Jimi Hendrix, age 7

It’s well known that at a young age Jimi Hendrix, while living in Seattle, would occasionally visit Vancouver. His paternal grandmother, Nora Hendrix, a co-founder of the Fountain Chapel at 823 Jackson Avenue, was living in Vancouver at the time. Jimi Hendrix also had other relatives living in Vancouver during 1949 and 1950 and he stayed with them for extended periods.

In “My Son Jimi,” Jimi’s father James Allen [“Al”] Hendrix recounts how Jimi stayed first with Al’s brother Frank Hendrix and sister-in-law Pearl during the summer of 1949 and next with Al’s sister Pat Hendrix and brother-in-law Joe Lashley in the fall of 1949 and spring of 1950. In the latter period, Jimi spent spent part of his first grade year attending Dawson Creek Annex, which was a primary school on Burrard Street a few blocks from where Pat and Joe lived.

“Jimmy, Leon, and I went up to Vancouver a lot in that old convertible to see my mother [Nora] and my sister Pat and just socialize. … During one trip, my brother Frank and his wife Pearl said, ‘We’d like to take Jimmy and Leon off your hands for a while.’ Their kids, Jimmy’s cousins Bobby and Diane, were also there. They were living near the house where I was born in the old Triumph Street Neighborhood. It was during the summertime, so I let the boys stay up there a month or two. I went up there two or three weekends to visit them. While Jimmy was staying in Vancouver, my mother and Pat would see him a lot.” [My Son Jimi, pp. 66-67]

“I was working in the daytime and there was nobody there to take care of the kids, so during the school term my sister [Pat] called and told me, ‘Al, you got your hands full down there. Why don’t you let me take care of the boys [Jimi and Leon] for a while to give you a break?’ I need a little relief, so I said okay. Pat and her husband, Joe Lashley, lived in Vancouver on Drake Street. Jimmy liked his auntie Pat and had been around her, so it wasn’t a real big thing like he was going to strangers. So I took them back up there, and he and Leon got a lot of good loving care from Pat. Pat worked as a teacher’s aide, and she enrolled Jimmy in Dawson School, where I used to go as a kid. Leon was still too young to be in grade school, so he went to pre-kindergarten classes. … Jimmy and Leon weren’t living in Vancouver for all that long, though, because Joe Lashley died while the kids were there [in Feb. 1950]. Right after that Pat and the kids came down to Seattle to stay with me on Genesee [Street].” [My Son Jimi, p. 67]

Pictured above is a photo of Jimi Hendrix and his brother Leon in 1950, a photo of Dawson Creek Annex school, which was located at Barclay and Burrard streets, and an obituary of Joe Lashley, from February, 1950.

It’s not known for certain whether the young Jimi Hendrix ever attended services at the Fountain Chapel at 823 Jackson Avenue during the time of his extended stays in Vancouver in the fall and winter of 1949-1950. But it seems likely given that his grandmother Nora Hendrix, who was a founder of the church, was living nearby at 827 Georgia Street and the church was still active and offering services. Perhaps the seven year old Jimi Hendrix was inspired and influenced by the musical services in this very building.