When it was built for the owner of a local dairy company in 1935, the Benewah Milk Bottle in Spokane, Wash., was a good example of literalism in advertising: It looked like what was sold inside. In September of 2011, the historic structure — along with the attached restaurant — was damaged by fire. The owners hired my company, Compass Construction, to repair the damage.The project called for some creative thinking. The 38-foot-tall by 15-foot-wide bottle had a 2x4 stick frame with an overlay of lath and stucco; two-thirds of the frame’s weight was supported by a steel I-beam that...

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