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.