Friday, November 27, 2009

Thomson-Diggs Teaser

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and the timing was serendipitous. Recently, I’ve been researching the history of the Thomson-Diggs wholesale hardware business. As early as 1910, Thomson Diggs had a presence on R Street. The synchronicity bit of the story is that my sister told me the big roasting pan our turkey was cooking in yesterday came from the Thomson-Diggs Company.  In a few days I’ll post the some of the research as it stands on the history of the business and, if my fact checking holds up, chase down one of those offshoots of history that I keep finding in my research for the R Street Project.

For now, here is a little sketchup doodle of part of what I want to do. It’s not exactly to scale and I didn't model the water tanks on top of  the roof for the automatic sprinkler system; I’m just working on proportions and trying to get the window placement to look right. On my layout, I plan to have this as one of two Thomson-Diggs buildings as low relief models on the backdrop. They’ll sit on the Southern Pacific side of the street opposite the WP freight houses featured earlier in the blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The things I do on my vacation...

I had a few days off last week. What do I do? More research of course. But this time it was research in the guise of touring an old warehouse.

I was following up on a tip from my friend Dan who pointed me in the direction of a guy who manages a self storage business that just happens to inhabit the old Bekins building on R Street. My new friend at the storage place has spent some time digging up history on his building and there is a very nice historical display in his office befitting the ol' place.

Built in 1920 for Capital Van and Storage, the five story warehouse was one of three in Sacramento owned by that firm.  If my initial Google research holds,  Capital was bought by Bekins Van and Storage company around 1926.

The building looks almost exactly (besides the lack of Bekins signage) as it did after the 1948 expansion.
The highlight of the tour was riding the freight elevator.  It's the original Otis model that was installed in 1920 - still operational and running quite smoothly.  It's exactly where the 1951 era Sanborn map, that I've been studying for years, shows it should be. 

The warehouse had a 3 car capacity spur on the Southern Pacific side of the street.