Here at Rejuvenation, one of the many reasons we love salvage is that it’s living history you can incorporate into your present environment. And for that reason, it often gets integrated into a special building or place.
Which is exactly the case of four bronze portholes that made their way to our Portland, Oregon store. Rescued from a home in Astoria, Oregon, Justin Grow, one of our knowledgeable salvage buyers, speculates the portholes originally came from a Liberty Ship built in a Northwest shipyard during the WW II era.
We’re happy to report the liberty portholes have landed at The Mountain Mermaid Inn, a c.1920s Spanish Colonial gem located in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles. We have the inn’s proprietor, Bill Buerge, to thank for giving these portholes their new (but still old) home. During a visit to our Portland store, Bill stumbled upon the portholes (a serendipitous moment since he had been searching for round windows). He quickly purchased them, knowing they would be a perfect addition to the inn’s tower structure, which already had round windows as part of its original design.
About the Mermaid Inn
Again, being dedicated salvage geeks, as well as being committed to historic preservation, we get very excited when pieces that pass though our stores wend their way back into historical settings. The Mountain Mermaid Inn qualifies as such, due to its rich and storied past. At various times in it’s history, it has been a country club, an ahead-of-its time openly gay bar, a gambling house, and a Jewish boys school.
It is also an epic story of one man’s odyssey into Historic Preservation. Back in 1989, Bill purchased the crumbling, decrepit inn. He is particularly bonded to the tower rooms, since in the early days, that’s where he lived. At that time, he shared the tower area with other inhabitants including rats, bats, and a feral cat. During one particularly heavy rainstorm, he watched a portion of the tower’s ceiling cave in. He then sat down and cried. (Learn more about the Mountain Mermaid’s history).
Thankfully, Bill’s unflagging commitment to the Mermaid paid off. Today, the inn is a designated California State Point of Historic Interest, and a thriving, well-established destination – and not just for people, but for butterflies too. The Mountain Mermaid is one of 4,000 Monarch Waystations spread out across North America that supports their annual migration. We think that ‘s fitting, since the Mountain Mermaid’s story is not only about salvage and history, but also about metamorphosis and transformation, too.