Last weekend I toddled over to Owosso to go to an estate sale. Owosso is an All-American town about 45 miles from Lansing. Their website states that Owosso is "a pleasant, unpretentious community of fewer than 20,000 people with solid midwestern values - a place where residents clearly take pride in their surroundings" .
Although almost all the leaves have fallen, the day was gorgeous with blue skies and some opportunities to snap a few photos around town on my way to the sale.
Why is the Owosso sign in the shape of a castle? Well, Owosso is the home town of James Oliver Curwood, who was a very popular author and an early environmentalist ("the greatest thrill is not to kill but to let go"). He was born in 1878 and achieved the height of popularity in the 1920's, when many of his books were made into movies. His "castle" was built in 1925, and he authored many novels sitting in the turret overlooking the Shiawassee River, although his actual residence was a few blocks away. He died in 1929 from blood poisoning caused by a spider bite he received on a fishing trip to Florida. So by my calculations, he only enjoyed his beautiful castle for four years. How sad!
If you have a pile of vintage books in your stash, or if you visit an antique mall, look through the books and chances are you will find something authored by Curwood.
I have to share several views of the castle...
How would you like to write your e-mails or blog posts sitting in the turret, overlooking the river?
I just love the stone work, slate roof, and the cheerful yellow paint color used at Curwood Castle. The arched doors with iron strap work remind me of Snow White's cottage:
Curwood Castle is now a museum that wasn't open when I arrived, so I couldn't take any pics of the interior. Maybe next time!
As I continued on towards the estate sale, I had to capture a few more pics of Owosso landmarks. I think this home has a great chippy paint Shabby Chic look to it. This is actually called "Italianate" architecture which was popular during the Victorian era (I've taken a couple architecture classes that were fascinating, and one thing I learned is how to identify various styles of buildings). I just love this house....
Although originally a private home, it is now divided into several apartments. They seem to have plenty of room....
Owosso was also home to Woodard Furniture Company, which made wrought iron furniture that was sold all over the U.S. If you have a set of vintage iron patio furniture, check for a maker's mark. You might have a set made right here in this factory!
Here we have the Owosso Casket Company. This company was started by Lyman Woodard before he began Woodard Furniture Company. Lyman Woodard also owned a lumberyard between these two factories, right next to the railroad tracks. Years ago, many furniture companies made caskets along with bedroom sets and other household furniture, and caskets were sold right out of furniture stores instead of through the funeral homes like they are today. Makes sense, doesn't it?
After soaking in some sun and the beauty of these old structures, I was almost disappointed when I finally arrived at the estate sale, which was held here:
It didn't take me long to find some treasures that were jam-packed into the house, garage, and barn, like a set of four shutters for $10.00. I plan to make a folding screen with them:
I bought this shabby door too. Why? Because it is a small size and I'm planning to use it for a decoupage project. I'm going to attach various vintage wallpaper patterns to the glass:
My finds from inside the house included stuff like bags of sewing notions, trims, a postage-stamp pattern quilt, baby shoes, wooden bowls, and more:
These folks collected unusual things, such as match holders and tea tiles:
Proving that one should never leave any stone unturned, I opened a cloudy baggie and found a fabulous collection of Victorian-era calling cards. There must be over 60 of these!
The estate sale was pretty good, but I just didn't feel satisfied as I drove back into town. Maybe I needed a snack. Along the way was a convenience store with this appetizing ice cream cone next to a sign for Walt's Crawlers. This reminded me of a sign my parents used to laugh about on the way to their cottage years ago. A gas station had a sign that read "Coffee Worms Doughnuts".
I passed on the worms and the ice cream, but decided to head downtown to an antique mall called "Treasures", which I had never explored before. They have a restaurant there, where I ordered something tasty and fast, then I combed the mall for deals.
I found a slew of old candy and food tins, the best of which was this cocoa tin:
I'm really starting to love these glass flowers that were popular during the 1950's. Some might think they're tacky, but I love the colors and the fact that they are glass, not plastic. I was excited to pick up this three-piece set of two candle holders and a centerpiece:
In the basement of the antique mall there were hundreds of bottles. I picked up quite a few that would be suitable for altered art purposes, and bought this crate to haul them home in:
A few more colorful tins, two beaded baskets, and a rabbit chocolate mold that was a steal at $22.00:
My trip to Owosso was memorable, not just because of the goodies I purchased, but because of the pictures I captured around town. I have to admit that if it wasn't for this blog, I probably wouldn't have even taken my camera with me, let alone visited Curwood Castle. I can see where blogging might have a side benefit of making me appreciate my surroundings a little more!
Tomorrow is "Black Friday", and many folks will be lining up a ridiculous hours to get some "deal" at one of the big box or department stores. But in my world, the real "deals" are things like the rabbit chocolate mold for $22.00, the baggie full of unexpected calling cards, or the perfectly weathered set of shutters for $10.00. So on Black Friday, I don't have to get up earlier than usual. I hope to find a "deal" at an antique mall, flea market, eBay, or Etsy. You too?