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Bechtel’s Impact Report

History of WaaTeeKaa

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WaaTeeKaa's Beginning

In 1898… Warren Bechtel bet all of his personal belongings to enter the rail business, and over a 20-year period, he built the foundation for Bechtel.  

In the 1920s and 1930s... WaaTeeKaa was a home on wheels for Steve Bechtel, his wife Laura, and their two kids Steve Jr. and Barbara—allowing the family to live at remote job sites around the country. 


Steve Sr., Laura, and Steve Jr. in front of the original WaaTeeKaa railroad car.


The hard-boiled hat, a precursor to today’s hard hats, was one of the artifacts in the WaaTeeKaa museum.



Transformation Into a Museum

In 1988… the company found a similar railroad car in South Dakota and developed a replica, which is the WaaTeeKaa we know today.

The replica was moved to S.D. Bechtel Plaza, next to the company’s long-time office in San Francisco’s Financial District where the interior was renovated to become a museum for our people and projects.

From 1988 to 2018… WaaTeeKaa remained a beloved centerpiece in S.D. Bechtel Plaza.

The Road to Reston

In 2018… WaaTeeKaa was lifted by crane out of S.D. Bechtel Plaza and trucked to a Baltimore, Maryland warehouse for safe storage, as shown in the video. 

In 2023… the railroad car was moved from the warehouse and relocated to our Reston, Virginia office in April 2023. 


Countdown to the Opening of WaaTeeKaa

WaaTeeKaa, a century-old railroad car that served as a home on wheels for early generations of the Bechtel family, has been reimagined in honor of our 125th anniversary. After being located in San Francisco from 1988 to 2018, WaaTeeKaa was recently moved to our Reston, Virginia office and will reopen as our updated company museum this fall.