Local News

Friday, Apr 11 2014 07:01 PM

Building a 'neoclassic wedding cake'

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    A pedestrian photographs the exposed neoclassical architecture of the building on the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street as workers began stripping the facade that covered the structure. The building was originally the Security Trust bank, which was built in 1910.

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    By Steven Mayer/ The Californian

    The inside of the building on the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street.

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    By Steven Mayer/ The Californian

    The inside of the building on the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street as seen Friday.

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    The Security Trust bank on the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street in downtown Bakersfield was built in 1910. Later, the neoclassical architecture was covered by a stucco facade. On Thursday, workers began stripping that facade in preparation for a new chapter in the building's 104-year history. Photo courtesy of David Cross.

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  5. 5 of 5

    The Security Trust bank on the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street in downtown Bakersfield was built in 1910. Later, the neoclassical architecture was covered by a stucco facade. On Thursday, workers began stripping that facade in preparation for a new chapter in the building's 104-year history. Photo courtesy of David Cross.

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By The Bakersfield Californian

When workers began stripping the white stucco facade from a downtown Bakersfield building this week, their work attracted plenty of attention.

That's because the removal of the stucco soon began to reveal an architectural time machine -- a 104-year-old structure boasting tall, stately columns and ornamentation that led one historical preservationist to describe the original building finished in 1910 as "a neoclassic wedding cake."

The building on the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street had been abandoned for a dozen years, and according to the new property owner, Sam Abed, the city was planning to demolish it.

But Abed has other plans. He wants to restore it and sell or lease it to an ambitious restaurateur, a law firm or maybe even a bank.

As soon as The Californian published the story Friday, readers began chiming in through emails, phone calls and social media.

Longtime residents remembered that while the original business at the location was The Security Trust bank, later enterprises included a series of restaurants with names such as Tiny's Coffee Shop, Bea's Loft, Michael's Loft, City Lights and Tapas.

As Bakersfield's downtown continues to experience what many view as a major economic comeback, there's hope the restoration of the classic building is just one more sign of a hopeful Renaissance.

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