The building at 823 Jackson Avenue sits on the north half of a property that was originally two 25 foot lots. The building barely fits on just the north half of the property because the south half of the property was not owned by the church at the time the building was constructed. In fact, as far back as 1894 the two halves were owned separately and it wasn’t until 1977 that they were re-combined.
Going back to the original Crown grant, the entire area was titled to the British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar Lumber Sawmill Company Limited with a title recorded on November 30, 1865. Between 1865 and 1894 there were various transfers and the lots in the area were owned by George Campbell, Edward Davis Heatley, Dennis Reginald Harris and The Vancouver Improvement Company Limited. Then on June 17, 1891 both lots were sold to Swan G. Hoffard.
Mr. Hoffard was a grocer at Rude & Co, which was on the north side of Keefer Street near Gore Avenue. According to the 1901 census, Swan G. Hoffard was born in Norway on March 9, 1852 and came to Canada in 1887. In 1880 Mr. Hoffard was living in Hawley, Clay County, Minnesota and working as a dry goods store clerk. His wife, Cecelia Elizabeth Herreid was born in Hardanger, Norway on January 19, 1862, the daughter of Ole and Cecilia Herreid and she came to Canada in 1887 and to Vancouver in the 1888.
In 1894 the north and south halves of the double lot were split and the north half was sold to Carl J. Olson, who was the pastor of the First Scandinavian Lutheran Church. Between 1894 and 1910 (when the current building was constructed), there was an earlier smaller church built on the site and the city directories variously list the address as hosting the “Swedish Church”, “First Scandinavian Lutheran Church”, “Lutheran Church”, “Scandinavian Church”, “Scandinavian Lutheran Church”, “German Lutheran Church” and finally in 1910 the “Norwegian Lutheran Church”, which is how it remained listed until 1922.
The south half of the property was owned by Cecelia Hoffard until 1937, and then went through a number of different owners until 1959 when it was sold to the City of Vancouver.
Annie Girard, who owned the north half of the property since 1974, had been trying to purchase the south half from the City of Vancouver since as early as 1976. The City of Vancouver initially offered to sell it for $40,000 but eventually a price of $35,000 was agreed upon and approved in a meeting of the City Council on February 22, 1977 (excerpt of minutes pictured) on the condition that Rev. Girard combine the two halves back into a single lot which she did.