Location: Charleston Navy Base
Client: Jamestown Group
Charleston Navy Base Power House
1975 North Hobson Avenue
North Charleston, SC 29405
(scroll down for gallery)
The Power House is a neo-classical brick building at the Charleston Navy Base aka Charleston Naval Yard in North Charleston. I was hired to archive an array of buildings to be restored by the Jamestown Group, Jay Weaver and William Cogswell. Each building has it’s own personality, but they all have a common, dilapidated naval base vibe.
After working on boilers for the Navy my uncle Rich Kramer had a very successful boiler tube company in Ooltewah, Tennessee called Metro Boiler Tube. They would bend boiler tubes to EXACT specifications to be installed in a boiler facility like the Charleston Power House. I worked a summer at Metro Boiler Tube. It was hard work. I had to spray paint tubes with certain nomenclature for transport and installation and just be the low grunt on the totem pole. The tubes are insanely heavy so they can withstand the pressure needed to do their job. 18 wheelers would come in an take them away. It was a very John Cougar Mellencamp time of my life.
I never liked to wear blue jeans, and to this day I do not even own a pair, but at age 18 this job required me to wear jeans and steel-toed boots for safety and insurance purposes. Being around chemicals, acetate, paints, oils, insanely heavy tube bending machines, forklift exhaust, etc etc…. it was intense. I got so miserably sweaty one day and just hit a wall… I took an exacto knife with me to the bathroom and cut slits in my jeans. A BREEZE! OMG. Then a few days later that breeze was not enough. I cut more slits. Then more. It got to the point where I had made a sort of half way jean short (aka Tank Jackson Jorts) that had zero fabric in the front and kind of odd blue jean strips in the back down to my ankles where I kept the jeans intact so I could put them over my steel-toed heavy as can be boots. Looked idiotic….but my legs could breathe. Next thing you know other long time employees are noticiing they are hot, too. Jeans are being ripped… and I was politely asked by my Uncle Rich to show up at work with normal, non ripped jeans. I did and it was a LONG summer.
It was as cool as can be shooting inside a boiler room after bending tubes in my youth. The architecture of the entire Charleston Navy Base is very….poignant, and I cannot wait to see what the Jamestown Group, et al, do to the space. It may become a music venue I heard? It is an exciting time in Charleston!
Next up is the Charleston Naval Hospital photos.
Thanks for smiling!