Historic Bell Rooms Threatened With Demolition

This is not exactly the note we wanted to begin on, but we think it is important to discuss that yet another historic building in Downtown Redding is threatened with demolition.

Location of the Bell Rooms, indicated by push-pin.
Location of the Bell Rooms, indicated by push-pin. Imagery via Google Earth.

The latest structure to be menaced by the wrecking ball is the Bell Rooms building, a 107-year-old, two-story brick building located on the southwest corner of Shasta and California Street. The building is part of a small complex of newer buildings that includes a cinderblock addition and a row of auto repair bays directly south. These buildings were most recently home to Bing Automotive, B&R Radiator Service, and American Lock and Key.

The property is owned by RABA (Redding Area Bus Authority) and is scheduled for demolition this fall. According to a city official, the building is “in severe disrepair” and it is being demolished because of “liability and to provide space for transit expansion or parking.” Please note that as of this moment, the building has not been determined to be structurally unsound—just in ”a state of disrepair.”

The two-story building dates back to the fall of 1908, making it one of the oldest surviving commercial buildings in Redding—older than the Cascade Theater, Redding Hotel, Pine Street School, the downtown post office, downtown fire house, and veterans’ memorial hall.

The Bell Rooms building (built 1908) as it appears in 2015.
The Bell Rooms building (built 1908) as it appears in 2015.

Over the years, this building has been slightly modified from its original appearance—some of the windows have been partially or entirely bricked up and it originally had a peaked roof, porch, as well as a two-story balcony; but underneath the drab paint is some beautiful locally manufactured brick. The interior, by several accounts, is surprisingly intact.

Please take a look and imagine this handsome little building with the auto bays and recent cinderblock addition removed, its natural brick exposed (or at least painted red like the Lorenz Hotel), and its original windows and balcony restored. With a little TLC, this historic building would be a valuable asset to downtown Redding. Its location adjacent to the planned bicycle connection to the Sacramento River Trail and bordering a block of other historic survivors just north on California Street makes it a prime candidate for renovation and re-use.

Please stay tuned as we delve deeper into the extremely interesting history of this unique Redding survivor.

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