Moran Mansion library and music room, Rosario, Orcas Island WA, circa 1910
July 2016; (48°38’40″N 122°52’23″W)
Background- Shipbuilder Robert Moran was a super cool guy at the top of his career when he was diagnosed with terminal illness and give six months to two years to live. He left his company in the hands of his brothers and moved out to his family’s estate on Orcas Island, where he started to build a mansion (and proceeded to live another thirty-eight years, go figure). The construction utilized many supplies and techniques gleaned from his shipbuilding experience, as well as all the modern conveniences and fashions that a turn-of-the-century millionaire could buy.
Tastes- very faint dust taste;
Smells- old paper; teak wood; dusty velvet;
Feels- cool wood arm rest; smooth wooden tiled floor underfoot; velvet fold out theater style chair with stiff springs and a very comfortable back squishy and softer than the seat bottom;
Sounds- grandfather clock ticking; creaking of wood floor in lower level from man walking; piano playing classic music;
Sights- patterned wood tiling on floor; theater seat leaves knees just a few inches from just-above-knee-level banister with vertical wood paneling and smooth rounded top 1.5 feet thick; seating and banister curves in a broad half circle that meets pipes of organ set in wall; white walls and ceiling with square angle corners with windows letting in bright afternoon light supplemented by abundant electric incandescent lights; two adjacent walls to me have large alcoves lined with floor to ceiling wood shelves full of leather- and canvas-bound books; many books about ships, engineering, metal-working, electronics, etc, as well as fiction in hardbound matching sets (Dumas, Dickens, etc); center of each library alcove dominated by teak sea-desk in center; each library has three square windows opposite each other in a row along the vertical center of the opposing wall; outside is brilliantly sunny with vibrant green trees on steep hills out one side and a slice of bright blue sky out the other; behind me is the organ keyboard and projector booth; before me is a wall of pipe organ pipes on either side of another alcove on the first floor and rising up through the second that houses a Steinway piano built in 1900; the walls of the piano alcove are all wood with dull brass pipes and elaborate windows; behind the piano is broad low window onto a grassy lawn and cement walkway with white painted lamp posts; above that window is back-lit stained glass in deep yellows, greens, reds, and blues all folded together in swirls and lines; above that is more wood paneling even with me on the second level balcony; topped by stained glass paneled window of several yellow and orange ships before a gray cityscape; more wood paneling at ceiling; narrow walls adjacent to the pipes (on either side of the piano) all wood panels and lattice work; outer lip of the banister at second level painted white with green stripe with gold leaf pattern; below that (just above ceiling level of lower level) are more electric lights set in the outside of the banister wall; all the lights in the room are rounded with ribbed glass enclosures and look like they belong on a ship; theater style chairs of upper level in a single row between the banister and the projector booth; chairs have worn cranberry-red velvet; in the center of the ceiling (open to lower level) is an eight-paneled stained glass light fixture with a flat bottom depicting Greek/Roman style figures (lots of yellows, greens, and oranges in rich colors); the central panel bears a kneeling woman with scrolls and laurels and very small text of a poem that begins “Master of human destinies am I!…” and ends “I answer not and I return no more.” (Opportunity by John James Ingalls); grandfather clock in corner beside pipes with dark wood, glass front, and ornate gold and silver face;