Historical photos of unit block of Water Street
Located at the intersection of Carrall and Water Street in Gastown, the Byrnes Block was constructed in 1887 and housed the Alhambra Hotel on the second floor. While next door was the Nagle Brothers Garage which is the current home of Coffeebar. The photo above was taken in 1931 a year after the garage was built.
Part of a network of Home Gas gas stations in Western Canada operated by Home Oil Distributors Limited, the Nagle Brothers Garage also did repairs and storage. A short screen capture from a 1930s film of Home Gas stations shows the open storefront while gas pumps are seen in the center opening. Home Oil was later acquired by Imperial Oil in 1937 but continued to use the Home Gas brand until the 1970s.
While the garage building is only slightly visible on the left, you can see Water Street before the Gastown beautification project added red brick streets, cast iron lamps and bollards to the area.
The original location of the Gassy Jack statue is also shown in this photo from 1970 in front of the Hotel Europe since the city didn't accept the statue as a gift to the city. Commissioned by Gastown developers Intra Land Corproration the city finally accepted the gift in 1985. The copper statue was crafted by artist Vern Simpson.
Credit: VPL Special Collections, Accession Number: 9407