At the beginning of the Adanac Bikeway, next to the Red Cross building, and at the junction of Main and Union Street is a little red brick building that is a piece of Vancouver’s music history. It is the Jimi Hendrix Shrine, a non-descript building that probably would have disappeared long ago if not for Hendrix fans.
As the story goes… the building was part of a series of structures that made up Vie’s Chicken and Steak House, the place where Nora Hendrix (Jimi’s grandmother) worked and where Jimi stayed and played music in the 1960s as a young musician.
However, the building is more than a shrine to Jimi. It’s a testament to the life of Nora Hendrix and gives us a glimpse into Vancouver’s African American history.
Across the street from the shrine is what used to be Hogan’s Alley, a place where black musicians gathered and played music into the night. Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Harry Hogan all played the Alley and contributed to the area’s vibrant community.
In later years the area developed a rather infamous reputation for prostitution and gambling. This most likely had an influence on the city’s decision to construct the Georgia Viaduct over Hogan’s Alley, which subsequently destroyed the community.
This little shrine is all that remains to remind us of this piece of Vancouver’s history.