Gone on Flickr.
Pictured is the former location of the Eastman Kodak warehouse on West 2nd in Vancouver, now razed to the ground like so much of the Great Yellow Father’s infrastructure.
This history was related to me 20 or so years ago so, I may have some of the details wrong. Please let me know if I do!
As I was told, Eastman Kodak had it’s west coast warehouse here, apparently from the at least the 1930’s on but, as a result of anti-trust action in the early 70’s (Kodak used to be all-encompassing), they were forced to sell off their distribution arm in Canada.
So, Eastman Kodak became Trek Photographic which eventually got bought out by Hall Photographic to become Treck Hall in the late 80’s. Treck Hall moved to Richmond in the mid-90’s and eventually merged with Mondrian to become Mondrian Hall which has now been subsumed by paper giant Unisource.
The relevance of this warehouse to your narrator is much more important than corporate mergers and the decline of an industrial icon though for, it is within the walls of the building that stood on this spot until a few weeks ago that he was fortunate enough to meet his lovely wife way almost exactly 20 years ago when he took a job in the shipping department.
Treck Hall at the time was the primary wholesaler of Kodak and Polaroid products. The volumes we shipped out of this warehouse were simply spectacular by today’s standards:
• A full 18 wheel truck trailer per week of Polaroid film, mostly to hospitals and Universities.
• Two 18 wheeler’s per week of Kodak paper, chemistry and film. The walk-in freezer for pro emulsions would put most butcher shops and slaughter houses to shame. We would run through about a full pallette per week of just Kodak Gold negative films!
• Enough Kreonite Processors that we would actually have the 20” machines in stock, ready to ship at a moment’s notice.
• Some of the earliest digital backs available commercially. A phase one scanning back for 4x5 that would produce a stunning 100mb+ image in only 10 minutes! This was before Power PC and Pentium computer chips even shipped and, a really big hard drive was 200mb! Just enough room to store one full resolution image per hard drive. And, all for the low, low price of some $25,000! We actually sold a couple too.
Of course, one of my favourite parts was the demonstration darkroom that I could use on Weekends and Evenings, fitted with 3 5x7 Durst Laborator enlargers on train tracks along with the whole phalanx of condensers to print every format from disc(!) to 5x7. While I never actually made any, it was equipped to make prints 5 feet wide!
The buildings across West 2nd remain for the moment but, aside from that, there is almost no clue remaining of the bustling light industry that occupied this part of town for over 100 years but, I think fondly of the place first thing every morning when I lay eyes on my beautiful wife.