Perhaps the most imaginative scavengers, though, are four artists who are converting a Providence mill into condominiums. For bathroom doors they’ve installed Marvel’s unusual copper-clad interior doors.
When David Stem, one of the artists, first saw the doors in the gym, he was unimpressed. They were, after all, painted a drab brown. “I just kind of scraped through the paint on a whim,” he recalls. When he found copper beneath the paint, he could hardly contain his excitement. Stem and his three partners (including Clay Rockefeller ’03) led the effort to strip, polish, and seal the doors, returning them to their original glory.
Other Marvel jewels weren’t so lucky. Most of the white marble in the showers was demolished, although Peter Mackie ’59, a research associate at Brown, did save a few slabs. He also grabbed the fluted columns, about 500 bricks, and the ticket windows, all of which he hopes the University will one day use. “It was,” he says, “like a death vigil for me.”