With the help of the Gastown Business Improvement Society and the Vancouver archives you can now learn about each building in Gastown through the Gastown Blog Building History Series. Enjoy and keep posted for more history from the Gastown Blog.
Springer-Van Bramer Block – 303 West Cordova Street
Architect: Noble Stonestreet Hoffar
Architectural Style: Victorian Italianate
Located on the N. W. Corner of Cambie and Cordova Streets, the Springer-Van Bramer Block was built in 1888 for Captain James Van Bramer and Ben Springer. Captain Van Bramer was a ferry boat captain on Burrard Inlet. Ben Springer was the Manager of the Moodyville Sawmill. Both gentlemen became major real estate investors in early Vancouver.
When built, the Springer-Van Bramer Block attracted retail and business occupants as well as social groups such as the Masons and Odd Fellows to the area. Five retail stores were located on the first floor, offices on the second and Oddfellows and Masonic Lodges on the third.
The building is also known as the Masonic Temple Building due to that organization’s occupancy of the upper floor between 1888 and 1901. The building has undergone few alterations since it was built accept for the removal of the cornice due to safety concerns.
Shortly after the completion of the Springer-Van Bramer Block, construction began on the adjacent J.W. Horne Block which shares a common entrance on Cordova Street. The two buildings fill a wedge-shaped lot that was created where the city’s early surveys meet.