At Home With History The Secrets of Greater Vancouver’s Heritage Houses

At Home with History: The Untold Secrets of Greater Vancouver's Heritage HomesAt Home With History:
The Secrets of Greater Vancouver’s Heritage Homes

City of Vancouver Book Award Finalist, 2008

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Old houses have stories. It doesn’t matter whether they are small cottages or multi-million dollar mansions. The stories of the houses weave through New Westminster, Burnaby, the West End, Mount Pleasant and Shaughnessy. Over the years they have housed bootlegging joints or secret rooms, or murderers, or ghosts. More importantly, these houses provide a context for the social history of Vancouver and reveal otherwise forgotten stories or secrets.

I love the idea that a house has a genealogy, much like a person and comes alive through the human interest stories and mysteries that took place inside its walls. Over any period of time there is change, but through it all, the house remains a central fixture and the structure for the inevitable stories that follow.

I also believe that we are the temporary custodians and a chain in the ongoing narrative of the house. And, I’d argue that a social history is every bit as important as an architectural history in preserving buildings for future generations.

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Book Reviews

You might call her the Sherlock Holmes of home history,” writes the Outlook. “Lazarus’s stories bring Vancouver’s past back to life.”

Georgia Straight: “A mix of old black-and-white street-scene photos, jovial stories, and unique neighbourhood profiles, the book crushes the idea that Vancouver is a city without history.”

Vancouver Sun: “exceptional incidents in ordinary houses and ordinary people in exceptional houses.”

“Lazarus has taken her curiosity and spent countless hours chasing down details on a wide range of Vancouver’s most interesting houses,” says the North Shore News. “The result of her efforts is this entertaining account that tells about the buildings and the people who lived in them.”

“Lazarus reveals the hidden stories of a number of Vancouver’s heritage homes, setting each within the larger context of its neighbourhood,” writes the Vancouver Courier. “Bootleggers rub shoulders with financiers, prostitutes with police, murderers with mayors.”

Coastlines: “At Home with History weaves a colourful tapestry of tales from many of Vancouver’s earliest neighbourhoods, including accounts of bootlegging operations, homes built with ill-gotten gains, and rumours of spies. Through the doors of these houses passed some of the city’s most colourful characters.”

“If the walls could talk, what stories would old Vancouver homes tell? Lazarus went searching and the result is an entertaining and informative book on the city’s social history,” writes BC Historical News. “Lazarus’ diligent and extensively detailed book accompanied with archival photographs, serves to remind us rich stories lurking within old homes, whether a mansion or bungalow, are well worth preserving.”