So Much For Wood Ceilings

Some may consider it a shame and to others even sacrilege but in order to prepare for the seismic retrofit, the wood ceilings on the first floor had to come down. This was to make way for 4″x 12″ blocking and steel straps from the front of the building to the back. For good or bad, it’s all about upgrading the structure to modern building codes. Originally, I had planned on saving the tongue and groove pine ceiling planks to reuse but the square nails used to hold them in place also caused the wood to shatter when it was pried loose.

Here you can see the X bracing which was originally installed to keep the floor joists from twisting. These will probably be removed to make way for the seismic blocking which will be much stronger.

You can also see the plumbing stack to the second floor bathroom. This was an addition that was probably added in the 30s which explains why the sewer pipe drops ingloriously right through the saloon. The hotel was originally serviced by a two story outhouse in the back and space for plumbing inside the walls was never provided.

As for the iron sewage pipe, this is a detail that I would like to keep if it’s still in good shape. The reason for this is that iron does not transmit sound anywhere near as much as its modern ABS replacement. Just imagine sitting at the bar with a cocktail and listening to a loud fwoosh of you know what heading for the basement, but I digress.

As for the ceiling, removing it was a nightmare of prying and splintering while attempting to not step off the edge of the scaffold. For my reward, I was nearly clobbered by an artifact which fell out of its hiding place of 80 years under the bathroom floor.

It sports a 1935 Nevada tax stamp and I suspect that it was left under the tub by a very happy plumber since the space was completely sealed up.

Special Request

One of my fans asked me which back balcony option actually made the cut so here is the latest. In the design process I discovered that some of the footings were in conflict with the neighboring building due to the zero lot line. Also, the neighbor’s building had a window that would be blocked by the previous landing location. So, after consulting with the engineer, we decided to flip the stairs to the other end of the balcony which kinda divides the yard but works pretty well aside from that.

Ironically, this balcony never existed like this in the past. There was actually another two story building behind the hotel that shows up on the old insurance maps from the 1890s. The foundation stones of this missing structure still remain in the yard. I suspect that it was wood and it burned down at some point.

New Year Chill

As many of you have noticed, I have not been updating the blog during the holidays. That’s because it’s cold and I don’t get very inspired when my tootsies are freezing. last week, we had a daytime low of 18 degrees and inside the hotel, it seemed just a bit colder. One might think that warmer weather would be welcome but one must also be careful about what one wishes for.

The weather today was a lot warmer but it came with an unusual heavy rain which was not helpful at all. I didn’t go on the roof to verify but what looks to have happened is that the rain melted the snow up there very quickly and the resulting water was held in place by ice dams. What happened next was an indoor rainstorm.

Most of it ended up on the staircase where it refroze making the journey upstairs much more challenging.

The floor boards are slated for replacement so I’m not too worried about the water stains. Dog only knows that this has probably happened before. What does concern me; however, is water on the millwork. Here you can see where water has dripped on this door and then frozen.

All is not doom and gloom though. The drips missed the piano by a couple of feet and only a little got on the bar which I cleaned up with a rag.