Follow the Yellow Brick Road

April Glass Magazine

Dorothy Gale has landed in the Coronado Public Library in California, but she did not arrive on a twister. Her image and those of the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow and other familiar “Wizard of Oz” characters are on nine glass panels that create an entry portal to the children’s section.

The panels, ranging in height from 4 feet to 7 feet and in width from 2 feet to 8 feet, were unveiled in early November 2006. Two sheets of polished Starphire glass were drilled for mounting bushings, laminated and heat treated to form each 3/8-inch panel. Starphire is clearer than regular glass with a slight green tint.
Coronado Public Library
Artist Brenda Smith of Gary Bell Design in Coronado took about a year to draw the scenes for the $140,000 project, using black ink and pastels on 18-by-24-inch paper. The Yellow Brick Road winds through eight of the panels, allowing the entire portal to flow together.
Visualution Inc., Carson, Calif., purchased the glass from Arch Aluminum and Glass Co. in City of Industry, Calif. Artists at Visualution digitally scanned the illustrations and enlarged them about 180 percent to fit the panels. The images were placed on the glass with an ink-jet printer at Primary Color in Irvine, Calif. The panels then went back to Visualution for a scratch-resistant coating.

Steve Easterday, capital projects coordinator for Coronado, and KPFF Consulting Engineers, San Diego, engineered the project. TriPyramid Structures, Westford, Mass., supplied the steel rods and connectors for the custom design. Healey Construction Co. of Coronado did the installation.

A hole had to be cut in the floor to install an I-beam, because of the weight of the glass and in order to keep it from moving. The I-beam secured the anchors.

Easterday received only two bids for the installation. David Healey had a skill that secured the job. “He used to build sailboats,” Easterday says. “His experience putting up guide wires on the main mast of a sailboat worked perfectly.”

Coronado chose “Oz” images because the book’s author, L. Frank Baum, and his wife, Maud, spent much of their vacation time from 1904 to 1909 in the city.

The portal was part of a $6 million project that included an addition of more than 18,000 feet to the library and a remodeling of the existing structure, which was built in 1909.


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