When you open the door of The Miners’ Bazaar, you’ll hear a bell tinkle. The next sound you’ll likely hear is owner Rosie Taylor welcoming you. You’ve just entered Jacksonville’s project café.
Here, you are invited to “Create + Sip + Explore + Socialize.” You might want to sit at the handmade wooden bar in the front room, order a cappuccino, and start sketching in a communal journal. You might sign up for a workshop and meet new friends while felting. You might meet old friends in one of the rooms brimming with makers’ supplies and kits, enjoying an afternoon of printmaking while savoring the house red—or any of the other regional “giggle water” or comfort food options on the menu.
People often ask Rosie what a project café is. She says, “I offer a daily menu of projects you can choose from—painting, printmaking, fiber arts, jewelry. You don’t have to wait for a workshop or class. And you can make or not make.” She adds, “It usually makes someone smile either way.”
Rosie has traveled and lived in many places, but she returned to Jacksonville to open The Miners’ Bazaar because she loves how northwest culture invites experimentation and offers something for everyone—traits she built into her café. Whether you want to sit outside around the fire pit while it’s snowing, on the front porch rocking chair watching the world go by, or cozied up inside and creating on a rainy day, there is something for everyone. Rosie says, “The fact that this is a small, creative town lends itself toward this kind of space. We have so many talented artists, musicians, and writers here.”
Rosie often refers to the 235 E. California Street building as “the crooked little house.” She laughs, “Because it’s genuinely crooked!” When she bought the 151-year old building, she had many renovations to make. She is grateful for her family and friends who helped remove walls, refinish floors, and build the custom wooden bar in the front room. She added personal touches; the end piece of the bar counter came from the wood fireplace mantle in her childhood home.
The renovations revealed plenty of history and a few surprises, from nineteenth-century wallpaper to a “telephone graveyard” in the backyard. The story of those telephones is lost to history, but the story of the house lives on. In fact, Rosie is continually adding to and changing the story—it will never reach “The End.”
When she first opened, the house’s narrative focused on Jacksonville’s mining history. In fact, there was a mine entrance somewhere on the property, though it is completely filled in now. With mining history in mind, Rosie had given all the rooms mining-related names. The front room was the “Bazaar,” the second room the “Gold Room,” etc. But a year into operations, that concept and those names faded as the house began to write a different story. Moving forward, Rosie plans to give each room a different intention—like a different chapter in a book. Every person who enters gets to be a character, and they get to make and tell their own stories.
When you walk through Rosie’s front door, you don’t just enter a café or shop, you enter a three-dimensional storybook. And you get to be one of its characters. In fact, Rosie is preparing to turn her current office into The Curiosity Cabinet. It will be a room filled with materials and miniature things to make shadow boxes or pocket museums. You will be able to enter and create your own story by selecting your own little treasures—whether stones or buttons or anything in between. But you can also just pop into this magical place, pull a stool up to that front bar counter, open the communal journal, and discover that everyone who walks in that door is, indeed part of the story.
“Once upon a time…” begins again each time you enter The Miners’ Bazaar.