Friday, March 11, 2011

an abandoned men's club gets a new, neo-gilded age life

This started out as a door of the day.  I stumbled across and fell in love with the above photo on tumblr, then, determined to find its source (call it my latent grad student tendencies, but I hate posting anything lacking proper attribution--plus the artist always deserves the credit) I ran it through TinEye (a reverse image search engine and ohmygoodness my new favourite thing), which took me to this incredible house tour and I fell in love all over again.

The Harmony Club was built in 1909 by a prominent Jewish businessman in Selma, Alabama and established as a social club.  It spent the 20th Century as a men's club, serving as a meeting place for the local Elks chapter before being boarded up in the 1960s.  In 1999, it was bought by David Hurlbut, a man who describes his aesthetic as "neo-Gilded Age steampunk," which is the most incredible thing I've ever heard.  It was a shambles when he moved in, and I love how he's carefully maintained the original elements, going so far as attempting to preserve the flaking paint on the walls rather than painting over it outright.  The result is cavernous, yet somehow cozy.

The place still has its social club moments.  The third floor ball room is used for movie nights and an annual Beaux-Arts Ball (and doesn't that sound like the best time?). "A lot of people call us the Studio 54 of Selma,” Hurlbut says.  Awesome.
Original article on Yatzer, and the NYT.  Photos by Robert Rausch for the Times.


Kami said...

great pictures, great blog:)

Kelly Anne said...

The photos aren't mine, but that are lovely--thanks for dropping by!

Kelly Anne said...

*THEY are lovely, sorry!