Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer’s end

A friend and fellow seeker, Fred Pothoff died over a week ago. We had his memorial service yesterday at the Catholic Church in St. Helena. Fred was a great guy. He came to visit me on more than one occasion when I was still working at the CIA. He clued me in on several aspects about Greystone that really brought the building to life for me. He and his work crew were instrumental in the remodeling construction that took place between 1995 and 2001. When you walk in to the building and look up, you will be struck by the beauty that brings the light from the third floor down to the first. Their would be no Atrium if his crew hadn't cut away the floors and ceilings that enclosed the former Christian Brothers Sparkling wine and brandy cellars. Fred’s crew also secured and sealed the caves that went way back into the hillside behind the Culinary Institute of America.  Many suspect that the Chinese laborers that originally built Greystone had a network of tunnels that extended beyond the property. To date, no one has really determined how far back they go. Historical record says 300 feet. A series of pylons were driven into the hillside during the retrofit that anchored the building from the back. Fred also explained how epoxy was injected into the cement floors throughout the Barrell room to solidify them. Otherwise, they would surely crumble in an earthquake.After our visit, Fred gave me a “Christian Brothers Greystone” sweatshirt that had been given to him by Brother Timothy who was the cellar master. It is a collector’s item that I will keep until the day I leave this world.

R.I.P Fred Pothoff.

No comments: