Historic Structure Report with Archaeology

The project was developed under the Cultural Stewardship Funding Program and was the first comprehensive Historic Structure Report on the property.  The goal of the investigation was to research, identify and record the physical history, evolution and condition of the building from its initial construction to present; provide alternative ways of meeting management objectives for its preservation and use; and identify historic property treatments for the structure, materials and finishes. Archaeological units permitted limited observation of the foundation cobble. Based on the results of the Historic Structure Report, the treatment plan identified areas requiring immediate stabilization measures, as well as provided recommendations for the restoration of the structure.

History of the Resource

The Casa de Bandini has had a complex past. Originally constructed by Don Juan Bandini in the late 1820s, it had fallen into some disrepair by the late 1860s. In 1870, portions were torn down and a second story added to create the Cosmopolitan Hotel. During the late 19th century and through the mid 1940s, the building became a boarding house.  In 1950 it reopened as the Casa de Bandini Motel. The building was acquired by California Department of Parks and Recreation in 1968.

Building Archaeology and Archaeology Report

Through the auspices of the California State Parks and using the largest cultural resource state grant ever funded, Ms. Stiegler and State Park investigators worked together with archaeologists to join, in a seamless fashion, the in-situ evidence below grade and above grade to create a comprehensive vision of the building’s 180 year evolution. Found artifacts in the archaeological units assisted in dating strata while the exposed foundations provided evidence for construction sequences. Carefully and sequentially peeling back the layers of construction both before and during selective demolition and construction permitted glimpses back to the initial constructions in the 1820s and 1869. The investigation distinguished the original work, as well as the additions, alterations and replacements. Archaeologists pre-excavated proposed footings enabling the recovery of archaeological data while architectural investigators selectively pre-demolished modern finishes to inform and guide the pending restoration efforts. A close association between the archaeological investigators below ground and the architectural investigators above ground enabled the team to work together to examine and develop hypotheses on the findings.

Construction Documents by Heritage Architecture & Planning