Historic Hercules Building Destroyed by Fire

On November 16, 2014, in Places, by admin

An unoccupied historic building was engulfed in flames and quickly destroyed by fire today.  The fire was reported at 1:00 PM. Firefighters from the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District, with aid from other agencies, controlled and extinguished the fire.

Building 133 on fire, November 16, 2014.

Building 133 on fire, November 16, 2014.

The wooden structure, designated “Building 133”, was one of the last remaining buildings of the Hercules Works, an explosives and chemical factory important in California history. 

In 1980, Building 133 was listed with 35 other buildings and sites of the Hercules Works on the National Register of Historic Places as contributing to the only remaining example of a company town of an explosives plant in the United States.

Talley Way, Purvis Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Posedel

Talley Way, Purvis
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Posedel

Building 133, constructed about one hundred years ago, was originally located in the Hercules company “Village” on Talley Way, near the superintendent’s mansion. It was used as family housing for factory supervisors, including the Purvis family.  A wooden bungalow with typical period construction details, it was last occupied in 1999.

Building 133 on Railroad Avenue in 2005.

Building 133 on Railroad Avenue in 2005.

Building 133 was then moved three times. In 2001, it was removed from foundations, partially dismantled and moved to a location north of Railroad Avenue. In 2007, the City of Hercules accepted title and delivery to property owned by the City (or its Redevelopment Agency) adjacent to Building 69, known as “Civic Arts”.  Building 133 was again moved in 2010 to its final location west of Santa Fe Avenue, on an abandoned roadway, adjacent to the Union Pacific rail line, overlooking the San Pablo Bay.  Since 2010, it was not maintained or protected.

Press Release – Bldg 133 Fire – Hercules