Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New Facebook Group

In the wake of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, during which the city of Vancouver experimentally shut down the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, there is now talk at the council level of permanently closing and demolishing the overpass. Unfortunately, there has been almost no discussion in these proto-plans of the history of the area -- that it was once the site of Hogan's Alley; that Hogan's Alley was once the location of a vibrant black community; and that a past city council put the overpass there as part of a scheme that ran roughshod over the residents themselves and their desires for improvement rather than destruction and displacement. Whatever plans are made for the site, it is imperative that this history be remembered in memorial form there.

To this end, a new Facebook group has been created -- "Include a Hogan's Alley Memorial at the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaduct Site!" If you are on Facebook, please consider joining this group. The current city council has shown that they will listen to people when they express concern about historical sites, as was proven when opposition to the proposed demolition of the Heatley Block in Strathcona succeeded.


Blogger W J M said...

I grew up at 28th and Fraser Street in the 1960's. I remember well the area called Hogan's Alley. The name had gone out of use, because I never even knew this name until I read a book on the early history of the police in Vancouver.

When I knew this area in the 1960's-70's the population was mainly Chinese-Canadians, facing Main Street were brick buildings with businesses, the original home
of the 3Vets surplus store was there.

My step dad was Black-Stanley G. Mitchell and I got to see and know something of the African-Canadian community then. Black people could and did live all over Vancouver city, mostly in
East Van. there was no specific
Black neighbourhood.

My step-brother lived near 30th and Main street, my dads best Black friend lived near Renfrew
and Hastings. From what I know
Jimi Hendrix's relatives lived in the West End.

So this does not sound like accurate history to me.

I support the preservation of the
history of African Canadians in the Lower Mainland.

I think John Sullivan Deas, we all know Deas Island and the Deas Island Tunnel. I always never understood why it's named after some Easterner named Massey who has no connection to BC history
and not after Black pioneer John Deas!

Thank you.

W.J. Mitchell

February 25, 2013  
Blogger Hogan's Alley said...

Hi WJM. Thanks for your comment. You are right that the period in which Hogan's Alley had a significant black population seems to have been before the 1960s. Many people write that the viaducts displaced the black community, but it is more accurate to say that the *planning* for the viaducts displaced the black community some time before the actual construction started. It is clear that by the 1960s and definitely by the 1970s the area became part of Chinatown. Also, members of the Hendrix family lived in various places in Vancouver, but Nora Hendrix, Jimi's grandmother, primarily lived in the East End throughout her life. Her house at 872 Georgia Street has been has been frequently noted as a historically significant site in Vancouver, and it is just four blocks east of Hogan's Alley itself.

February 26, 2013  

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