Wooden Window

Craftsmanship making history.


Livermore Train Depot

In train stations, ordinarily, the trains run and the station stays put. But in July of 2017, the Livermore Train Depot became the exception, as the entire building was lifted and moved from its historic location to Railroad Avenue. So began the process of fully restoring and reconfiguring the 146-year-old building to put it back into use as a transit ticketing office at the Downtown Bus/ACE Transit Center. Wooden Window was privileged to play a role in that effort. The original depot, built in 1872, was used as a ticketing office for Southern Pacific and Western Pacific rail lines coming through the Altamont pass carrying cattle and agricultural products. The yellow and blue depot functioned as a train station until the early 1960s. In the ‘70s, the tracks adjacent to the building were rerouted, and in 1973 the depot was closed and proposed for demolition. In response, the Livermore Heritage Guild was formed to preserve historical structures in the city from destruction. In 2009, the building was formally evaluated and recommended for inclusion in the California Register of Historic Resources. It was then determined, against some local resistance, to transport the building from L Street to the Transit Center.   ”To move the depot, the building had to be cut in two because it was too long to move as one building. Then it was brought down Railroad Avenue, where movers snaked through two traffic signals -- because the building was higher than the signals -- over a curb and under power lines that PG&E propped up” (“Patch.Com - GDPR”)   Photos: Aaron Horrocks Photography The project was partially funded by a $2.5 million federal grant provided that the relocated structure be used for “transit-related purposes,” and that it be rehabilitated consistent with Federal Historic Standards to its typical condition between the year of its construction and 1941 (“Livermore Web - News Details”). Engineering consultants Terracon were engaged to evaluate the building’s historic fabric and develop a treatment plan for the restoration and retention of building components. ”After visiting two other historic #18 depots along the west coast, the Terracon preservation team created plans to survey, inventory, and record every piece of historic fabric removed from the building, without damaging the material. Ultimately, the intention was to create a manual to return each historic component to its exact location, and correctly reassemble the building on its new site.” (Urban) ”The recommended rehabilitation plan anticipates the retention of all original, sound siding and exterior decorative materials. Specifically, the overall architectural expression, wooden siding, older wooden windows, first-floor eave, multi-lite glazed doors, ticket window, wood accent trim and decorative woodwork at the Depot will not be altered or removed.” (“Livermore Historic Depot Project”) Working with general contractor Simile Construction, Wooden Window rehabilitated historic doors an windows throughout the building, replicating where necessary. Fixed, casement and double-hung windows were carefully restored to their original states and replaced in the building, including interior windows for the new ticketing area. The new depot will feature a waiting room, historical displays, a meeting room and 2nd-floor office space. The Depot in it's Original Location Restoration Underway The Depot Restored With additional improvements to the foundation, roofing, lighting, heating, and ventilation, the Livermore Train Depot has been reborn as a transist hub for a new generation of passengers and commuters. Sources: "Livermore Downtown". Facebook.Com, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10155516490429450&id=50937384449. Accessed 18 Aug 2018. "Livermore Historic Depot Project". Wheelsbus.Com, 2018, https://www.wheelsbus.com/rider-information/livermore-historic-depot-project/. Accessed 18 Aug 2018. "Livermore Web - News Details". Cityoflivermore.Net, 2018, http://www.cityoflivermore.net/news/displaynews.htm?NewsID=1693&TargetID=1. Accessed 28 Aug 2018. "Patch.Com - GDPR". Patch.Com, 2018, https://patch.com/california/livermore/watch-livermores-historic-dolly-depot-move-its-new-home. Accessed 18 Aug 2018. Nale, Bill. "Livermore History - Railroads - Elivermore.Com". Elivermore.Com, 2018, http://www.elivermore.com/photos/Hist_lvr_railroad1.htm. Accessed 18 Aug 2018. Urban, Arianna. "A Historic Homecoming: Relocation Of The Livermore Depot | Terracon". Terracon, 2018, https://www.terracon.com/2017/09/27/a-historic-homecoming-relocation-of-the-livermore-depot/. Accessed 18 Aug 2018.  

A Room by the Bay

  If you're in the business of architectural restoration, San Francisco is a great place to be. The area was first settled by Spain--on the very spot where The San Francisco Presidio stands today--in the same year the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia.   The Presidio is home turf for us. We've been restoring and replicating doors and windows at the fort since it was turned over to The National Park Service in 1998. We've helped rehabilitate and repurpose the old officer's club, the fort stockade (now the visitor's center) and been a part of helping visitors to enjoy the area through our role in the creation of 2 new hotels--among others.   Our latest is the 40-room Lodge at the Presidio, housed in the compound's Building 105 and billed as "the closest hotel to the Golden Gate Bridge." Have a look at the Presidio's newest luxury accommodation...     Working with Plant Construction, Wooden Window restored or replicated over 50 casements, double-hung, awning and storm windows in the brand-new hotel--bringing the past back to life for visitors in a new century.

A Seat by the Window

Built in Oakland the year of the San Francisco Earthquake, this Oakland home came to a new owner with its shares of issues — termite problems, settled foundations and original wood windows replaced with aluminum. But this homeowner was determined to fix the problems and restore the architecture to its original charm. He took care of the insect damage, repaired the roof and made his mark as a true Californian by installing solar panels. The basic structure of the house was solid, if a bit off-square, so one of the owner’s first priorities was the restoration of the home’s windows to their original all-wood craftsmanship. He wanted to create a window seat nook that would bring back the decorative divided-lites and create a focus for the living room that would also elevate the houses street appearance and curb appeal. Wooden Window fashioned casement windows to meet those requirements and provided the expertise for seamless installation in spite of the off-kilter structure of the house. The owner couldn’t be happier with the “amazing” result.

Diamond in the Rough

This historically significant Russian Hill property had lain vacant for years when architect Gregory D. Smith partnered with builders The Capo Mastro Group to bring the home back to life, complete with up-to-date improvements and additions. The single-family home now houses a 4-car garage, rooftop entertainment deck with views of the San Francisco Bay, and a built-in elevator. To maintain the 19th-century charm of the home's windows, while updating their design for modern requirements, Capo Mastro contacted Wooden Window to replace the windows throughout the house. The new windows feature an intricate pattern of diamond-shaped, simulated divided lites to accent each of the window sets. Standard panes were replaced with laminated glass, with an extra thick interlayer, to reduce street noise.      

Room With a View

  When it came time to replace the original double-hung windows in this Berkeley Hills home, the owners found a way to enjoy their spectacular view of the Bay 24 hours a day, even when they weren't in the room.... Replacing double-hung windows doesn't mean that the best they could hope for would be to return the historical windows to their original state. We knew they could do better than that, and they had an idea even we hadn't considered.   Wooden Window installed new sash windows on the upper floor of this Berkeley Hills home but upgraded them to laminated glass -- reducing noise from the outside and providing UV protection while keeping the sash looking just as it did originally.   Barbara and I want to tell you how much we love our windows and what a pleasure it was to work with Wooden Windows. On top of that, we were also so pleased with all of our interactions with you and your colleagues. Antonio and Keenan were the perfect combination of pleasant and professional. They arrived on time, did what they said they would do, and left a clean house behind them. They did a masterful job, spending a huge amount of time making one of the XOXs look perfect despite the way the window frame sagged far out of true. We also appreciate the great job your hardware person did in finding good pairs for the partial latches we found. And last, you were wonderful: we appreciated your wise advice on the design and the project as a whole, including answering our endless questions.   All the Bay, all the time   The view from the upstairs is thrilling, and the owners found a way to enjoy it even when they were downstairs. They installed a high-definition camera that captured the upstairs view and piped it to a monitor just off their entryway. Day or night, upstairs or downstairs, the overlook on the bay is now always at hand.

Seeing the Light

Pleasanton's Lighthouse Baptist Church is home to the congregation of Missouri-born Pastor Bill Bryson. Pastor Bryson began his ministry under Dr. Richard Wortshan at Saratoga Bible Baptist Church of Saratoga Springs, New York and came to the Bay Area with his wife and four children. Originally a Presbyterian place of worship, the church is now occupied through a merger between the Amador Valley and the Tri-Cities Baptist churches, who gave it the name "Lighthouse." With its Gothic belfry, tight stairways, redwood beams and wood floors, the building itself has been around for over 135 years. Lighthouse Baptist was built in 1876. The original property was purchased for $350 and the building constructed for another $2800. It opened as the First Presbyterian Church of Pleasanton. Benches, carpet and a formal pulpit weren't added until 1884. The Lighthouse was augmented with a social hall and classroom in 1929. There have been renovations in the ensuing years, and Wooden Window was pleased to contribute to one of them--the replacement of the church's entry doors. The original doors had deteriorated with weather and use over the years, and their solid-wood construction blocked out light from the street when they were closed. Wooden Window was able to carefully match the original doors, upgrading the upper panels to textured art glass. Now, the light does, literally, shine in on a grateful congregation.   References "Pleasanton’s Lighthouse Church A Beacon To The Past – The Mercury News". Mercurynews.Com, 2018, https://www.mercurynews.com/2010/12/23/pleasantons-lighthouse-church-a-beacon-to-the-past/. Accessed 6 Mar 2018.  

Lakeside Luxury

We recently had the opportunity to restore the front entrance to Oakland's Regillus Building. That building, like so many of our projects, came with a deep attachment to the history of the city in which it was built. Preserving that history for new generations is one of the real rewards of the work we do at Wooden Window. Most of us in the East Bay are familiar with the city's Lake Merritt, home of Children's Fairyland and the Lake Merritt Boating Center. The transition of its shoreline from a "Gold Coast" of great mansions to a ring of luxury apartment buildings is a fascinating part of Oakland's history. We're glad to have had the chance to help keep that history alive. The city of Oakland itself was incorporated in 1852 by lawyer and land The Oakland Pergola and Collonade on early Lake Merritt Changing architectural tastes. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's Cathedral of Christ the Light on Lake Merritt today. (Photo: KPMarek squatter Horace Capentieras, who became its first mayor. At the time, the area of Lake Merritt was an estuary, soon turned to use as a vast sewer for the city's untreated waste. But, with the gold rush, the hulking 6'3", 340 lb Dr. Samuel Merritt came west and became Oakland's mayor in 1868. Owning property on the "lake's" edge, Merritt worked to clean up the area. He proposed and funded a dam between the estuary and the bay, transforming the wetlands into a lake. The body of water was called Lake Peralta or Merritt's Lake, but finally, Lake Merritt. Merritt was also eventually able to redirect the city's sewage, although the Fish and Game Commission considered the lake "notoriously bad" as late as the 1920's. To protect waterfowl and migratory birds, and to cut down the haze of hunter's gunfire so close to the city, Merritt had the lake declared a wildlife refuge in 1870--the first to be designated in the United States. He also built one of the earliest of the great residences along the shoreline--the Camron-Stanford House--which still stands. It remains one of the visiting areas on the lake today. Lake Merritt was eventually dredged and cleaned, to an extent, as part of the "City Beautiful" movement of the 1900's. The City built roads to encircle the The Camron-Stanford House today Lake and a string of lamps on its perimeter that residents dubbed the "Necklace of Lights" was put in place. By 1930, the lake boasted a sailing club with regattas, as well as outboard motor races. Despite the pollution, fishermen were pleased to find that, after a heavy rain, striped bass, salmon, and other fish found their way into the lake on incoming tides. Over time, apartment buildings gradually replaced the great homes on the shore to form what would become known as the Lakeside Apartments District, or "The Gold Coast" of the lake. The greater neighborhood includes the interior blocks officially designated as a local historic district and the 'Gold Coast' peripheral areas along Lakeside Drive, 20th Street, and the west edge of Lake Merritt, areas closer to 14th Street and the Civic Center district, and blocks adjacent to downtown along Harrison Street. ("Lakeside Apartments District, Oakland, California") The Regillus was designed, in the Beaux-Arts style, by architect Willis Lowe around 1920-21, and built by construction engineer P. A. Palmer. It is thought that the building takes its name from the legendary Roman Battle of Lake Regillus, fought shortly after the establishment of the Roman Republic. The Regills under construction The Schilling Mansion  Palmer built on the site of the old Schilling mansion. August Schilling emigrated from Germany and, in 1870, found work with J. A. Folger & Co. He remained at Folger as a partner until 1881 when he and George Volkmann left the company to start Schilling & Co., producer of coffee and spices. McCormick & Company spices bought Schilling's company in the 1940's. By that time Schilling had built several opulent homes, including his summer estate, Portola Hall, in Portola Valley on the Peninsula. He'd also lent his name to the Schilling Gardens, adjacent to his Oakland home. Built as an apartment building with 8 floors, the Regillus originally consisted of 47 luxury apartments, most now condominiums. The apartments have wood-burning fireplaces, large windows, a formal dining room and high ceilings with classic moldings. There is a doorman, a concierge, formal gardens and a marble foyer. The former carriage house serves as a garage. The building originally cost $450,000 to construct. Individual units now sell for $650,000 to $4 million. How times change. The Regillus Wooden Window replaced the right-hand door with a perfect duplicate of its historical model.   The dramatic Beaux Arts entrance to the Regillus The entrance door set created around 1920                   Wooden Window precisely matched one of the historical doors in The Regillus' grand entrance The lobby of The Regillus as seen through the elaborate ironwork that sheaths the doors   References "August Schilling - Oakland - Localwiki". Localwiki.Org, 2018, https://localwiki.org/oakland/August_Schilling. Accessed 18 Feb 2018. "Battle Of Lake Regillus". En.Wikipedia.Org, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lake_Regillus. Accessed 18 Feb 2018. "Information About "Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Mar_5__1922 - Regillus In Progress.Jpg" On Regillus Apartments - Oakland - Localwiki". Localwiki.Org, 2018, https://localwiki.org/oakland/Regillus_Apartments/_files/Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Mar_5__1922 - regillus in progress.jpg/_info/. Accessed 18 Feb 2018. "Lake Merritt". En.Wikipedia.Org, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Merritt. Accessed 19 Feb 2018. "Lake Merritt | City Of Oakland | California". Www2.Oaklandnet.Com, 2018, http://www2.oaklandnet.com/government/o/opr/s/LakeMerritt/index.htm. Accessed 19 Feb 2018. "Lakeside Apartments District, Oakland, California". En.Wikipedia.Org, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakeside_Apartments_District,_Oakland,_California. Accessed 22 Feb 2018. "Oakland". Google Books, 2018, https://books.google.com/books?id=AtXK85bjBksC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=willis+lowe+architect&source=bl&ots=5kQs3jFVGp&sig=lLGh_qYHGpHJgppDBf9sJn5yq8A&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QeDEUJzeDqLqiwKw54HoCQ&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=willis lowe architect&f=false. Accessed 18 Feb 2018. "Schilling Family". Allelementsdesign.Com, 2018, http://www.allelementsdesign.com/schilling/history/residences/portola.html. Accessed 18 Feb 2018. Allen, Annalee, and Edmund Clausen. Oakland. Arcadia Pub., 2005.  

It’s Only Proper

  The Hibernia building across the street, by the same architect The new Proper Hotel, on the corner of McAllister and Market, has been a part of San Francisco's history since the beginning of the 20th century. Originally built in 1906, it shares an architect with the better-known Hibernia building--Albert Pissis-- designer of the Flood Building and the Emporium Building in the City. Formerly a six-story office building, it suffered from the bad luck of being built just in time for the Great San Francisco Quake, which leveled the structure. The Hotel Shaw From the building's days as The Renoir The Renoir Hotel   Rebuilding on the site, a new 2-story office building was christened "The Capitol Building." In 1936, 5 additional stories were added in the Renaissance Revival style as the building was rededicated as "The Shaw Hotel," a watering hole and residence that catered to well-to-do city dwellers and visitors from the 1920's through the 1940's. The name remained until the late '70's, when it became "The Miramar Hotel," and later 'The U. N. Plaza". Purchased in 1993 by Regent West Ltd., it endured yet another name change to become known as "The Renoir Hotel." The Renoir closed its doors in April of 2013 and remained abandoned until it was purchased by The Kor Group, already known for the Viceroy Hotels in Santa Monica and Palm Springs. The building, on the National Register of Historic Spaces since 1986, was re-envisioned as a 21st-century boutique hotel as part of the Kor Group's plans to open locations in emerging innovation districts around the country. As part of what city urban planners described as the "Mid-Market Corridor Transformation," plans were drawn up to begin a $40 million renovation of the existing structure to create a 135-room hotel dubbed --along with sister hotels planned in Austin, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn--"The Proper." The new hospitality hub will feature 3 chef-driven restaurants on the ground floor and a 4500 square foot bar, with 360-degree city views, to be known as "Charmaine's."   To craft the vision for the new hotel, developers turned to interior designer Kelly Wearstler, known for her opulent, "Gilded Age" aesthetic on other hotel projects including the "Avalon" and "Maison 140" in Beverly Hills.       “Each hotel will be intrinsically dialed into the best and the coolest the area has to offer. We will share with customers the flavor of each city,” The new Proper Kelly Wearstler's room interior Kelly Wearstler's room interior The bar at the Villon The Villon Restaurant on the ground floor of The Proper As it was For the exterior of the building, developers brought in architects Hornberger+Worstell and building contractors Cahill Contractors, aided by historical architects Knapp Architects--overseen by the State Historic Preservation Office.    Cahill asked Wooden Window to handle the windows, millwork, crown moldings, columns, and balusters on the first floor.    As it was As it was As it was As it was As some parts of the building actually pre-date the Great San Francisco Earthquake, the project required both restoration of the historic windows that could be saved and the faithful replication of those too severely damaged to remain. Avalon Glass Works partnered with Wooden Window to restore and replace the original leaded glass panes.   The Proper Hotel building has seen more than it's fair share of resurrections but this latest effort has yielded a new addition to San Francisco's great hotels and legendary dining. As always, it's a privilege to be a part of it.     Wood turnings ornament the window trim Capitals and brackets on the interior Mounting the ornamental woodwork Millwork in the shop Leaded glass replication References Faucett, M. (2017). Kelly Wearstler Design for Proper Hotels in Austin, Hollywood, San Francisco | Architectural Digest. Architectural Digest. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/kelly-wearstler-proper-hotels Hotel Shaw. (2017). CardCow Vintage Postcards. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.cardcow.com/569145/hotel-shaw-san-francisco-california/ Instagram post by PROPER HOTELS & RESIDENCES • Oct 6, 2017 at 6:45pm UTC. (2017). Instagram. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ6sazchAfF/ Instagram post by PROPER HOTELS & RESIDENCES • Sep 21, 2017 at 11:19pm UTC. (2017). Instagram. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.instagram.com/p/BZUj7jnhXzD/ Luxury Hotel in San Francisco | San Francisco Proper. (2017). Proper Hotels and Residences. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.properhotel.com/hotels/san-francisco/ Mid-Market. (2017). Up From The Deep. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://upfromthedeep.com/mid-market/ Renoir Hotel. (2017). Facebook.com. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.facebook.com/RenoirHotel/ Renoir Hotel - Curbed SF. (2017). Sf.curbed.com. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://sf.curbed.com/building/2604/renoir-hotel Touring the Renoir Hotel in San Francisco, California. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 8 October 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oezqNe1NL8A&feature=related

Past Perfect-The San Francisco Presidio

Wooden Window is a company that restores historic doors and windows, and we could hardly be in a better position than to be near the site of an 18th Century fortification since grown to a complex of more than 800 buildings, known as The San Francisco Presidio. Its history is, literally, the history of San Francisco. For the whole story of The Presidio, click here. The San Francisco Presidio has played its role in every time period and significant event in the country's history. In the 1950's, it served as the headquarters for the Nike missile defense around the golden gate and headquarters for the Sixth U.S. Army. In 1960, it was designated a national historic landmark. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area was created in 1972, and the Presidio was turned over to the Park Service in 1994, on the condition that it be self-supporting In 1996, The Presidio Trust was founded to manage the landmark's finances.   The current Presidio Visitor's Center began its life as the camp's guardhouse, built around 1900. $5 million and 3 years have revived the building as the gateway to Presidio visitors. Over the years windows have warped, cracked and leaked ...and seen a coat of paint or two After 100 years, the warranty has probably run out Back to what they were meant to be "It used to be a jail, and we were converting it into a use as opposite that as you can fundamentally get,” architect David Andreini (of the San Francisco firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson) tells Curbed SF. (Brinklow, 2017)" The Presidio Visitors Center is one of the several buildings at the Presidio for which Wooden Window has provided restoration and replacement of historic windows and doors. Removed doors and windows from the original structure undergo a variety of restoration techniques--from simple steam stripping and sanding to spot replacements of portions of the original (called "Dutchmen") to the reconstruction of small sections with epoxy. "From the get-go, we saw it was a building with great potential and a lot of integrity, a real gem. We wanted to restore some of that integrity," says Andreini. "It was very symmetrical, and we wanted to preserve how it worked spatially." (Brinklow, 2017)   When necessary, original windows are duplicated and replaced--often taking advantage of upgrades for insulation, sound and UV light control. But sometimes, buildings are reluctant to let go of their heritage. Renovation challenges included dealing with a 5-inch slope in the building's concrete floor. “Once a week they used to hose out the drunk tank here, and they wanted it to drain easily,” says Faw. (Brinklow, 2017) The old hoosegow now houses an enormous 3D scale map of the park, historical exhibits, and a bookstore. A replicated, perfect-to-match arched window The Presidio History Room was originally one of the cells in the guardhouse. During the year that a handful of dissidents gathered in Philadelphia to declare their independence from England, 200 haggard and exhausted settlers arrived at the San Francisco Bay. There they put in place a structure whose walls still stand watch over the City. Through corsets and miniskirts, starched collars and Nehru jackets, The Presidio has stood impassive witness to the iconoclasts and adventurers that built the City of San Francisco. Those walls have seen every war in American history and events glorious, cataclysmic and ignominious. They've watched 43 presidents come and go. They've been there as the original settlement transformed from a grubby den of vice and ambition into one of America's great cities--with a world-renowned ballet and symphony, and great museums for both historic and modern art. And they've looked on as, one-by-one, the buildings of the Presidio have been reborn for a new age to serve a new community. The City of San Francisco has a great treasure in the Presidio. If we use it wisely, and restore it carefully, respecting the character and architecture of its time, it will be here for generations to come. As it is, thanks to the efforts of those who work to preserve it, the Presidio witnesses still.       Sources: Brinklow, A. (2017). A tour of the Presidio’s historic jail turned visitor center. Curbed SF. Retrieved 5 May 2017, from https://sf.curbed.com/2017/2/24/14725938/presidio-visitor-center-jail-san-francisco

Riding the Rails

Restoring the East Bay's Electric Rail History   At Wooden Window, we do a lot of restoration for architecturally historic structures, but the chance to work close to home, and to recreate the 18-foot tall doors for a landmark of East Bay transportation history was something special--the Interurban Electric Railway Bridge Yard Shop. If you've lived in the Bay Area for some time, you may know that public transportation needs in San Francisco and the East Bay, much like similar urban areas from Brooklyn to Denver, were once served by a robust and vibrant network of electric rail cars. The system maintained routes on both sides of the Bay, as well as commuter trains running across the Bay Bridge.   Electric cars passing over the Bay Bridge (c. 1940) Construction on the Oakland Bay Bridge began in 1933 and cost an estimated $77 million to complete. By then, electric interurban railroads had existed on both sides of the bay since the turn of the century.   “They were the backbone of our mass transit system for nearly 100 years, with dozens of routes and hundreds of cars, and when they were discontinued in the late 1950s, almost all evidence of their reign was swept away.” ("When Trains Ruled the East Bay - Oakland Magazine - January 2008 - Oakland, California", 2017)   Key System Map, C. 1911   For the whole story of the East Bay rail system and trains over the Bay Bridge click here. Shops were built in 1938 to maintain the cars, one for the Southern Pacific and IER Red Trains and one for the East Bay's Key System. They Key System shop, once located near the West Grand Avenue freeway overpass, was eventually torn down. The second, Southern Pacific shop, dedicated to the "Big Red Cars," still stands in what was once called "The Bridge Yard." A sister facility, the West Alameda Car Shop was eventually converted into a winery. The cars operated out of main facilities on either side of the bay. The Interurban Railway Shop in 1958 Over the years, the tracks were removed, the inspection pits were filled in and surfaced over, and the continuous original interior split up into 3 sections. Since the demise of Transbay electric train travel, the shops have been used for the equipment and supplies of the Bay Bridge painting crews. As part of the new EAST Span Project for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the remaining shop was evaluated, included in The National Register of Historic Places and made eligible for rehabilitation to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.   The great bi-fold doors at either end of the bridgeyard shop had been repaired and modified multiple times over the years. At Wooden Window, our piece of the overall rehabilitation project was to restore and reuse components from the 1938 door sets to create 8 new doors, complete with hardware and steel window inserts, fabricating perfect-to-match new parts where necessary. The first step was to bring the original doors into our shop, strip and restore the original wood, and survey them for all the engineering data necessary to create new parts where needed. Of the historic 12 doors in the shop facade, 4 had been replaced by a roll-up door years ago. The existing doors were salvaged for their original components to create 8 restored units. Metal mullion inserts for the new doors were reclaimed from the 1938 sets and fitted with modern safety glass. Restored doors ready for glazing The massive strap hinges being installed Metal window inserts Setting the doors upright and bolting in the iron hardware Forged steel knuckle. The hinges and metal strapwork are forged steel with a hot dip galvanized finish. Hardware was purchased from Crown Industrial in San Francisco, the same company that provided the original pieces in 1938. Crown also supplied track parts of the original design.   But after the war, with the growing popularity and affordability of automobiles, along with the explosion in infrastructure growth, the days of electric Transbay travel were numbered. The cheery little cars hung on until 1958 when $49 million was allocated to re-configure the bridge for all-auto traffic. The last Key System train departed Oakland station in April of 1958. "The last train did not go quietly into the night. It was packed with more than 500 passengers, who managed to get into the control cabs and set off all the train bells and whistles. They also set off flares and trackside warning devices and made such a horrible racket the Oakland cops turned out in force to see what was the matter." (Nolte, 2017) By 1962, the railway system was gone and the bridge reconfigured to carry 5 lanes of auto traffic on each deck. Most of the train cars were scrapped, some were salvaged for rail collections, and a few "emigrated" to continue their life's work in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Depending on how long you've been in the East Bay, you've probably experienced your share of change to the Oakland Bay Bridge. You may have seen the Key System cars first cross the bay. You may have seen them go and be replaced by auto traffic in the 1960's. You may have seen the terrifying collapse of the span in the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, and you may have been here to usher in the spectacular, if controversial, new East Span.    

Bring the Carriage Around

America's carriage houses are among the most charming remnants of our architectural history, some dating back to colonial times. Created to shelter horse-drawn carriages and tack, they often doubled as living quarters for grooms and coachmen. They could be simple and utilitarian, or as architecturally elaborate as the homes they supported. The historical sections of many cities boast a variety of examples.   Some city districts feature "mews," rows of carriage houses with living spaces above. New York's Brooklyn Heights, the City's first suburb and the nation's first designated historic district, has some of the most varied and beautiful.   Carriage houses dot New York's Love Lane, also in Brooklyn. A place for romantic promenades in pre-colonial days, legend has it that the street takes its name from its popularity as a place for young men to linger with their dates before returning them, at the end of an evening, to the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies. Today, many of these structures have been repurposed as offices, workshops, guest houses, or as separate homes. Restaurants, tea rooms, galleries and other commercial concerns have also taken advantage of these ready-made mansions in miniature. Artist Jim Dine bought this carriage house when it was a garage and plumbing supply shop in the 1990's and restored it in 2009... In a more bucolic setting, this one served as a studio for Thomas Hart Benton The oversize entryways and open central spaces have made carriage houses a favorite for artist's studios. Although many of us may not have access to an actual carriage house, we can recreate much of their warmth and charm in our modern carriage houses—garages—through the addition of carriage doors. Typically a set of two outward-swinging matched doors; carriage doors can also operate as sliding or even bi-fold units. Since carriage doors don't roll upward like a standard garage door, it's much more straightforward to incorporate elegant details such as frame and panel construction, multi-lite glass and obscure or stained glass windows. Something personal An old-fashioned barn door Carriage doors can be as large as they need to--here, a sliding door installation with hand forged custom hardware   The final touches to a carriage door installation complete the effect   Hardware, primarily utilitarian and unseen on conventional garage doors, can be the centerpiece of a carriage door installation. Hand-forged strap hinges and other decorative accents can turn a neighborhood garage into a personal architectural statement, and a testament to times gone by.

Bye, Bye Betsy

Click to see Becky moving in It was a sad day, one recent Friday, as all of us at Wooden Window bid farewell to Betsy, one of our two CNC machines. Betsy had been with us for more than ten years, and is a veteran of thousands of window projects, but she’s being turned over to a nice family with a farm where she can run free in the pasture.   For heaven's sakes, don't drop her                 Taking her place is our new technical juggernaut, Becky. Becky is the most current, most sophisticated machine of her kind on the West Coast. With separate, independent cutting and machining heads, Becky can do more complex shapes and mill profiles faster than any other CNC.     Becky's milling head   She can accommodate a larger variety of construction and joinery methods, including multiple dowels and blind tenons. With Becky, wood parts are robotically positioned and held in place—to be machined by two independent heads, four motors and an arsenal of nearly 70 separate custom tools.   Independent saw                       But Becky is more than muscle. She’s a tremendous stride forward in software capability as well. Becky sees parts as more than a set of 2-dimensional tool paths. She handles them as 3-dimensional objects, allowing us to accurately predict assembly fit, part runtimes and to digitally simulate part runs before the wood ever hits the machine. She can do more complex wood engraving and carving, run millwork and more easily take a project from previsualized 3d model to prototype, or mockup.   Parts load into the perfect position automatically Becky is now a key player on our Wooden Window team, processing door and window designs, envisioning outcomes, performing tasks and consistently delivering on our promise to provide perfect projects — on time and on budget.   Are there supposed to be parts left over?

About Wooden Window

Since 1980, Wooden Window has been restoring and constructing fine wooden doors and windows for residences and commercial buildings throughout California.

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