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Sayonara to Sakai

The following message is from Ken Osborne, who has been photographing the Sakai nursery (proposed Miraflores Housing Development see City Property Looted, Vandalized and Dumped On, May 23, 2007) for the last 9 months. Ken has lived in Richmond for 30 years and was only peripherally aware of the history preceding World War II and Rosie the Riveter.  Seeing the greenhouses on his daily commute to Oakland made him wonder what the story was, presuming that growing 'flowers' in Richmond must have been long since abandoned.  But in December, 2006, while trying to find the other side of Montgomery Wards (the day after the fire), Ken found himself at 47th and Florida and was immediately enchanted with the time portal into Richmond's history preceding its forced entry into the industrial age.  He put on his calendar a visit for the next spring to see if roses still bloomed in the abandoned greenhouses.  He was not disappointed. Subsequently, he returned some four more times and each time he discovered more than roses and pretty flowers.  Recently, since the City of Richmond has secured the site, we were able, with the assistance of City Manager Bill Lindsay and Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency Director Steve Duran, to arrange a recent visit to the site by Ken and other photographers from the Berkeley Camera Club to capture the beauty of the highly photogenic roses, carnations, and day lilies.


This is a wonderful and rich visual account of another Richmond treasure soon destined for the wrecking ball.


Councilman Butt - It was gratifying to return to the Sakai nursery for another photo shoot.  Together with Berkeley Camera Club members Bernadette Talbot and Dale Mead, we were able to capture scenes that better display some of Richmond's history and its potential for a portion's restoration.  And with a profusion of roses still in bloom, we could not avoid including more shots of the almost overwhelming sense of beauty that resides here, even though unattended.  


We took time to provide some structure to this effort by identifying as many of the greenhouses as possible, at least those that had been used to grow roses.  We were fortunate enough to find an example of a Daily Harvest List with greenhouse identifying numbers and associated rose varieties.  Greenhouse identification by number has been incorporated into an historic aerial shot (courtesy of the Sakai family collection at the Richmond Museum of History) and the rose varieties information has been used in the narrative descriptions of the greenhouse photographs.  


My photographs together with those of Bernadette are posted at http://www.flickr.com/photos/misterken/sets/72157601070940704/ and those of Dale Mead are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/damead/sets/72157601149956874/ .  


Please send this on to anyone I may have left off the list involved in helping us or anyone who you feel would be interested in seeing the photos.  Again, thank you.  - ken osborn



Roof, Roses, and Moon                                                         White With a Hint of Red                                                Greenhouses 1 to 7

by Dale Mead                                                                     by Bernadette Talbot                                                         

    Alignments by Ken Osborn