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Page last updated May 30, 2012

© Michael Kluckner

Note from Christine, 2009: My husband and I purchased one of the two turreted houses in Greenwood. We are hoping to restore it and as I was looking at your web site there was a view that looked like it might have come from the second floor patio of our new house. We purchased 432 Long Lake Rd, would you happen to have any photos of the house? I have managed to get the list of all the owners of the house but so far no photos have been found. Our new house once held 15 children and families during the interement. The architect for our house is also the same man who designed the post office (the only two he did in Greenwood). I would appreciate any additional info/photos you may have on our new home. [Email me if you know and I'll pass it along]

Note from Joe & Terrill: I lived in Greenwood in the early 60s' and knew many of the Japanese people there. Mr. Tasaka the barber told me that while his family was interned, they received 1 blanket per person. My daughter in law says they were given 2. Can you tell me which of us is correct?

Written/sketched 2002: The view of Greenwood from the steep hill on the south side of the narrow valley. The line of yellow aspens behind the buildings defines the route of Boundary Creek, beyond which lies the roadbed of the old Columbia & Western Railway, now part of the Trans Canada Trail but in use until 1990 as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway's Kettle Valley line. It is easy to imagine prospectors coming through this area in the 1880s and spotting rich ore in the rocky outcroppings for, as Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of the Cevennes (in Travels with a Donkey], "the stony skeleton of the world was here vigorously displayed to sun and air."

The three buildings on the extreme left sit on South Copper Street--Highway 3, in fact, which is the main street. They are the two-story Guess Block, built in 1899 and now home to the Copper Eagle Cappuccino and Bakery; next to it, the red-brick three-story building is the Greenwood Inn, originally the Windsor Hotel, also built about 1899 and home to the town's pub and cafe today; the white three-story building was the Pacific Hotel, built in 1907 and, during the Second World War, #1 Internment Building housing more than 200 Japanese-Canadians. The 1902 house in the left foreground sits on South Government Street and was the home of W.E. McArthur, Sr., the mayor of Greenwood in 1942 who welcomed the opportunity to house almost 1200 Japanese-Canadians in the town's many empty buildings.

The large turreted brick building is the post office and federal government building, erected about 1913-15, a few years before the collapse of copper prices that closed the local mines and smelters and sent the town into a tailspin.

The courthouse (now City Hall) illustrated below is a block to the north (right) of the post office. Greenwood's landmark smokestack – the one relic remaining from the B.C. Copper Company's 1900 smelter – a few hundred metres south (left) of the hotel and main street.

Greenwood City Hall, built in 1902-3 as the provincial government building and courthouse. It was designed by George Dillon Curtis, an Irish-born architect who established a practice in Nelson in 1897 and designed public buildings there and in Rossland, Fernie, and Greenwood. (The well-known courthouse in Rossland was in fact designed by Curtis' future partner, John James Honeyman.) [source: Honeyman and Curtis, by Paul Mackenzie Bennett, in "Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia, ed. Donald Luxton, to be published in 2003] The building originally housed the gold commissioner's office, the chief constable and the mining recorder, as well as the functions of the county and supreme courts. There are three jail cells in the basement, one of which was part of the original design. The City of Greenwood bought it to use as its city hall in 1953, toward the end of the 14-year tenure of Mayor W.E. McArthur, Sr. [Source: Greenwood Heritage Walk brochure published by the Greenwood Heritage Society, 2001]

From Mareth Curtis-Warren, 2012: In searching for information about my architect grandfather, George Dillon Curtis, I came across a webpage (http://www.michaelkluckner.com/bciw3greenwood.html) from Greenwood BC.  It mentioned him as the architect of Greenwood City Hall, built in 1902-3.  To my knowledge, our family is not aware of this structure.  It was a great find! I was also impressed with the watercolors of the town because George was a wonderful watercolorist and they look very similar to his work. 

And, from Donald Luxton, quoting from his book Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia:

HONEYMAN & CURTIS
PARTNERSHIP 1902-1931
 
JOHN JAMES HONEYMAN
1864-1934
 
GEORGE DILLON CURTIS
1868-1940
 

Both John Honeyman and George Curtis practised architecture in British Columbia for some years before entering into business together, but it was in partnership that they were most successful. Once established in their Vancouver practice, they were responsible for an increasingly prolific range of work, including many prominent churches, public buildings, private residences, apartment buildings, industrial structures and banks. Individually and collectively they left a rich legacy of sophisticated architecture now recognized in many heritage inventories around the province.

George D. Curtis was born in Ireland on August 1, 1868; his family had been officers in the Royal Navy for generations. Curtis studied at London's Finsbury Technical College from 1884-85, and for the next three years he articled with a London firm. His brother, James, had arrived in Port Moody in July 1886 on the first transcontinental passenger train. George, who was studying at King's Lynn, Norfolk, in 1889 was offered a year's holiday in Canada by his father to check up on James. George decided to stay in Canada, taking up survey work in the 1890s. The Canadian Pacific Railway had built a branch line to Nelson, which had become an important West Kootenay mining supply centre, and by 1897 George Curtis opened an architectural practice there. He undertook various commercial, religious, residential and public commissions in Nelson, Rossland, and Greenwood. His Nelson projects included Reisterer's Brewery, 1897, St. Joseph's Catholic School, 1901, at least half a dozen private residences, and supervision of the construction of the Hume Hotel, designed by A.C. Ewart. His St. Saviour's Anglican Church, 1898-1900, is a good example of a Gothic English perpendicular parish church, while his Cathedral of Mary Immaculate, 1898-99, is a mature example of Roman Classicism, favoured by the Catholic Church in Canada at the time. Modeled on La Madeleine in Paris, the exterior features an imposing portico and correct classical detailing while the interior includes a Neo-Baroque tunnel vault supported by composite columns. Although Mary Immaculate appears to be built of solid masonry finished with marble, it is actually made of faux-painted wood. In Greenwood, Curtis designed a court house and public school. On December 17, 1900, he married Agnes Bertha Crickmay, a former nurse at Vancouver's City Hospital who with her sister operated Nelson's first hospital.

Born in Glasgow on April 9, 1864, J.J. Honeyman was the son of Helen Orr and Patrick Smith Honeyman, a solicitor. After architectural studies at Heidelberg University, Germany, he returned to Glasgow in 1883 to article with Hugh & David Barclay. No professional connection has yet been found between J.J. Honeyman and his uncle, John Honeyman (1831-1914), one of the most distinguished Scottish architects of the Victorian era. John Honeyman, who had an abiding interest in medieval structures, had a long and varied career in Glasgow, and in 1888 went into partnership with John Keppie (1862-1945). One of the draftsmen in their office was Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), and when Honeyman retired in 1904 Mackintosh, an architect of supreme brilliance, went into partnership with Keppie. The 1880s seems to have been a particularly rough period for John Honeyman, as his eyesight was failing and his work was perceived as being old-fashioned; the partnership with the much younger Keppie apparently saved his business. For reasons unknown, John Honeyman never involved his nephew with the firm, but in 1884, accepted Robert Claud Kerr as an apprentice.

J.J. Honeyman left for Canada, and crossed the continent on the CPR in 1889. Upon his arrival he ranched with John Baird from 1889-92 on Ployart's Swamp, near Black Creek in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. About 1891 Honeyman established his architectural practice in Nanaimo, first for a year in partnership with F.T. Gregg, and then afterwards on his own. On January 12, 1892, in Nanaimo, Honeyman married Mabel Dempster, also a Scottish immigrant. They settled on a ranch called Tarara and commenced their family, which eventually numbered four daughters and one son. Honeyman enjoyed rugby football and considered himself both a Conservative and a Presbyterian. He was a modest man; when asked if he could provide examples of his professional competence, he replied "I really don't know. You might perhaps ask one of my clients." Honeyman's commissions at this time included the A.R. Johnstone Block in Nanaimo, 1893, a school in Cumberland, 1895, and Nanaimo Central School, 1895-96.

Honeyman moved to Rossland in 1897, which is likely where he met George Curtis. Honeyman's largest and best known individual project was the Rossland Court House, which is visually prominent from many points both in downtown Rossland and from access routes into the city. It was designed in 1898 but not completed until 1901 as a result of the first contractor's inability to carry out the task. By the time of completion the building's cost rose from $38,500 to $58,122, proving that public works cost overruns are by no means new in British Columbia. The edifice featured a symmetrical front facade, corner towers with steep bell-cast roofs, and an arched entry and window openings. Pinkish-tan brick cladding was used above a base of dark local granite, and the floor plan and interior layout reflect the standardized approach to turn of the century court house planning. The main court room features an open timber roof, detailed cedar panelling, and stained glass windows by Henry Bloomfield & Sons bearing the provincial arms and those of Sir James Douglas, the province's first governor, and Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, British Columbia's first judge and subsequent Chief Justice. During his time in Rossland, Honeyman was also busy with residential projects. The exterior of his 1902 cottage for William Wadds featured a gambrel roof and an imposing entrance with a large verandah and columns, fronted by a circular driveway. Honeyman also designed a home in Rossland, Warriston, c.1908, for his wife's brother, Charles Dempster.

Anticipating greater opportunity on the coast, Honeyman and Curtis both moved to Vancouver and established their architectural partnership in 1902. An important commission was the Kamloops Court House, built 1907-09 and still an important downtown landmark. They also provided the design for the Fernie Court House in 1907. Featuring ornamental gables, elaborate front and rear entrances and a beautiful west window, it was completed in the spring of 1908, but was destroyed just a few short months later in the huge fire that devastated most of Fernie on the first day of August. Another of Honeyman & Curtis's landmark projects was the Vancouver Fire Hall No. 6, 1907-09, located in the West End. At the time of its construction it was the "only fire hall in the world completely equipped with Auto Engines." This brick and stone building has a metal tile roof and strong horizontal emphasis, contrasted with a vertical hose tower. The partnership also received a number of church commissions. St. John's Presbyterian, 1909, in the West End, was an impressive stone Gothic Revival structure with a tall corner turret. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1925, in North Vancouver is a sophisticated structure consistent with Christian Science's preference for classically inspired forms. Shaughnessy Heights United Church, built 1928-30, is a beautifully proportioned stone-faced structure reminiscent of a traditional English parish church.

Honeyman & Curtis undertook a number of prominent projects for the CPR. Curtis took over the supervision of the original portion of the Empress Hotel in Victoria when Francis Rattenbury resigned late in 1906, and continued to act in a supervisory capacity through the ongoing expansion programme, 1909-1914, that included two new wings and the Crystal Ballroom, all designed by W.S. Painter. Honeyman & Curtis also designed an addition to the Hotel Vancouver for the CPR in 1911. Major industrial projects in Vancouver included an Imperial Rice Milling Company warehouse on Railway Street, 1911, and an office and warehouse for Canadian General Electric, 1913. Corporate clients included the Bank of Montreal, for whom they designed a stone-clad Temple Bank at Main and Hastings, built 1929-30, that marked the very end of the local use of classicism. Its columned entrance, pedimented doorway and sculpted heraldry were intended to invoke confidence and a timeless sense of stability.

Most of their initial residential commissions were in Vancouver's West End. From 1912 until 1929 their domestic work was located increasingly in Shaughnessy Heights, Point Grey and North Vancouver. For Matthew Sergius Logan, lumberman and Parks Commissioner and advocate of the Stanley Park sea wall, they designed a grand Craftsman-style home on Point Grey Road, 1909-10. The Shaughnessy home of industrial supplier, Bryce W. Fleck, 1929, in the Tudor Revival style, includes a porte-cochère, bay windows, stained glass and curved gable above the entrance.

The firm's prosperity allowed the partners to build substantial homes and establish vacation properties for their families. About 1908, Curtis cleared land outside Comox, and in 1912 built a small cottage; this property is still owned by the Curtis family. In 1913, Honeyman built his own home in Kerrisdale, which he called Kildavaig after a Scottish home in which he had once lived. By this time, Kerrisdale had become a desirable location, "just far enough from the noise and bustle of the city for peace and contentment." Kildavaig stands in excellent condition today. In 1929, he also built a cottage at Hood Point on Bowen Island, used by succeeding generations of his family.

An unusual home designed by Honeyman outside the Lower Mainland was Fintry Proper, the main house for a large estate on the west side of Okanagan Lake. This sprawling, Tudor Revival house was built for Honeyman's former Glasgow-era schoolmate, Captain J.C. Dun-Waters, who arrived in the area in 1909 and recognized the possibilities for growing fruit and hunting game — in England, Dun-Waters had been a Master of fox hounds. Honeyman was engaged in 1919 to build a new house for the estate; this first house burned down during renovations in 1924, and he designed a second house to replace it, with rich materials and spaces, including gracious verandahs. Of particular interest was Dun-Waters's trophy room, decorated to resemble a mountain cavern, complete with moss-covered boulders; trophy heads hung on the walls, while the centre-piece was a grizzly bear mounted in a life-like pose.

Along with others in their profession, their partnership was devastated by the Great Depression, and they had both retired by 1931. Honeyman died at home in Vancouver on February 18, 1934. Curtis, in ill health, retired to Comox in 1931, and died there on September 8, 1940.

SOURCES: HONEYMAN & CURTIS
AIBC; B.C. Vital Events; Boam, British Columbia; the Province; the Daily News-Advertiser; CA&B; and the City of North Van. Heritage Inventory Update, 1994. Kalman, Exploring Vancouver; Wynn & Oke, Vancouver and Its Region; and Kluckner, Vancouver: The Way it Was provided valuable context and cross-references. Fernie Court House from BCA GR-0054 Box 23 File 402. G.D. Curtis: Nelson: A Proposal for Urban Heritage Conservation, p.95; and Curtis's granddaughters, Bronwen Souders, Virginia, USA and Mareth Warren, Seattle. Curtis's retirement from Richard and Alexander Mackie, "Roughing It In the Colonies." (The Beaver, Apr./May, 1990, pp.6-13). J.J. Honeyman: Who's Who & Why, 1913 Vol.3; NVMA notes from descendant Florence Riechtel; and Jennifer Nell Barr, Cumberland Heritage. Further information from Mrs. Aileen McLellan, a Honeyman descendant. For Fintry see David Falconer, "Dun-Waters of Fintry," Okanagan Historical Society 38 (1974). Information on Honeyman's uncle, Scottish architect, John Honeyman, is from the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletters No.62, 63 & 64; he is also mentioned in many of the Mackintosh biographies. PROJECTS: G.D. Curtis: Reisterer's Brewery, Nelson, 1897; St. Saviour's Anglican Church, 723 Ward St., Nelson, 1888-90 (alt.); Cathedral of Mary Immaculate, 813 Ward St., Nelson, 1898-99 (ext.); Public School, Greenwood, 1899; St. Joseph's Catholic School, 523 Mill St., Nelson, 1901 (ext.); Court House, 127 Government St., Greenwood, 1902-03 (ext.); Curtis Cottage, 865 Balmoral Ave., Comox, 1912, additions in 1932 (ext.). J.J. Honeyman: A.R. Johnstone Block, Nanaimo, 1893 (demo.); School, Dunsmuir Ave., Cumberland, 1895 (demo.); Central School, Nanaimo, 1895-96 (demo. 1968); Rossland Court House, 2288 Columbia Ave., Rossland, 1898-1901 (ext.); William Wadds Cottage, Rossland, 1902 (ext.); Warriston (Charles Dempster Res.), Rossland, c.1908 (ext.); Kildavaig, (Honeyman Res.), 3522 W. 47th Ave., Van., 1913 (ext.); Fintry Proper (Capt. J.C. Dun-Waters Res.), Fintry, 1919 (dest. by fire; rebuilt 1924; ext.); Honeyman Cottage, Bowen Island, 1929. Honeyman & Curtis: Fernie Court House, Fernie, 1907-08 (dest. by fire 1908); Fire Hall No.6, 1500 Nelson St., Van., 1907-9 (ext.; additions by A.J. Bird, 1929); Kamloops Court House, 7 Seymour St. W., Kamloops, 1907-09 (ext.); St. John's Presbyterian Church, 1401 Comox St., Van., 1909 (dest. by fire); Logan Res., 2520 Point Grey Rd., Van., 1909-10 (ext.); Addition to the second Hotel Vancouver, Robson and Howe Sts., Van. 1911 (demo.); Imperial Rice Milling Co. Warehouse, 335 Railway St., Van., 1911(ext.); Canadian General Electric office/store/warehouse, 1065 W. Pender St., Van., 1913 (demo.); First Church of Christ Scientist, 185 Keith Rd. E., North Van. City, 1925 (ext.); Shaughnessy Heights United Church, 1550-1590 W. 33rd Ave., Van., 1928, additions 1930 (ext.); Fleck Res., 1296 The Crescent, Van., 1929 (ext.); Bank of Montreal (now Four Corners Community Savings Bank), 390 Main St., Van., 1929-30 (ext.).
 

Greenwood's website

Greenwood Heritage website

[Greenwood has always been one my favorite places and, for what it's worth, Christine and I once fantasized about moving there. I wrote the piece on Greenwood as one of Canada's 10 Most Beautiful Towns in 2002 – the one that is referred to on a number of the Greenwood and Boundary country websites. I really like the area and the people. The town itself is compact, with many interesting buildings and opportunities, both residential and commercial, to entice a couple of fogeys like us in need of a mid-life adventure . . . . Maybe the valley's a little too tight and there isn't enough sun on the town in winter, but who knows?]

 

Phoenix, in the mountains due east of Greenwood--photo from the 1930s by an anonymous photographer.

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Artwork and text ©Michael Kluckner, 2001, 2002