Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ethel Phegley's Painted Tiles of El Dorado Co Scenes

Good morning. Gold Country Sister Tina here. I want to share some of my favorite finds.

These are very special hand painted tiles of historical buildings in El Dorado County, some in Placerville, and a couple close by in Lotus and Coloma. They are colorful and well painted, and I am delighted to be the owner of them. They were painted by Ethel Phegley, and I am unhappy to say I know absolutely nothing about her. I would like to learn more about her someday, because her artwork delights my senses and brightens my life. I am not even sure how old these tiles are, but perhaps they are from the 1950s or 1960s.

I found the first two on ebay probably about 10 or more years ago. I collect almost anything pertaining to El Dorado County history, and I love art, so I was thrilled.
I live very nearby to these Chinese structures in Coloma, California, and pass by them often. One was apparently a bank. You can still look inside and they have furnishings and contents which could have been there in Gold Rush Days.
This old store, the Adam Lohry Store, in Lotus, California, now houses a restaurant. It looks much the same today. Lotus is just across the South Fork of the American River from Coloma, and many rafters drift by there in the summer. They also have a great Folk Music/Bluegrass Festival there.
This is a closer look at Ethel's signature on a tile. As an artist myself, I am telling you, please
always sign your artwork, even if you don't like it yourself. Someday someone like me is going to love it, and you want them to know who painted it! Be proud of your artwork!
After I got the two first tiles, I was on the lookout for more, and about 5 years ago I found this tile above, and the one below. The house above is what is now known as the Bee-Bennett House on Bee Street in Placerville, and houses a nice restaurant called the Sequoia. It is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a little boy, and there is a cemetery across the street.
This is a tag that is on the back of the Bee-Bennett House tile. I believe Ethel herself lettered the tag.
This second tile that I found 5 years ago is of the Placerville Shakespeare Clubhouse on Bedford Avenue in Placerville. It is a place that is near and dear to my heart, since I just became a member of the club this year.
Below are four tiles which I just recently purchased from another seller on ebay. Two of them are of buildings which have been torn down in Placerville, and so their images are even more dear to me. I do remember the original buildings from when I was very young.
This is the Ivy House, which stood on the corner of Main Street and Clay Street in Placerville. When I was young it was mostly abandoned except for a barber shop. It once housed an academy and later a restaurant/bar.
This is the Cary House on Main Street Placerville, once known as the Raffles Hotel and also Hotel Placerville. It is still standing, fortunately, and still serves as a fine hotel. Come stay sometime! Heidi once worked inside this building. A friend of mine made beautiful large stained glass windows of El Dorado County scenes which you can view in the lobby inside.
This lovely old brick church is no longer standing at the corner of Main Street and Cedar Ravine.
The older wooden structure to the right has been moved up the hill and restored. This brick church was also known as the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church and housed a fine organ which is now at the county fairgrounds.
This, my final tile (as of now, anyway) is another of the Bee-Bennett house. I guess Ethel thought the house in the other tile looked lonely so she added people and flowers.
It is my fervent hope to find more tiles by Ethel, and to someday learn her story. Are you still out there Ethel? Did you paint more tiles?

7 comments:

Mid Century Madam said...

Those tiles are absolutely beautiful. A very nice collection.

Heidi Ann said...

Well, no wonder you love them! They are wonderful, and it is so great that you have managed to amass that collection - hopefully, with more to come!

yosemite faith said...

how great that you have been able to find more of these tiles! it is so cool that you have memories of all the different scenes! if you add to your collection you must let us know!

Twyla and Lindsey said...

What a unique and beautiful collection! Interesting story about the Bee-Bennett house. Thank you for sharing these with us. Enjoy your day! Twyla

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Anonymous said...

I would like to talk to Tina
I have 3 more painted tile by Ethel Phegley. Do you have an email address

Tina Dawn said...

Hi anonymous from 1/10/14. I tried to email you but I think it went into the cosmos. If you go to the right at our blog and go down in between our photos to contributors, you can click on Tina Dawn and it will go to a page where it says you can email me. I would love to hear about your tiles! Tina