Shop Retrofit (TheBat Cave) #2: The World Changed

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Blog entry by Bob Current posted 06-30-2014 10:39 PM 1152 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: History Part 2 of Shop Retrofit (TheBat Cave) series Part 3: Welcome Inside »

Episode #2
The World Changed
In my last episode I mentioned that our family purchased this property in the late summer of 2001.
We had all the papers signed and we had mobilized for the first day on the project, an absolutely gorgeous September day.

Sadly that day was September 11th and the world changed, we just didn’t know how much.

I felt it would have been disrespectful to tell this story without mentioning that event.

Fast Forward

For the first 10 months we renovated the newer structures on the site.

This included starting a warehouse company and moving our entire mechanical contracting operations to this site.

We did make some cosmetic improvements that secured the old buildings exterior and in 2005 we started renovation of the 1904 building which includes my shop area.

See below:

This included building an enclosure in front of the old basement entry to provide a vestibule for parking equipment and keeping the forklift paths out of the weather.

Note the new entrance man door opening through the substantial masonry wall.

The windows that are covered to the left of the lower corner are in my shop area and will come into play later in the series.

Note the column I mentioned in the last series pictured below. This was after power washing and 600 bags of sand blast media to clean up the entire area.

The reason the steel in this area was in such deplorable condition is that it was a bottling area which was washed down daily with caustic soda solution.

For the beer tote folks on the site, below is a picture of a couple of the several large steel tanks that we cut up and recycled. These held 240 barrels each. We cut the tanks into 60” x 22” pieces so as to get a better price and allow man handling.

In addition to the tank salvage we removed 120,000# of steel support structure and refrigeration equipment from the roof of this building and several hundred feet of 115# per foot rail track from the abandoned the switch yard to the west.

This episode is a short one because of the holiday this week.

Have a great 4th of July.

I’ll take you inside next time.

Thanks for visiting.
Bob Current

-- When you are wrong admit it, when you are right forget it.

12 comments so far

View English's profile


360 posts in 450 days

#1 posted 06-30-2014 11:04 PM

Looking Good Bob, Keep them coming.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View AandCstyle's profile


1799 posts in 1230 days

#2 posted 07-01-2014 12:29 AM

I enjoy watching your progress.

-- Art

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5363 posts in 1265 days

#3 posted 07-01-2014 12:59 AM

Definite progress. I’m interested in seeing the next installment.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View stefang's profile


14560 posts in 2307 days

#4 posted 07-01-2014 09:26 AM

That old building is looking beautiful with your restoration work Bob. What an immense project this must be. I like that you are saving this building. In the past builders always tried give their work some aesthetic value which greatly improved the looks of their projects. Many of them are well worth saving and I think this one sure is too. I don’t think many of todays industrial buildings will be worth saving, so who knows, maybe some of the older buildings like this one will still be around after newer ones have been demolished and forgotten.

There has been a series in the online English newspaper The Daily mail recently showing all the deserted, dilapidated buildings in Detroit and other areas in the post industrial U.S.A. that I find very disheartening and even disturbing. I hope America will be making things on a large scale again someday instead of just being a consumer nation making other nations wealthy while falling into debt.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View hotncold's profile


733 posts in 517 days

#5 posted 07-01-2014 03:06 PM

That’s great Bob! What a massive project you and your family took on! It takes a real “eye” to see the possibilities in property like this.
Can’t wait to read more!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View JoeinGa's profile


4938 posts in 980 days

#6 posted 07-01-2014 07:33 PM

Like everyone else … waiting for the next installment :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Bob Current 's profile

Bob Current

457 posts in 590 days

#7 posted 07-01-2014 10:30 PM

Thanks everyone, I will try not to disappoint anyone.
Thank you for the words of concern for the rust belt. I am ashamed to see what has happened to Detroit and the entire Midwest.
I’ve made a living working for the industrial sector for many years, foundries, chemical plants etc., they become more scarce every year, fortunately we have a lot of medical device and apparatus manufactures who see the value in the strong work ethic and cheap energy in this part of the country. This business is fueled by us old guys whose parts are wearing out so it too will have a life cycle.

-- When you are wrong admit it, when you are right forget it.

View patron's profile


13392 posts in 2314 days

#8 posted 07-03-2014 12:28 AM

good to see you are cleaning up the old rust
and clearing out a good space for yourself

your work will show it

nice workshop
with plenty of room
for future expansion

or at least a chair to take a break in

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View NormG's profile


4948 posts in 1977 days

#9 posted 07-04-2014 05:51 AM

What a great opportunity that came about for you to set uo a wonder shop area

-- Norman

View BobWemm's profile


1118 posts in 899 days

#10 posted 07-14-2014 03:12 AM

Hey Bob, That is a fantastic old building and is so good to know that it is being rejuvenated rather than demolished.
A great story as well.
You sure are a sucker for punishment, but the end result will be very worth it.
Don Havlock and Tony Caritaa put me up to this, and I am looking forward to more.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 522 days

#11 posted 07-18-2014 03:49 AM

Nice job Bob. We have a few old brewerys here where I’m from. Dicks Beer, all of the old buildings are still there. They have a similar construction/masonry style as yours. Dicks Beer was bigger than Anheyseur Bush back in the day.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

2967 posts in 1534 days

#12 posted 07-22-2014 11:54 PM


That is a wonderful old building. I can just imigian the awesome space in there to work and also have a wood shop. I barely remember the aircraft hangers I worked in.

Hope your wood shop is bigger then my one car garage. lol

Thanks for your help too.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing. .To help Vets click..>

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