Blast from the Past: The Hercules Powder Administration Building

So what IS that huge brick building on the waterfront?

If you've spent any time at all at the waterfront, you can't miss it.

Every time I see it, I think "Those would be the coolest lofts ever." I mean, think about it. Killer bay views, walking distance to restaurants and mass transit (theoretically). I'd buy one in a heartbeat, if my own place wasn't already underwater.

But I digress.

This is the Administration Building for the Hercules Powder Works, built in 1918. The original wooden structure that housed the administraion offices burned down in 1901. It has walls that are one foot thick, to protect the managers from an accidental explosion. When it was completed, it was the largest office building among all the Hercules Powder Company plants.

During its tenure, the building housed offices, the main switchboard, a printing press, meeting rooms, and a post office. It was remodeled several times, including adding an accounting department in 1951.

Today it stands, awaiting its future role as a central element overlooking whatever development may yet still spring up around it. I know that sounds a ways off with the disarray our city is currently in. But I'm an optomist, and personally I'm rooting for those lofts.

* * * * *

A quick note. I recently joined the good people at the Hercules Historical Society. They have been a great help to me already on this blog. I encourage you to check out their website. And, if you still haven't figured out what to get Dad this Father's Day, pick up a copy of the Hercules history book. It's absolutely fascinating. It's perfect for anyone with short attention spans, as its got about a jillion pictures and not a whole lot of copy. Seriously, pick this up. It's fantastic!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Annie R. June 18, 2011 at 06:58 PM
The Brick Building is a testament to the rich history of our city. Can't say the same for the behemoth Sycamore North.
Susan D.Keeffe June 24, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Dean, Thanks for the book recommendation! It makes a terrific Father's Day gift and has tons of great old photos.
Dean Brightman July 07, 2011 at 04:55 AM
Well, who knows? If nothing changes, maybe we can make our very own tourist attraction out of it. "Come see the famous Instant Ruins of Hercules!"
Dean Brightman July 07, 2011 at 04:56 AM
You're very welcome. I dig the old photos. I only wish more of those buildings were still around.


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