CARLSBAD — While cleaning the attic of a historic building, once the home of an early Carlsbad pioneer and later the popular Twin Inns restaurant, property manager Lisa Snyder discovered a mural that once hung on the walls in the large octagon room.
The long-lost mural, painted on canvas in 1925 by local artist James Morton Patterson, was discovered in the attic of the landmark Victorian, on the corner of Carlsbad Village Drive and Carlsbad Boulevard.
Snyder was cleaning the attic of what is now the Ocean House Restaurant on March 19 to make way for the first walking tour of the Carlsbad Village, which begins and ends at the restaurant, when she found a long silver tube which contained the mural stuck in the rafters of the building’s attic.
It is one of three, she said, that historians had been wondering about over the years.
Wrapped in the pages of a 1949 Los Angeles Times and a San Diego Union newspaper from the same year, the 6-foot-by-22-foot canvas, which depicts a mountain scene, is now cracked and yellowed.
The property owners, SIMA Corporation, hired Alexis Miller of Balboa Art Conservation Center to examine the painting.
Although the mural may be old and faded, memories of the Twin Inns restaurant and the octagon dining room where the mural once hung are still clear and full of details for many longtime residents and visitors alike.
If these walls could talk, they have said.
Eddie Kentner bought the building — which had been built in the late 1800s by Gerhard Schutte, one of the founders of Carlsbad — in 1919.
On his tour, local history buff George Hruby tells how the restaurant was also home to the Kentners, who lived upstairs.
The Kentners eventually turned it into a “world-famous” restaurant. The restaurant served only one meal — fried chicken and fritters dinners, Hruby said. He added that it is still served today.
The restaurant became a popular stop for tourists and Hollywood celebrities on their way to or from the Agua Caliente racetrack in Baja California in the 1920s and 1930s, and the racetrack in Del Mar in the 1940s.
Jack Greelis, who took the recent tour, said the Kentners reportedly hosted many celebrities such as John Wayne and Jack Dempsey, who stayed at the Twin Inns when they came to town.
The Twin Inns went though several changes and at least two renovations. One in the 1920s after the large room was added and murals were hung, and again in 1949, when the murals were taken down.
“Kentner was smitten, as most of the world at the time, by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb and he had the bar and bar-restaurant section decked out in Middle Eastern art and déécor,” Hruby said. This too, would be temporary, and the décor changed again. Many locals still remember the large chicken status outside that eventually made the restaurant a landmark.
What will become of the mural with so much history? Both Snyder and Hruby said the owners are investigating the possibilities.
“One major question is does the historical society or the city have a 22-foot-wall upon which to display the mural? So no one knows where exactly the mural will end up,” Hruby said.