When workers began stripping the white stucco facade from a downtown Bakersfield building this week, their work attracted plenty of attention.
That's because the removal of the stucco soon began to reveal an architectural time machine -- a 104-year-old structure boasting tall, stately columns and ornamentation that led one historical preservationist to describe the original building finished in 1910 as "a neoclassic wedding cake."
The building on the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street had been abandoned for a dozen years, and according to the new property owner, Sam Abed, the city was planning to demolish it.
But Abed has other plans. He wants to restore it and sell or lease it to an ambitious restaurateur, a law firm or maybe even a bank.
As soon as The Californian published the story Friday, readers began chiming in through emails, phone calls and social media.
Longtime residents remembered that while the original business at the location was The Security Trust bank, later enterprises included a series of restaurants with names such as Tiny's Coffee Shop, Bea's Loft, Michael's Loft, City Lights and Tapas.
As Bakersfield's downtown continues to experience what many view as a major economic comeback, there's hope the restoration of the classic building is just one more sign of a hopeful Renaissance.