Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Day the Building Came Down by Raymond Ryckman

End of an Era
A Tribute to the
"Old STPM Building"

The Old STPM Building at the "Curve" on Anderson Street

Loma Linda had a small newspaper called "The Bulletin" which gave the story of the pending destruction of the "Old STPM building" in an issue dated May 15, 1968 in an article titled "Soon to be demolished - Old STPM building started out as corpsmen barracks." It featured two pictures in the article as well.

January 15, 1969 marks the date that the "Old STPM Building" was destroyed. First step was to get the large laboratory equipment off the second floor by opening a hole in the wall and using a crane to lift the equipment out and lowered safely onto the ground.

And then with the equipment safely out of the building, the Caterpillar Dozers move in and the destruction commences on the "Old STPM Building" at 3 PM thus ending an era of STPM.

The Day the Building Came Down

Raymond Ryckman, PhD.

[Note - The following account was written as part of a larger letter dater January 29, 1969 by Raymond Ryckman, PhD. The intended recipient of the letter is not indicated and it is signed with the signature “Ray” and typed as Ray, Evelyn, & Joe]

"At 3:P.M. on the afternoon of January 15, 1969, two large Catipillar tractors began the long awaited wrecking of the old STPM building; by 5:P.M. they had the East Wing down and the lobby area. On the 16th, the North Wing came down and on the 17th the rest of the building, or the West Wing came down. Then came rain and more rain with some of the debris still left. So not until January 29th was the last of the wood and plaster removed. These big cats just grind up the lumber to splinters and along with plaster, stucco and wires and pipes it all is scooped up and placed aboard large dump trucks.

We cleared the building officially on January 12th. I told them not to worry about anything I had left in the building after 8: A.M. of January 13th. We carried material (things) to 3rd floor for 18 plus years and it was quite a job moving, needless to say we didn’t carry everything down stairs.

The trash and discard material was thrown into the attic to get it our of sight while we cleaned up the rest of the material and some went out on the flat roof outside of the 3rd floor windows. It all came down with the rest of the debris when the Cats hit it.

Since they did not actually start knocking the building down until the 15th, if gave Joe and I time to take our a number of useful building materials which we hope will wind up as a souvenir greenhouse at home. So in the week prior to January 15th, Joe and I removed all the available windows in 3rd floor, some 25-30 of the bottom windows on second, and then an equal number of the bottom sash windows from the first floor, then the laboratory sink with the plumbing elbow under the sink, a couple of large sheets of fourmica on plywood to cover some drawer units.

When the library moved out of Burden Hall back in the early 50’s we salvaged some heavy shelving for use in the old STPM this was used on 3rd floor until this time; these shelves were all stripped out and three of these sets are at home, a couple to be put up in the garage and maybe one in the green house. Some five sets of cabinets that were not built in or not too tightly built in were removed so I have the drawers and the cabinet frames for these which can be used in the greenhouse, garage or wherever.

In addition to this there was a large nicely painted (white) cabinet of 12 doors on first floor that Joe and I got loose from the wall but couldn’t get it our because it was taller than the door. Then the Hardinges claimed it so it was left there until about the last night before the wreckers came and the foreman from the maintenance Dept. Said take it out. So we did and that has been installed in the garage.

The garage is full of the above and no room to get the car in. I hope to correct this soon by installing what we are going to install in the garage and then put some outside under plastic to protect it until we can use it.

We also got the light fixtures from 3rd floor and some metal pipes that were on the roof. So we should have enough windows (glass), pipe, cupboards, and sink for the greenhouse. What this amounts to is that it does not pay the LLU Maintenance Dept. to hire men to take this old used material out and store it waiting for re-use, so what we or some one else did not get, goes to the dump as a pile of splinters and twisted wreckage."

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