Happy Birthday Little Green House

Comments 10 by Rebecca Bollwitt

In my daily quest to find history tidbits to share with my readers about our fair city sometimes the best leg work that can be done is by simply going for a walk. As I was walking down Richards street yesterday on my way to dinner I passed the large “Richards” condo development sign, next to Richards on Richards.

Happy Birthday Little Green House

If you recall last June the “little green house” at 1062 Richards street was sold to make way for development. The owner, Linda Rupa, held out for many years and finally sold her cottage and two 25-foot lots in 2007 for $6 million, which is a nice chunk of change compared to the $16,000 she paid for it in 1962.

The holdout, finally sold out. So are the condos.

Putting it off for so long because she loved the house so much, the 80-something year old’s bank account finally caved and the $36,000 a year for property taxes on the lots proved to be too much (leaving her with literally pennies to her name) pretty much leaving her no other option but to sell.

“I’ve been here a long time, and I’m just a Safeway girl, I worked for Safeways throughout my career. And the Army and Navy department store when I first came to Vancouver. In those days we only made 99 cents an hour. [Vancouver Sun]

Rupa watched as the properties around her were bought up and the landmark houses where her friends lived for 50 years were demolished one by one.

Photo credits: SqueakyMarmot and jmv

She reminisced in the Sun article, dropping names of her neighbours and fellow Vancouverites from back in the day.

It was a lovely neighbourhood, where people cared about each other,” says Rupa, who gives her age as “just about 80.” “Really a nice neighbourhood. Mr. Kripps on Granville street, who has the drug store, he’s an old-timer here. We had the Filippone and Iaci families.

You may recognize the name “Fillipone” or Philliponi which is the family that owned The Penthouse over the years [VancouverHistory].

The slick orange and white boards advertising the proud project by the Aquilini Investment Group sits next to the old night club and current live music venue. However, during my walk yesterday I spotted something taped to it that seemed a little out of place. Upon closer inspection I had found two birthday cards dated June 8th.

Happy Birthday Little Green House Happy Birthday Little Green House

The first read: “Happy 100th Birthday!!! 1062 Richards!!! June 8, 1908 – June 8, 2008. With love, (signed) xo xo xo xo xo xo”.

Directly underneath it, wrapped in the same protective plastic was another card, “Happy 100th Birthday little green house there’s been many warm memories of people and pets through the years. Enjoy your new facelift, (signed).

Pieces of Vancouver’s past disappear everyday, sometimes it’s for the best and shows our growth as a city, but many times we still need to slow down and appreciate where the city came from. I bet those little houses on Richards street sure could tell some stories.

If you’re interested in these shadows and traces of old Vancouver, check out the Flickr group Vanishing Vancouver.

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10 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. RaulWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 8:50am PDT

    What a beautiful post, Rebecca! This should be one of your *top ranked* entries! It is a great showcase of the beautiful history of a Vancouver some people will never know (even though I’ve lived here for 12 years, it’s not the same).


    Sometimes I’m not so fond of change, you know? 🙁

  2. Tyler IngramWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 9:00am PDT

    Wow what a great post. I never knew there was a little house on Richards (then again I normally don’t go down Richards) but it’s nice to know some more about the history of the downtown core.

    Imagine paying $32,000 a year in property tax for a house you only paid half that for? Though $6 Million for the lots is a nice little chunk of change. Too bad they can’t somehow incorporate the house into the building that will be erected in it’s spot.

  3. Steve Jagger – ReachdWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 9:14am PDT

    @ Tyler – I think they are using the house for the building. The house is being moved to the corner along with the other one on that street to join the other 3 houses already there.

  4. phaedraWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 10:13am PDT

    Wow, thanks for the information on this house and it’s owner. I’ve seen that ‘liitle green house’ many times, and it will be missed. I hope Linda is off enjoying retirement in a quaint little hot spot somewhere.

  5. Ian BellWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 11:04am PDT

    As few people know, I was DJ at Richard’s on Richards for many years. Linda endured no small number of indignities throughout the lifecycle of that club, whether it was the constant loud noise or the yelping and hollering of drunkards, or cars incessantly parking in her back yard. Still, I never recall her being rude or unkind during those years.

    She made a substantial income leasing the second vacant lot adjacent to her home out to the valet parkers, as far as I know, so the image of the impoverished little-old-lady sitting on a $6M lottery ticket isn’t exactly true, but she is a living tribute to tenacity.

  6. Tanya (aka NetChick)Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 12:14pm PDT

    Thanks for sharing this story with us all… It was a really sweet entry.

  7. SarahThursday, June 12th, 2008 — 10:01am PDT

    I had no idea. What a sad, touching story. I must have walked up and down that street hundreds of times and never even noticed the little green house.

  8. (Tanya aka NetChick) This Chick’s Life- » Vancouver in times long pastThursday, June 19th, 2008 — 11:26am PDT

    […] If you enjoy reading about the history of Vancouver, check out Rebecca’s entry on the Little Green House on Richard’s Street . Neat blog post! […]

  9. craig sahlinSunday, March 8th, 2009 — 10:04pm PDT

    The 6 million $ lady is a testament to all of us heritage advocates who try to instill a sense of history in the development quagmire. My dad loves that story! Clubs have been disappearing constantly since the early nineties. I will miss the richards on richards gig place as well!!! The moving of the houses is a great recognition of their historic value!

  10. Maria LavisMonday, June 29th, 2009 — 5:10pm PDT

    Wow, this reminds me so much of a book my children and I love, except in the book, the little house is saved and brought to the country…


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