profiLes in design
by Michael Redmon
by Carolina Starin
how ow big was the
Los Alamos earthquake
veryone knows that California is earthquake country, and certainly Santa Barbara County has suf suffered through its share of serious ones over the years. Undoubtedly the 1925 temblor is the best known, which caused heavy damage in Santa Barbara. Less well known is the quake that struck the small town of Los Alamos on July 27, 1902. Estimated at about 7.0 on the Richter scale, the quake would have been stronger than the more famous ’25 shake. There had been a warning tremor around 5 p.m. that day, and the first great shock hit a little after 11 p.m. One eyewitness later reported “a most terrific sound like thunder and the discharge of a thousand cannons seemed to envelop everything.” Three distinct shocks brought almost every chimney in town tumbling down. No one slept the rest of the night as some 25 aftershocks rolled through the town from 11 p.m. to 5 the next morning. For the next few days, residents bore up under continuing aftershocks. Everyone felt the worst had passed until the early morning hours of July 31. A little after two, the “most terrific, violent, sudden terror” struck. Residents later agreed that this earthquake had a strange circular or rotary feel to it. One person compared the experience to being caught in a whirlpool. In the homes left standing, furniture was pushed to the center of rooms. It appears this second quake was even more violent than the one on the 27th. Again, residents were forced to endure aftershocks that never seemed to stop. Although not as severe as the two major temblors, they often caused serious dam-
age to buildings that were already weakened. The Presbyterian Church lost its front wall, and a number of stores in the small business district were wrecked. This series of events not only shattered walls but nerves, as well. Could these incessant aftershocks portend yet a third major upheaval? The narrowgauge Pacific Coast Railway, which ran from Port Harford near San Luis Obispo through the Los Alamos Valley to Los Olivos, ran a special train of 14 cars to Los Alamos, and most of the town’s residents evacuated. Two observers from the University of California at Berkeley traveled south to survey the damage, one of whom advised that the evacuees should seek shelter in caves. Incredibly, there were no serious injuries. The tremors seemed to be centered in the immediate vicinity of Los Alamos; some movement was felt in Santa Maria and in Santa Barbara but was considered inconsequential. The only additional damage of note was at the Careaga oilfields nearby where two oil storage tanks with a total capacity of more than 3,000 barrels ruptured. The earthquake did garner some attention around the state, and concern soon grew in Santa Barbara that people would be afraid to visit the region. One newspaper pointed out that a rare earthquake was a small price to pay for living in such a beautiful place. The writer went on to state that if earthquakes “happen once in half a century it is notable” and accused the media of sensationalism and hysteria. The 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake was less than 25 years away.
Michael Redmon is the director of research at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
home Window repairs
Office: 924-4004, homewindowrepairs.com he jobs I feel best about are Specialties: Restoration and replication people’s homes,” of any style of wood, aluminum, and steel says Ed Sanchez, windows, as well as a wide range of new and owner of Home Window antique glasses. Repairs, as he looks over one Notable Projects: Bradbury Building in of his current job sites and L.A., General Phineas Banning Residence explains that he has already Museum, Laguna Beach Hotel, more than once eschewed retirement. 3,500 residential homes along the South “I get a thrill out of it. Look Coast, and many historic buildings. at the cranks. They swing in; they are very romantic. Upcoming: Briggs Elementary School in You’ll never see these winSanta Paula. dows again.” In Santa Barbara, Sanchez works on many houses from the construction boom of the 1920s, but he uses techniques that restore the look and function of any kind of window, including unusual historic ones, steel windows, and newer aluminum versions from the ’50s and ’60s. Sanchez professes that he enjoys getting a full life out of things.“I just feel good that way,” he says as he admits to holding onto his cars until they pass the 300,000-mile mark. “And I feel the same way about windows. It bothers me to see [homeowners] pull out their original windows and replace them with something of lower quality that doesn’t quite fit the particular style of the home.” Sanchez has a long history with materials and windows, including a stint at Jet Propulsion Laboratory studying the plastics used on many new windows, and more than 12 years replacing original windows with newly manufactured ones. However, eventually he realized that the new windows he was selling customers were of lower quality, would go out of style quickly, and would soon need to be replaced again. “If they stick with the original windows that were made for the home, that were designed to actually work with that home, then they never need to change them at all,” explains Sanchez, whose restoration work can extend the life of the original windows for up to 85 years. “Then there’s no keeping up with the Joneses.” Sanchez restored the windows on the standout Bradbury Building in Los Angeles. The former office building was built in 1893, and it is the city’s oldest landmarked building and has been the setting of many fictional works, movies, and music videos. “Sometimes they care enough to keep every component,” says Sanchez of working on National Historic Landmarks and other museums.“If there’s one piece that’s not rotted, they want that piece in there. They treat it like a dinosaur.” Sanchez did similar work on the General Phineas Banning Residence Museum, a historic Greek revival-Victorian home that is now a historic site that offers public tours. “The windows were the originals from 1865, and we worked on these weird round windows that looked like a wagon wheel,” he says of a project that required special attention to the components and blending the old with new. Sanchez warns homeowners to take their time replacing their windows, saying that most original windows simply need to be fixed. “I’m the guy that tries to keep them from filling landfills up with these beautiful, original windows,” he says with hopeful n excitement.
independent real estate
SEPTEMBER 29, 2016
s.b. historical museum
Ed Sanchez (center) of Home Window Repairs with window technicians Kenny Daiello (left) and Camden Daugherty