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Trail’s hidden homes

Updated: Feb 14

A few years ago, Michael Kluckner and Eve Lazarus wrote about buried, or hidden, houses in Vancouver. That is, homes with commercial additions that obscure their fronts, although the houses remain tucked in behind, often peeking out overtop (as opposed to homes that have simply been converted into offices or business). Lazarus revisits the subject in her recent bestselling book, Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City's Hidden History.


At least four hidden homes exist in Trail.


801 Victoria

801 Victoria St. (also identified in directories as 1005 Pine Ave. or 1053 Pine Ave.) is now GW Floors, Blinds, and Paint. But it was built in 1925 or ’26 as the home of Dougald (Speed) Moynes, a star forward for the Trail Smoke Eaters from 1924-31, and prior to that, a member of the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.


He started Moynes Transfer out of the home around 1931. According to A Guide to Historic Buildings and Places in Trail, the building was raised in 1938 to make way for a gas station with two pumps below, operated as a Texaco. The roof of the gas station doubled as a deck for the house. The same year Moynes Motors and Transfer Ltd. was incorporated.

Moynes Motors, ca. 1938-47. Trail Historical Society 7711


Moynes Motors moved in 1947 to the former McLean-Butorac Motors garage at 1205 Bay Ave. (which still stands, but unfortunately its Mission Revival-style roof line was flattened in the 1960s). In 1956, a new gas station, also called Moynes Motors, was built at Victoria and Pine, across the street from the original Moynes Motors. It’s where McDonalds is today.

801 Victoria is seen at far left on the 1935 fire insurance plan (with paste-overs indicating it actually depicts some time later than that).


Stuart and Margaret Laurie took over 801 Victoria and established OK Rubber Welders there in 1951, but they moved to Highway Drive by 1956. As of the latter year, the building was home to Ken’s Super Service, run by Ken Evans. “It was always busy with stripped out auto parts in the repair area,” recalls John Forrest, who “spent many hours on that sundeck.”


Ken’s Super Service was still around as of 1960, but it was gone by 1962. Around that time, Ron Stenstrom had his mechanic shop there. “Best carburetor man in the Kootenays,” insists Bob Finlay.

Looking down Victoria Street, 1965. 801 Victoria is seen to the left of the Texaco sign. Detail from Trail Historical Society 12794


The 1963 and 1964 civic directories listed 801 Victoria as vacant, but at 803 Victoria, in the same building, was Electrolux Canada. Manager David Curry lived there with wife Kathleen. Also at that address was Alice Espenhain. From the photo above, we can see the Pine Avenue side had a number of garage bays, that have since been removed. The Victoria Street side, where the gas pumps once stood, was closed in.


Electrolux moved out by 1966, by which time Gordon Wall upholstery moved into the Pine Avenue side of the building. They expanded into flooring by 1976 and also took over the Victoria Street storefront.

During the flood of April 1969. (Selkirk College Regional Archives)

Gordon Wall ad from the Trail Times Diamond Jubilee supplement, 1976


Gordon Wall retreated to the Pine Avenue side in 1979 and Hugh and Margret Urquhart moved Urquhart’s Pharmacy into the Victoria Street storefront and remained there until 1990. They had previously been on Spokane Street.


Subsequently, Gordon Wall Floor Coverings (now styled GW Floors) moved back into the front of the building. The Pine Avenue entrance is now the Cloverdale Paint franchise. The Trail United Way occupied the third floor (803B Victoria) for a few years in the 2010s.


1160 Pine

Not quite kitty-corner to 801 Victoria, this building was originally a home, built in 1925 according to BC Assessment. I am not sure who the builder or original owner was. It sits on a triangular lot, the result of being built adjacent to railway tracks that were removed in the 1960s, although the building itself does not betray this fact, unlike its wedge-shaped neighbour.

1160 Pine, seen in June 2021. It was hard to get photos of it on account of construction of the new 7-Eleven next door.


The 1953 civic directory shows this address was then the home of Cominco employee William I. Williams and his wife Ethel. The 1963 directory shows it as the home of Don M. Huddleston, another Cominco employee, and his wife Violet.


I don’t know exactly when the commercial storefront was added, but from at least 1970-76, it was a Dixie Lee fried chicken franchise operated by Syd Bate. By 1977, Dixie Lee had moved next door to 1166 Pine. As of 1983, 1160 Pine was the Town Fryer, a fish and chips place. In 1985, it became Beef n Bun. At various times it was also home to a locksmith, barber, and video store. It was Speedpro Signs, and is now Taco Debacle, which opened in 2022.


1498 Cedar

1498 Cedar Ave. was originally the home of police chief William J. Devitt. Its date of construction is unknown, but it was there by 1901, when Trail’s first city council posed for a photo on its front steps. In 1906, Devitt sold the house to Edwin Hazlewood, a pharmacist who had his own store, Hazlewood Drug Co., at 943 Spokane St. and another one in Kimberley.


Hazlewood served as an alderman in Trail in 1912-13, was vice-president of the BC Pharmaceutical Association in the 1940s, and was president of Kootenay Broadcasting Co., the owners of CJAT radio. He had a street named after him in Sunningdale. His wife Emily also served as a director of Kootenay Broadcasting. Their only child, Brenton, drowned in the Columbia River in 1920 along with another boy when they broke through the ice while skating.

Hazlewood home, corner of Helena and Cedar, ca. 1909, with the Meakin Hotel at far right (later the site of Kresge’s department store). Trail Historical Society

Hazlewood home, corner of Helena and Cedar, 1911. Trail Historical Society 0498


The house was rebuilt in 1934 by local contractor W. Lazareff. BC Assessment gives the year as 1940, but fire insurance maps held by the Trail archives support the earlier date. Below is how it appeared on maps of 1925 and earlier. The yellow denotes a wooden structure.

And here it is on the 1935 map. The pink denotes it is now a brick structure.

The rebuilt house occupied roughly the same footprint as the old one, but with small extensions on two sides. And it was now much taller. In addition to the brick used on the house, a charming brick fence was built around the yard, as seen in the spectacular photo below.

The Hazlewood house, sometime after its reconstruction in 1934. Photo by Weir studio. Trail Historical Society 6327


Edwin Hazlewood died in 1951 and Emily followed in 1955. The property fell to the Royal Trust Co. (represented by Trail Realty). A potential sale fell through when the purchaser balked at the taxes, as reported in this Vancouver Province story of Feb. 6, 1957.

Optometrist Dr. Jack Kendrick moved his practice there in 1957 or 1958. Marion Redgrave also moved her business, Redgrave’s Gift Shop, into the home in 1958, using the sun porch and half of the dining room. Beginning in March 1962, the building was substantially renovated.


The sun porch was removed and a nondescript commercial front was built on the Cedar Avenue side with two storefronts, initially home to Alexander’s House of Beauty (1470 Cedar) and Sherwin Williams paint (1490 Cedar). Redgrave’s Gift Shop moved further down the street, while Dr. Kendrick moved his entrance from Cedar Avenue to Helena Street (subsequently listed at 877 Helena), and converted the former dining room into his waiting room. South-West Construction of Trail had the $45,000 contract for the addition. Presumably at this time the brick fence was also dispensed with.

Trail Daily Times, March 16, 1962

Hazlewood house, 1961, after Kendrick Optometry moved in, but before a commercial front was added on the Cedar Avenue side. Look at that ivy! Trail Historical Society


Later Dr. Kendrick bought the building in partnership with Imperial Optical, which moved into the Sherwin Williams storefront.


Dr. David Kendrick joined his father’s practice in 1969. In the early 1970s, a brick addition was built on the Helena Street side, giving them more space. They operated there until 1989 when they moved to a new building in East Trail (now Trail Vision Care Clinic). “I'd probably still be in the Hazlewood house if it wasn't for my son,” the senior Dr. Kendrick told the Trail Times in 1999.


BC Assessment gives the building’s address as 1498 Cedar, but that number does not apply to any of the tenants. After more than 57 years, Alexander’s House of Beauty is still in business at 1470 Cedar, now known as Alexander’s Family Hair Care. The former Imperial Optical office at 1490 Cedar is now DBS Energy Services, while the house has the office of Dr. Samantha Segal (877 Helena) and an apartment (869 Helena). Only from the rear can you still get a good look at the house.

View from Cedar Avenue, showing the ca. 1963 addition.

View from Helena Street, showing the early 1970s addition.

View from rear, showing the Hazlewood house, reconstructed ca. 1934.


The intersection of Cedar and Helena is interesting on all four corners. In addition to this building, I’ve previously written about Trail’s first hospital, on the northeast corner, built in 1896. Later it was the Aldridge Hotel, and then an annex to the C.S. Williams clinic. It’s still standing, but looking very forlorn.


On the southwest corner is the former residence of Dr. Frank Patterson, built about 1906 as an adjunct to Trail’s second hospital, which fronted on Helena. It became part of the Park Hotel around 1929, which was really a rooming house. Later it was used for medical offices. It’s still standing but vacant.


On the northwest corner is the Greater Trail Community Centre, home to Selkirk College, the Charles Bailey Theatre, and the Visac Gallery. It incorporates the former Trail High School (later Trail Junior Secondary), designed by prolific local architect Archie Broderick and opened in 1923.


The school experienced a similar fate to the two homes described above: the original entrance faced Cedar Avenue, but was set well back from the street. A subsequent addition covered most of it up. However, one section of the original front still peeks out over a one-storey addition.

The original Trail High School hides behind several later additions to the Greater Trail Community Centre.


1560 Bay

My thanks to Amy Shields Titsworth for pointing out 1560 Bay Ave., that was until recently Totem Travel and is now The Chesterfield, a clothing alterations shop. It is part of a row of houses converted into businesses, but the only one with a commercial addition at the front. It has a very nice gambrel roof.

1560 Bay Ave. as seen in 2012. (Google Street View)

1560 Bay Ave. as seen in June 2021.


BC Assessment indicates the house was built in 1914. It shows up on the 1918 fire insurance map, along with two neighbouring buildings to the south that are still standing, but I don’t know who lived there.

The commercial front is not seen on the 1925 fire map, but shows up for the first time on the 1935 map. The house to the north, built sometime between 1918 and 1925, also appears on the 1935 map with a commercial addition on its front.

And by 1953, both houses to the north of 1560 Bay had commercial fronts added. Both were purchased by the City of Trail around the early 1990s and sold to a developer who demolished them to make way for a parking lot for a new government building at the corner of Helena and Bay. Constructed in 1993, it is now the Service BC centre.

From at least 1938-53, 1560 Bay was Robert and Margaret Weir’s photography studio (the same Weirs who produced the wintertime shot of the Hazlewood house pictured above). I can’t find the address in the 1956 phone book, but as of 1960, the building was home to Vipond Travel, Jim and Betty Vipond, proprietors. It became Totem Travel around 1973. As of 1963, it was also the office of Northern Electric Ltd.


Updated on Feb. 4, 2021 to add the 1962 newspaper clipping. Updated on June 8, 2021 to add 1160 Cedar Ave. and more pictures of 1560 Bay Ave. Updated on Sept. 19, 2022 to add the photo of 801 Victoria during the 1969 flood. Updated on Feb. 14, 2024 to add the fire insurance plan showing 801 Victoria.

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afoxyking
afoxyking
Sep 29, 2021

Always interesting on Trail and Nelson

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Russ Curtis
Russ Curtis
Apr 19, 2021

Grew up in Trail. Lived on Topping Street, went to Central, Junior High and JL Crowe' Happy memories.

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