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Monday, May 04, 2015

Structures ~ The Backesto Block Building

Dimensional Drawings for Modeling the Backesto Block Building

Here is my working drawing for constructing a model of the Backesto Building for the layout. I'm starting with this building for a couple reasons. One, its one of the most ornate buildings, thus more time consuming to build. So I want to get it out of the way early. And Two, for its historical significance:

The Backesto Building figures prominently in this photo of the opening day of the San Diego Electric Railway. I greatly desire to duplicate this scene in model.

Originally built in 1873 it was San Diego's finest building at the time. It was later expanded a couple of times.

Amazingly, the Backesto Block remains intact today as part of San Diego's Historic Gas Lamp Quarter! Although without all those chimneys (probably an earthquake hazard). The building is about 224 feet long with another 84 foot addition (to the right). I don't have that kind of space so my model will be an abbreviation of that at 70 scale feet.

I photographed the building extensively for the dimensional drawing. I tried to get shots that not only reveal the layout of the building but also the profile of the building.

Did I mention the building is ornate?

The head-on shots show the layout of the building of course, but I also need shots that reveal how far details protrude from the walls.

I lucked out and found this old newspaper clipping revealing how the roof of the Backesto looked in the 1880s. I would have never guessed that pitched roof design hidden behind the parapet.

Early Modeling Attempt

You've probably noticed this building appearing in the background of some layout construction shots. Its my very early attempt to build the Backesto, I'm talking decades ago! Its pretty crude, one of my first attempts to scratch build with styrene. But the fact its held up so well for so long is a testament to the strength of styrene. Its good stuff!

The structure is a corner building, so here is the South side. One of the expansions is suggested on the left. During the Backesto's early years it had a couple of blank walls that had advertisements painted on them.
The era I'm modeling (1890s), Schiller and Murtha occupied the ground floor.

I think the Backesto Block building is a gorgeous building. I'm looking forward to modeling it. This time as a fine model. Yes sir! A fine model!