Vancouver's West End
In making a case for the restoration of Roedde House, the preservationists were able to cite the history of the West End as the area where some of theearliest pioneer settlement occurred going back to 1862, when three Englishmen arrived on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. They became known as the Three Greenhorns.
They made a claim on the land, known as “The Brickmaker’s Claim”, because of brick-making possibilities of large clay deposits in the area of Coal Harbour (on the east-side of present-day Stanley Park) buying 550 acres bounded by what are now Burrard Street, English Bay, Stanley Park, and Burrard Inlet (1$/acre).
But the 3 Greenhorns “were not successful in developing their land and eventually one-third of it was given to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as part of the railway’s land grant.
The rebuilding of the city after its disastrous fire of June 1886 led to the enlargement of its confines, west of what today is Burrard Street, along Haro and Barclay Streets as far west as Jervis Street. As Vancouver began to prosper its merchants bought building sites in this more westerly part of the city, where the land was considered inexpensive and there was plenty of it from which to choose.
When the young Roeddes were growing up, the West End was an ideal place in which to live, a beautifully balanced, landscaped and settled neighbourhood filled with single-family homes and close to recreational amenities.
At the end of the 1890s and during the first two decades of the new century, English Bay was the gathering place for West Enders, and its popularity grew with the advent of the streetcar line down Davie Street.
By the time the Roeddes left the West End in 1924, it was no longer a neighbourhood of single-family homes, as owners were converting their houses into suites or rooms for boarders. Some houses were replaced entirely by two- and three-storey walk-up apartments.
The West End changed drastically after World War II. Concrete high-rises replaced the wooden houses, and by the mid-1970s they were looming over Roedde House and dominating the landscape. The City purchased the forlorn house-with-the-turret (as well as others nearby) for use as a low-cost rental accommodation, with plans for a future park space.