The Chew Kee Store has a new roof!

As part of our continued work with the Fiddletown Preservation Society, GA Inc. developed design and construction documents for the re-roofing of the Chew Kee Store, a historic Chinese owned and operated businesses in Fiddletown, California. The existing building is an early example of a rammed earth structure making the re-roofing a high priority to protect both the historic structure, the interior finishes, and the artifacts. One challenge was to get the historically appropriate wood barn shakes used rather than the initially budgeted composition shingles. Another challenge was to meet the Wildlands Urban Interface (WUI) requirements for a rated roof assembly without compromising the historic appearance of the roof and overhangs. The end result presents the roof pretty close to how it might have appeared when the doctor was “IN.”

The Chew Kee store was built in 1851 by Chinese immigrant herb doctor Yee Fung Cheung for his business and residence. It is now a house museum that displays artifacts from the store, as well as other 19th century Chinese artifacts. Many Chinese immigrants arrived in California during the Gold Rush era, and Fiddletown had the largest Chinese population outside of San Francisco at that time.

Our prior work in Fiddletown included the stabilization and rehabilitation of the Chinese run General Store, and Gambling Hall which both won multiple awards, including a 2009 California Preservation Foundation Award, a 2010 AIA San Francisco Chapter Design Award, and a 2010 Governor’s Historic Preservation Award.

Three Bear Hut

The 3 Bear Hut was constructed in 1935-36 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) within what is the Natalie Coffin Greene Park in Ross, California. Designed in the so-called “Park Rustic” style, the picnic shelter was based on a standardized prototype called the “rock-type” shelter developed by the National Park Service for CCC projects.

Our firm conducted a Conditions Assessment and developed a Repair Plan for the historic 3 Bear Hut structure. The plan included treatment recommendations for the stone chimney and benches, the log elements of posts, plates, braces, ridge, and rafters as well for the roof assembly. A 3 Bear motif design was developed for a new steel grille to secure the existing fireplace from unauthorized use. Because the structure is a public facility within accessibility upgrades had to be integrated into scope of work. GA developed an Engineer’s cost estimate to establish the construction budget in preparation for the bidding process. We created full color renderings for the Town of Ross to use for fundraising. Using the Conditions Assessment and Repair Plan as a guide, the team developed a design for the rehabilitation, prepared construction documents for Permit, then assisted with Bidding, and Construction Administration. The official ribbon cutting was on 10 September 2019.

Lathrop House Relocation Underway!

Beginning on May 8, the historic 1860’s era Lathrop House in Redwood City, CA will be moved down the street to make room for a new County Office building.  Garavaglia Architecture, Inc., led the A/E team, and was instrumental in the plan to save and protect the Lathrop House from potential demolition, and to maintain it’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The building, being relocated intact and placed with the same orientation at the receiver site, similar to its current setting, where it received its NRHP listing. Our work included architectural drawings for the building’s rehabilitation and a site design. The relocated historic house will continue to be used as a house museum and will be integrated into the overall visitor experience at the San Mateo County County History Museum.

Because of the proposed juxtaposition of the historic Lathrop House adjacent to the historic San Mateo County Courthouse, GA, Inc. conducted an evaluation of the potential impact under CEQA Criteria Consideration B (moved properties) Evaluation, along with discussions with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), to confirm that there would not be any negative impact to the building’s NRHP listing. The proposed relocation and siting was deemed acceptable by SHPO and NPS. 

“GA, Inc’s planning and technical involvement supported the relocation of the Lathrop house while protecting its historic significance and its continued presence in an urban area that has changed greatly from its original setting.” –Mike Garavaglia, Principal

Viewing of the house move will be available for the general public and the media, from May 8 to May 12 and will be captured with time lapse photography.  More information about the project is available on the County of San Mateo’s website:]