dining table and chandelier
The visually arresting chandelier was designed by Jonquil LeMaster, a dear friend to Molly McCabe's family. The chandelier serves as a literal “family tree,” as the residents of the building have carved their names, as well as the names of their children and grandchildren, into its branches. The tree image is based on the trees found in Torrey Pines, an area that Ellen Browning protected in perpetuity and which became a state national park. This special piece is a symbol of the inspiration behind the Ellen Browning Building: a place for family to live, entwined, together.
The Ellen Browning Building is named after Ellen Browning, a trailblazing woman and building owner Molly McCabe’s great aunt three times removed. Ellen Browning was the only one of ten siblings to attend college; she studied science and mathematics at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, one of the few educational institutions that admitted women. After the Civil War, Ellen Browning and her brother, James E. Scripps, started a politically independent newspaper called The Detroit Evening News, which brought both esteem and fortune to the Browning Scripps family.
With the success of the Detroit Evening News, Ellen Browning became a passionate philanthropist. Her interest in science and education inspired her to donate a large part of her fortune to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Scripps college. She was an early supporter of the San Diego Zoo, the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, California, Torrey Pines State Preserve, Constantinople Women’s College, and more philanthropic causes. In the 1950’s, Ellen Browning donated $2 million — the equivalent of $37 million today — to organizations that promised to advance democratic principles and women’s education.
Ellen Browning embodies the strong, supportive, and creative spirit of her namesake building. A hummingbird sculpture by Reinmuth Bronze Studio in Eugene, Oregon, is installed outside the building and inspired the building’s logo. The hummingbird, as a symbol, reflects Ellen Browning instrumental philanthropic pursuit of the Ellen Browning Park where many hummingbirds and other wildlife reside.
Building owner Molly McCabe has worked as a lupus advocate since 2007 and serves on the board of the Lupus Research Alliance in New York as well as the board of the Randall Children’s Hospital. Her vision for the Ellen Browning Building is to offer residents a comfortable, supportive, independent lifestyle that is deeply connected to the Portland community.