Saturday, September 26, 2009

Downtown Places - The Raleigh Apartments

Place: The Raleigh Apartments
Address: 340 Vaughan Street Map
Architect: James W. Hawker
Cost: $100,000


In 1930 - 31 a business consortium built a number of similar-looking apartment blocks in the city. The owners varied, but two common partners were James W. Hawker as architect and the Smith Agency, a rental agency. The buildings included The Wiltshire on Spence, The Wakefield on Stradbrook, The Layton on Corydon Avenue and The Bessbourough on Assiniboine.

The consortium gambled that despite the Depression, there was a place in the markey for quality, middle-class accommodations. And they were right.

August 31, 1931, Winnipeg Free Press

In February 1931 the Smith Agency took out a $100,000 building permit for the 37-suite The Raleigh. They also acted as the general contractor, while subcontracts for brick, stone and masonry went to R Sigurdson Co., Vulcan Iron Works supplied the iron and steel and S. Benjamin Construction did the carpentry work. 

The building's construction went smoothly and The Raleigh began leasing in August 1931.

By all accounts the building was a success. The 1932 Henderson Directory shows all apartments full, many with families. Examples of the heads of households:

Suite 10 - Charles Lamson, salesman for Arctic Ice
Suite 12 - Mildred Faulkener, clerk at Monarch Insurance
Suite 12 - Chaarles Pye, engineer at Wesley College
Suite 17 - Mary Bell, nurse
Suite 21 - Austin Howell, office manager for Massey Harris
Suite 22 - L. Ingram, accountant at Jackson GrainCo.
Suite 26 - Austin Howell, stage manager at the Met Theatre
Suite 32 - Robert McDonald, druggist
Suite 35 - Stella Waugh, stenographer for Tourist and Convention bureau.
Suite 38 - V. Bray, assistant deputy store manager for HBC
Suite A - Bert Argent, building janitor

May 16, 1944, Winnipeg Tribune

For such a large block, the Raleigh had a quiet existence. I cold find no mention of major crimes or fires that took place. It is just the usual roll of, for the most part, natural deaths, wedding anniversaries and baby showers.

Wallace Bridges survived

Even during the war years, I could find only a few references to residetns serving. The one death was that of Private Earl John Mitchell who was killed in action in May 1944. His wife Grace lived at suite 26.

Wallace Bridges, (above), became a pilot instructor at Arnprior, Ontario. His wife and baby lived with his parents in Suite 2 during the war. It appears that he survived.

J. M. Lonie graduated as a navigator in September 1943. It appears that he survived as well.

In the early 1980s the building was one of dozens of properties expropriated by the North Portage Development Corporation as they got set to build Portage Place Mall and Place Promenade apartments.

In 2001 it was provisionally sold to the Salvation Army, which wanted to use the land to expand Booth College located on the west end of the block. Residents and heritage advocates rallied and the sale did not go through.

In 2005 the Forks North portage Corporation applied to get Grade III Heritage Status for it. Once that was done, the building was put up for sale again.
This time, it was purchased and renovated by Doug Snead in 2007 - 2008.

The Raleigh Apartments Historic Buildings Committee
Back to the Future, Winnipeg Free Press, Jan 6, 2007

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