Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Walnut Creek Armory
Walnut Creek Armory
Extract, Final Inventory and Evaluation
of National Register of Historic Places Eligibility of California
Army National Guard Armories, Sacramento District US Army Corps
of Engineers (2002)
The original community known as
"The Corners" derived its name from its location at
the crossroads of two ancient roads, one of which came from Monterey
and Mission San Jose, and the other from San Francisco Bay, over
the Oakland Hills. Some of the original establishments in the
area (ca. 1850-1870) included a hotel known as the "Walnut
Creek House," a blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, and the Walnut
Creek Methodist Church- one of the earliest built in the county.
In 1860, the community known as "The Corners" was officially
named Walnut Creek via the establishment of a United States post
office. Soon farming innovations such as new sources of grain
and irrigation caused wheat farming to succeed the previously
dominant cattle industry.
Transportation networks serving outlying towns such as Walnut
Creek proved inadequate and railroad transportation came into
demand during its expansion of the late 1880s. Walnut Creek and
other agricultural towns in the nearby valleys were finally successful
in attracting railroad service in the form of the Southern Pacific,
and in June of 1891, service through Walnut Creek was officially
inaugurated. 1914 was perhaps the greatest year in the history
of Walnut Creek, as the original town and urban additions were
incorporated as a municipality on October 21, 1914.
The advent of the automobile, the construction
of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1930, and the approval
of the Broadway Low-Level Tunnel in 1926 marked the demise of
rail service in Walnut Creek. The onset and duration of World
War II had a negative effect on the population growth of Walnut
Creek, but the city was able to initiate many needed public works
projects such as the municipal water and sewer systems and the
1946 creation of the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.
During the 1960s, Walnut Creek experienced a population increase
to nearly 40,000 citizens within a 14.8-square-mile vicinity.
Through the 1970s, Walnut Creek continued to grow and took steps
to promote the quality of commercial and residential development
in an effort to preserve the environmental and aesthetic quality
of the community (Walnut Creek Historical Society n.d.).
The Walnut Creek armory was completed on February 7, 1955, at
a cost of $66,700. The building sits on a 2.1-acre parcel (California
Army National Guard 1962).
The Walnut Creek armory is located on the eastern edge of the
downtown Civic Park. The neighborhood setting around the armory
includes residential buildings, a baseball diamond and park facilities,
and a canal located to the rear, beyond the fenced vehicle yard.
The Walnut Creek armory (Figure 11) appears consistent with CA
ARNG standardized building plan type "B" designed by
the Office of the California State Architect. The Walnut Creek
armory is a tall single-story assembly hall with a single-story
subordinate wing projecting from the central entry on the west
facade that wraps around to the full length of the northern elevation.
An additional single-story wing runs the entire length of the
southern elevation. The Walnut Creek armory is set at the top
of rise at the end of a street, on a somewhat featureless asphalt
paved property, creating the overall impression of an expansive,
yet well-grounded building.
The primary form of the armory is the central, high interior,
rectangular assembly hall. The assembly hall is oriented east-west
with the low-pitched gable-end roof covered with asphaltic shingles.
The seven-bay structure consists of a clear-span steel-frame
structural system on a concrete slab foundation. The walls of
the assembly hall are constructed with poured concrete and rise
approximately 20 feet to the roofing system, with a flush roof-wall
junction on the exterior. The windows of the northern and southern
elevations of the assembly hall are horizontal sets of three,
six light, steel-frame, crank-operated awning windows. The five
sets per elevation are located in the upper quarter of all but
the eastern and westernmost bays. Centered high on the western
gable end is a fixed, steel-sash, six-light arrangement of horizontal,
blue-tinted glass. The projecting entry is located below these
windows and consists of a pair of steel pedestrian doors with
similar single doors on both sides of the pair. The eastern elevation
has a three-light horizontal window that is centrally placed
over a large, metal vehicle roll-up door. A pair of steel pedestrian
doors is located on each side of the vehicle door.
Both the southern elevation wing and the entry wraparound wings
are single-story, poured-concrete structures with wood-frame,
low-pitched shed roofs and boxed overhanging eaves. Attached
to the rear of the southern wing and flush with the east elevation
is a metal shed with double steel pedestrian doors opening into
the vehicle yard. Across the entry is a ribbon of four steel-frame
two-light sash windows and two window-mounted air-conditioning
units. There are two similar window arrangements along the northern
elevation in addition to a set of three two-light awning windows.
The southern elevation has a fenestration pattern similar to
the northern elevation.
To the rear of the armory is the gated, spacious vehicle yard
that encloses a variety of Army vehicles and other miscellaneous
equipment. With the exception of degraded insulating material
on the ceiling and exfoliating paint across several of the exterior
elevations, the Walnut Creek armory is in good condition.
The Walnut Creek armory does not meet the definition of a significant
resource type. The armory was funded in 1953 and construction
was completed in 1955. Although the armory followed one of the
standardized plans and the siting guidelines established in 1947,
it was not funded or constructed during the 1948-1954 period
of significance. Therefore, the Walnut Creek armory is not eligible
for listing in the NRHP.
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