Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Update on Castro Adobe and the Trabing Fire-June 24, 2008

I finally made my way out to the Castro Adobe today to see the damage from the Trabing Fire. I must say that driving into the intersection of Larkin Valley Road and Buena Vista Road was heart wrenching...seeing all the burned trees and dark pastures combined with the smell of smoke was difficult.

As I got to the intersection of Old Adobe Road it was wonderful to see the tributes and thanks to the firefighters. Thank you firefighters!

Thankfully, most of Old Adobe Road was not damaged. Some of the homes on the west side of the street had fire reach to their decks, but the houses were intact. As we know, other houses on Larkin Valley Road and Trabing Road were not as lucky.
At the Castro Adobe, there was evidence of at least three spot fires. One which burned a small wood shed covering a pump, one at the entrance to Joe Kimbro's property, and one spot fire which burned a pallet of the adobe bricks and melted the plastic on another.

It was obvious that we were VERY lucky. The Direct Construction Unit (DCU) crew and the CCC crew had cut down a lot of the grass, keeping it short, so the fire really had no fuel to burn. Chris Barraza (DCU foreman) said that a neighbor had put out the three spot fires and they never spread to other areas on the property. Thank you neighbor!!!

Chris Barraza had left for the weekend on Friday to his home 5 hours away. Once hearing of the fire he promptly packed his things back up and made the trek back up to the Castro Adobe on Saturday. He was not going to sit by while a fire (potentially) burned the Castro Adobe! Somehow he talked his way up Old Adobe Road and onto the property and proceeded to protect the building, help neighbors, and even gave water to the neighbor's thirsty goats. Thank you Chris!

Watching the fire unfold was terrifying and if there is one thing that Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, DCU crew and State Parks has learned --it is that we are all very dedicated to this building! That was evident from all the frantic phone calls, e-mails, etc. As we launch into the 'Save the Castro Adobe' campaign this summer, this fire so clearly illustrates the importance of saving the Castro Adobe. Not only is it an incredible historic resource today but the thought of its destruction mobilized so many people, proving how vital it is to our future.

And now the work continues! Chris and the DCU crew are working on crack repair in the cocina wall. Next week, the construction on the cocina roof is slated to begin.-JK

Friday, June 20, 2008

Castro Adobe is Safe!

We are so happy to report that the historic Castro Adobe at Rancho San Andres Castro State Historic Park has survived the Trabing Fire still burning near Watsonville. Thanks to the efforts of CalFire firefighters, the fire was held to grass areas near the two-story Monterey-Colonial-style structure."We are thrilled with this news and incredibly grateful for the efforts made by CalFire firefighters," said Randy Widera, director of strategic development and partnerships for Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. Check back later for more information regarding the Castro Adobe and the Trabing Fire.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mud Plaster, Lintel Repair and Roof Removal-June 9-13

The DCU construction crew has completed the mud plastering of the interior of the new cocina wall. Photo #1 shows the interior wall with mud plaster and Photo #2 shows the corner shelves anchored to the new wall (to the left) and the original wall (to the right).

They have also completed the scratch coat of the mud plaster on the exterior of the cocina walls (Photo #3). The next step is to apply a smooth plaster coat which will look similar to the interior cocina walls.

The lintels (wood support members above a door or window) above the windows and doors are also being repaired. A few of the lintels are damaged and wood members have been replaced and/or repaired with epoxy. They will be plastered over to match the existing plaster.

With the core drilling complete, work is shifting toward the roof. The CCC crew is removing the roof sheathing to prepare the area for construction of the new roof.

This should begin next week!-JK

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 2-6, 2008 Core Drilling Almost Complete

Core drilling of the adobe walls is almost complete. Nichols Concrete Cutting has moved very quickly with two crews of four and they should be done on Friday. There are quite a few pictures in this post because the core drilling was fascinating and I hope to capture it.
The first task is actually drilling the hole for the stainless steel rods which you can see being done in Photo #1 and Photo #2. This crew has to wear a fairly substantial mask due to the dust.

While the crew is working on the top of the roof, another crew member drills two small holes, one about 2/3 way down the wall and another about 3 feet from the bottom of the wall (see photo #3).

These two holes are used to relieve pressure as the drill comes down creating the hole. The dirt and dust that is created in the drilling process needs to be allowed to escape and these holes allow that to happen. The end result of the dirt/dust blasting out of the hole is remarkable. Not only does quite a bit blast out of the hole, but it comes out fast (see Photo #4).

Once the hole is complete it is vacuumed out and the stainless steel rod is inserted and later epoxied. The east and west wall are almost complete. The last photo is the west wall with the rods in place.-JK

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Core Drilling Begins! May 20

Core drilling of the adobe walls has begun. Work started on the new cocina walls and has now moved to the east wall of the adobe building. Nichols Concrete Cutting is a company that specializes, among other things, in core drilling. Having much experience in drilling adobe walls, Nichols' work is moving along nicely. Photo 1 shows the crew on the roof beginning drilling into the east wall.

The process includes a hole which is drilled through the adobe walls and a stainless steel rod is then inserted into each hole. The hole and rod run the vertical height of the wall. The rods are spaced roughly 1- 1/2 feet apart and filled with epoxy. Photos #2 and #3 shows the new cocina wall and existing cocina wall with rods in place.

This will make the structure much more stable in a seismic event. -JK

More Crack Repair-May 15-May 30

Crack repair continues on the adobe walls. The west wall has undergone quite a bit of repair. In Photo 1, Pancho Villa removes the unstable adobe and cleans out between the bricks and mortar.

In Photos 2, the wall is cleaned and new brick will be inserted in between the courses along with new mortar.


The final result! After the new bricks and mortar have been inserted, the wall is plastered. This is the final stage before the wall is whitewashed. -JK