Warehouse No. 1 under construction, August 1916
- note board forms being set up above entrance,
and discarded lumber from previous levels.
Warehouse No. 1 sits at the south end of berths 59-60. A series of railroad tracks terminates inside the warehouse. These, along with Signal Street connect the warehouse to the remainder of the Port. A parallel set of tracks terminates at the transit sheds on the opposite side of Signal Street. Thus, rail cars and trucks can pull up to the transit sheds on the east side, and ships can dock at the wharves on the west side. In addition, the warehouse is functionally related to all transit sheds at the Port and businesses outside the Port, because warehoused material would come from and be distributed to all these facilities.
1917 view of Warehouse No. 1 from roof of transit sheds
- note extensive rail system paralleling transit sheds
where truck bays now exist.
Warehouses of the late 19th and early 20th century were typically built of unreinforced brick, which limited their size. Continuous photodocumentation occurred during construction of Warehouse No. 1, showing each stage of laying the reinforcing bars, building the board forms, and removing the forms. Such modern construction techniques were new and rarely used at the time the warehouse was constructed but were recognized as a way to build a structure of such large scale. Use of this evolving construction method facilitated both the size and the security of the warehouse, characteristics that were critical to its success as a bonded warehouse for what soon became a major world port. (View modern photos of Warehouse No. 1.)