Restoring the exterior of Petaluma's 90-year-old railroad depot was an
intriguing challenge for a group of craftsmen who labored on the project
for four months.
City officials, who hope restoration of the long-neglected landmark
will help spur downtown redevelopment, honored the craftsmen Friday at
a luncheon at the depot.
The quality of the
work was "outstanding," said Paul Marangella, Petaluma's
director of economic development and redevelopment.
There were no trips to Home Depot to buy pre-fabricated material for
"We were asked to preserve as much of the original redwood as we could," said
Howard Schultz, a carpenter who worked on the project.
That meant rotting window frames shaped like four-leaf clovers had
to be carefully detached, reassembled, measured and fitted with newly
milled parts, said Schultz, who is from Santa Rosa.
of wood damage, such as along the fascia, were cut out and filled with
epoxy, using hand-made molds.
a carpenter for 25 years, said the work was sometimes a pain but still
more rewarding than what he normally does, putting doors, windows and
siding on new homes.
more challenging, more interesting," he said. "It held my focus a lot
was a lot more fun than working on a tract house," said carpenter
Scott Felton of Windsor. "I was actually looking forward to coming to work."
"Howard was like a hamster in there with a router and the wood chips
flying," Felton said.
Rich Vila, president of Vila Construction of Richmond,
the project's principal contractor, said: "There aren't many jobs where
you get to do a lot of carpentry. What they were doing was more like
art and there
was pride in the workmanship."
Roofers, painters, electricians, metal workers, glaziers and environmental
removal specialists also worked on the project. The latter removed lead-based
paint and asbestos-laced putty from windows.
While most of the depot's three buildings were sound, some parts had
suffered serious structural damage from dry rot and termites, Shultz
Much of the original wood appeared to have come from old-growth forests,
so it was denser and stronger than wood from younger trees, Felton said.
The original floor and roof beams in the waiting room
are still in "awesome
condition," he said.
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officials, the $650,000 in redevelopment money spent thus far is an
investment in the future.
trigger many millions of dollars of economic vitality that will create
construction jobs, shopping and more affordable housing," Mayor David
Glass said Friday.
depot remained an eyesore, the prospects of redevelopment in the area
would have been adversely affected, city officials have said.
residents had asked for years that something be done to fix the decaying
depot off Washington Street, a major crosstown thoroughfare. As the
work progressed, some residents cheered it on.
stop at the traffic light and honk and say, 'That looks really nice,'" Felton
is in the 400-acre Central Petaluma Specific Plan Area, where city
officials expect much of the city's growth to occur.
officials hoped, some developers already have started to look into
the possibility of mixed-use projects in the depot area, Marangella
plans are to be presented to the City Council in March and plans to
restore the interior as office space and a conference center will be
brought forward in June, Marangella said.
occupant for the building is the Petaluma Visitors Bureau, according
to city officials.
road, if plans for a passenger rail line between San Rafael and Cloverdale
come to fruition, the depot's platform and restrooms could be used