Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 14, 2022

Red flags, part 2

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

I figured I would front load the most problematic parts of the nomination that should have (and still should) receive more scrutiny from SHPO/SHRC. Even though I’m not optimistic that SHPO/SHRC will do their jobs correctly, there’s always hope. The next major red flag is attributing the whole of the design of the McKay property to Harry Bruno, as a reminder:

With this latest nomination the nominating party did put in a pretty damning set of photos which included a very blurry full coversheet and a close up of the right hand corner:

It took a long time to get back the scanned blueprints from the Alameda Museum but upon return it wasn’t such the smoking gun that the nominating party would have everyone believe. First of all, there was a reason why the full blueprint was so blurry, it’s so you didn’t see this:

Which is what the GSA, historic architecture firm, and the City have been saying for years now until the waters became muddied by attributing the design of the school to Harry Bruno. So I went through the documents, page by page, to see if anything was signed by Harry Bruno and there was only one plan that was signed by him:

But, based on the lettering in his name, I don’t know what the script is called but it’s distinctive on about 38 other blueprints which I have uploaded here. As I mentioned they are unsigned but the lettering strongly suggests these are revised by Harry Bruno. Here’s a notable memo block which is unsigned by Harry Bruno, has the distinctive lettering but also an acknowledgment they were traced from a design by someone else:

And not just that but the drawings were “received from Washington” and not designed in California by a California architect in a California style. Washington.

Of the 38 possible Harry Bruno revised blueprints only 15 are for buildings that are currently standing or are of the site plan overall. I went through and marked the PDF below with buildings which have since been demolished. You’ll notice a lot of the revisions are structural and not exterior design. On some of the plans I did not indicate was demolished are for “metal hangers” or “vent ducts” which, while important, certainly are not notable enough for historic designation.

I also found the article which was written the year the school was opened which verifies that the design work was done in Washington by Coast Guard engineers.

It would be really helpful if SHPO/SHRC could explain whether or not they believe that “metal hanger” and duct work revision plans are significant when it comes to determining architectural significance and, since the major design work was done in Washington, and if the “Second Bay Tradition” was commonly designed by Coast Guard engineers out of Washington.

7 Comments »

  1. Thanks again for all this research.

    What is the definition of a lie? ‘ … to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive ‘ I believe.
    So what does the State do with a nomination that has multiple untrue statements?

    Maybe we are just living in an ‘alternate facts universe’

    Comment by Ron Mooney — June 14, 2022 @ 7:13 am

  2. This is amazing research 🤯💯

    Comment by dougkeen — June 14, 2022 @ 9:31 am

  3. This is amazing work. I want to say this is the battle of the researchers but that would be an insult to Lauren Do. Lauren digs for truth no matter where it leads. Carmen Reid tortures her research to fit her predetermined outcome, and many would even call her effort an attempt at fraud. I hope the SHPO staff is paying attention, their level of due diligence is embarrassing given how much revision Carmen’s original fraudulent application has gone through already – the same application the SHPO staff approved to send up to the state commission.

    Comment by Carmen Reid's Coal Black Heart — June 14, 2022 @ 9:44 am

  4. Shit, are we going to need to organize a convoy to go up to Sac and counter all of Carmen’s bullshit in person at a meeting? That might be fun.

    Comment by Rod — June 14, 2022 @ 11:55 am

  5. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but there are a few things I would like to note. First, an architect of some renown is not going to attach his name to someone else’s work. But they all used draftsmen to do the grunt work, and they would initial their work. Plans are frequently redrawn by subs to create “Shop drawings”. I do not know why only the architect gets credit. Bentley was an engineer of considerable note, and the Scott Buttner Company wired the Hoover Dam and one of the bay bridges. So these were not just your run of the mill guys.

    Comment by Ed Hirshberg — June 14, 2022 @ 5:02 pm

    • During the War Effort there may not have been much development projects, so designing smaller government jobs like this kind kept staff working.

      Comment by EOR — June 14, 2022 @ 5:15 pm

      • There was an enormous amount of construction during WW2. We own two properties built in 1942. Early in my life I knew a lot of guys from that era. They were busy.

        Comment by Ed Hirshberg — June 14, 2022 @ 7:19 pm


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