Bell tower attached to historic clubhouse as Oak Knoll development reaches new milestone – The Mercury News

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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.

The steeple of the historic Oak Knoll Clubhouse is put back in place, Friday, April 15, 2022, as a crowd gathers to watch in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

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.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – April 15: James Salata, president of Garden City Construction, watches as a steeple is hoisted to place it atop the historic relocated Oak Knoll clubhouse. Friday, April 15, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
The steeple at the historic Oak Knoll clubhouse stands ready to be hoisted, Friday, April 15, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
The interior of the Oak Knoll clubhouse serves as a lunch spot for construction workers, Friday, April 15, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – April 15: Work continues on the Oak Knoll clubhouse dining room on Friday, April 15, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Bearded-faced figurines look inside the Oak Knoll clubhouse dining room, Friday, April 15, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Riggers connect cables to the steeple of the historic Oak Knoll clubhouse as it is ready to be put back in place, Friday, April 15, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
A crowd watches as the steeple of the historic Oak Knoll Clubhouse is put back in place, Friday, April 15, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

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