Mercer Island's Harvey Family Reunited With 60s-Era Bar With a Rock-n-Roll History

Members of the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin likely sat at the Harvey family's green vinyl bar before it ended up at Seattle-based salvage supplier Second Use Building Materials.

It's green, vinyl, and very 1960s. But Michelle Harvey couldn't be happier after being reunited with the family's old wet bar — salvaged for re-sale from their now-demolished Faben Drive home — that has a rock n' roll family history that even the salvage company found too great to ignore.

Standing in a large warehouse in Seattle last Wednesday, Michelle gladly paid salvagers Second Use a negotiated price to reclaim the bar that held so many memories of her parents and grandparents who were well known locally and in Seattle's music scene. In the Harvey family, Michelle's father John Harvey booked bands for places such as the Moore Theater in the 1970s and 1980s. He also promoted events such as the Seattle Pop Festival. Grandmother Laura S. Harvey, who owned the family's lakefront home — just down the street from her son John — and bands sometimes stayed at the Faben Drive home during their visits to the Seattle area. As family legend has it, Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones and possibly Led Zeppelin were some of the many rock-and-roll luminaries who dined with the family at the quirky green bar in the basement.

"My grandma was a very social woman who liked to entertain and share laughs," she said. "I spent a lot of time at grandma's house and many hours around this bar."

Seattle salvage company Second Use picked up the unusual piece a few years after the family had lost the bar when the Harveys sold the lakefront home in 2009, following Laura's death. Unfortunately for the family, the bar was part of the deal. However, three years later, the homeowner decided to part with the bar and called Second Use to retrieve it. Coincidentally, Second Use employee Michael Greenwood quickly identified the story behind the bar and knew Michelle Harvey and her family.

“It’s extremely important to us that we close the circle and keep these kinds of pieces in the community,” said Second Use co-owner Patrick Burningham. “Stories like this are a big part of what makes our business special.”

After a series of phone calls to mutual friends across the US and even France, Greenwood's message about the Harvey family bar eventually reached daughter Michelle Harvey, who rushed over to the warehouse. According to employees, she was nearly brought to tears looking at the bar, thinking of her family's memories of it, and the thought of it leaving the family again.
"We just said, 'We can't lose it again'," Michelle Harvey said. "It has a huge emotional zest that hit me hard."

Second Use dropped the price of the bar to put it in Michelle Harvey’s price range, and confirmed the sale two weeks ago. Michelle, now the now a mother to a third-grader at West Mercer Elementary, said she wanted to preserve the bar as a living piece of family history and create new memories for the family's fourth generation on Mercer Island.

(Ed. Note: Some information in this article is taken from a Second Use press release.)

Ken Urman, Real Estate Broker August 29, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Great feel good Mercer Island story. I love that a bit of Mercer Island nostalgia is being saved and preserved. If only the bar could talk!
Bill David Brooks December 18, 2013 at 01:18 AM
I'd like to thank Michelle for saving this historic piece of history and to say what a pleasure it was staying with the Harvey's at their Faben Drive beach house. Laura was one of the most gracious and greatest ladies I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. Talking with her while sitting around the fire with family and friends (stoked with Walnut center stock from the old exotic lumber mill days) about visits from the Rolling Stones, Mercer Island life, excellent food cooked by herself and GrandDaughter Vanessa, staring out at Lake Washington was all one of the best experiences of my life. Laura S. Harvey and the place on Faben Drive will be greatly missed and remembered by everyone who ever had the privilege of a visit, of a warm greeting smile, and by all of the people who have called it home for any length of time.


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