Russ Columbo and Carole Lombard with Jimmie Fidler, in the radio studio of the Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, California 1934.
Earlier this week I took a photograph of the forward segment of the former Long Gallery on the Queen Mary through a opening in the locked doors. The photo, seen below, shows that the operator was using this segment of the former Long Gallery as a banqueting/catering table and chair storage space.
November 18, 2012
The on-line responses to the photograph included one that indicated that the tables and chairs were being stored right up against the paneling and even right up against the painting "Sussex Landscape", by Mr. Bertram Nicholls.
This morning, Friday November 23, 2012, the double doors added in Long Beach and used as an entrance to this room were blocked off with a barrier.
Hopefully more than a barrier to taking photographs through the opening between the doors has taken place. Indeed a casual glance into the former first class main lounge, renamed the Queen Salon in Long Beach, leads me to believe that the forward bays in this once elegant room are again being used as chair storage space.
Extraordinary Storage Requirements
The use of the former main lounge and the former first class smoking room as multiple purpose catering/banqueting "ballrooms" in Long Beach ever since the conversion of the ship created extra table and chair storage requirements that didn't exist on the ship while at sea. Moreover this use has created a need for kitchens and pantry space that also did not exist on Promenade Deck since the dinning rooms for all three class were originally housed on C Deck - renamed R Deck after World War 2. How might some of these extraordinary table and stack chair storage and pantry needs be met in the context of the historic ship without causing further damage to Promenade Deck?
Shifting stack chair storage back into the forward bays of the former main lounge and the hallway and elegant staircase up to the Verandah Grill behind the former first class smoking room is not a satisfactory solution. Even assuming the current use of the former lounges on Promenade Deck as multipurpose banqueting/meeting "ballrooms" a better and far less damaging solution for stack chair and banqueting tables is available.
A Far Less Damaging Solution
During the period in the late 1980's when Wrather Port Properties was run by Disney stack chairs and collapsible banqueting tables were stored in the decked over second funnel hatch, a former mechanical area adjacent to the Queens Salon. This large room created during the conversion has no architectural points of interest and was an excellent and undamaging solution to the storage problem.
Unfortunately today this room serves as a shop housing the Scottish Heritage Center. The lessee of this shop has a favored position amongst the merchants on the ship due to being a co-founder of the Scottish Festival. Yet this shop might easily be relocated to the first funnel hatch. The video arcade located there today might be better placed off the ship in the building on the wharf near ticketing.
In addition there is a fairly large original storage space behind the fireplace in the former main lounge that is apparently rarely used because of the step up at the entrance. Perhaps the ship's engineering department might make it more accessible. These simple changes could allow for a reintegration of the two forward segments of the former Long Gallery and opening up of the hallway and staircase to the Verandah Grill. In the longer term these changes can be important steps toward recovering the sweeping grandeur of Promenade Deck much as designed and initially built as I and others have envisioned both for historic preservation purposes and for fun and profit.
In 1903 Frank A. and Carrie J. Davis purchased the house at 475 E. Town Street and around 1914-1915 extensively remodeled it. They stuccoed over the brick and installed new dormers. They purchased limestone stone work from a castle in Scotland, had it disassembled, shipped and then reassembled on the front of the house giving their home a chateauesque appearance.
The carving in the woodwork in the front upstairs morning room is amongst the best in the house.
The Master Bedroom
The paneling of another of the upstairs bedrooms (see below) is based on that of late 18th century France.
The bathroom off of the master suite created by Mr. Sloter circa 1998 from the dressing room.
The original second floor bathroom.
Turning this house into a comfortable home while fully respecting both the interior and exterior architecture will be a challenge that is right up Cathy and Jeff's alley. But they did it earlier with their house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cathy even got it listed on the National Register before she was finished with it. So I'm sure that they can do it again in Columbus, Ohio. And in the ten year interim she has used the opportunity of furnishing their home in Sacramento, California to build up a fine collection of antique furnishings that should be very useful at 475 East Town Street.
Below are two sideview illustrations of the Queen Mary.
The first one illustrates the division of space aboard the Queen Mary by class while the Queen Mary was in service. The white areas were either crew quarters or mechanical spaces. (You need to double or triple click on the illustration to see it full size.)
The second version illustrates the Queen Mary today. The orange overlay shows the vast areas of the ship that were severely impacted or obliterated by the Long Beach conversion and subsequent changes such as those on-going on Sun Deck today.
What remains is the area highlighted in yellow that was first class. But even here changes were and are still being made that obliterate many original amenities and features.
It is crucial that the destruction stop and that key landmarks be established for protection and restoration on every deck. The damage done in the recent renovation of the "Queen's Salon" to the parquet floor illustrates the continuing problem even in a supposedly preserved first class area. The original handsome inlaid floor was water damaged but salvageable. Instead it was simply obliterated.
This action underscores the seriousness of the preservation problem on the Queen Mary today. When questioned about the destruction, those responsible tried to justify it by invoking the Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
Suja Lowenthal, the city council person responsible for the Queen Mary gives John Thomas, Garrison's historic consultant, a citation recognizing the historic importance of the Queen Mary.
So while those responsible are breaking their arms patting themselves on the back, admirers of the historic Queen Mary are shaking their heads and watching with chagrin. Where will it end? The public has a right to see the real Queen Mary, not just some tired old exhibits about the Queen Mary, shown amidst childish ghost tours and low rent motorcycle and tattoo festivals.
Over time, I will review the report against the findings documented in the Alternative Visions web site that Mr. Hill and I, Jeffrey Taylor and Sean Hankins and others here have compiled over time.
The restaurant opened shortly thereafter that very year. So that makes 2012 the 40th anniversary of its founding. But is anyone noting this? On leaving I came upon the sign for the restaurant posted by the stairs. It gives the date of founding as 1980.
Apparently even local history in Long Beach must bow to the whims of the former City Hall insider/operator.