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My Little Corner of the Net

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Philco Radio House Update

 Here is a video that I put together on my Philco Radio House.  

I built the house to display my collection of antique Arcade Cast Iron dollhouse furniture. 

The music is the video is by Helen Kane from the same era.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Guthrie Masonic Temple

I had the opportunity to tour of the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Guthrie Oklahoma.  The Classical Revival style building has themed rooms influenced by ancient societies, among them are the Assyrians, the Romans and ancient Egyptians that go along with the users philosophies. The building shows 100 year old craftmanship and talents of both American and European artisans.

The massive limestone building occupies over 400,000 square feet and is the largest masonic temple in the united states.  It was commissioned in 1910 and the group set out to make "the new Temple as magnificent as art and money can make it"  The group was committed to create "the most beautiful Masonic building in the world"  The building was completed in 1921. The cost of the building was three million dollars in 1920.

One of three sets massive bronze doors open to the vestibule.  There is a  revolving door behind the center one.  The vestibule provides a transition from the Greek exterior to the Roman Atrium.

The building is adorned (inside and out) with symbols that are significant to the Masons.

The vestibule opens to the Roman style atrium which is nothing short of breath taking in size.  Measuring 52' wide and 190' long and 45' tall.

Four types of marble were used on the atrium floors and walls. Tennessee marble makes up the white areas, a reddish-brown Vermont marble is used for contrast while black and grey marble from Italy are used as accents

Corinthian column detail in the Atrium

Detail of the ceiling at each end of the atrium looking up towards the chandelier.

The Pompeii room is off the main atrium. Katharine Davidson used watercolors to design each room.  She designed the rugs, the furniture, the drapes and even the light fixtures.

The Pompeii room is said to be modeled after the House of Dolphins which was discovered in Pompeii.

The walls are all coved with freehand friezes on the pilasters and beams.  All of the furniture is custom.

The Assyrian room had wood paneled walls with a faux finish to look like stone. 

The light fixtures were designed to depict fire pots that were used for heating in Assyrian residences.

Stone sphinxes adorn the fireplace

One of the most beautiful rooms on the tour was the Crystal room.  This room was meant for a ladies gathering room.  Katharine Davidson was the interior designer for the building.  She worked closely with Marion Davidson who designed the plasterwork.  They ended up getting married and going on to do the interiors for New York's Rockefeller Center.

  The room was based on 18th-century neoclassical Adam style of architecture.  Matching custom cabinets sit on each side of the room.

The matching cabinet on the exterior wall contains a wind-up Victrola.  The custom rug was woven in Ireland in one piece and shipped to the site by train.  It had to be brought in through a window because it wouldn't fit through the doors.

Gold leaf and Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers adorn the room.

The room also contains a custom designed grand piano by Wurlitzer.

Our next stop was the grand auditorium.  We entered the space from back stage.  The auditorium has1760 seats.

Classical décor on each side of the stage.

The auditorium has a great organ will over 5,000 pipes.

A smaller Egyptian themed auditorium was next on the tour.

The Egyptian details were painted with egg tempura paint - just as was used in Egypt. 

Our tour guide stated that the stars were covered in a metallic glitter that had tarnished before the most recent restoration.

The library was created in the Gothic style.

It also had custom furniture

The library fireplace 

Doors in the library

The trim in the library was decorated with Masonic symbols from the 1400's.

Outside the library is the Italian lounge.

View of the Library entrance from the Italian Lounge

The reading room is opposite the Italian Lounge.

The walls are painted with a trompe ole effect to give the illusion of raised panels.

All of the furniture in the reading room was designed for the space except for this cabinet from the 1600's

The Rose Room was also designed as a waiting/gathering space for women, as they were not allowed to participate in the Masonic rituals.

The Rose Room contains a beautiful window that was repurposed from the original Masonic Temple in Guthrie.  it is visible at the end of the Atrium on the second floor.

Selfie ?

All of the rooms have beautiful stained glass windows that were sponsored by different patrons.

John Russel Pope, the architect for the building is represented on this window in the Rose room.

This fireplace was located in the office area.

Another view of the office area - great furniture.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Bishop's Palace


Antique post card image via Wikipedia Images

I had the opportunity to visit The Bishop's Palace on a recent trip to Galveston Texas. The mansion, also known as Gresham's Castle, is an ornate 19,000 square feet Victorian-style house, located on Broadway and 14th Street in the East End Historic District.  I can honestly say that photos cannot do this architectural masterpiece justice.

1900 hurricane damage image from Wikipedia 

Galveston island was devastated by a hurricane in 1900, and as you can see in the photo above, the large stone house faired pretty well. Our tour guide stated that they just had to repair some of the wood floors on the first floor.  The house was state-of-the-art for the time, including a rooftop cistern, hot and cold running water, indoor plumbing and electricity.

I visited the house on a beautiful sunny day and you could really see the rustication and texture of the multi-colored stonework.  The house was built by Congressman, lawyer and Colonel, Walter Gresham in 1886-1893 for $250,000. (approx. $7M in todays dollars)  It was sold to the Catholic church in 1923 for $40,500 and served as the residence for the local Bishop and gained it's  name.  Entry for the tour was under the front stairs through a gift shop in the basement and the original kitchen. 

I came across some floor plans online and inserted them for reference

There were so many inspiring and fascinating details. I walked up the back stairs and into the stunning first floor entrance hall, where visitors were greeted by a grand curved staircase that bridges over a fireplace and includes beautiful stained glass windows.  The middle stained glass window was changed out with a religious one when the church purchased the residence in the 1920's. 

The breathtaking entrance hall opens to the main parlor on one side and the library on the other.  Both rooms could be closed off with large pocket doors.  Each room had a wonderful fireplace.  The library had a round bay window where Mr. Gresham kept his desk and a wonderful hand painted ceiling.

Library view from entrance hall

Bay window in library with original chair

I was delighted to find this antique clock on the mantle in the library.  It is the same style clock case that I had used for my miniature clock shop a few years ago!  

Click HERE for the a link to my clock shop project.

Opposite the library is the parlor and another beautiful marble fireplace.  The first floor windows were double hung and could be opened up all the way to all one to walk out onto the front porches.

Parlor view from the entrance hall

Detail of the parlor fireplace

The parlor opened to the music room with a coffered ceiling, another beautiful fireplace and silk covered walls.

Music room viewed from the parlor (note the mural above the mirror)

Music room fireplace details

Built-in console in the music room - note the marble matches the fireplace

After we left the music room, I headed across the entrance hall to the dining room.

The dining room built-in cabinets

view of the dining room from the entrance hall

Dining room hand painted ceiling

The solarium was visible thru the dining room windows.

 Mrs Gresham used the solarium to house her ferns that she collected on her world travels.

Solarium exterior

After the dining room was the pantry and then the kitchen.  The marble sink in the pantry was original.

The original kitchen to the house was located in the basement. This kitchen was added in the early part of the century.  It had great tile and cupboards.

After the kitchen, I headed back to the entrance hall and up the grand staircase.

The entrance rotunda also has a hand painted ceiling

Note to self - this is how to terminate carpet at the top of the stairs

Note that the window on the right had to be artificially lit because it is not on an exterior wall

The space at the top of the hall opens to a large sitting room.

A portrait of Mr. Gresham's son (and his dog) still hang in the rotunda.

The main bedroom has two adjoining bedrooms that open to a bathroom. A portrait of Mr and Mrs. Gresham hang on each side of the bed.

Each of the bedrooms were equipped with a sink

This is the bathroom off the main bedrooms (note the painted bowl in the sink)

This is the bathroom off the upstairs hall - more great tile and marble walls.

This is a view of the back-of-house stairs and the back of the stained glass window on the grand staircase that is lit from behind.  A little quirky, but cool none the less.  The third floor was closed while we were there - an excuse to go back someday and see some more!