The Life and Death of Seaton Street

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Blue Blood Alley
1145 Seaton Street, ca.1890. Owned by Stephen Richards, a lawyer and land agent. Photo Vancouver Archives SGN 297

Last week I wrote about the oldest house in Vancouver—well at least that’s what they called it when it burned to the ground in 1946. It was built in 1875, and until 1915, its address was Seaton Street.

Blue Blood Alley
1120 Seaton Street in 1895. Owned by John P. Nicolls, a solicitor. CVA Bu P561

Unlike most of Vancouver’s streets that are named after old white men, Lauchlan Hamilton, the CPR surveyor, named this one in 1886 after pulling it at random from a map (the town of Seaton is long gone, but used to be near Hazelton in northern BC).

1218 Seaton Street ca.1901. Residents are William Bauer, surveyor and Major-General Twigge. CVA SGN 849.

The street was dubbed Blueblood Alley after its wealthy occupants. It was also a short walk to the original Vancouver Club at Hastings and Hornby Streets (built in 1893), and from 1912, the Metropolitan Club on the next block down.

Blueblood Alley
1117 Seaton Street, 1914. Canadian Army Service Corps building. CVA

In 1901, the city directory shows 15 houses on Seaton Street from Burrard to Jervis. Residents include Mayor Thomas Townley, Henry Ogle Bell-Irving (known in Vancouver business circles as H.O.), and Vancouver’s first solicitor, Alfred St. George Hamersley. Frank Holt, and his little shack at #1003, is completely ignored by the city directory that year. Frank first gets a listing in 1904, and new neighbor, real estate agent Edward Mahon.

Blueblood Alley
Seaton Street, now West Hastings in 1925. Photo CVA 357-4

In the early years of the 20th Century, the bluebloods began to leave the alley for higher ground above English Bay, and by 1915, the road was an extension of Hastings Street west of Burrard, and just like the rich, the name disappeared.

Blueblood Alley
Seaton Street/West Hastings 1000, 1100 and 1200 block today. Google Maps
Fire Insurance Map courtesy Vancouver Archives and Gary Penway
Seaton Street courtesy Vancouver Archives and Gary Penway

For more posts see: Our Missing Heritage

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus.

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Thanks for that interesting tidbit of local history. I had no idea that that stretch of Hastings was ever known as anything but Hastings. That house looks very much like many of the grand old homes of the Queen’s Park area of New West, many of which date to the 1890’s (as you no doubt know)…

  2. Edward Mahon and his family also lived on Seaton Street. Their house was where the Marine Building is now. I have photos there and at Spuraway as my dad’s family were friends with the Mahons.

  3. Nice posting. Seaton is a lost street for sure.

    I am doing a bit of research on Alfred St. George and Maud Hamersley. They show up at 1337 Seaton in 1901 and prior. Then 1169 Seaton in 1903. Those addresses are from the BC Directories at the Archives. I was hoping to find a pic of their home, but no luck so far.

    There are two relevant Fire Insurance Maps at the CoV Archives that might interest you. I’ll email them. Curiously, there seems to be no reference to a 1300 Block of Seaton. Yet Hamersley is listed there as the only ones on that block. Ah, the never ending mysteries of history.

    There is also a nice watercolour of a home on Seaton at the Archives. No address is given, but I would surmise that it is 1115 – 1117 Seaton based upon the footprint of the buildings on the Fire Insurance maps.

    Thanks for posting info on Seaton Street

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