Saturday, October 27, 2012

A little walk down R.

Yesterday I had the great opportunity to walk down the R Street Corridor with Dr. Michael Schmandt as he prepares for one of his semi-regular walking tours he gives to geography students. I had a really good time and there was a lot of knowledge sharing between the two of us. I was able to provide additional bits of historical context here and there (just little things, he knows the history of the street very well indeed) and he filled me in a lot on the current state of redevelopment of the corridor as well as some of the urban geography concepts that R Street exemplifies.

I had a number of historic photos from different eras of different locations on R Street and my copy of the 1946 Southern Pacific R Street "station plan" with me. "Station" in this context comes from the railroad specific definition: "a place that is designated in the timetable by name". So it's essentially  a map of the industry sidings and the building footprints in the 1 inch = 100 foot scale. Even though it's a S.P. plan. it helpfully shows the layout of both the Western Pacific as well as the Southern Pacific tracks. Time and again we were able to compare the current state of R Street with the historic pictures and the station plan.

Along the way, Michael pointed out a number of things I didn't realize were there on R. For instance, the parking lot for Otto construction at 2nd and R features rail borders that almost assuredly came from R Street - possibly, I would speculate, from the sidings of the Western Pacific freight house that used to occupy that space.

Also I didn't know there is a pedestrian tunnel that links the older and newer CalPERS buildings, and in that tunnel is a small display of historic pictures and artifacts. The display is part of the result of the archaeological and historical research that was done before construction of the new building.

The other, and perhaps most glaring thing I've missed are the new historical plaques that were installed with the new streetscape in the 10th and R region. There are three or four of them embedded in the sidewalk at various places.
 Things you learn from plaques....I didn't know the Fuller building wasn't built by the W.P. Fuller Co
(pretty sure it was at least added onto by them though) 
It was good walk, a great conversation and I even burned a few calories while I was at it! Not bad for a Fall Friday in Sacramento.

1 comment:

  1. Great info about geography and history right in my back yard now that I live next to PERS. I used to pick up occasional shipments in the 80's for my company on R St. at a freight house (that arrived by truck). Unfortunately I have no mental picture of the location.