The Oak Knoll clubhouse has a steeple again.
The last architectural remnant of the sprawling former Naval Hospital in the hills of East Oakland, the Oak Knoll Officers’ Lodge, was cut into seven pieces last year and reassembled half a mile away on the property of 187 acres, helping to make way for hundreds of homes to be built there over the next few years.
As a crowd of spectators cheered on Friday morning, a cherry-red crane lifted the century-old white stucco cupola back into place.
James Salata, president of Garden City Construction of San Jose, orchestrated the move. He watched the steeple fly with the nervousness of a father-to-be, not relaxing until the delicate cargo was finally delivered safely to his rooftop platform.
“It’s looking really good. Things are really going to start moving now,” Salata said.
What will start to move now is the pace of restoration of the Mission-style building designed by architect William Knowles. The clubhouse was part of the Oak Knoll Country Club, which went bankrupt during the Great Depression. During World War II, the country club above Interstate 580 was purchased by the United States Navy, which operated a naval hospital there until 1996.
Developer SunCal plans to restore the building, which had fallen into disrepair in the years since.
Flying Bell Tower in Oakland today as restoration of the Oak Knoll clubhouse continues. pic.twitter.com/GvvsxGNkAE
— Karl Mondon (@karlmondon) April 15, 2022