Talmadge gate restoration project moves forward

Recently residents of Talmadge celebrated the return of three wrought iron gates to a traffic circle at 49th Street and Adams Avenue.

“We have received only positive feedback from neighbors regarding the restored gates at the traffic circle,” said resident Kelly Waggonner, chair of the Talmadge Maintenance Assessment District (TMAD).

The work at the traffic circle is part of a bigger Capital Improvements Project to rehabilitate several gates, including 15 with historic designation. A 16th historic gate was damaged and will have to be duplicated.

“The gates are such a unique community identifier,” said Talmadge resident and TMAD board member Fred Lindahl.

Giraffe gate in Talmadge

The gates date back to the 1920’s when three silent film stars (Norma, Natalie and Constance Talmadge) made San Diego their home. In 1927 the development of Talmadge Park was opened. Even today visitors to the community will discover streets named for each of the women.

Lindahl said it took nearly 20 years to raise the funds needed to begin the gate restoration project.

City crews began by taking the gates down in September 2016. Under the watchful eye of a historical preservation architect, the corrosion and rust was cleaned away. Replacement pieces were made and welded to the original gates. They were galvanized (dipped in molten zinc) and painted. And electrical components and light fixtures were also repaired.

City of San Diego Project Manager Fernando Lasaga said getting the right people and companies involved made a big difference. City staff from various departments played a role in the process along with Ramona Paving & Construction Corp., Iron Express and Heritage Architecture & Planning.

Gate undergoes galvanizing

“Everyone has worked well to get this process started and completed,” said Lasaga.

All 19 gates are expected to be re-installed by early summer 2017.