What do North Vancouver and Arnada Park have in common?
Along with being neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Vancouver, they all were developed by the same family, the Elwells.
Hiram and Julia C, Elwell, who had six sons, came to Vancouver in 1890 from Indiana. Several of the sons had preceeded them here and were to play a large role in the development of the city.
The first to arrive was Homer, who came in 1866, to be followed by his brothers Perl M. and John, in 1887.
Their father, Hiram, was a minister of the Presbyterian Church. He preached here until 1905 and continued to live in Vancouver until his death in 1919.
John Elwell, who became known as the dean of Vancouver real estate men, was born in Indiana in 1864 and was admitted to the bar in that state in 1886. After immigrating to Vancouver, he became a Clark County clerk in 1889, the first after statehood. He also became a justice of the peace. He was married in 1889 to Ida O. Leverich, adopted daughter of B.N. and Anna Leverich.
Perl Elwell, born in 1868 in Indiana, worked at the courthouse after arriving in Vancouver and clerked in the general store of W.C. Slocum. He later had charge of the supply depot of the Bridal Veil Lumber Co. Perl was to marry Lillian Langsdorf. Their son, Paul M. Elwell, who still lives in Vancouver, was to enjoy a long legal career here.
The 1889 directory noted that John H. and Homer had a real estate firm at Sixth and Main Streets, that Perl Elwell was a clerk at Slocum’s store and that another brother, William C. Elwell, also was a clerk.
Two years later, Homer left Vancouver for a career with the railroad mail service while Perl later became an inspector for the post office department in Colorado.
In 1906, Perl left the postal service and returned to Vancouver, going into the real estate business again with John. The brothers handled several large additions to Vancouver, and over the next several decades were to remain prominent in the real estate and insurance business.