Barstow, San Bernadino COunty,
The Santa Fe Depot in Barstow required careful selective removal and re-installation of the brick and cast stone towers due to earthquake damage.
The building is a mix of decorative brick and cast stone (precast) decorative elements. There are six towers located around the structure, and all had suffered from recent earthquake damage, two towers collapsing completely in a pile of rubble.
Unfortunately, we were brought onto the project only after the six towers had been taken down by a demolition company, and we were presented with this puzzle as shown. No effort had been made to document the exact location of each piece or to create a record of its 3 dimensional origin. This failure to follow basic preservation principals was a significant obstacle in the path of putting this landmark back together again.
We spent many hours in the bone-yard trying to piece together the assembly sequence necessary to put this puzzle back together.
The basic engineering premise of the project entailed the conversion of the original load-bearing masonry structure to a reinforced concrete interior structure, with original masonry retained for the veneer.
Consequently, a great deal of coordination was required to ensure that the brick veneer and cast stone elements went together in a manner that supported the interior structural elements being added.
Positioning of the salvaged cast stone units was especially tricky, given the addition of new steel vertical reinforcement bars.
Brick and cast stone elements would be installed to a height of 3-4 feet over the previous 'lift' and then cementitious grout and steel reinforcing bar installed between the exterior veneer components. This height limitation allowed us to avoid blowing out the sensitive outer wythes of the veneer components.
One problem was the complete random mixture of bricks from the inner and outer wythes of the previous installation, which was comprised of 4 wythes of load-bearing bricks. While the bricks from the original exterior surfaces were clean and ready to install, the bricks from the inner wythes were whitish in appearance, due to the cement fines and calcium residue in the pores of the bricks.
When these bricks were installed, they had the chalky and whitish appearance completely at odds with the look of the original veneer.
The bricks were lightly sandblasted to remove this hazing, since the hardness of the brick materials could easily withstand the onslaught of the silica abrasive medium.
This image shows how successful this approach was in rectifying the problem using a cost-effective solution. Again, knowledge of the materials we work with is essential to the successful completion of our projects.
Once abrasive treatment of the newly-installed veneer surfaces was complete, the final application of paint to the cast stone elements completed the process.
The Harvey House in Barstow has a newly restored home worthy of its history in America's transportation heritage.