2018 Tucson Modernism Market at Midtown

Tucson Modernism Week is upon us! We are kicking it off here at Midtown with the opening-night Gala on Friday, October 5 from 5 to 8 PM. This will be the start of the ten-day modernism market being hosted by Midtown Mercantile merchants. Midtown is a designated affiliate of the Tucson historical preservation foundation. The market will feature Mid Century Modern vendors from around the country offering a curated selection of fine vintage MCM furniture and decor. 
Here’s the look you might be going for … thank you Mad Men.

When you come to the market keep an eye out for the five or six items which will give your house that awesome mid century look. The first thing you’ll need is a sofa. 

Then in front of that sofa a fantastic stylish coffee table.

Don’t forget the lounge chairs. Aren’t those Z chairs awesome!

Then come the lamps. A table lamp and a floor lamp. This is where you can either go sleek like the rest of the mid century style or you can have a little fun. As you can see from the photos some of these mid century lamps definitely have that sense of fun.

Finish it all off with a fantastic MCM clock. Now that you have the basics you can start accessorizing with studio pottery, art glass, wall art, etc. I’ll touch on that next time.


See you at the market!

Carol Fenn 10-2018

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Happy Birthday Tucson!

Today is Tucson’s birthday!! Happy Birthday to The Old Pueblo!

The history of Tucson, Arizona, begins thousands of years ago but officially dates back to August 20, 1775 when Hugo O’Conor establishes the Tucson Presidio. This year marks the official birthdate of the City of Tucson. Tucson becomes part of Mexico when it fights for independence in 1821. After the Gadsden Purchase in 1854, Tucson falls under the jurisdiction of the United States.

Arizona becomes an official territory in 1863. Between 1867 and 1877, Tucson holds the title of territorial capitol. In 1880, the Southern Pacific Railroad reaches Tucson. The population reaches 8,000.

Arizona became the 48th state in the Union in 1912. By 1950 Tucson’s population has reached 120,000 and by 1960 it nearly doubled to 220,000. 

Tucson becomes the 33rd largest U.S. city in 1990 as its population tops 400,000.

So happy birthday to our home. Raise a glass. Bake a cake. Gaze at the sunset. Whatever you do, enjoy this day, Tucson’s birthday!

Carol Fenn 8-2018

Monterey Furniture “In Old Arizona”

Monterey Furniture refers to several distinctive furniture lines made from 1930 to the mid-1940s in California. It derived its character from Spanish revival style, the California missions and their furnishings, ranch furnishings, and cowboy accessories.  

Original Spanish revival, Barker Bros postcard

Monterey furniture

Mason Manufacturing Company, founded by Frank Mason, is credited with the original style. Other lines were made by Imperial Company, Angeles Furniture Company (the line called Coronado), Del Rey, Brown and Saltman, and even Sears (La Fiesta.). Original Mason Monterey stands out from these other lines with it’s superior quality and heavy hand wrought iron strapping.  

Monterey “prohibition” bar. The tile top slides forward revealing a hidden compartment.

Monterey by Mason came in just a few distinct finishes and in the beginning most pieces had some sort of decorative elements, such as a lively squiggle, or a floral decoration. The Mexican cartoonist Juan Intenoche headed the paint department, and the most valuable pieces of Monterey contain his whimsical designs. Donkeys, bucking horses and bulls, sleeping men under wide hats, cactus and other images are his trademark.

The whimsical art of Juan Intenoche.


 Mason branded most of their furniture with a horseshoe and the name, “Monterey,” though not all are branded. Smoke from the branding occasionally was too thick for the workers; on those days they simply stopped branding. 

Making and painting Monterey furniture c 1932


Hollywood, via Barker Brothers Furniture co., was influential in the original creation of Mason’s furniture line. Barker Brothers approached Frank Mason with the idea of creating a line of furniture based on furniture seen in an old (1929) cowboy movie, “In Old Arizona.” Spanish revival homes were being built all over Los Angeles and Barker Brothers, smartly, wanted a line of furniture that would complement the style of those homes. Hence the birth of Monterey furniture.

In The Midtown Mercantile Mall – main floor

Come on into the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall. 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ. You just might find some Monterey or Monterey style furniture!  


Carol Fenn 8-2018

The Beauty of Industrial Lighting

 
With a beauty that comes when form follows function, industrial lighting from the 19th and early to mid 20th century has come into its own.

Antique and vintage task lamps


Some prime examples

Vintage heat lamps can be converted

From factory floors, medical and dental offices, mines, etc., this form of lighting can add a very unique look to your home or office decor.  



Some very interesting industrial-looking lighting can also be gleaned from the DIY (do it yourself) world. Clever people are making lamps out of chicken feeders, old strainers, bird cages, etc. It can be a great look and it’s always fun to reduce, reuse, recycle.

When you see photos of where they were originally used, some of the old medical lighting might be the stuff that nightmares are made of … LOL … but they’re just old lamps and they have SUCH a great look!


Surgical and dental lamps

Some of the most interesting industrial lighting pieces are “explosion proof” fixtures. Rugged 20th century models, developed for use in hazardous industries like coal mining or petrochemicals, they typically feature housings of caged wire. 

Our August, 2018 mashup “The Industrial Age Goes To School” will showcase a lot of industrial pieces. Come on in to The Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall, 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ, and find that special piece to light your way!

Carol Fenn 7-2018

A Very Visual (and vintage) 4th of July!

The 4th of July! Barbecues. Fireworks! Colorful flags flying everywhere. And in the midst of all of this revelry it might be fun to go back in time and look at some of the ways this American holiday has been celebrated in the past. We love the past here at The Mercantile. After all, we are an antique mall! We love all this old stuff!


Postcards, black and white photos of movie stars, (is that Marilyn Monroe?), cast iron banks, etc. all very collectible and fun to revisit. And check out those 4th of July costumes! Fun and festive!




Happy 4th from The Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall!  Enjoy these photos and enjoy your holiday. And don’t forget the apple pie!


Carol Fenn 7-2018

Let’s Go Bohemian ~ The Art of Boho Bliss

Mid century modern? Minimalist? Memphis style? Nope, right now we’re going Boho! Hippie chic! Bohemian! Yes, it’s boho bliss!

Gypsy wagon


Think Rudolph Valentino.  Gypsy wagons.  Flowing rich fabrics of purple and orange.  Middle eastern hanging lamps, animal prints, candles. Comfy cushy chairs and sofas filled with comfy cushy pillows. And throw some of those pillows over there in the corner!  


“I hope I make it to The Mercantile on time.” – Rudolph Valentino

Rules? There aren’t any. Bohemian is for those of us who disdain rules. Do whatever fills your heart with fun.  

Slightly minimalist bohemian

Come on in to The Mercantile. Our current mashup, BEACH BLANKET BOHEMIAN BOARDS THE ORIENT EXPRESS, is filled with wonderful boho items that will assist you on your journey to bohemian bliss!


Carol Fenn 6-2018

Happy Father’s Day 2018!

Father’s Day is coming up. You have a few more days to find a special gift for your special dad! Come on in to The Midtown Mercantile Mall where we can fulfill Dad’s dreams!  

It’s Father’s Day from morning ’til night!

I thought this would be a fun time to share some mid twentieth century Father’s Day advertising and a few great old Father’s Day cards. It’s so much fun to go back and revisit these images.

Dogs love dad too!

Some might be quite questionable though. After all this was a time when folks were being told, through advertising, that smoking cigarettes was actually good for you! Yes, it’s true!


Yep, this is a real ad!

Anyway, enjoy these ads. Enjoy the cards. And we’ll see you at the mall. Heck, bring Dad in with you! It’s nice and cool in here … he’ll like it!


Carol Fenn 6-2018

The Arizona Rough Riders

Rough Riders was the name given to the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, a response to the understaffing of the United States Army as a result of the American Civil War. A young Theodore Roosevelt was offered the command of this regiment to fight in the Spanish-American War. While Theodore desperately wanted to be part of the fight he was smart enough to realize that he did not have the necessary experience to command a combat regiment. He deferred command to his friend Col. Leonard Wood, a Medal of Honor winner from the Indian Wars, while he accepted a commission and second-in-command as a Lt. Colonel. 

Rough Riders

Arizona Rough Riders

 
 
The regiment’s number was 1200 volunteers. Of those 300 (25%) came from Arizona! The Rough Rider’s ranks included cowboys, indians, socialites, polo players and just average citizens who responded to the nation’s call to arms. The majority of its other members came from Texas, New Mexico and New York. One of the volunteers from Arizona was Bucky O’Neill.

Bucky O’Neill

In the late 1800s, the charismatic Bucky O’Neill, had travelled west to the Arizona territory. He started a newspaper, formed a posse to track down train robbers, became mayor of Prescott, AZ, and was generally full of adventure. During his time as mayor of Prescott, he volunteered to become a Rough Rider. 


Bucky O’Neill was the first to enlist and he put together all of the 300 Rough Riders from Arizona. He then set sail with Teddy Roosevelt to Cuba. Roosevelt wrote endearingly about O’Neill’s character, recounting how O’Neill was the only man to dive into the sea when two black soldiers fell overboard. Shortly afterward, Roosevelt would be devastated when the 38-year-old captain was killed in the battle of San Juan Hill. Upon O’Neill’s young death, Theodore Roosevelt wrote this about him:

Statue of Bucky O’Neill


“The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. O’Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover—a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, ‘The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted.’ As O’Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, ‘Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you.’ O’Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, ‘Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn’t made that will kill me.’ A little later he discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness.”

If you would like to read more about Bucky O’Neill and the Arizona Rough Riders there is a wonderful book, “The Arizona Rough Riders,” written by a Tucson man, Charles (Charlie) Herner. The book is in your local library and is also available on Amazon. 


Carol Fenn 5-2018

 

Memorial Day – Honoring the Fallen

While the first Memorial Day events were held in the United States in the late 19th century, the practice of honoring those who have died in battle dates back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance for fallen soldiers each year. And, one of the first known public tributes to war dead was in 431 BC, when the Athenean general Pericles delivered a funeral oration praising the valor of those killed in the Peloponnesian war – a speech that some have compared in quality to Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

Pericles funeral oration

Here in America Memorial Day has become a day off work for many. A time to celebrate the beginning of summer. A time to have a barbecue with friends and family. A time to chill at home and binge watch Netflix. But, really, while all of these things can be enjoyable, Memorial Day should really be a time to reflect. A time to remember those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving this country.  

Honoring those who gave their lives for freedom

Personally, on this holiday, I also think of the families of the fallen. The brothers. The sisters. The wives and husbands.  The moms and dads. My how they must have suffered. And I’m sure they still do. Imagine your brother, who you played with, wrestled with, shared secrets with. Imagine him proudly going off to war and then never coming home.  

Vietnam War Memorial

Yes, on Memorial Day, enjoy your barbecue, your Netflix binge, etc., but don’t forget to remember. Remember the fallen. The true. The brave. Remember.

Carol Fenn 5-2018

Mother’s Day at The Mercantile


Would mama like that antique chair?

Or would she like that vase?
Would mommy like that chest of drawers?

Oh gosh, she’d like this place!
Would mom prefer a vintage dress?

Or would she like that watch?
Yes, oh yes, it’s Mother’s Day 

Here at The Mercantile!
You’ll find chairs and rings and chests of drawers

Great gifts for mothers, all.
But don’t forget that what she wants 

Is just a bit of you.
She’ll love that vintage vase or watch

But mostly she’ll love you!

Carol Fenn 5-2018