Steinhart Aquarium Update
The salvage work at the old Steinhart Aquarium in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, has been completed. James Dawes of PlaceMakers Inc. was the primary contractor on the job, which took 32 days to finish. Tile Heritage board member, Riley Doty, worked with Dawes for 18 days, mainly on removing tiles from the rim of the alligator pit and the lower band of decos around the perimeter of the room.
Riley wrote on September 8th, “I’m exhausted and recovering, but happy to report that the Steinhart tiles are salvaged. The architect eventually did fall in love with the tiles…. He requested that the rock mountain and waterfall installed as a backdrop in the 1950s be removed so that the tiles from behind that part of the alligator pit could also be removed. (That portion of the tiled rim hadn’t been visible for 50 years—about 75% of those tiles were intact and were salvaged.) The plan for the pit will in a sense make it even more visible in the new building because it will be seen from below as well as above. The floor beneath the swamp will have major display tanks and from that level one will be able to look up through the alligator pit and see the tiles around the rim from that vantage point also.”
Tile Heritage approached Barbara Andrews, project coordinator at the California Academy of Sciences, for pictures of the salvaging operation. She responded on October 1st, “…that it would be best if we could wait until the Academy has more information for you as to the future of the tiles. We have done the removal and they are in storage, but we do not want to raise interest and questions when we do not yet have options or answers.”
Barb is a good communicator, and we will keep on this.