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Discover Mid-America — April 2008

Destinations 2008
our annual readers’ survey

by Terri Baumgardner and Bruce Rodgers

With today’s gas prices, antique lovers deserve a little edge in finding out where to shop, and history buffs some direction on where to visit.

For 2008, Discover Mid-America readers came to help. The following are our readers’ picks, with some input from the Discover staff, for our Destinations 2008.


Paramount Antique Mall
13200 W Hwy 54 (Kellogg)
Wichita, KS

“I don’t know how many times I hear, ‘We just love the mall,’” said Paramount manager Diane Vaughan. Must be true considering the Destination picks Paramount gets each year — again on top for 2008 in the furniture category.

Vaughan credits the dealers and staff for the loyal repeat and new business. “We just had our 11th Super Saturday and the parking lot was filled all day long — for two days,” Vaughan said.

Open 363 days a year, Paramount is home to 225 dealers of which about one third offer furniture for sale or layaway, said Vaughan. “But the inventory changes and I think that’s a big thing,” she adds.

“People like coming in, seeing it, touching it and buying it. Internet (sales) are down, people are coming back to the malls.”Vaughan said Paramount draws from the surrounding states of Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri, with some Texas residents making the trip to Wichita. After seven years managing the mall, her enthusiasm remains.

“I love the people, the buyers and the sellers. It’s a passion I have. I love to see my dealers be successful.”

Paramount will have Outdoor Flea Markets in April, May and June, with a big sale event and other activities for the 4th of July. Another Super Saturday will be held the second weekend in September with dealers discount from 10-30% or more.

Runner-up: Blackthorn Trading Company, Lexington, MO.


Antiquities & Oddities Architectural Salvage
2045 Broadway
Kansas City, MO

1870s White marble mantel with cast iron grate

Located in Kansas City’s Crossroads arts district, Antiquities & Oddities Architectural Salvage offers a wide variety of items, from stained glass and windows, doors, lamps and lighting, signs and old store displays and other architectural elements.

In the hard-to-categorize department, Antiquities & Oddities Architectural Salvage has such unique salvage as a vintage screen door, a small town post office interior, and a corkscrew iron staircase.

Open Thursday thru Saturday, 10 am-5 pm, and by appointment.

Runner-up: Old Town Architectural Salvage, Wichita, KS


Four Corners Antique Mall
15791 S. Topeka Ave.
Scranton, KS

If a Kansas farm family hosts an estate sale, chances are Sharon Ricklefs or one of her ten dealers are there.

Sharon Ricklefs of Four Corners Antique Mall

They sort through the treasures to buy heirlooms and bring the primitive pieces back to the Four Corners Antique Mall.

"We have a lot of good ‘ole primitives," said Ricklefs, who owns the mall. "I credit my dealers for that, they bring in some really nice things."

Take for instance the pine wardrobe that sells for $700.

"I bought it at a sale in Franklin County," Ricklefs said. "It's late 1800s. I bought it at an estate sale from a farm family, a local family."

The shop is filled with pine tables, cupboards, stoneware, trunks and even pot-bellied stoves. Ricklefs' shop even holds some pieces that primitives’ antiquers might not see just anywhere.

"The cheese press is real unusual," Ricklefs said. "It sells for $325. It's an Amish press."

Looking about, Ricklefs also points out a butter worker.

"That's real unusual," said Ricklefs, who opened her shop in 1995. "It has writing on it, it says, 'Wizard's Butter worker, manufactured by Creamery Pkg. Mfg. Company.’ I've had two or three over the years, but we sold them. They sell, this one sells for $250."

Ricklefs said primitives’ sales are as robust as ever as antiquers seek out decorative items.

"The primitive pine pieces, there are still people that like them because they have so much history behind them," Ricklefs said.

"Young people want harvest tables, baskets. So, yes, I think they sell better than they did four or five years ago."

Four Corners’ hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, and from noon-5 p.m., Sundays.

Runner-up: Paramount Antique Mall, Wichita, KS


Paramount Antique Mall
13200 W Hwy 54 (Kellogg)
Wichita, KS

Paramount manager Diane Vaughan estimates that one-third of the dealers at the mall handle housewares and glassware. One dealer, Joyce Boyer, calls Paramount a “great venue to enjoy” her hobby and sell her inventory.

Boyer, a member of the Wichita Glass Glazers Depression Glass Club, said other club members maintain booths at Paramount.

“My inventory leans toward glassware of that era,” said Boyer.

Despite slowing sales in glassware, Boyer said there’s still a market for quality glassware priced reasonably.

“The younger generations are expressing increased interest in glass from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, as well as interest in kitchenware of that era,” said Boyer.

She adds that the interest in decorative glassware remains especially in Tiffin, Phoenix and Consolidated glass. Boyer said elegant glass from the Depression era still sells.

“The problem is finding quality items,” Boyer added.

“Like other glass dealers, I have found it necessary to diversify into different areas, but beautiful vintage glass will always be my first love,” said Boyer.

Paramount’s hours are 10 am-7 pm, Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm, Saturday, and noon-6 pm on Sunday.

Runner-up: Bates City Antique Mall, Bates City, MO


Blackthorn Trading Company
1115 Main St.
Lexington, MO

“We’ve been collecting and foolin’ around for 25 years,” said Steve Wallace, who with his wife Nancy, own Blackthorn Trading Co. The motivation wasn’t anything unusual — a historic house that “we had to fill up and make nice.”

Steve and Nancy Wallace, owners of Blackthorn Trading Co.

The wandering, mainly dictated by job positions, took the couple east and west, and finally three years ago to Lexington where they opened their shop. Now, said Steve, the “commute is nice.” Should be — the couple lives above the store.

The shop owner process took a while, motivated by grown children leaving the nest. “Every one of my days off we drove to every little town close to Kansas City,” said Steve. “We saw something about Lexington in the newspaper and had never been out here yet. So we drove out and had a really good feel for it, a strong feeling that this was a good place for us to go.”

The name Blackthorn came about because of the Celtic heritage the couple shares — Nancy with an Irish background, Steve is Scottish. “We liked the sound of it considering our backgrounds,” said Steve.

Most every item in the shop is the Wallace’s. The mix includes furniture — such as an Empire period 1830s sideboard — art, pottery, books and glass.

“We have a high turnover in getting in quality pieces,” said Steve. “We don’t want to be a ‘museum store.’”

Steve and Nancy tout Lexington’s antique atmosphere enthusiastically. “We were surprised how friendly and tight a community the antiquers are; you’d think with the competition, it would be a little more cutthroat. (But) we all work very well together,” said Steve.

Hours for Blackthorn are 10 am-5 pm, Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 pm on Sunday.

Runner-up: Al’s Old Books, Wichita, KS


Wichita, Kansas

Archaeological evidence points to the Wichita area as being a trading locale going back 11,000 years. One the first European visitors may have been Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in search of “cities of gold.” Coronado called the Indians he encountered in the area “Quiviras.”

Wyatt Barry Stapp Earp, c. 1869, when Earp was about age 21. From 1875-76, Earp was a marshal’s deputy in Wichita. (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The first permanent settlements were grass structures built by Wichita Indians in 1863. The city was officially incorporated in 1870 and became a railhead destination for cattle drives from Texas and other southwestern locations. The visiting cowboys gave the town a rowdy reputation and, in turn, the town attracted a list of well-known lawmen, Wyatt Earp among them.

Earp joined the Wichita marshal’s office on April 21, 1875. Stories surround Earp about his lawmen’s tenure in Wichita. One has Earp angering drovers by acting to repossess an unpaid-for piano from a brothel and forcing the cowboys to collect the money to keep the instrument in the place.

Almost a year later, on April 2, 1875, Earp ceased being a Wichita deputy after getting into a fistfight with former marshal Bill Smith after Smith accused Earp of helping his brothers become lawmen.

In later years, Wichita attracted another notorious personality, Carrie Nation from the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. On Dec. 27, 1900 Nation entered the Carey House bar in downtown Wichita and smashed up the place with a rock and pool ball.

Runner-up: Lexington, MO


The Battle of Lexington State Park
Lexington, MO

In 1861, the year of the outbreak of the Civil War, Lexington was in a boom. The census of 1860 had pegged the town the fifth largest in the state, home to three colleges and a center of wholesale and retail river trade for a large section of western and southern Missouri.

The Anderson House served as a hospital for both sides at the Battle of Lexington.

Unionists suffered a setback in Aug. 1861 when a Union army was defeated at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek near Springfield, MO. With that victory, Confederate forces, led by Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, headed north to Lexington to “break the Union blockade of the river.”

Knowing the Missouri River port town held great importance, Union headquarters ordered the Lexington post, commanded by Col. James A. Mulligan, to seize funds from a local bank as a force loan, causing further strain in relations between pro-Southern townspeople and Union soldiers.

Price entered Lexington with a force three to four times that of Mulligan’s. Price won the battle with surprisingly low casualties on both sides, despite some hand-to-hand fighting, after 20 days. The Anderson House, which has been restored as museum with many ante-bellum furnishings, served as hospital for both sides and changed hands three different times.

After Price’s victory, Union headquarters in St. Louis, led by Gen. John C. Fremont, sent 20,000 soldiers to drive Price out of Lexington and Missouri. Price retreated, pursued by superior Union forces and his army was eventually driven from Missouri.

The Battle of Lexington State Park is open 9 am-5 pm, Monday-Saturday, 10 am-6 pm on Sunday, from March to October. From November to February, the state park is closed Monday and Tuesday.

Runner-up: Kansas Museum of History, Topeka, KS


Moccasin Trails Antiques
3970 NE Hwy 13
Osceola, MO

Strolling through Moccasin Trail Antiques is a little like rummaging through an archeology dig or touring a Native American museum.

That's because the southern Missouri shop secures some antiques from private collections and museum dispersals. And, the shop owner scouts landscapes to dig for artifacts on his own.

"It's fun for people that don't even collect Native American artifacts just to come and look," said Roger Colby, who owns the shop with his wife, Teresa. "I collect Native American artifacts, arrowheads, axes, primitive stones. I have beadwork, bags, moccasins and some jewelry."

Artifacts are authentic — whether the antique is from the Colbys' collection or from one of their 35 dealers.

"I have no moderation or reproduction items," Colby said. "That's why I have a clientele that come here for that, my reputation. I guarantee my artifacts as well."

Colby's shop features arrowheads that range in age from 500 to 10,000 years old. His pottery dates from the Mississippian and Caddo time periods.

"I do have Paleo time period artifacts, six to 10,000 years BC," Colby said. "Collectors, that's the most sought after."

Moccasin Trails Antiques' Papago and Navajo baskets date from the early 1800s through the 1920s. Braided in materials from grasses to pine needles, baskets range in cost from $100 to thousands of dollars.

Collectors who cherish Native American beadwork will be enchanted with the shop's Cherokee pip bag, which sells for $3,500. Hand sewn in the mid-1800s, the 36-inch-tall bag is decorated with beads in shades of white, green and blue in the design of a chief riding a horse

The hours at Moccasin Trails are 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and from noon-5 p.m., Sunday.

Runner-up: Paramount Antique Mall, Wichita, KS


Market Antiques & Cafe
503 N. Main Street
Ottawa, KS

The hand-stitched quilt sewn of seed sacks with appliquéd flowers dates back to the 1920s. The seed sack quilt was purchased from an estate sale in Iowa and sells for $135.

It is but one of many such quilts that shoppers will discover at Market Antiques & Cafe. And it's no wonder because the shop owner, Bonnie Pietsch, is a quilt collector.

"We sell a lot of quilts," said Pietsch.. "A couple of my dealers are big on quilts too. We just like hand-stitched quilts."

Hand-stitched quilts range in price from $8 to $400.

Pietsch and her dealers shop the Midwest — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois — for quilts. They find them at estate sales, auctions and even in Texas flea markets.

On one early spring day, Pietsch's shop featured about 50 quilts dating from the 1920s through the 1980s.

"I just sold one that was 130-years-old," Pietsch said. "It had tulips appliquéd on the outside. We did a lot of research on it; we thought it was Pennsylvania Dutch by the stitching. It was in colors of red and green, it had wear and tear."

Although Pietsch and her five dealers buy and sell all types of quilts, blankets stitched from old seed sacks are the best sellers.

"They are popular this year," Pietsch said. "They love the seed sack quilts, made of old seed sacks from the 1900s. There's a lot of that old seed sack material surfacing again. It's just funny how these things work."

Hours at Market Antiques are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, closed on Tuesday.

Runner-up: Great Plains Quilt Company, Burlingame, KS

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