Street level. A location adjacent to rail lines was a key aspect of wholesale warehousing during the city’s early history, and remained important until the mid-twentieth-century change in distribution methods, with a consequent shift to truck delivery and the removal of many of the Beatty Street businesses to sites with better road access.
The building’s storefront underwent alteration in 1940, designed by architect Thomas Logan Kerr, known for the design of several local theatres. Storey and Campbell remained in the building until 1951, when it sold the dry goods business to the Gordon Mackay Company Ltd. of Toronto, reportedly the largest textile distributor in Canada at the time. A number of businesses, mostly in the garment industry, have occupied the building since that time.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The character-defining elements of the building include:
-The prominent location within an important streetscape of similar masonry-clad warehouse structures
-The 8-storey brick facade at the property line on Beatty Street and the 9-storey elevation on the lower lane side to the east
-The straightforward massing with no setbacks
-The treatment of the Beatty Street elevation, whose features include vertical giant pilasters, horizontal recessed spandrels, groups of three large windows, the elaborate cornice with semi-circular pediment and stepped parapet on top, the cornice above the mezzanine level, and the rusticated ground-floor pilasters
-The brick elevations, with stone sills and window heads
-The original, hopper-hinged, wood sash windows on the front elevation
-The features of the rear elevation, including the large windows
-The loading bay at the rear