Nethercutt Museum and Nethercutt Collection

3/23/17 Thursday in Acton, CA (Soledad Canyon-TT)

We spent a wonderful time visiting the Nethercutt Museum and Nethercutt Collection with Len/Gloria today. Wow. These are located outside of LA in Sylmar, CA. The Museum is where you park and get to browse among many antique cars and see the trail. If you reserved a spot to see the Collection then you are directed across the street to that building. (Mr. Nethercutt, whose aunt was Merle Norman, was a Chemistry major. After attending CIT, he joined his aunt in her cosmetic business. It is completely American, with the product and the containers all made in the US. They’ve been very successful. Though Merle died in 1972 and JB Nethercutt died in 2004, this is still a family run business. It seems to be a family with a generous heart, when their employees receive dental care for 10% of 1960 prices ($2.70 for X rays and exam) and 3 chef prepared meals and snacks each day for $.25. JB and Dorothy loved to entertain in their Louis XIV room and give gifts to their guests. Built just like the original it includes a crystal chandelier with mirrors where you see it repeated to infinity.  Clicking on images will show their caption.

They also loved to collect “functional fine art”, beginning with luxury antique cars, continuing with very old musical machines, many from the 1800’s. JB once said: “The recognition and preservation of beauty has been a major focus of my life. It would suit me well if what people remembered of me was, ‘Where he went, he left beauty behind’.”

Thus all these gorgeous machines are available to us for free. Plus we could get as close as we wanted to them all, with the firm reminder not to touch and to put away any hanging keys, to put purses in front of bodies. Not only that, they played those really old music machines. I was thrilled hearing that lovely music all the while we looked at the care, then overwhelmed when we listened to the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ (made to accompany silent movies) play (due to modern retrofitting so it will play back what was played on it once) music from “Phantom of the Opera”. Such rich sound – it was incredible. Remember those antique cars (many pre 1940) are taken out onto the city streets (and freeways to run at 110 mph like the Duesenberg) yearly. They even drove one to a Del Taco fast food drive thru. Needless to say John and I would love to return. I’d especially love to see when they show silent movies and accompany them with the Wurlitzer Organ. The 5,000 pipes on that machine are amazing.

The luxury antique cars, many of which have one Best of Show (1st place) in world renowned restoration contests, some of which are shown below. By 1992 his cars have won the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance 6 times, more than any other individual. Most of the parts needed are built here near the “Collection”, by employees.

cars 3

1933 Duesenberg. One of a kind. Worth over 25 million dollars. Runs up to 110 mph.

cars 4

Another view of the Duesenberg. Guess where the phrase “it’s a doozy” came from.

The musical instrument machines:

music 1

Player piano playing “Rhapsody in Blue”-as it was played by Gershwin himself.

music 2

Bosendorfer piano – unique in that it has 97 keys instead of the typical 88 keys. Thus it’s also VERY heavy. Placed on the keys is an external player that, using player piano roll would play that music when then this piano recorded this old music electronically.

music 3

Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ: 5,000 pipes, 2 men can fit inside the largest, the longest is 32′ long, the smallest is 1/4″ in diameter. The sound is incredible.

music 4

SOME of the Wurlitzer pipes

Then we got to walk through a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive and 1912 Pullman private car:

Late afternoon we watched “our” basketball team, Gonzaga win a hard fought battle with West Virginia Mountaineers. You can’t believe how excited we were when they won (61-58). Even though Gonzaga has made it to the NCAA for 18 years straight, it’s been a long time since they made it to the Elite Eight.

PS: For lunch one of the restaurant suggestions given us at the Nethercutt Museum was Cas Torres (Mexican). It’s closed.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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