Bay Area Inks 4 New Pages in History


Congratulations Bay Area. You are home to four historical new sites .

The National Register of Historic Places added a former Oakland cotton mill, two former railway facilities and a San Francisco synagogue to its list.

The California State Historic Resources Commission approved the  four applications for locations in San Francisco, Oakland and Brisbane at its  meeting in Sacramento as part of its consent calendar. The register is  administered by the National Park Service, and sites must have significant  architectural or historic significance.

Two of the newly approved sites relate to the region's railway  history. The Southern Pacific Railroad Bayshore Roundhouse in Brisbane, a  1910 semi-circular brick building and one-time rail car turntable, once  serviced and repaired steam-powered locomotives. After World War II, steam  was replaced by lower-maintenance diesel, making repair sites like this one  were obsolete by the late 1950s, according to the commission report.
The roundhouse, now vacant and dilapidated, is the state's last  surviving brick roundhouse, according to the commission.

In San Francisco, a power facility and adjacent office building  located in a San Francisco Municipal Railway maintenance yard were also  approved for the register.

The  was built in 1903 to generate electricity  for the city's new streetcar system. The power house and an adjacent 1901  office building were deemed significant to the city's early years of public  transit, and have a design that pre-dates the 1906 earthquake. The structures  at San Jose and Geneva avenues are the last two that remain from a  once-extensive complex of brick buildings, and have been empty since the 1989  Loma Prieta earthquake.

The office building was also the site of the 1917 carmen's strike,  according to the commission.

The architectural beauty of another San Francisco site, the Temple  Sherith Israel at 2266 California St., earned it a place on the register.  From its vantage point atop a small hill, the synagogue boasts a large dome,  a mix of Beaux Arts-influenced Byzantine and Romanesque flourishes, and a  high level of craftsmanship, according to the commission report.

During a shortage of functional courtrooms after the 1906  earthquake and fire, eight superior court judges and a law library moved in  temporarily, according to news accounts of the era. A series of high-profile  graft trials were held at the site.

Oakland's newest historical site, the California Cotton Mill  building, sits in the shadow of the Nimitz Freeway and houses a self-storage  company. The large structure was once part of a large complex for the cotton  manufacturing enterprise. The four-story 1917 brick warehouse harkens back to  the days when both Oakland and California were transitioning from a mining  economy to agriculture and eventually manufacturing, according to the  commission's report.

The mill closed in 1954, one year after the completion of the  freeway, which bisected the property.

One additional site, Sacred Heart Church, at Fillmore and Fell  streets in San Francisco, was slated for discussion, but the owner declined  to list it on the register, according to Office of Historic Preservation  spokesman William Burg.

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