Oregon Caves
Historic Structures Report


PART VII
Furniture History and Inventory


Monterey Furniture

The furniture in the Chateau's guest rooms and lobby also contributes to the overall significance of the structure. The line of furniture was created by the Mason Manufacturing Company of Los Angeles, and marketed by Barker Brothers. The style was rustic, which fit the character of the Chateau well. The company was well known for their outdoor furniture, wrought iron lamps, and novelty wood and iron pieces. The Monterey line was initiated by an interior decorator, Fred Mason, who saw a piece in a Warner Brothers movie set and believed that there was a need for a furniture line that accompanied the Spanish or Mission Style homes being erected in the area. His desire for the pieces in 1929 was the start of the Monterey line.

Frank and George Mason made the initial design sketches. Twenty four designs were part of the initial run, and this expanded to about 120 different pieces within four years. There were at least three different bedroom sets, six dining room sets, sixteen different upholstery pieces, sixteen end tables, occasional and coffee tables, and four different desks and secretaries. The lumber was chiefly alder from Oregon that was run through multiple drum sanders to ease the edges and provide an antique or rustic look. The pieces were glued and laminated with a hot glue, and then fished or upholstered. The finishes were all oil stained or base-stained with asphaltum and antiqued by paraffin and rotten stone. Many pieces were hand painted after the antiquing and staining process with different colors or floral patterns. Wrought iron straps and pulls provided accent to the pieces, in addition to basic notching that provided some variation. Many of the earlier pieces were marked by a horseshoe brand, visible at the underside of the piece or on the back.

The line was produced until 1943, when Frank Mason (George's father) died. His partner in the business was not active in the manufacturing process, and handled the shipping and purchasing concerns. The plant was sold in 1945, ending Mason Manufacturing Company.

The order for the Chateau furniture was placed through Meier and Frank in Portland. From photos of the extant furniture in the lodge, George Mason concluded that the furniture collection is comprised of stock items, no special orders. In addition to the various chairs, stools, vanity dressers, bedframes, and tables, the company also provided the iron sconces attached to interior posts in the lobby and dining rooms. The chandeliers may also have come from the Mason Manufacturing line.

The majority of the furniture at the Chateau retains its historic finish on the wooden portions and leather elements. George Mason commented that it appeared to him that much of the furniture had been re-upholstered, but there may be some original fabric on a few pieces. There is a few chairs in leather elements. There is a few chairs in the boiler room that are in need of repair, but besides these the furniture is all still in use.

The following pages contain representative examples of the furniture in the Chateau, along with the total number of that type of piece and in what rooms the pieces are currently used. If there is more than one piece of a single type in one room, the number is given in parenthesis. There are eleven furniture pieces not shown in the following pages, their locations and total number are given below.

Stool with 3 plank top w/gaps - 312, 310, 212, 211, 207, 206, 203, 202, 201. 9 Total.

Bench with 3 plank top w/gaps - 309, 304, 303, 302, 212, hallway outside 212, 214 (3), 210, 204, 201,104,103,102. 15 Total

Plain stool with low arch at base of sides - Dining Room (3). 3 Total.

Bedframes in rooms 312, 301, 207, and 204, all of various design. 4 Total.

Chairs in rooms 310, 307, 212, 205 and 203 (identical), 203, 202,104 and 105 (identical), Lobby, and the hall outside room 212. 11 Total, of various design.

Dresser - 312. 1 Total.

Bedside table with round top - 304. 1 Total.

Dressing table with one drawer - 304. 1 Total.

Vanity stool with upholstered seat - 304. 1 Total.

Desk with five drawers and a small cabinet - 212. 1 Total.

Square top table - Lobby. 1 Total.

Other pieces potentially exist in the storage areas off of rooms 311 and 305. There are two chairs in the boiler room set aside by the concessionaire for repair.


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Last Updated: 22-Sep-2001