Road Trip: Antiquing in Western Pennsylvania
Whether you're looking for the ultimate route for a Sunday drive or looking for a way to pass the hours on a quiet weekday, an antiques road trip is sure to satisfy the craving of saying hello to yesterday. In Western Pennsylvania, there are countless stores dotting the highways and byways, often times taking you on a forgotten route that is sure to reveal pieces of Americana. There are literally millions of treasures just waiting for a new home.
Explore at your leisure and get friendly with the natives. Owners and dealers love to help you find what you're looking for.
Kate Benz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-8515.
Wexford General Store
A neighborhood staple for nearly 50 years, owners James and Marianne Marino have reserved the section behind the counter as a museum to display their collection of signs, tins and collectibles that make history come alive.
Back in the good ol' days, circa 1890, the store served as a stagecoach stop for the weary traveler, including riders of the Pony Express. Now, patrons come to browse the two-story building and outdoor annex for everything from postcards to period furniture. “Anything that's been through someone's lifetime. We're the ultimate recycling center,” says Janet LeCornu, one of 22 dealers at the Wexford General Store. “I've never had more fun in my whole life. … It's like a treasure hunt.”
Details: 724-935-9959; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
Leesburg Station Antiques
The road less-traveled brings you straight to the door of Leesburg Station Antiques. Added bonus: four additional “stations” filled with goodies such as mission-style pieces, Victorian settees, a genuine Roos Sweetheart cedar chest, gossip bench with built-in light, and cherry and oak dressers in remarkably good condition with price tags that embrace fiscal responsibility.
In the main building, Terry Reeher staffs the desk when owner Jack King isn't around. Surrounded by an eclectic assortment of small collectibles and a substantial collection of vintage hammered and forged aluminum, a la Wendell August Forge, Reeher, a retired teacher, has been buying and selling for more than four decades.
“I started out actually selling at flea markets in 1968. … That's how I got started — I had too many things,” he says.
Details: 724-748-3040; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Schoolhouse Shops at Leesburg
A mere 50 paces north from the Leesburg Station Antiques is a weary-looking red-brick building that once served as the Springfield Township School from the 1920s to the early 1980s.
Inside, mid-century modern chairs and dining tables, Barrister bookcases, and intricately carved dressers co-exist with remnants of another lifetime by way of an errant metal locker still embedded in the wall or a section of chalkboard peeking out from behind collections of everything from tin signs, railroad lanterns and toys to stained glass, milk glass, military memorabilia and jewelry.
Humble, but deliciously homey, it's the kind of place where pretentiousness is left at the door. “There's no gimmicks here,” says owner Milan Matijevich, who tries (and fails) to play the part of the cantankerous patriarch. “If you like it, you buy it. If not, we understand.”
Details: 724-748-4005; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays and Mondays; 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays
T.J. Haaland & Co
Nothing sums up T.J. Haaland & Co. better than its slogan: “We're just where you wouldn't expect to find us.”
Nestled inside of the Shenango Valley Mall between Macy's and Sears, this 15,000-square-foot space is a wonderland. Twenty-six dealers occupy the sprawling space, which, on any given day, houses a 1958 Seeburg Jukebox a few paces away from a pre-Civil War tin pie safe.
“Every week I come in, there's always something different. It's fascinating to see how things changed from era to era, decade to decade,” says Richard Fisher, who helps hold down the fort for owners Terry Haaland and Jay French. Regulars from Connecticut, Toronto, Georgia and even California are frequent visitors amid the weekly local customers. “Space and built-in traffic were the draws,” explains