To know me is to know that I am very passionate about preserving and restoring historic buildings and interiors. It boggles my mind that in a country as great as ours that we don't put more effort into not only national treasures, but into places that have added to our cultural history. There are other countries around the world that know the value of placing the old next to the new instead of replacing the old with the new. Living in California, I feel at times we are the worst at this. There are so many historic gems to behold here, and although the latest and greatest is always fun and exciting, I believe it is imperative that we know the historic influences that created the backbone from which these new ideas emerged.
I'm sad to say that I came across another example of this just the other day. The famous Tonga Room in San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel is currently under threat of demolition. Opened in 1945, the Tonga Room survives as a rare example of Polynesian Pop decor which became popular after World War II. Inside, the "High Tiki" bar features thatched overhangs and a floating "Band Boat", and in it stages thundershowers every half hour. The bar, which was originally designed by MGM Studios set designer Mel Melvin, is entirely surrounded by a beautiful blue lagoon. It would be such a tragedy to loose such a historically significant place.
This precious gem might be demolished or dismantled as part of a condo conversion project proposed by hotel owner Maritz, Wolff, & Co. Local residents have rallied to save the room by hosting happy hours to raise awareness. This is a wonderful opportunity to make our voices heard and to let those with influence on the matter know where we stand.